Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #37

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. As a founder, do you find yourself overwhelmed and frustrated that things aren't moving forward as fast as you'd like startups are often portrayed as a go big or go home affair. And as founders, it is easy to get caught up chasing monumental goals and forget about the daily actions that will actually get us there on today's startup therapy podcast. We'll explore how we can aim for the moon, clear the fence. Welcome back for another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan, I'm joined as always by Wil Schroder Ceo of startups dot com. Will Today we're gonna talk about something that I think every founder, even just people who are considering becoming founders can relate to and that's being overwhelmed, especially at the early stages. It's so common to just be buried in it.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I mean, how could you not, I mean, boy, the first six months to a year. For sure. But even if we zoom out a bit and we say, I guess every year thereafter to say, yeah,

Ryan Rutan: it's not for six months to a year of every year. Yes, but

Wil Schroter: here, here, here's why the first year, let's just zoom in on that for a second really matters. You have so much to do in the least resources you'll ever have to do it. And so we have founders come. That comes to us and say, okay, great news. I quit my job. I started the business, I'm off and running now. I'm totally overwhelmed because all of a sudden I have to be head of product management, Head of technology, Head of recruiting ahead of everything. Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: yeah. Total uncertainty total, you know, it's such a huge laundry list of things to get done. And as you said, the least resources you'll ever have. And other than energy, maybe you do start with more energy, like that becomes

Wil Schroter: that becomes the

Ryan Rutan: more finite resource later in the game.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, well, you know, and then, and at that point we're saying we have to do all of this stuff and it's it's the analysis paralysis. I'm so freaked out that I can't do everything at once, but what do I do do? Nothing at all,

Ryan Rutan: yep, that's exactly it, right? And so rather if you can't remember the entire choreography, I'm just not going to take the first step at all. Right? Which is tough. It's really

Wil Schroter: tough. A really valuable lesson that we teach founders at the very formative stages and then we've learned ourselves and we'll talk about how we implement these very same things effectively, is we figure out how to create incredibly small goals, right? I think where people get stuck is that they get this sense that I have to have big goals, right? You know, I have to have this big, sweeping vision and I have to have these big audacious goals that I need to get done, which sounds cool, it's actually pretty easy to say that, but then they get to the part of having to do it and they don't know what they're supposed to do today, and I think that permeates to the entire organization. If the ceo the founder, founding team doesn't know what to do, How the hell does anybody else know what to do?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, or said differently. Even if they think they know what to do, how can you be sure there's any alignment between that and what everybody else is doing? And that's just as much of a problem doing the wrong thing. It's almost as bad as doing nothing. I would say it's still better to do the wrong thing than nothing at all. But yeah, it's it's a huge issue, especially as it starts to to trickle down through the organization,

Wil Schroter: it creates startups that can't get stuff done. It's that simple. It's the founder right now, probably a fair amount that are listening to this podcast right now, that are saying, they're kind of nodding their head a little bit going, you know, the truth is I know where I went ahead, I know what I'm trying to get done, but I'm not 100% clear specifically what needs to get done by the end of the day. And there's a chance if I do that, maybe the rest of my org doesn't and I think what we often don't understand or what tends to break in this process is there is an element to startup planning, that's often just different than other types of planning. I think it's worth us unpacking that a bit today and talk about why we plan so much differently, even though you and I have come from organizations that does that, did you know, long term planning and got paid to do long term planning in the agency world, we don't do that here, we do

Ryan Rutan: very, very short term

Wil Schroter: planning, like days and we do long term planning

Ryan Rutan: here, that's just measured in days. That is long term planning, Short term planning is what are we gonna have for lunch? It's it's 10 to lunch,

Wil Schroter: I tell you, man, and I see this in so many aspects of people trying to do anything big. For example, somebody says I want to lose £20 and they say that's my goal, I want to lose £20 want to lose that weight and I'm like cool, lose one and if you actually do that, if you actually get to the next milestone, lose another.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah,

Wil Schroter: here's what happens I get on the scale, I'm still £19.5 away from my goal. It's hard to be motivated by being £19.5 away. Conversely, if I'm a quarter pound away, I'll get to that goal because the goal is reachable, what we, what we tend to do and startups are so notorious for this is we set big goals that are damn near impossible to actually accomplish in a short period of time and we spend, we sit in this netherworld of trying to get there, but not actually getting past them, you know what I mean? Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: yeah, because it becomes so hard to tell whether you're tracking the right direction and if you don't have it's and again, it's great to have the big hairy goals, right? It's it's fine to have this this long term idea of what you want, the business to become. I will hazard a guess that will change significantly over time as you build towards it. But even if it doesn't, you're still going to have to do things step wise, right? I've built some amazing stuff out of legos all still starts with putting the first lego in place and you can feel and see the progress as you move. If you're only thinking about that final goal and you don't have any other shorter steps to help you understand what you're making progress or not, you lose motivation, you lose direction. It just, or just nothing happens at all. And I think that's actually the the biggest problem is that there's no traction created, there's no momentum created because you're aiming at something that's just too far out on the horizon to even be possible.

Wil Schroter: Well, it's also hard to track, so if we go to a team member and let's say it's the dev team and we say we have this project we want to work on, we want to work on, let's say a mobile app and we want to get this done, how long does it take? And they're going to say six months, Cool, that's not an unreasonable amount of time for the whole thing to get done, but we're two weeks, six weeks, eight weeks into it, are we? How much, how done are we chances are we're not as done as we think we are because we've yet to finish an actual milestone and I think this messes people up, I think they set long goals because again, they feel good, they they're there, consider it, that's exactly what we want to get done. But somewhere between setting the goal and typically missing the goal, but but you know, hopefully getting to the goal is all this area in between, which is so hard to manage, especially in a startup where things are so amorphous.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And then again, you start to, you start to multiply that by the, by the number of people on the team and it gets exponentially out of control really, really quickly and I think this is a huge, huge part of where founder frustration and being overwhelmed comes from at the early stages, when you start to compound these what might be small issues and of themselves, right? Like a little bit of misunderstanding in terms of what I'm supposed to be doing or setting a goal, that's a little too long. Alright, well, when that's all four people in the startup, that becomes a much, much bigger problem really quickly, even just from a tracking perspective, but for me, just from a momentum and a directional aspect, it tends to be the most frustrating when you realize that what little has gotten done, it was also done in different directions and it doesn't come together in the way it needs to even more frustrating like man, individually, we got very little done collectively, it looks even worse and that's just so de motivating.

Wil Schroter: Well it is because I think what needs to happen particularly in a startup is we need to have short ambitious goals, you know, what can we get done by the end of the week, what can we get done by the end of the month? Let's say, I think when we create long ambitious goals, things that actually do need to to get done, I'll give an example, Startup says that by the end of six months we want to have $100,000 in monthly revenue. That's awesome. But you have to get to $5,000, a monthly revenue before you ever get to $100,000. So why isn't that the first goal, I mean, do you really think about it, Then? We can say 100,000 is the six month goal, but our one week goal or you know, whatever our increment is, hopefully short is $5,000, I don't hear enough of that, I think what happens Ryan, you've seen this so many times with our own team things that we do. If you set a time long enough, there's too much that can go wrong in between just like weightless. It's,

Ryan Rutan: it's, it's you're basically guaranteeing it right when you leave because it's, it's wiggle room, right? It's flexibility in all the wrong places. Alright? And go back to your weight loss analogies, literally wait in all the wrong places. Right? It's you, you end up with too much variability in terms of when do I get this piece done or when do I get that piece down? And if you, you know, slip a little week to week in a six month time frame doesn't feel like much, but if you slip a little week to week over an entire six month timeframe, it's a hell of a lot of slippage at the end. Alright. You set really short timeframes and, and you know, you can only slip so much within a given week until you're just obviously failing which you can correct. So yeah, I think that creating these, these shorter term goals is uh, is a huge thing. I just made something up for you. Well, we're gonna call them shipped goals short term, high intensity tactical, right? Make all of your goals, shipped goals from now,

Wil Schroter: are you finger tenting right now with your feet on the uh because that

Ryan Rutan: was on the table counting the letters with my fingers to make sure that I got the acronym right? Yes.

Wil Schroter: Wonderful, well done sir. But but one of the things you just mentioned there that I want to drill down on time. The more time we give a goal, the higher the probability, Not only that it will fail because it gives it more time to fail, but that it will get done in a very non optimized way. And and here's the example I gave brian. If I give myself a month to lose a pound, I've got a lot of opportunities in the middle there to make it up to go back etcetera. I can have my cheeseburger day, I can have my long run day, but in the end I have lots of opportunities to do this poorly. Therefore the problem wasn't the goal. The problem was the time period. Now let's take it a step further. Now I have a week to lose a pound again, I got to lose about 3500 net calories, not just water weight. I have fewer options. There are fewer times that I can miss a meal. My workouts have to be consistently better on, on a pretty consistent basis over that time period I can slip a little still, but I'm not that's a lot less than a month and I'm not fully optimized. Now I have two days to lose a pound. Crazy. Unhealthy by the way is clear, right? It can be done. The body can burn 3500 calories in two days. Really. Unhealthy not recommending this. Just pointing out. It can be done.

Ryan Rutan: There is no sawing off my forearms, easier

Wil Schroter: Step one, cut my leg off. No, but there is no slippage in that timeline, All three goals are exactly the same, lose one lb. But when I condense the timeline, I increase the optimization, I I decrease the opportunities where you can mess around and when I see people put in long term goals and again, long term man, I'm only talking six months and even then it could be shorter than that. What I see happen is it gives the organization and ourselves the opportunity to screw around the opportunity to eat a cheeseburger when we're supposed to be on the treadmill and when you then take that diet approach, Ryan, like you said to the entire organization all of a sudden everyone's eating a cheeseburger and it's not working.

Ryan Rutan: Yes, let's stick with that for me. Let's stick with the one week time frame because this is exactly what we do internally as we look at how we plan at startups dot com. Everything breaks down into these into these weekly sprints essentially, right. And this isn't just a development thing that we do this across the board. Uh, you know, like, well, what's the first thing we do when we get together on monday mornings?

Wil Schroter: Well, yeah, the first thing we do is we say, what are you going to do for this week? Now when folks are new to our organization, they don't entirely understand what we mean by that. And so and, and Ryan, we can provide a lot of character here in color about what that means to us. So let's start with why we're talking about a week and actually let me back up, Let's also point out, we only plan one week at a time as an entire organization of 200 people. Okay, so, so this isn't some wacky thing we do in management. This is the whole company and Ryan, you've seen different variants of how we plan in your estimation. I'd have to ask you, why do you think it works

Ryan Rutan: for all the reasons that we just talked about, right? It doesn't give you unhealthy wiggle room. It forces you to break down because, and I don't want people to think that we're only thinking a week out, right? Obviously we have long range plans ideas, but we're executing one week at a time because that's what works right? We've tried variations of this, but you know, the reason it works is that it keeps you focused, it keeps you honest about, about your goal setting, it forces you to break things down into manageable increments and I think this is the biggest place that planning fails the minute that increments size, that bite size gets too big to chew on, it starts to fall apart and so by arbitrarily limiting what we're saying the horizon of accomplishment is in this case of week. It keeps you really, really focused and it forces you to continuously break down the bigger goal into a sub goal. The sub goals become sub goals and sub goals and sub goals and so on. Until you're you know, five or six generations deep into the big idea and it's now a series of manageable, accomplish a ble meaningful actions and that's why it works.

Wil Schroter: Here's the other reason I think this is particularly important to start up companies when you go work at a big company, most of the that the ecosystem of that company has already been in place. In other words everyone knows how this company works. People generally understand how this product performs. We have years of history to fall back on when we're at a startup, we have none of that. Almost every single thing that we're doing, we're pretty much doing for the first time we're doing product development for a product that's never existed before for a customer we've never met before on an L. T. V. We have no idea what it's going to be. We just hired everybody. Yeah I'm saying we just hired everybody, we don't even know that they can perform right every aspect of who we are and what we're about to do is a giant question mark and for the for the company for us to be able to assume that we can say let's go back to our our $100,000 in six months example That we can assume the goal is $100,000 in six months, nothing's going to change between now and then. It's absurd.

Ryan Rutan: Every

Wil Schroter: everything's gonna change, man. And here are the things that are going to change the goals that we set this week, once we actually do them or in some cases just try turns out it didn't work, we ran a landing page test, it didn't work. That's going to change what I do next week. And by way of that is likely going to change what the overall goal was to begin with. Yes, most most of what we're doing are a series of tests. The whole freaking business is a series of tests. So for us to be able to say, here's a long term plan based on a whole bunch of variables we don't even know yet is kind of silly.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, because you're, you're talking about a bunch of threaded plants together, right? You've got product, you've got marketing, you've got sales, you get all of it right? And each one of those has its own trajectory. And of course, there's that there should be a cohesive plan. World has worked together. But to your point, there's so much testing, there's so much variability, so much dynamism within each of those threads. And if one of those has to change, you know, either either by a necessity or based on a decision from, from the findings that you have as you go through these tests, that can change everything else. And so this is something else we haven't talked about this yet. But one of the other reasons, I think this is so successful is it keeps everybody on the same time frames. We'll go back in time and think about all the times where you had these kind of codependent timeframes, codependent timelines for different projects where, you know, you've got development working on one thing and then marketing going to launch something to go along with that when there is inconsistency in those timeframes, even just in terms of how quickly or how often we're checking in for progress, it leads to all sorts of bad shit happening. I'm sure you have examples of this as well, but when you get everybody down to the same timeframe, it helps you keep a cadence and a rhythm as a company. That is really hard to do if you've got dev working on, say, you know, let's say two week sprints, the sales team plans quarterly. Marketing plans Monthly. It's a huge,

Wil Schroter: huge mess. It is in the problem gets exacerbated, like I said, when we either give ourselves too much time or don't consider the fact that this is us running into the abyss. We have no idea what's going to happen next week. So we can have goals, we can have overall overarching goals of where we're trying to get to, we can say, we're trying to go from Connecticut to California in the 1700s but we can't pretend to know what we're going to get into. When we take even a step out of our cabin. We're going to get bit by

Ryan Rutan: a snake breaker army, get cholera, you've played Oregon trail, you know what

Wil Schroter: you're going to go there. Absolutely. That's what happens. But I I think It's hard for the organization at 1st to think in such a tiny way. It's hard for us to think, okay, what are we only getting done this week until you see how effective it is. The other thing I love about it has to be done by friday is it has to be done by friday. If stuff comes up during the week, we just manage it differently. Here's an example. If I have all month to write a newsletter, you know, you know, one of the news letters that I write that we send out to our folks and I have a couple down weeks where things are just busy. I can't get to it. No problem. But if it's due by friday, every single challenge I run into every hiccup I have during every single day has to be accounted for. It has to get made up for. Yeah, I had this problem. I've got a vent for a second. I had this problem if you remember when I just did my remodel in my house.

Ryan Rutan: I do remember. Yeah we're doing

Wil Schroter: remodels. Yeah it was. And uh the contractor that we hired the G. C. Kept running into problems. It's the nature of remodeling, right? I get it. However, what ended up happening that I thought was really interesting was whenever the G. C. Would run into a problem, they would say, oh it's going to push out the timeline right? Again, this didn't come in on time or you know this contractor, this trade didn't show up. And I kept, I kept thinking to myself, I know that that's actually that's actually not the answer. The answer is we have to figure out how we're going to make up for it right now. So we're back on schedule next week and they were blown away by this, like wait

Ryan Rutan: what? No, that's not how this works. We just keep pushing, keep pushing the number back further. Right? Yeah.

Wil Schroter: Well you clearly don't do a lot of startup forecasting.

Ryan Rutan: But my,

Wil Schroter: what I love about that is that when we give ourselves exactly five days to make no compromises, it has to get done in those five days. And look, man stuff happens, right? Sometimes we have to push out. But we behave as an organization dramatically differently when we only have five days to contend with. Sure it's a sense of urgency. It's a sense of accountability and I think once the organization starts to get tuned up on that kind of responsiveness. You become a pretty powerful organization.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, for sure. I mean, there's there's some sense, right? I think we there's there's probably some magic number in here somewhere that we could come up with. That's probably like 20 20% meaning like what's what's the fudge factor here? Like what's an allowable? You know, what's an allowable amount of over ridge in terms of time? Right? And so if you're looking at a week, Let's say it's 20%. That means if I don't finish by Friday, the expectation is that I'll get it done by Monday at the latest, right? Like it because things do happen. That's a great point, man. But if you blow that out to 180 days, right, That's a big difference. Right now. We're at 36 days, right? That's a month.

Wil Schroter: It is. And let me add to it feels acceptable still. Yeah. What I want to add to that is we only have five days to contend with, which means we have to choose what is most important. Yeah. The more, the longer of a time frame I give myself the more stuff I can stack in on my task list. Biggest mistake. All I want to do are the most important things for this week and I probably only get two or three. The problem with the most task lists is that they have more than three items. The moment you have more than three items, you have more things that you can not do. Which is the problem. When you only have three items, there's nothing you can do. Like, you have to focus on all of that. And, and I think when we have our discussions, you know, we have this, our managers meeting, uh, the first thing on every monday morning and we say, what are your top three things you need to do? The beauty of the top three is there's not 1/4. Sometimes there needs to be, I mean, there's no magic in three. Sometimes it's too 25.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I think this this gets difficult as the organization, you talked about this before, but when new people come in, they can struggle with this a little bit in that. It feels like they're not getting enough done. And I always try to remind people, I don't know, because if you tell me you're going to do more than that and you don't, That's far worse, right? Because then you're actually not getting stuff done. If you tell me you're just gonna get these three things done and these are the most important things and these map to the objectives that we've set together. This is more than enough because you'll actually get this done saying I'm gonna do 10 things and getting three done is the same thing, practically speaking is saying, I'm gonna get three things done and getting three done. You still got three things done, right? So let's talk about what the actual output is and let's focus on that. But I do see people struggle with us in the beginning, um, you can kind of see probably just go back through our slack chats in time. You could pick out without knowing the actual dates when they were early additions to the management team, just based on the grandiosity of what they're saying they're going to accomplish in that five day window like, and we're going to change our revenue targets and we're going to hire five people and we're gonna do this like, okay, cool. Eventually. Yeah, but this week, right, what are you going to do this week?

Wil Schroter: You don't write, I've noticed a over the years for many years, of course, many organizations when you distill goals down the chest pounding teammate that, that makes a grand suggestions of what they're going to get, get sized up really quickly because you can't fake friday, you can't fake where we'll be in six months. You can say our product's going to ship our sales targets are going to hit it. But friday's friday man and you've got five days to get there. If nothing happens by friday, it's obvious. Now, here's the next best part guys, the best thing about going week to week and being hyper focused on those increments is you see what happens, you see a trend real quickly when week two becomes week three and week three becomes week four because here's the thing, if you have six months to get something done and something drags in, Week one moved to week three moose week five, you don't notice it. You don't, you don't at all. But every monday, if you constantly keep getting reminded that what you said you were going to do three weeks ago, it only should have taken you a week to do. Still isn't done pretty damn obvious. It's so hard to escape that system and it's, it's not about calling people out. I'll be honest, a lot of times for me, the person that I'm most concerned with is me, you know, where I said, Hey, I'm going to get this done And it's week two, it's week three and it's still not done. Which sort of forces the next question, is it still important?

Ryan Rutan: This is a great, great point here. Right? And if it's drug out, is it still that important? But just in terms of like tracking the importance of tasks. One of the things I love to see and I'm talking about my downstream now says, I'm looking at what our staff is reporting up to me as their top three. It's really interesting because there, there are times you can look at those things and go, that's like the second or third week in a row that it doesn't feel like anything in here is really that critical, right? This is a different issue than what you're talking about, right? If it drags for three weeks wasn't really that important to begin with? Sure. But there are also times where you can just kind of look at the list and go, uh I think we need to redirect some effort here. I think we need to re read this, you know, discuss what we're actually trying to accomplish because I'm seeing things now that just don't seem to be that important in terms of the overall picture. And again, the overall picture may have changed, right. Other things may have happened within the company that that have led us to redirect our efforts elsewhere. And so this helps you as as as the the founder or just even as a manager to redirect the efforts of your team accordingly on those short time frames, right? Because again, if you're in a six month planning horizon, you may miss all those adjustments until you're six months out and that's a huge amount of wasted time and in startup land, that's something we can't afford, we can't afford to be wrong for six months. It doesn't work.

Wil Schroter: No. And I think there's a flip side to this. I think this is important because we're talking about the top down of of this kind of structure of, you know, telling your folks that are on your team what they should be doing. I think there's also some flipside, which is the folks that are doing those tasks that are being either assigned those tasks or create those tasks? It gives them a forum every single week to say, am I still on track and more importantly, to kind of kick the question back up to say, are you sure this is still important? Yes, because I can only do three things this week. You only get three bullets. Are you sure this is the most important one of the three bullets that you want me to work on, yep,

Ryan Rutan: that's a good point. It does, it helps to defend their their time a little bit from, from top down from them being overwhelmed by us, right? As we get overwhelmed, one of the easy things to do is to pass that on to somebody else, right? Like, okay, I'm overwhelming, push a little harder on, on on the rest of my team and see if we can relieve some of this, which might be the right answer. Kind of depends on why you're pushing them, right, But in a lot of cases, yeah, I think that keeping it limited to that three, having a proper expectation for what can get accomplished um is a really, really healthy thing as an organization,

Wil Schroter: I think it does, and I like the fact that, that it's such a simple mechanic and I'll give you an example of how we track this because a lot of people won't believe this, but we're 200 person organization and essentially all of our productivity gets tracked on a single page of a spreadsheet and not even all of it, it's actually

Ryan Rutan: a lot of empty cells there, we could,

Wil Schroter: hopefully they'll be full up with completed projects, but this is how it works and it's just this simple across the top, across each of the columns, we have the names of the folks and or the departments that represent the company and so we have marketing dev, sales, etcetera across the rows on the other axis, we just have three rows, essentially, um that we have enough number of cells per row, but but three sections. First section is, what are we going to do this week? These are the top three most important things. The next section is what's on deck, that means we still want to get it done. It's just not the most important thing this week. The great thing about on deck is how often it never gets addressed and I mean that in a good way, like, hey, you know, we have this really cool partner up, you know, it's, we can't work on it this week, but we're working it next week, next week comes around like, you know, actually that partner is terrible, you know, we're not going to work with them and it never got into the, into the queue, What happens is if we give ourselves 6, 7, 8 things to add to our queue they lack priority. And so the stuff that maybe was just going to go away anyway, got mixed in with priority or focus with the things that actually did need to get done? So that that second q if you will is on deck the last queue and it's actually fairly important is it's done. Yeah, this is a running list of all the things that got done by the way, Ryan High 5 to you. Your list is the longest on the entire tracker of people who've gotten projects done so

Ryan Rutan: high fives but but

Wil Schroter: but but we all know that and it's, it's not a scorecard in that way some of your projects may be able to get done in quicker timeframes than other people's

Ryan Rutan: input. I often put send email reminder to myself as one of my goals for the week. That's super simple sandbag.

Wil Schroter: It yeah, no, but look man, it's pretty telling the bottom the done part isn't just about departmental or individual accountability, all of that does matter. It's a way to look across the organization and say, what are we getting done? Yeah. And often you look at that list, you know, what are we? It's, it's roughly right now when we record this podcast about october so you know, in the 10th month of the year, there's a lot of stuff on that list. It allows us to go back to that list in say how did we spend our time this year? Across the organization, You know, what was important to us back in january and was I had a good use of time? Do we want to do the same kind of stuff next year, how can we be more efficient? What can we, we have said no to and we can learn from that.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Okay. And that's, that's all well and good. But like that's a week. How do we decide what we're gonna do today? How do we break it down to that level? Ultimately we can't do anything this week either. We have to do something right now today. So how do we do that?

Wil Schroter: What I love about focusing on today is there is zero margin for error. Well maybe error, but there's, there's no room to, there's no wiggle room on today. So I use a product called google keep, which is where I keep all my notes. And the most prominent note that I've got in the top left that's colored is what am I going to do today? And it's kind of like a set your intention type thing. And what's important about that for me is I only put one thing on it and here's what I found, right? I'd love to hear your mileage on this. It's so rare that I can actually get the one thing I wanted to get done done

Ryan Rutan: that. The idea of

Wil Schroter: having more things on that list seems absurd. I get a lot of things done during the day. Only one thing that matters, You know what I mean?

Ryan Rutan: Right? Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And I mean I have basically the same experience, Well, you know, the loading up the task list is fine. Um still I'm lucky if one of the things that's going to get knocked off of that, uh, there's just so many distractions that come up in the day, right? And and a lot of them have merit. You know, you've got to be careful about how you defend your time and make sure that you do carve out the time. You need to get that one critical thing done. But as you know, like the rest of our days have to remain flexible, right? We've got a lot of people looking to us for answers, questions, information needs whatever. But it is really important to make sure that in responding to all of that, you don't lose sight of that one thing. Right? And so I am very much the same way. There's always a sort of North Star task that needs to get accomplished. I used to do this with a white board or with a post it note. Now I use Evernote I think you said you're using google keep, but that's that's where I track those things and and that's always open and ever present staring at me. So if I do let myself get distracted, it's easy enough for it to to resurface again and get back on top of my list.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I kind of look at that as what's the least. I need to get done today and that's not the least important, but this is the most important. So by way of that, if nothing else, this needs to get done. Yeah. So to today, for, you know, for either of us, who could be the podcast and it's not to say we don't have lots of other stuff to get done. I keep a separate list of what's next, but here's what's really interesting to me. It's taken me probably uh five years to really hone in on this. I don't know why it's taken that long, but it's taken a long time. It's so easy to get overwhelmed with so many things that you want to get done.

Ryan Rutan: It's exactly it though, man, I can literally go back in time to to win. Like I would, I would have a list of five or six things and you're three quarters the way through the day. You look at the list and without even really considering what was on it, I can still hear myself saying, yeah, I'm not going to get to that ship today, which is important when it's when it's just one thing, it's very different when you look at that and go, I'm not going to do that today. I'm not going to do that. One thing that I said, I was going to do today, I'm not gonna do that, that's a very different conversation, even when you're having it with yourself,

Wil Schroter: well, the way I look at it is as the leader in the organization. If you don't create an amazing amount of discipline for yourself, then you can't expect it and everybody else or at the very least it's not going to happen even if you do expect it. I think what we've done really well at startups dot com and when I see some companies do well, is building a discipline across the organization where everyone understands big goals are important. We want to hit big goals. But the way we get stuff done week after week churning stuff out is we set really small goals that are really trackable and we are just all over them. Even even down to, I'm not leaving my desk today until this one thing is done today is just moving a bit of a pebble. Right? But long term, that's how you move mountains.

Ryan Rutan: That's a wrap for this episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan on behalf of my partner Wil Schroder and all the startups dot com Family thanking you for joining us and we hope you'll continue to join us. Be sure to subscribe rate and comment on itunes or wherever you love to listen to startup therapy, you can find all of our episodes at startups dot com slash podcast. If you're looking for more amazing resources to launch or grow your startup, be sure to head to startups dot com and check out startups unlimited. It's everything we have to offer from our online university to our amazing community of experts and founders and even all the tools we've built like biz plan, fungible and launch rock. It's everything a founder needs visit startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash b e g i N. You'll thank me later.

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