TCC Podcast #237: How to Get More Done with Dave Ruel - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #237: How to Get More Done with Dave Ruel

Dave Ruel joins us for the 237th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Dave is a serial entrepreneur and best-selling author of the book, “Done by Noon.” There’s an ongoing need to get more done in less time, and Dave paves the way to do just that. Whether it’s working fewer hours, finding a work-life balance, or you just need more direction when it comes to productivity, this episode is a must-listen. Here’s what we talked about:
•  The plus side to bodybuilding and fitness and how it can be applied to business.
•  How to manage discipline as a business owner, so you can achieve more in less time.
•  The Effic method. What is it and how can you apply this to your life?
•  Working hard leads to more success right? Not quite. It’s about working the right way.
•  The better way to plan out goals and reach them.
•  Why you need buckets in your business.
•  How to look at your tasks from a different perspective and minimize urgency.
•  The 4 types of tasks you need to implement into your life and business.
•  What energy management can do for you.
•  Narrowing down the most important things when everything seems top of the to do list.
•  Creating the fine line between urgent and important.
•  How small things compound over time to make the greatest success.
•  5 elements to better habits and a better morning routine.
•  The quickest, easiest way to get more done.
•  Why you need to measure discipline over time and cut yourself some slack along the way.

Habits, discipline, and energy management are key components to a successful business. Hit the play button or check out the transcript to absorb it all.


The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:


Done By Noon by Dave Ruel
Dave’s Website
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Think Tank


Full Transcript:

Kira:  How often do you get to the end of your day and think, “I was busy, but did I really get anything done?” Do you ever look back over the last month or even the last quarter and wonder why you don’t have time for the big things you want to do in your business or your life? Maybe the problem isn’t our calendar or our to-do list. Maybe the problem has to do with our approach to managing our time and our energy levels. Today’s guest for the 237th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is Dave Ruel. Dave is a former bodybuilder who realized that his approach to exercise might be a good way to approach all the projects he wanted to get done each week.

Rob:  Before we get to the interview with Dave, this podcast episode is brought to you by The Copywriter Think Tank. That’s our private mastermind that we’ve been telling you about for the last couple of weeks. It’s for copywriters and other marketers who want to challenge each other. They want to create new revenue streams in their business, create new products in their business, receive one-on-two coaching from Kira and myself, and ultimately grow your business to whatever your goal is.

Rob:  We often say six figures or more. But if that’s not your goal, we designed it to help you reach the goal that you have for your business. If you’ve been looking for a dynamic mastermind to help you grow as a copywriter and as a business owner, visit and set up a short information session with us to find out more.

Kira:  Now, let’s jump into our conversation with Dave.

Dave:  I’m going to go back to my days as a fitness athlete. This is pretty much when it all started. So, in the early 2000s, I was an amateur competitive bodybuilder. So, I was very obsessed with everything fitness, bodybuilding, muscle building, you name it. In 2007, I met a guy named Lee Hayward. We were fellow competitors on the regional circuit. So, we’ve known of each other within the local circuit, but I’ve never met Lee in person. I was traveling to his hometown to compete that weekend. So, Lee actually offered me to stay at his house that weekend. We only knew each other little bit, but I never knew what he was doing for a living.

The first morning, he was having coffee. He’s like, “Well, I’m going to do some work. I’m going to answer a couple emails and then I should be done by noon. And then we can go work out.” I was like, “Yeah, it’s nice to be on vacation and have that schedule.” He’s like, “Well, it’s pretty much like the way we operate here.” I was like, “Really? What is it that you do?” He’s like, “Well, I have a bodybuilding website. I make a full living out of it and making six figures a year, working from home. My wife works with me.” I was like, “Well, okay, I need to understand how you do to that.”

So, I quickly treated my passion for fitness to an obsession for business building, started studying direct response marketing, anything that had to do with online marketing. It was very limited at the time, because obviously, that’s in 2007. So, there was not that much going on when it comes to online businesses. Now, everything’s online. If you’re not online, you’re nowhere. But at the time, it was very different. So, I created my first business at that time. It was a website that I was sharing nutrition and cooking tips for bodybuilding and fat loss that was called the Muscle Group. The website is still on. We still sell digital products on that platform. From there, I emerged more on the publishing marketing agency.

So, basically, other coaches and other experts saw what I was doing online. They wanted to do the same thing. So, I was like, “Okay, well you have an audience, I know how to monetize that.” Then we launched an agency that led me to invest in a company called BiOptimizers. So, that’s natural supplements company. We did full turnaround with that company, sold it in 2016. During that time, for me, becoming an entrepreneur, it’s like anything else, going to the gym once doesn’t make you an athlete. I feel the same thing with entrepreneurship. You have to do it in order to understand what it is. In the process, I did obviously all the mistakes in the books that most entrepreneurs make when it comes to managing their time, their energy, their attention.

I build systems around my life in business in order to fix that and mostly inspiring by what I had learned in sports performance. I saw there’s too many weird similarities between both worlds. So, I started adapting that. Yeah. So, in 2016, I had the opportunity after I sold my last business to start coaching entrepreneurs. So, basically, entrepreneurs were coming to meet for the online business stuff that you’re talking about. Okay, I want to build an online business to have the freedom and yada, yada, yada, but what I realized that these entrepreneurs don’t need more tactics or strategies to gain more customers and convert more.

What they needed really was a framework to help them operate as entrepreneurs. I started sharing my systems with them. The results spoke for themselves. This is how Effic was born. We’re going to share these techniques, these systems with everybody. Yeah, now a few years later, we don’t do coaching, but we have certifications now, where we certify basically various business coaches or consultants who want to use that with their clients. We have, obviously, the Effic planner, which is our best-selling tool.

Rob:  So, we’re definitely going to get into more of that, but I want to go back to the amateur bodybuilding phase of your career as you’re just starting out. I’m guessing that there are a lot of behaviors, a lot of things that you were doing as a bodybuilder that apply to how you ran your businesses or that even run your business today. Will you tell us a little bit about what you learned in that phase of your career that you apply to your business today?

Dave:  Yeah, a lot of timeless techniques that we have in… It’s not just bodybuilding. It’s really through sports performance in general. The thing that you need to have in order to become a good athlete or a good entrepreneur is discipline. The thing is that when I started training really and didn’t know that I was going to compete or anything like that, I did that just to transform myself, I realized the structure it would give me, the workouts, how to structure my workouts, how to structure my goals, having an understanding, “What do I really want? Do I want to build muscle, burn fat? What do I need to do first?” The foundational work that you set and from there, you start optimizing and optimizing with time.

The thing is that your structure needs to be solid before you actually optimize, right? I see a lot of people do that. The mistake that many gym goers do in the beginning is that they’re going to take all the supplements on the market thinking that it’s going to fast track their results and they don’t have a solid base. Their nutrition is not good. Their programs are not structured properly. They end up going to the gym all the time thinking like, “The more I’m going to lift weights, the longer I’m going to do it, the bigger I’m going to get or the more fat I’m going to lose.” It’s actually the opposite that happens. So, there’s an order to how things need to happen.

Within this structure, you need to have different habits, different routines that make that sustainable. You don’t just want to do that for X amount of time and it’s done. It’s a lifestyle. So, it’s the same thing with entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is very much of a lifestyle. If you approach it as a sport or as something that you have to do in order to perform and do it well and structure it properly, there’s a lot of similarities, right? So, we talked actually quite a bit in the book about load management and the principle of adaptation and periodization, different basics really in sports performance. But if you don’t have that really mastered on a personal level, it’s going to be very hard for you to evolve as an entrepreneur.

Kira:  So, I’m wondering that when you had a moment where you felt like an entrepreneur for the first time and if that was a specific moment or if it was 10 years into your business, because I do think you’re right, it doesn’t happen overnight. A lot of us, even if we’ve been doing it for a while, we still don’t feel like an entrepreneur.

Dave:  Well, I think nowadays, people call themselves entrepreneurs before they actually accomplished anything. As I said, it’s like an athlete. You don’t call yourself an athlete the first time you play a sport or you step into a gym. You have to do the work and understand. Not everybody is going to be an athlete, just like not everybody’s going to be an entrepreneur. So, it wasn’t a conscious decision for me. Entrepreneur now is the word that everybody uses. I think there’s a lot of hype probably around the word ‘entrepreneur,’ but really, it’s defining what it really is to be an entrepreneur. For me, it was not a conscious decision. There was not a specific moment that define that.

I think it was just a matter of seeing my pattern and seeing how I was operating as a human. I see a lot of similarities between entrepreneurs, right? So, for example, academically, for me, it was a disaster. I was not good at school. Not that I was not smart enough, just because I was totally disengaged and disinterested. I realized that it was not the norm, let’s say, where I grew up. You needed to have a career and a diploma to get the job, et cetera. I realized that a lot of entrepreneurs had very non-typical type of journeys.

So, there’s not a one path, but there’s similarities with behaviors and the way we saw the world and things like that. So, yeah, it’s just realization. Even to this day, I love entrepreneurship. I love the creative side of business, which is in my opinion, probably what the difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur per se. That’s the creative piece that entrepreneurs might have, that others who might be great at business management, but don’t have that spark of craziness.

Rob:  So, Dave, as you were telling your story, you talked about developing some of these systems and routines that really help you in your business to be done by noon as your book is called. Can you talk to us a little bit about some of those, maybe even the whole theme behind Effic and how we as entrepreneurs and as freelancers can start to use a system like that or that exact system in order to start getting more of our stuff done?

Dave:  Yeah. So, we can talk about a little bit more in depth about the system. I think we’re going to have a training, Rob, soon, right? I think next month, we have something scheduled for your audience. So, we’re going to go very, very deep on the topic. To go back to Effic itself, so Effic is actually short for two words. The first one is efficiency. So, obviously, it’s achieving something using the least amount of resources. So, as entrepreneurs, we have three main internal resources or resources that we have, internal and external. So, first, our energy, obviously, and also our attention. So, pretty much how we’re going to be putting our energy and attention, how and on what we’re going to be placing our attention.

The other one, our external resource, finite resource is time. So, time is not something that we can really control. We all have 24 hours a day. Time is the same for everybody. It’s just how we operate, how we use our time and energy within that constraint of time where you’re going to be at work. It’s not about working less. It’s really about working right. We glorify working hard or working smart, but working hard is a given. For example, you go at any sport. No one is successful by going how fast on the court or on the ice, if it’s hockey or whatever. You have to work hard. It’s a given.

Then obviously, you have to work smart. You’re not just going to walk around or run around for absolutely no reason. You have to manage that energy and I would say, optimize it in a smart way. I think the key is really understanding to work right, understanding what is the desired result or outcome that you want to produce. Effic is also short for efficacy, which is the ability to produce the desired or intended result or outcome, right? So, based on that, what we try to make entrepreneurs realize, especially in the first step of the methodology, which is the projection phase, it’s understanding, “Okay, well understand where you want to go.” Be very, very clear on what you want to accomplish, right? So, we divide that in two steps.

The first one is to create what we call your big picture, okay? How do you see yourself? How do you see your life? How do you really envision that for your future? What does it look like? So, creating that big picture, it needs to be specific in some ways, but it’s like going on a trip, right? You’re going to go on a trip. You’re going to visualize in your head what you think it looks like, but in reality, it will look different when you get there, but it’s equally as good. It’s just different. So, you’re going to have that general idea of where you want to be, how you want to feel, and what you want to accomplish. From there, we’re going to ask you to look into what’s really ahead of you. So, what are the goals that you can really see become a reality?

We ask you to create goals. It’s called an annual guideline. So, it’s five goals you want to see become a reality within the next 12 months. So, now we’re not talking about projects. We’re talking about outcomes. We’re talking about results here. What do you want to become a reality? It could be you want to net $100,000 a year. It could be that you want to sell X number of copies of your book. It could be that you want to work 20 hours or less per week, right? So, it’s very, very, very clear on where you’re going or your alignment point. The key is that when we talk about alignment is that the goals that you set in the next 12 months should always be aligned with the type of lifestyle and business that you want to operate, right?

I think the problem is that a lot of entrepreneurs think that they want something. But ultimately, it’s what we call ambition appropriation. It’s that you’re going to look at other people. You’re going to look at other entrepreneurs. You’re going to let their definition of success become your definition of success. I think you have to really dive deeper than that in order to understand what you really want.

I feel like it’s a starting point for a lot of entrepreneurs, because they’re going to come to us when they’re going to feel lost, right? They’re not going to do that when things are going great and there’s no problem. They’re going to do that when, “Okay, I really need to help because there’s just too much to do. I don’t know where I am. I’m not even sure it’s what I want. I need really to recalibrate.” So that’s really the first step. We show you to do that in an efficient manner obviously.

Kira:  Can you share some examples of those goals that you’ve set for yourself, just to bring it to life a little bit more, for your own life and your own business?

Dave:  Yeah, like I said earlier, it could be financial goals. It could be time, because here’s the thing. I think when we go in business, we go for one thing and that thing is freedom. I divide freedom into three categories or three types of freedoms, time freedom, creative freedom, and financial freedom. I feel like always your goals will revolve around these three freedoms, depending on what season of your life you’re in. If it’s early on in your career, more than likely, you’re going to have a little bit more financial goals regarding financial freedom. When you’re going to start working and things are going good in your business, you’re going to realize that you have less time. You’re going to be focusing more into having goals for reclaiming this time, for example.

So, this is when the goal is probably going to be chop 10 hours of my workweek or work less than 20 hours a week or have six-week of vacation a year or something like that, things you want to see become a reality. I think the big thing that I see entrepreneurs do, especially when they recalibrate or realign, is that they’re going to set more creative goals. Meaning, I want this to become a reality. I want to write my new book. I want to create an online course. It’s being very specific on that outcome. Yeah, create my first online course. From there, when you know that that’s indeed the agenda or that’s an outcome that you want to have within the next 12 months, now, you can start setting your 90-day, what we call, bucket. So, your 90-day projects.

Okay, well, if I need to create my first course, probably I need to create that course. I need to create the content of that course. So, we’ll have a bucket that is dedicated to creating the content of the course. Then you were going to realize that “Well, I might need to actually produce that course,” right? So, it might be another bucket. The other one is you’re going to need to market and sell that course. So, that’s going to be another bucket, but you’re going to realize that amongst all that, you’re still going to have all the tasks to perform your business. So, it’s that juggling act of understanding… Rob, we talked about load management. … how much can you carry as far as workload and also how to divide it through the year in order to achieve that goal, right?

The main problem that I see is that people set goals as just project. So, this is the project that I’m going to do. Instead of looking at it as an outcome and understanding, “What do I need to do for this outcome, for this result to happen?” So, it’s not about creating a massive, massive project and then start working on it. It’s really understanding, “What’s the result? What can I do right now with the time, the energy, and the attention that I can dedicate to it this quarter, within the next 90 days to move in the right direction?” Understanding that sometimes it could be the main priority and you’re going to be spending a lot more time and energy and attention on that product, on that project, or something that gets you closer to this result to be achieved.

Sometimes it could be, “I’m going to have one bucket that is more in line with this result. Another one is more in line with this result.” It really depends on your context. In the best case scenario, obviously, it’s A, A, A, B, B, B sequence where okay, well, let’s focus on one and then go to the other one. But again, it depends on your business context and what needs to be done. So, yes, there’s optimum ways to do it, but there’s other ways to do it, too. The key really is understanding, “How much workload can I carry sustainably so this becomes a reality?”

Rob:  So that’s my next question then, Dave. So, let’s say that I have those goals or those outcomes. I’m pretty clear. I want to make, let’s say, six figures in the year or I want to take the summer off to spend with my kids and travel and not have to worry about work. Maybe there’s some other goals like that. So, I know that. I know that I want to accomplish that stuff, I want to do it.

But when I sit down to work on Monday, my inbox is full of stuff that I’ve got to pay attention to. And then I’ve got to record the podcast. I’ve got to get the podcast posted. And then after that, somebody needs help with some customer service stuff in our membership. We have to get the training for the membership. All of the other stuff just starts to happen. I don’t end up taking the summer off, or I don’t hit that six-figure goal. So, how do we translate from the big goals to actually getting some of this stuff done?

Dave:  Yeah. Now, we move to the next step, which is the prioritization phase. It’s understanding that out of everything that you said… For most entrepreneurs, all these tasks are on the same big pile, right? So, picture, you have a messy room and everything’s in the middle. It’s a big mount of stuff that you have. That’s usually how entrepreneurs deal with their things. They’re going to prioritize based on what they think is the priority, right? Usually, because since you’re busy, there’s a lot of things going on your business, you’re going to look where there’s fire and you’re going to try to extinguish the fire. And then next thing you know, there’s another fire somewhere else. You’re going to play firefighter all the time.

The problem is that if you prioritize that… That’s why in the book we talked about now, our matrix being glorified. We’re like, “Well, it could be a good tool. But if you want to be more proactive, if you want to have less fires, maybe it’s better to look at your task from a different perspective.” So, the Eisenhower matrix gauges the task based on the importance and urgency. The problem is that entrepreneurs don’t have that native capacity to really say, “Okay, well, this is urgent,” or “This is important.” What I’m going to see as a fire, that’s urgent and important. I’m going to have to extinguish it right now. So, the tool that we use as the impact matrix at Effic is that there’s four types of tests that you’re going to have to work on as an entrepreneur. That’s universal.

We all have these four types of tasks to attend mostly on a daily basis. It’s really how you’re going to be prioritizing these four, some of these tasks that you’re going to have in your schedule. So, number one that we have are the rock. Rob, you’re a big fan of and you’re a trained FranklinCovey professional. As we said before we started recording, the big rock, small rocks, and sand analogy was just the game changer for me when I saw Dr. Covey perform this. Dr. Covey really uses that to show what to prioritize, the important things in life. When I saw him do that, I was like, “Yes, this is definitely the way which you see prioritization,” but also, I saw the way I was actually designing my workouts, designing and operating as an athlete.

You don’t just go to the gym and start doing random dumbbell curls and bench presses and thinking, “You’re going to get that goal.” You need to understand, “Okay, well, that’s the goal. So, first of all, here’s where I want to go. Now, here’s what I want to accomplish short term. Here’s a program that’s going to get me there.” In this program, you have core exercises and then you have different sets. You have different reps and you have different moves, different tempo, et cetera, right? But you need to identify, “What are your main exercises, your foundational pieces?”, and go from there. You don’t do the opposite. This is perfect for me to illustrate, first of all, how to experiment with my workload, because it’s like going to the gym, for example.

You’re going to go to the gym the first time and going to think you can lift 220 pounds on the bench press. And then you’re going to realize that “Well, that’s actually really, really heavy. I thought in my head that I could do it, but there’s no way I’m listing that weight.” So, you’re going to start taking a little bit more weight out of it until you have something that you can manage and you can have a nice set. You do that gradually. Over time and after 90 days, your first program is completed. You’re like, “Okay, well, now I can actually move up in weights. I can add more weight to my load. I can lift more, because I can carry more load, because now I’ve adapted to this workload, right?” You get better and better and better.

A year from now, Rob is a beast benching 400 to 500 pounds in the bench press for reps, but started with barely being able to do 185. You don’t know. So, this is the thing that you have to adapt that workload over time. We use the analogy of buckets, big rocks, small rocks, and sand in order to show you how to actually break down projects into bite-sized pieces. So, understanding what are your milestones, what needs to be accomplished, and then break it down, breaking these milestones into actionable small rocks, bite-sized pieces, right? You could tell me, there’s sand in this bottle, but the problem is that entrepreneurs are great at playing in the sand, right? They’re great at managing all small stuff or taking care of small stuff before the actual real stuff is accomplished.

The sand exists. You just don’t need to overplan the sand. You have one small rock. Well, you’re going to know what the sand is. You can prepare it the day before, that sand. But you don’t have to go with the micro, micro details way in advance. This is how you get lost. This is how perfectionism kicks in and nothing gets accomplished, right? So, it’s a matter of understanding your workload from a work perspective, but also from an energetic perspective, where not all tasks are created equal based on what you’re great at and your natural tendencies and your natural capacities. So, we help you do that or establish that by yes, looking at what tasks are more impactful and what tasks take the most energy.

So, obviously, the rocks, which are always associated with innovation, with growth, they’re going to take a lot more energy for you to perform. That’s perfectly normal. So, you’re going to have to schedule them at a time that allows you to have that energy, to really push through that task. So, in the impact matrix, the second most important task that we have, the second most impactful task is routines. So, routines are tasks that are associated with the proper operational well-being of your company.

So, there’s things that you guys probably do day in and day out without even knowing but you need to do in order for your business to run properly. For example, it could be sharing on social media, interacting with your membership, students, sending emails, for example. Maybe email’s not the right example, but this task that you need to perform, whether it’s a daily, weekly or even monthly or quarterly basis that we’re going to encourage you to start putting into processes. So, listing, okay, “This needs to be done. Here’s what I need to do.”

Social media is a good example. You need to post on social media. Well, guess what? You have a process probably you’re following every day intentionally that can be documented and then made into a procedure, a series of procedures that you can then outsource or automate or even delegate to someone else, right? So, when you look at these tasks that are really associated with the growth of your company, with things that need to happen in order for your company to grow and evolve, this is what we call the power moves. These are the ones that you should prioritize.

The other types of tasks that you’re going to have are one, the reactive tasks. So, they’re the byproducts of your business operations. So, they will come. They’re things you don’t anticipate that you cannot really plan or proactively overplan, because they’re just reactive by nature and they will happen. As much as you prepare, as much as proactivity you bring into your business, there will still be some reactivity. It’s an inevitable thing. So, there’s a way to actually start looking at that and not having your day just filled with reactive tasks. You need to optimize. You need to limit personally, the number of tasks you need to do and then optimize the process, obviously.

The fourth type of task that you’re going to have are responsive tasks, which are tasks associated with communication. In this day and age, obviously, direct messaging, emails, team meetings, Zoom meetings, I mean, you name it, you’re going to have that always in your day. So, there’s a way to actually really optimize the way you operate your responsive tasks and attack them. That’s what we show you as well. So, obviously, it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s obviously constant work and optimization to be done, but the goal is for you to manage these four types of tasks in the most optimum and right way.

Rob:  Let’s break in here and talk a little bit more about some of the things that Dave has been mentioning. I made a list of a few bullets here. I’m sure you did the same thing. But a couple of the things that stood out to me as I listened to Dave talk is the idea of not managing our time, because we all have the same amount of time. We can’t really manage time anyway. It’s going to go past whether we do something with it or not. But really managing our energy and the projects that we work on. The approach that he’s been talking about is really all about how to do that. I love how he uses the process that he used as a bodybuilder with exercise to manage energy and nutrition, all of that stuff and applies it to projects as an entrepreneur. It just really makes sense to me.

Kira:  Yeah. Do you feel like it connects with you, Rob, because you’re into sports and you are into fitness? You’ve played sports. Do you think it resonates a little bit more because of your background?

Rob:  I don’t know if it’s because of the sports background, but I like the approach to energy management and thinking through not just what we tend to think of when we’re talking about things like time management and planners and that stuff. It takes a step back and really starts to look at what you’re trying to do with your life and as he breaks out big rocks and all of that stuff. For some reason, the approach just really appeals to me. Like we’ve mentioned between us and before when we’ve talked about this, this is a process, I think, both of us really like and want to get our team using more. How about you?

Kira:  Yeah, well, I like the idea of energy management. I know Dave mentioned that he has two young children, similar to me. Especially because my energy has been so low as I’m entering or wrapping up my seventh month of pregnancy here, I like looking at it from more of an energy perspective. I think it’s easier to adjust a system like his rather than just feeling like every second of my day needs to be working and doing something productive. That’s just not realistic. So, I do like his approach, thinking about the different buckets and then how there are big rocks and little rocks and how it all fits together. That visual really helps me as a visual person to see that visual of how it all fits together.

I know Dave did a training in The Underground, which we are totally going to pitch right now, because it was an incredible training. So, if you want the full training, you should jump into The Underground to access it. For me, it connected all the dots. But Rob, can you just talk through the difference between the big rocks, the buckets, the little rocks and how many we’re supposed to have? Because I felt like that’s where I struggled initially, just figuring out, “Well, how many buckets do we have? How many rocks do we have? What is that supposed to look like?”

Rob:  Yeah, this is something that Stephen Covey talked about, I think, in his book, 7 Habits. That’s where this idea comes from. The demonstration is you’ve got this bucket or this bottle and you’ve got to fit a whole bunch of stuff in it. He starts out by pouring in water and then adding sand and then adding smaller rocks or whatever. By the time you get all of that stuff in, there’s no space for the big rocks. The takeaway there is that you need to start with the big rocks if you want to get them into the bottle.

As you apply that to time management, to our lives, we’ve got to fit in the big things first, because it’s really easy to fill up our lives with the small things. It’s really easy to wake up and start with social media or start checking your email. Pretty soon, it’s 10:00, 11:00 in the morning and you haven’t actually started on the big stuff that you want to get accomplished. So, that’s the idea there.

The question though is, “What are big rocks? How do you fit them in? How do you fit in enough?” We’ve talked about this in other contexts as well. The number of projects that you should be trying to tackle every quarter, every 90 days, and usually, that number comes in around three. It really depends on the size of the project. But if you’re trying to do more than three big things in a quarter, you’re probably trying to do too much. You’re probably spread too thin.

You need to be able to break those three big things down into weekly things that you’re going to accomplish, daily things you’re going to accomplish. So, that you’re moving yourself forward towards it. So, the number that we’ve come across that works for us is roughly three. I think if you start going to four or five, at least, if I do, that starts to be too much and I don’t really get anything focused or anything done that really needs to get done.

Kira:  You’re talking about three buckets per quarter. The bucket is really the project, finishing a big project. Is that right?


Yup. Yeah. Again, I think it depends on the project. So, you might say, “One of mine is going to be to rewrite and rework my homepage or my web website.” That might be a really good bucket to accomplish over three months. But if you’re thinking, “Well, I’m going to actually recreate my entire brand. I’m going to have brand photography. I’m going to be working with a designer to come up with a lot of other stuff,” that project may actually be bigger than a single quarter. That maybe needs to be broken down into two or three buckets that all add up to the rebrand, redevelopment of everything that you’re doing.

So, I think it does take practice to figure out how big is a particular project in order to say, “Hey, this is one of the big rocks that we’re going to work on in our bottle this quarter.” Yeah, you can definitely break things down more in order to right size them to accomplish more in 90 days.

Kira:  Yeah, even before we started recording today, Rob and I were talking about how we need to figure out and finalize our three big buckets are for this quarter for The Copywriter Club, because when we made a list, we came up with about seven different projects that all feel critical and all feel urgent. So, I think the challenge is definitely prioritizing and narrowing it down to the three most important ones. So, maybe you can talk through that through the Eisenhower matrix that Dave shared and how we could use that matrix to actually choose what three buckets we should focus on.

Rob:  Yeah, I think this is another thing that Dave gets from Covey. Covey actually got it from Eisenhower, but it’s the four boxes, the four quadrants. Covey and Eisenhower both talked about one of the axes is important and one of the axes is urgent. The problem is when you have a business that you own yourself, when you’re CEO of your own copywriting business, is that almost everything that comes across your plate is going to be both urgent and important. It has to get done soon. It’s really important to your business. As Dave pointed out, that’s not really a very helpful framework if everything that comes across your business still just ends up in the same bucket and you got to keep doing it.

So, when he switches it to talking about impact on one axis versus effort on another and you can start to judge and say, “This is a really high impact project that’s going to take not as much time,” it’s really easy to say, “Okay, let’s do that, because the impact is big and the time commitment is small.” When you have something where the impact is big and the time commitment is big, that’s actually a really big rock, right? You’ve got to figure out, “How do you get that stuff done? How do you find the time to do it?” But the impact is big, so it’s still worth doing.

On the flip side, if it’s the other way around, the impact isn’t big, but it’s going to take a lot of your time, those kinds of things, you need to build routines into your day. You need to be able to delegate that to somebody on your team. Or if you don’t have a team, like said, you’ve got to automate things in order to get that stuff off, because you don’t want to spend your time on these tasks that don’t have a big impact in your business.

Of course, tasks that don’t have a big impact, but are easy to do, there are processes that you can set up to do that as well. It might be worth a little bit of your time, but you really want to focus on those things that have a big impact. Again, when I read Dave’s book or when I hear Dave talking about this stuff, it really resonates with me, because I want to make sure that I’m focusing my energy and my effort on things that have a really big impact in my business. I’m very conscious of finding myself working on things that aren’t very important. So, hopefully, that’s a construct that works for other people as they’re thinking through how they manage their time.

Kira:  Yeah, so this is something that we’re integrating with our team at The Copywriter Club and working on it. Like I said, if you feel a connection to the concept or you struggle with productivity and focus, it might be worth jumping into The Underground membership to access Dave’s full training that he created for us. Definitely, it was really great training that we sat through. So, let’s go back to our interview with Dave to find out how he translates the vision and the list of big rocks into an actionable plan.

So, for a lot of copywriters we work with, it seems like they have the vision, they can set the goals, they understand the concept of the big rocks versus the sand, but I think a lot of us have a hard time figuring out the program and the how behind it, laying that out whether it’s for a workout at the gym or it’s for business. It’s almost hard to just break that down. What would you advise? What could help us figure out the path? I mean, we could work with the teams and coaches that you work with, but what if we’re figuring it out on our own and we can’t see how to get from point A to point B?

Dave:  So, it’s like anything else, you have to do it in order to get better at it, right? So obviously, if you use the big rocks and the small rocks and that allows you to start creating frameworks for you and depending on what type of copywriter you are. You could be a sales copy, a sales page copywriter, or an email copywriter or you do a little bit of everything. There’s always these frameworks that you’re going to have. There’s always these ordered things that you’re going to be doing, right? So, it’s understanding, for example, when you work for a client, well, I have this part, my bucket that I really need to carry for myself. So, maybe it’s a lot of outlining work, a lot of putting bullets in. And then this may be processes that you have.

So, routines that you’re going to have in order to maybe speed up the process or work on with multiple clients. So, obviously, if you’re a solopreneur and you do everything yourself, well, there’s only so much that you can do; versus if you’re like, “Okay, I have this project.” The goal is to write a sales pitch, for example, but what is your main process to write a sales pitch? It could be a routine or it could be something that is these creative elements that you fill into buckets. The second one, which is going to be more of a routine practice where you’re writing 500 words every morning or it could be having a specific process to fill in the blanks where you send some part of the copy to someone else in order to write different chapters or whatever.

So, again, I’m not a copywriter. So, I wouldn’t know exactly all the steps, but it’s understanding what the nature of the task. So, is it something that needs for me to create, that I need to create, or is it something that is more operational, that is more routine, if you want, within my creative process? Maybe parts of these routine tasks can be outsourced, delegated, outsourced or even automated sometimes now with AI. I know it’s a big trend now in copywriting to have AI assistance. So, yeah, you need to start doing it and then understanding how you operate. There’s no right or wrong. Some people operate at a heavy capacity to create. Some people are going to be more mechanical and have more processes in their lives. So, it really depends.

Rob:  So, Dave, I heard you twice say, “You need to do it.” For me, this is where the rubber hits the road. I can have the planner. I can have the goals. I can even have the task list. But there’s still something around personal discipline. You still have to show up, not open up social media, or not get lost in reading too much or whatever the things are that can distract us. Talk a little bit about personal discipline and how you learned to be more disciplined in your approach to the things that you do in your business.

Dave:  Yeah, here’s the thing with discipline or creating habits in your life, it comes down to the small things and then things compound over time. I think if you’re focused on just hacks and things that are going to give you fast results, this is probably a good approach for you or even what we do, because discipline is built over time and through repeated actions over a long period of time. There’s a concept we talked about it on sustainability in the book. You don’t want to just do things once and then it’s all fixed. To have sustainability, there are different things that you’re going to need to do consistently over time. So, it’s understanding that these rituals and these routines and these habits that you’re going to be putting into place will build that discipline.

It goes into as simple, for example, as drinking water in the morning. That’s the most simple habit that you can have that will boost your productivity and mental capacity. Most of us are always dehydrated, especially for a copywriter, where your brain and your creativity is, “There you go, there you go, guys,” but you know that. You know that hydration is ultra-important for the proper functioning of what’s in between your two ears. The problem is that it’s good thing to know it, it’s another thing to do it. Drink big, tall glass of water in the morning, that’s how I did it. Drinking the water for me was not native. It’s not something that I’m going to drink a gallon of water a day. But when you’re bodybuilding, you have to do that. You have to hydrate properly. It’s part of the plan.

So, drinking a big glass of water in the morning and filling up a jug that’s two liters of water in the morning. I’m still carrying that bottle of water when I go off and stuff like that, because that’s going to ensure that I drink my water daily. That’s going to ensure that it’s done, but I didn’t do it once and it was fixed. It was making sure that I was crossing water, check, done. All right. And then you do that. Now, I didn’t even have to check it. It’s built into my habits and my routines. But it’s the same thing with everything that you’re doing, whether it’s your exercise, your meditation if you’re into it, your gratitude, your healthy eating habits, so many things that you can build.

Actually, in the planner, we have a self-care routine that we lay out. It’s more of a self-care, I would say, checklist that you don’t even need to do it like back to back to back routine. It could be something you do daily, and it compounds over time. So, hydration, making sure… You don’t check your clean eating checkbox for three days in a row. Well, hopefully, your entrepreneurial competitive spirit is going to kick in. So, I need to get better with that and understanding that too, understanding how you react to it. So, every week, for example, we have a review process where we ask you to understand what went well in your week and what didn’t go that well.

We have something called this self-awareness scorecard and something very, very simple to do, but it’s going to allow you to introspect and say, “Okay, well, my energy level was two out of five this week. Why did that happen?” Then you’re going to look back and say, “Well, my eating was not that great four days out of the past seven days. I know, I didn’t drink enough water two days a week. Well, maybe I’m going to fix that. What can I do right now what’s in my power that I can just improve next week?” So, you’re going to look at these things.

Over time, these habits, these rituals are going to become second nature. This is how you build discipline over time, right? Next thing you know, it’s not even hard, it’s super easy to do. So, it’s the principle of adaptation. It’s the same thing as, for example, increasing your ability to carry weight or to carry some load. It’s the same thing with habits. You just have to do it over time and it compounds. It’s like saving money.

Kira:  Well, I did not pass my clean eating test today, because I are French fries. It happened.

Dave:  So, it’s another thing though, Kira. As you said, it happens. You’re not going to be perfect 100% of the time, just to be aware of it. In the book, I talked about more than often, it takes at least two cycles. So, two quarterly cycles in order to start actually having the awareness of, “Where do you stand regarding load management? Where do you stand regarding your habits, et cetera?” Embodying all of that, it does not happen overnight. Guess what? Nobody’s perfect. You’re going to screw up, especially at the beginning. That’s fine.

That’s another part of it is that you don’t want to be… If you keep all the fun out of your life and everything is regimented and so rigid, that’s why people actually don’t adhere to a lot of productivity methodologies. The things are very, very, very strict. One of my friends always say, “Most productivity methodologies are created by single male in their 40s.” It’s so regimented that it doesn’t allow for any flexibility. So, we made sure we built that into what we do.

Rob:  French fries for everyone.

Kira:  I enjoyed those fries, so I don’t regret it.

Dave:  That’s something you should put on a T-shirt. I’ll buy it. French fries for everyone.

Kira:  Okay. Because you shared the habit of drinking water, I’m just curious what some of your other habits are, your personal habits, maybe your morning routine too. I know this is in the weeds, but we’re pretty nosy and we like to know what you do.

Dave:  Yeah, my morning routines change all the time. I’m a dad of two young girls, two years old and seven years old. The thing is that it changes, because yeah, they wake up at different times. Now, it’s more stable, obviously. Seven years later, it’s getting a little more stable. I traded very strict routines. I was more of a routine person when I was in bodybuilding and I had no kids. It was just me and my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time. It was a lot easier to obviously have the flexibility or that back to back sequence. But now, there’s things that I need to do through the day, that I need to do. At the end of the day, it needs to be done. So, there’s five elements, and I covered a little bit about it. Again, I can tell you what they are.

So, first of all, you need to cover hydration. So, one thing I do every single morning when I wake up is hydration, rehydrate, tall glass of water, then fill up my big jug of water. That’s the one thing that I do all the time. Now, from there, I like to as much as possible wake up before the kids. So, I have that little window of time where the house is actually quiet. I can have some introspection and me time. So, there’s two things that I do. So, first of all is gratitude. When you haven’t practice gratitude and I was like that before, it’s a lie, yeah, whatever, gratitude. But truth is gratitude is the greatest remedy or the greatest medicine for anxiety.

At one point, when I was running my second and my third business simultaneously, I started developing anxiety, because I was so, so busy. Here’s a weird thing. I started developing anxiety when I was hearing the Skype message, because obviously, I was facing a workload that I had never faced before. That was a whole period of that adaptation. I knew at the time, my business partner and I had the systems in place in order to face that. So, we were building that as the business was growing. But I remember that every single time we had a meeting, for example. We had just way too many meetings. That’s why we actually build frameworks to have better, more efficient meetings.

I was getting sweaty palms. My heart was racing, because I was future pacing that there will be fires, there will be more things added to my plate. The weird thing is that the trigger was the Skype ring. It was absurd. So, I’m blessed that my wife, Karine, is a psychotherapist. So, I started talking to her about that. She’s like, “Listen, gratitude.” Gratitude is one of the core things that she does out of her practice. She actually has a gratitude journal that she sells in the French speaking market. That’s a best-seller. She’s like, “You know what? You have to list the things that you’re grateful for, list the things that you have that are right there that you have right now that you are grateful for.”

I started doing that. It was not immediate, but it was very fast that I started changing or rewiring the way I was seeing things. Why are you stressed about that? You’re stressed about future events that never even happened, right? So, it teaches you to focus on the present. It teaches you to focus on what you have right now. Because when we’re busy or we’re anxious, we’re going to tend to see things a little bit more negatively. By focusing on the things that you have, hey, I have my two hands, stupid example, easy example, but guess what? Still a miracle. Two hands, 10 fingers, I mean, think about it, but we take that for granted.

Another weird example and I tie it into water is that I can just turn a knob and there’s clean drinking water coming out of the faucet. We take that for granted. Think about how magical that is and how many people in the world don’t have that. It’s not about what they have, what we don’t have. Still, in my opinion, it’s finding magic into random things that you take for granted. When you do that over time, same thing, it compounds and you tend to have a different perspective on life. For me, that really cured my anxiety. That really helped me in the long run. So, I ensure that every day I do that. In the planner, we actually have what we call the reconnection phrase. There’s different tools that’s found in the journal, that you can listen to different gratitudes, things like that.

You can do it in your own journal if you want. But I’m more of an efficient guy. What I do now is just that reconnection phrase. Today, I’m grateful for, fill in the blanks. I keep in mind that. I added the second part too is that I’m a big believer in the frequency of alignment, checkpoints of your alignment, making sure you’re still in the right direction, where you want to be. Reminding yourself on the things that are important whether it’s like outcomes, but also values. When you stay true to your values and align with what you want to accomplish, you can rarely go wrong. So, it’s the habit of doing that daily, the little practice that will make you more disciplined all the time. So, that’s the second thing.

There’s daily exercises. So, obviously, you don’t have to go to the gym and do bench press and deadlift, PRs every day. The key is just to sweat every day. Dedicate 15 minutes to it. If you don’t feel you have time or you don’t have to go, let’s say, to gym or whatever, just sweat every day, right? So, if you have talked to me 10 years ago, I would go to the gym five times a week, but guess what now? Ten years later, I’m a dad. I have different interests.

Now, I’m going to practice different sports. I’m going to go take walks. I’m going to go be active and do something. Just to model sweat every day, for me, that works, right? So, it’s doing that. Once you do it, boom, check, the box is checked. It doesn’t need to be part of the morning routine process as long it’s done that day. So, that’s the third.

Fourth one is meditation. What I mean by meditation is really some you time with your own thoughts, with your environment. Take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to do that. Focus on your breathing. Little things that first of all will compound for stress management. Also, slow down the pace sometimes when needed. So, I do that. I try to do it in the morning when I can.

If I don’t have time, let’s say all the kids wake up early or whatever, I’m going to keep a moment during the day to do that. I’m going to sit down, inside or outside when it’s nice. I have a nice leather couch in my office where I just sit down and do that. So, focus on my breathing and let things calm and bounce. I’m not a 15-minute meditation yogi who’s going to go in deep trance every day. That’s not what it’s all about. It’s just reconnecting with yourself.

The last one is the no French fries policy. It’s not true. It’s not true, because I love French fries, but it’s just keeping a clean diet. It’s just like basics. Keep it 90% clean, and you’re going to be fine. That’s the basic rule. So, yeah, but there’s some days where we’re going to order the poutine from the dairy bar.

Rob:  Clean eating’s over once you have poutine on your plate, that’s for sure. So, Dave, before we run out of time, I want to talk a minute about your book and maybe your planner. When I’m thinking about books about time management and productivity and goal setting, there are a ton of them already out there. We talked about Stephen Covey’s books. Hyrum Smith wrote several about them, the goal setting books by James Clear and BJ Fogg. There’s so many. Dan Kennedy has a great one on time management as well. So, what made you sit down and think, “Hey, what the world needs is another book about how to get stuff done”? What’s a little bit different about your approach?

Dave:  Yeah, it’s not just about getting stuff done. Really, what I wanted to bring out, let’s say, is more of a guidebook to how to evolve as an entrepreneur. It is very specific for entrepreneurs and obviously solopreneurs, et cetera. Even now, we see people in corporate applying it to their employees. I talk a lot about it. I’m a big fan of introversion, meaning giving more power and more freedom to your employees, so they can create their best work, right? So, it’s not by looking at every single move that they’re doing or micromanaging them that it’s going to happen. So, actually, they do use it quite a bit more. We had trainings with Shoppers Drug Mart, for example, here in Canada and other companies.

But the key is to understand how to operate, an operating manual to how to operate personally as an entrepreneur, right? We make a lot of parallels. We explain it very well in the book. Everything that we’ve built or that is included within this book is inspired by sports performance, so timeless sports performance techniques that we’ve applied to entrepreneurship. Based on that, we applied, like I recently said, concept of workload management, prioritization, and make it all integrated into something coherent. The other thing that I saw is that there’s a lot of methodologies that are collection of hacks, collection of tricks, they’re going to have this, they’re going to have that, but there’s no actual system that involves that.

I became a really big fan of EOS, Traction, Gino Wickman. When we implemented that at BiOptimizers, that looks a lot at what we’re doing. But on a business level, I got a bigger operational level for the business itself. I really love it, because first of all, there was a lot of parallels between with what I was doing and implemented in that methodology, but it’s really a holistic methodology that doesn’t look into one piece of the business. You have to look at your values, understand where you’re going, break down your projects, but also, your health, team health is important. They have that. For me, the health side of it, having a holistic approach.

I talked about work-life harmony in the book, where you hear a lot of people talk about work-life balance and I really hate that word. Work-life balance really implies that we have two competing forces against each other. When you’re an entrepreneur, it doesn’t happen like that. It needs to be integrated. There needs to be some synergy between both. There needs to be some harmony. I illustrate that with the yin and the yang and also like a dance. Sometimes one partner is going to lead. The other time, the other partner is going to lead, but you might not even see it, because the result is beautifully executed. You don’t see any problem. So, this is more the way we look at it.

So, Done By Noon, it’s funny, because I got to talk about the title, but a lot of people think it’s about just working less. When they’re reading the book, you understand it’s not about working less or not working hard. It’s about working right. The key question that we asked regarding time management is, “If you only had before noon in order to do everything that you have to do, how would you structure your days?” That’s considering you’re not waking up 3:00 in the morning obviously. But how would you start? So, there are things you will need to optimize. There are things that you will need to obviously let go of and build better systems overall to make it happen, right? It’s more about that.

When you think about The 4-Hour Workweek, for example, it’s not about working four hours a week. It’s a book about leverage. It was the same thing for us, but we look really into personal self-leadership aspects. So, yeah, it’s going to help you become a better leader, work on yourself. But also, as a result, you’re going to become a better business leader as well. That’s what we really wanted with the book, not just be done by noon and doing nothing. That’s not what it’s all about.

Kira:  That sounds good too. Dave, my last question, for anyone listening that may not have been involved in sports growing up or just may not be as athletic or may just not believe that a system like this could work for them or framework could work for them because they’ve tried so many, what would you say to them, the doubters who are like, ” Everything has failed me.” Why is this different? Why could this work for them, especially if they’re not necessarily a sports person?

Dave:  The sports analogy obviously is what we used to illustrate what it takes in order to evolve or becoming an athlete. For example, I was never a pro bodybuilder. I love the sport. I was competitive bodybuilder. I did pretty well when I was competing, but I never was a pro. I think the key as well and that’s one thing we talked a lot about in the book is that it’s to develop that self-awareness, develop that self-respect and that self-discipline that everyone needs in order to become a good entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter where you want to build $100-million dollar company or you want to build $100,000 a year company. It does not matter. It’s understanding, first of all, how you operate. We’re all different.

As I said, I think one of the main reasons why people don’t stick to “productivity” approaches or techniques is that it’s so rigid that when they drop something, the whole thing fails. For us, it’s more of a manual to build more self-leadership. We divide self-leadership into self-discipline, as I said, self-awareness and self-respect. So, self-discipline, we talked about it. Self-awareness is the fact of understanding yourself and how you walk. We’re all different. Yes, entrepreneurs have commonalities. A lot of them operate, I wouldn’t say, in a similar fashion, but we all have our own specific context. I’m a dad with two girls. I mean, my co-host, Chris Lopez has five. So, I guess his lifestyle needs to be a lot more structured than mine.

So, the self-awareness of who you are and how you operate in your own context. Also, self-respect is respecting your capacities, respecting your limits, respecting your ambitious, and staying true to what you truly want. So, I think not everybody wants the same thing. It’s very, very important to understand that when you start, because based on that, your reality will be different. Your reality, the way you operate, the type of business you operate, the type of lifestyle you’re going to have is going to be different. I don’t have the answers. You guys don’t have the answers. Only the one who actually wants to work within this framework will know what the result will look like. So, the key is working right.

In my opinion, this is probably a message that we don’t hear enough in the entrepreneurial world, which is always about doing more, getting more done, and glorifying the hustle, things like that. It’s not about checking things off your to-do list as fast as possible. This is not what it’s all about. This is not productivity. Activity is not productivity. For us, we have an efficient philosophy to it, an efficient approach. Yeah, I think that that’s my view on it. That’s the way I see business. So far, it’s worked great for many entrepreneurs.

Rob:  Dave, we want to thank you for joining us for the podcast. I mentioned before we started recording that we’re sharing your book with everybody on our team, because it gives us the language and the processes to talk about projects together, a common language. So, it’s one of the best productivity/time management/getting things done type of books I’ve ever read. That’s part of why we wanted to bring you on.

So, we’ll definitely link to the book and to the planner on the show notes for anybody that wants to check those out. You’re also coming back for a training for our membership, The Underground, and some of our other programs on April 21st that we’re really looking forward to. So, anybody who wants to catch that can get to know you a little bit better there as well. So, thank you so much for sharing what you know and what you’ve accomplished with our audience.

Dave:  Thank you, Rob. Really appreciate it. Yeah, I can’t wait for the training in April. Yeah, thank you for the nice words, because you coming from the Covey world and God knows how much I respect and love Dr. Covey’s work, it means a lot. So, thank you very much.

Kira:  That’s it for our interview with Dave Ruel. But before we go, let’s recap a couple more things that we talked about with Dave. So, Rob, what stood out the most for you?

Rob:  So again, yeah, this is a topic that probably I’ve talked about a lot just because it’s something I don’t feel like I’m very good at and I want to get better at it, but I purposely asked Dave about his discipline and developing it. What he said about the fact that it’s a habit that you have to measure it, you get better at it over time, you have to try again and again as you develop that is something again, that resonates really deeply with me, because I feel like in so many ways, especially when it comes to time and getting things done that I don’t have the discipline that I should have. That’s something I’m trying to develop more and more. So, that is one thing that stands out in a really big way.

I guess the second part of that is habits worth developing. What he had to say about gratitude is another thing that I believe in very firmly, I think, being grateful for the things that we have. Often times, we talk about these things as privilege and it is. Oftentimes, we do have advantages. We have things in our lives that other people don’t have. Expressing gratitude, being willing to share those things, I think, is really important part of owning a successful business. How about you?

Kira:  I feel like you are actually very disciplined. So, if you are not disciplined, I mean, I’m a hot mess then, because you’re way more disciplined.

Rob:  I have a lot of room to improve.

Kira:  I feel like you’re so disciplined. So, to hear you say that you feel like you need to grow in that area, I mean, there’s always room for growth, I’m like, “Oh, if you’re not, then I’m definitely not disciplined,” which I think is fair. I think you’re more disciplined than I am. I do like the way Dave talks about discipline and habits. He talks about it throughout the day and not feeling that pressure of creating just that strict morning routine. Like he mentioned, he has two young kids. So, his morning routine is all over the place. He never knows. It’s unpredictable with young children.

But I feel like so often, we do hear… You and I talked about it on the podcast. “… What is your morning routine?” I love morning routines, but also sometimes it’s not realistic given our circumstances. So, he really does have a lot of flexibility in the way that he develops his habits. So, it’s spread out through the day. It’s not like you have to do everything by 9:00 AM when you started. So, I really appreciate that flexibility. I mean, I told you, I ate fried onions before this call. When we interviewed him, I was eating French fries. So, I feel like I have a long way to go with this whole discipline thing.

Rob:  You also happen to be baking a child at the moment. Eating French fries isn’t exactly non-disciplinary.

Kira:  The baby likes fried food right now. But I like the idea of going back to some habits that do work. I know what tools do work for me. It’s similar to him. It’s drinking a lot of water. It’s walking every morning. It’s having a salad for lunch. I do have those tools that I can go back to. Even after a day where I’m like, “I just want to eat fried food all day,” I can always go back to those habits. So, I think as long as we figure out what those are for us and I know he shared a lot of them with us in this interview.

Rob:  Yeah, I said this before, but the fact that somebody falls off the wagon and has some French fries or whatever, that does not necessarily undo the process of building habits of discipline. It just means that that’s a step off and we step right back on. It’s the stepping back on the creates the habits over a long period of time. So, that’s, I guess, the thing that I’m working on myself.

Kira:  I feel like he was also okay with me eating my French fries. I feel like he approved of it, which made me feel more confident. I feel like there was no judgment from him, which I appreciated.

Rob:  Yeah, we also talked about Dave’s book just a little bit. I was messing with him when I said, “Why in the world do we need another book about time management, because there are a lot of really good ones out there?” But I do have to say having read Dave’s book, I really like it. It’s simple. I like the way that he has outlined the process that he follows. I like the way that he’s married it with energy management and the things that he did in his bodybuilding business and career as a competitive bodybuilder.

There’s another book actually out there called The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr and Schwartz, two co-authors, that’s similar. It talks about the same kinds of things. They are two really good books that maybe go together very well. But if you’re interested in getting a copy of Dave’s book, I don’t believe it’s available on Amazon. They sell it through Dave’s site. You can get there if you go to Done by Noon is all one word. So, if talking about Dave’s book has piqued an interest in you, you can find it there.

Kira:  I feel like we should wrap this up by saying or sharing one thing that we’re each grateful for, because that is such a big concept that you shared from Dave’s book. So, Rob, what are you grateful for?

Rob:  That’s a heavy question. I actually love Dave’s example like being grateful for running water. I mean, there’s so many little things that we take for granted in our lives that just make our lives so much easier. So, there’s that long, long list of just simple things. Furnaces or in the summertime, air conditioning, those kinds of things, or our physical health. So, all of those kinds of things jumped to mind immediately. I’m trying to think of a clever way to answer this question.

Kira:  What are you grateful for today, that just stands out today?

Rob:  I mean, I don’t know. My running shoes, I guess. I was out for a run this morning early in the rain actually. It was a really good way to start the day. It just got me energized. Sometimes I don’t run, but this morning for some reason, I actually was running. So, I’m grateful for my running shoes. How about you?

Kira:  I like it. I am grateful for my vaccine. I had my first vaccine booster yesterday. So, I got more emotional than I expected when I was sitting there, just because I get what’s happening around the world. The COVID rates are surging in so many different cities and countries. So, just to sit there and finally get it, yeah, that was a lot of gratitude in that moment for the vaccine.

Rob:  Lots of reasons to be thankful for good health if you have it, for sure.

Kira:  You and I should just share gratitude every time we talk to each other. That’d be a good habit.

Rob:  That’s not a bad idea. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

Kira:  Every time we talk, we have to say what we’re grateful for before we get off the call.

Rob:  Very good habit.

Kira:  Yes.

Rob:  So, I’m grateful also for Dave Ruel for joining us to talk about his system, for getting things done. Like I mentioned before, if you want a copy of Dave’s book, Done by Noon, or if you want to try out his planner, it’s based on the system that we touched on here that we went really deep on in the training in The Copywriter Underground, visit Done by Noon is all one word. That’s

Kira:  That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Our intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by a copywriter and songwriter, David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcasts to leave a review of the show. Don’t forget to visit to find out more about our business changing mastermind. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.



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