TCC Podcast #378: Getting Things Done with Rob Marsh and Kira Hug - The Copywriter Club
TCC Podcast #378: Getting Things Done with Rob Marsh and Kira Hug

How do you get stuff done? What can you do to make sure your goals for the new year don’t fall by the wayside. In the 378th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob talk about their strategies for accomplishing goals and resolutions and what they plan on getting done in the coming year.

Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.

We mentioned a lot of books on this show:

The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin
The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
Who Do We Choose to Be by Meg Wheatley
Breaking Together by Gem Bendell
This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson
Quiet by Susan Cain
Bittersweet by Susan Cain
4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground

Full Transcript:

Rob Marsh: We’re a couple of weeks into the new year, and if you’re like the average resolution setter, tomorrow is the day you quit. 17 days is the average length of time that goal setters, resolution setters, whoever, stick to their goals. And maybe you’ve already quit, given up on what you expected to get done this month or this year, or maybe you’re still going strong. Either way, on today’s episode of the Copywriter Club podcast, Kira and I are talking about what we do to make sure we get stuff done. and some of the goal setting fallacies that might keep you from accomplishing everything that you set out to do. Stick around to hear what we shared. 

But before we get into all of that, this episode of the Copywriter Club podcast is brought to you by the Copywriter Underground. It is truly the best membership for copywriters, content writers, and other marketers out there. given the value that you get for the very low price that you pay. There’s a monthly group coaching call where Kira and I help you get answers to your business questions, your copywriting questions, whatever. We do a weekly copy critique where we take a look at what you’ve written and give you advice and insights and things that you might want to do a little bit differently. There are regular training sessions on copy techniques, business practices, everything designed to help you get better. And we even talk about AI and tools and things that you can do in order to stay on top of everything you’re doing with AI. And that’s on top of the massive library of training and templates that are there. The community is amazing. Lots of copywriters ready to help you with answers to any questions you have, even sometimes sharing leads. Find out more at 

All right, Kira, we’re here just you and me again. and just chatting. It’s the new year. I think I’ve got some goals of things I want to do. You’ve got some goals of things that you want to do in the coming year. You must have some. I know you’re very goal oriented, but before we do all, before we talk about the new year, before we talk about, you know, what things we’re thinking and maybe share some ideas that might help people get more done. If they’re thinking about their goals, if they actually made resolutions, if they have a word of the year, any of that stuff. Let’s just do a couple of warm-up questions. I want to find out a couple more things about you. Even though we’ve been working together for six or seven years, it’s hard to believe there are still things I don’t know.

Kira Hug: Yeah, I know. I know. I guess we can always dive deeper in our relationship.

Rob Marsh: Here we go. So first question, when’s the last time you were really, really scared?

Kira Hug: I mean, how scared are we talking?

Rob Marsh: That’s a good question because as I was thinking about this, the only time I am really terrified is in my dreams. I’m not sure that there’s anything that terrifies me. that much in real life. But from my answer, I was thinking, okay, if I take away dreams, where the bad guys are always trying to kill me or chasing me or do whatever. 

But when we were in New Orleans last year for our retreat with the think tank, there was a tornado warning and the tornado sirens went off at the hotel I was at, or it wasn’t even a hotel. That was before I arrived. Yeah, I think it was before you got there. And I’ve been in one tornado before. I live in Salt Lake, so there’s not a lot of tornadoes that come through here. The last tornado in Salt Lake City, I think, was in 1998, so literally 25 years ago. So hearing the sirens, the trees like banging against the windows and the place that I was staying, you know, looking around, it was a wooden structure, it wasn’t like, you know, there was a brick wall or anything. And the tornado actually did touch down about a mile away from where I was staying. So I’m not sure that I was terrified. 

But it’s one of those times when that happened. And I’m looking around thinking, I’m not sure what to do in this situation, because it was so unfamiliar and so different from If there was an earthquake, I know exactly what to do because we have those occasionally in Salt Lake. We don’t have tornadoes.

Kira Hug: So what did you do?

Rob Marsh: Well, for a while, I stood inside the bathroom. I know they say get inside a bathtub or whatever. I’m not sure that it would have saved me, though, because like I said, it was a wooden structure. But I kind of got into the middle. And I didn’t actually get into the bathtub. But I was like there, like if the roof started coming off, that I could jump in. And so I just kind of sat there for 15 or 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. I don’t know. So yeah, that’s maybe the last time I was kind of scared or freaked out about something that I can really think of.

Kira Hug: Yeah, I miss that. I guess I’m not bummed, but I miss that completely. And I arrived, I guess, the next day in New Orleans. That reminds me of when I was in Bali, I guess, I don’t know if this was 2019, with my family, and that I experienced my first earthquake there. And that was terrifying, right? It’s like, that’s not something I’ve been exposed to. I’ve only heard about it. And when the ground is shaking, and you’re in a hotel, and we weren’t up that high, but it was that same feeling of like, oh, wait, what are we supposed to do? And I did the opposite of what you’re supposed to do. I ran out and got the kids out, and we carried them out. And you’re not supposed to do that. So good to know, but it was just disorienting when it’s something that you’re not familiar with. I wasn’t, I should have been more prepared for it. But that was terrifying. So that would be one. And then also recently, Ezra almost chopped his fingers off. So he ran into the house. He was fiddling with the garage door, which is an old metal garage door. And I guess somehow his fingers got lodged in there, and then it slammed down. And he just ran into the house and was screaming for me and was just, he didn’t want to look at his fingers because he thought they were gone. So he wanted me to do it to see if they were still there. That’s when I realized that I could never be a doctor or a nurse. And I, I just, I can’t handle those situations at all. But I thought he actually would be missing his fingers. They were fine. They were just bruised. So he survived. But I just don’t do well with missing body parts. Like I’m not your go to person in that situation. Just don’t come to me.

Rob Marsh: I think in most couples, one person has to be the person that’s responsible. Like is the one that deals with like broken bones or, or is at least calm when things happen and the other person can kind of freak out. Are you the freak out part?

Kira Hug: I think I’m calm. I just don’t, I just can’t handle blood. So I’m calm and I, I don’t even think I’m that calm. So I don’t think either of us are calm. So we’re kind of…

Rob Marsh: You’re a bad mix when it comes to that.

Kira Hug: It’s just a bad mix. But yeah, other than that, I mean, I read, I guess, I read a lot of pretty dark books about real life that scare me frequently. That’s just kind of how I operate in life. Like I read one book every week that just terrifies me and it’s not fiction. So I’m a regular. I’m just kind of scared about many different things. But I also like that’s just how I function. It allows me to stay present. It allows me to feel kind of grateful for what I have when I’m constantly scaring myself with the future. And so I won’t go through my book list, but there’s some really depressing books in there. So that’s just what makes me happy.

Rob Marsh: While we’re talking about books, I’m going to ask our second question then, which is, which books made you actually think the most? So not necessarily your favorite books, not necessarily the best books that you’ve read, but the books that have maybe changed the way that you think about something.

Kira Hug: Yeah. Why don’t you go first?

Rob Marsh: I have a couple. When I was doing my MBA, somebody introduced me to a book called The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin. He was the business school dean at a couple of different universities, maybe Dartmouth, if I’m not mistaken, or University of Toronto. I can’t remember. Maybe both. But The Opposable Mind is a book that really changed the way that I started thinking about brainstorming and coming up with ideas. It lays out an entire framework for doing it. It’s really interesting. It’s pretty easy to read, but it’s one of those books where after I read it, I’m just like, okay, this has definitely changed the way that I’m thinking about… business or I’m thinking about life or I’ve heard other people recommend a book called Thinking in Systems. This book does something similar. 

I haven’t read that book, but The Opposable Mind is my number one. On a podcast interview that we had with Jereshia Hawk, which we actually just reshared a couple of weeks ago. She talked about The Road Less stupid by Keith Cunningham. I went out and bought that book and read it and agree. It’s excellent, it asks so many questions to get you thinking about business. And so again, kind of changed my approach to the way that I think about the things that I do at work and what I’m trying to build. So that’s a second option. 

And then a third option is a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. He wrote this before he was the story brand guy. And it’s a book all about the stage that you’re living your life on. And are you living the kind of life that somebody would want to make a movie out of? And if not, what do you need to do to make it interesting enough that people would actually sit down and watch you for two hours, do the stuff that you do. It’s a really good book. It actually was one of the catalysts for my wife and I taking our family to live in Europe for almost a year. And as we read that book, we’re just like, OK, yeah, we want to change the stage of our life a little bit. And we want to provide the kinds of experiences that would be out of the ordinary and different and create some different interactions with our family. So those three books are the ones that, as I was thinking about this question, came to mind really, really quickly. What about you?

Kira Hug: I’m looking up the title of one of them.

Rob Marsh: Really quickly.

Kira Hug: Wait, so what was the name of the book that made you move and decide to?

Rob Marsh: It’s called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and it’s by Donald Miller. He’s famous now for StoryBrand and that framework, but before he got into marketing, he wrote a bunch of books in the Christian market and then somebody optioned one of his books to turn into a movie and they showed up at his house to start writing the script and they basically said, we need to invent a better character than Don Miller because Don Miller is boring. I’m kind of paraphrasing this a little bit. It’s so insulting. And yeah, that kind of started him thinking, OK, wait, what kind of a life isn’t boring? What do you have to do? And then he talks about some of the changes he made in his life and some adventures and experiences. So yeah, it’s a really interesting book about, again, the stage that you live on, the experiences that you’re having, the people that are in the cast of your movie, so to speak.

Kira Hug: Wow. I mean, they all sound good, but I definitely want to read that sooner rather than later. I don’t love a lot of Donald Miller’s books but if this one is fantastic, i’m gonna get that one. Okay so mine—I have three they’re relatively recent i’m not great at pulling books from you know years back so one is a recent read by Meg Wheatley, Who Do We Choose to Be. It’s a leadership book, but it’s, it’s kind of, you know, set up as a leadership book, but it’s about many different topics, history, and climate and energy. And it’s, you know, has some Buddhism in it. And it’s just kind of this really nice combination of elements. But it’s really about how you want to live your life. And she is someone I deeply admire as an elder. And so that’s a book that changed the way I think about how I’m showing up in my own life and kind of what I want to give time to and how I want to operate in the world. So that was a recent influence. 

Another one is by Jem Bendell. And his is called Breaking Together. And that’s another recent one. It’s one that is dense. And I have to actually go through a couple sections again. But it’s changed the way I think about our financial systems. And that’s something that I’ve always kind of struggled to understand. The global financial system is not an area I specialize in. But it’s something that I want to understand. Because obviously, it plays a really big role in all of our lives. And so the way that Gem kind of talks about energy and our energy usage and systems at a larger level. And our monetary systems was very eye-opening to me. So that’s a book that has influenced me more recently. And it was one of the ones I was nudging my husband to read because I was like, hey, we need to be on the same page. I need you to read this book so we can talk about this book, which I do often with him.

Rob Marsh: So as you read that book, are you like building a shelter, you know, stocking up on end of the world kinds of foodstuffs? Like what was the big takeaway there?

Kira Hug: You know, I’m kind of always like slowly building and collecting cans, canned goods, just kind of like easing into it. So I’m not like a full on survivalist and I’m not like one of the crazy people, but like, I’m just kind of incrementally adding to it. And then dragging Ezra into it where I’m like, we need more storage for all the cans and I need to start foraging. So I think I’m just like easing into it right now. But a lot of what Meg Wheatley talks about is just how to live a really great life where you’re contributing to your community so that you don’t become kind of the possibly like crazy person who’s building a bunker. And I mean, nothing wrong with that. 

So if you are doing that, that’s cool. But you can really focus on what you can do to contribute to other people and how you can really focus on positive actions that aren’t necessarily about just, you know, end of world and like, end of times, but it’s more positive. So there’s a combination here of influences and and books right now that I’m kind of just sorting through for fun. But Jem is definitely well backed in science and his background with institutions and academics. It’s a very interesting book that’s research backed. So that’s a good one to read and check out if you want to understand more systems and how they work together. 

And then the last one that influenced me when I was pregnant, I think it’s when I was pregnant with Homer, was by Sarah Wilson. And I love Sarah Wilson. She actually is a podcaster and author who I follow closely. And I end up following these other authors through her podcast. And so her book is This One Wild and Precious Life, which has been out for a couple years now. But that was one that really settled in with me when I first read her book a couple of years ago. So that’s worth checking out if you haven’t already. Cool.

Rob Marsh: A couple to add to my list.

Kira Hug: One last one that is well known, but I think it’s worth mentioning, Quiet by Susan Cain. I just have to mention that one because that definitely blew my mind when you don’t necessarily have the language to describe how you felt since you were a child as an introvert, and all of a sudden someone gives you this language and says, this is, you know, maybe you are this and if you are, it’s normal. And this is what that means. And this is how you can operate in the world. I mean, that was just so transformative to finally be like, Oh, I’m an introvert. That’s why I do the things the way I do them. And I’m not a total weirdo. That’s just how we operate. So that was a big book for many of us.

Rob Marsh: I love that book. I felt the same way. It’s one of those books where you can sort of start reading and it’s like, Oh, wait a second. This explains a lot, maybe everything in a lot of ways. And I’ve heard good things about her more recent book, which is called Bittersweet, which I think is about melancholy and sadness. I haven’t read that, but I’ve heard good things.

Kira Hug: That’s also a good one. Yeah. It doesn’t make the same splash as quiet, but it was still worth reading.

Rob Marsh: Okay, maybe a slightly more fun question.

Kira Hug: Wait, was that not fun?

Rob Marsh: Cupcakes, sheet cake or round cake?

Kira Hug: Okay, so I will go with Texas sheet cake, which I used to make at a restaurant I worked at. And I love Caroline’s seven layer caramel cake.

Rob Marsh: Okay, what’s that?

Kira Hug: You can order it, Rob. Maybe I’ll send you one.

Rob Marsh: You can order?

Kira Hug: Wait, she can ship it to you from South Carolina. It’s delicious and amazing and I wish we had that in Maine, but if you ever want a taste of it and you want to keep Caroline’s business going, you can order it and she will ship it to you and it will taste fresh. Maybe not super environmentally friendly to ship a cake to Salt Lake City, but it’s delicious. So if you haven’t tried Caroline’s cakes, she has a bunch of different ones if you don’t want the caramel one.

Rob Marsh: It sounds like one of my favorite desserts is sticky toffee pudding, which is kind of an English dessert. It’s hard to find here in the States unless you make it yourself, but it sounds sort of similar to that, the toffee-slash-caramel taste. Yeah, you’ll like it. I’d probably like it.

Kira Hug: Yeah, what about you?

Rob Marsh: I think cake is a waste of time when it comes to desserts.

Kira Hug: And I’m not going to send you my Carolina cake.

Rob Marsh: The seven layer thing might be a little bit different, but I, you know, like birthday cakes, even sheet cake, I’m like, ah, it’s just, it just doesn’t do much for me. I would so much rather have either pie or brownies and brownies, maybe brownies. People will be like, oh, that’s just like a thick cake, but it’s different. It’s they’re different. They’re better. But I am a pie guy. You know, give me a slice of apple pie. Give me a slice of toll house pie. Give me a slice of peach pie or strawberry pie. That’s where I want to be.

Kira Hug: I think you just need to try better cake. I think you just have not had the cake yet. The cake. I think it’s hard to find a really good cake, whether it’s homemade or store-bought. But I think we just need to find you the right cake.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, that might be the case. My daughter makes cakes. And I mean, they’re good as far as cakes go. But even those cakes, it just doesn’t feel like the food for me. I don’t know. Hard to explain.

Kira Hug: I’m going to send you a cake, and you have to just give it a try.

Rob Marsh: We’ll see what we can do. So as we move maybe more to our main discussion, I think we had a similar conversation about a year ago about choosing a word of the year, goals, resolutions. Have you got goals, resolutions, things that you’re working towards this year, Kira?

Kira Hug: No, I don’t. I’m not working towards anything. Let’s talk about this is all you’re going to get from me. This is it. I think we should go back to last year’s episode and just listen and see what, what did we say? Did we do the thing we said we were going to do? I think that would be interesting because I bet I don’t remember what I said. Do you remember what you said?

Rob Marsh: I don’t. I think I remember saying that I don’t really choose a word of the year, but that if I were going to choose one, it would be growth, which is a word that’s, there’s lots of ways to look at growth. I feel like I’ve had a lot of personal growth over the last year, learning, that kind of thing. I didn’t necessarily grow my business this year. The Copywriter Club has stayed about the same as it’s been, so growth- Financially though, you’re talking about financially, right? Yeah, exactly. 

But there are things that we’ve done with The Copywriter Club that have grown in different ways. We’ve introduced a bunch of new products and the AI podcast. So I think if I were going back, that’s what I was talking about, but not necessarily specific goals or resolutions. And again, I don’t really have a word, you know, word of the year. I’m just thinking it’s like, you know, it’s probably just the stuff that I fall back on normally if I were going to have one. And that’s just, I want to get better at the things that I do.

Kira Hug: Better could be your word.

Rob Marsh: How come you chose not, how come you chose not to do resolutions this year?

Kira Hug: I might get to them for February 1st and what I found even talking to copywriters today in our think tank, like half of them, you know, mentioned that they haven’t set resolutions yet. Like they’re still kind of dealing with holiday stuff and kind of still easing back in, which is normal back into the year. Even though, you know, we’re second week into the year, I feel like I feel the same. I just feel like it takes, a while to really figure out and take time to create the plan. I’ve actually helped a lot of other people create their plans. So I’m great at helping others create very strategic and detailed plans. And therefore, for myself, I go the opposite direction. 

I guess all to say I’m kind of just moving by a couple different rules that I’ve made for myself and I’ve shared this with you already but the first rule is just to do one hard thing every week just one one time a week do a hard thing and I know you know I know what hard things are for me. They are different for everyone, but we all know the hard things. And it could be like a hard conversation. It could be doing the thing that’s been on your to-do list for six months or six years. It could be like finally doing that exercise or project or whatever it is. So I’ve got lots of those things. And so every day seemed like a bit much. Doing one a month seemed like it wasn’t enough, but I like the cadence of every week just kind of being really clear on what’s happening next week. Like what is my hard thing for next week? And that will just help me kind of get some traction and it’s more behavior focused. 

So I think that’s where the tiny habits work that I’ve done really shows up as I’m just more focused on behaviors right now. The other behavior and the other rule I made for myself is to move my body for 20 minutes every day. And if I do more than that, great. But 20 minutes is the baseline. And it sounds easy, but it’s not. Just finding the time to do that is tricky. And so I’m kind of sticking with the basics for January. And then I’ll see how it evolves from there and maybe create a more elaborate plan if I’m inspired to do that. I usually do a lot of that around my birthday time in March. So March is kind of like my year start where I really dig a lot deeper and have space to do that.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, when you take that approach, you avoid the problem that a lot of people have. And that is most people give up on their resolutions by the 17th of January. So depending on when this episode actually goes live, that’s either tomorrow or it happened last week. And so most people have already given up on their resolutions. Without having made any resolutions, you’re not among that group of people, which is good. But also mentioning you see your birthday as the restart of the year. 

That’s kind of interesting, because there’s a lot of science around the fact that we are better at resets when something is new. And whether that’s the new year, you know, 23 to 24, as it is this year, or whether it’s your new year, which, you know, starts with your birthday, those are both good beginning times and good times to sort of reset and restart. And people tend to look for those kinds of beginnings to start fresh in a new set of goals or something that they want to accomplish.

Kira Hug: Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s it for me. It feels more, I don’t know, that just feels a little bit easier and gives me a little bit more wiggle room. I think also a piece of this, and maybe you are feeling this or you’ve felt this. I know other writers I’ve talked to have, but I also just realized I got really burnt out last year. And again, I know many writers felt that way at the end of the year, or if you’re listening, you might still feel that way. And I don’t think I realized how burnt out I was. And then I just kind of rolled into like a pretty intense holiday with family, which was like intense in a good way. But it was nonstop. And so, you know, you kind of end up in January where you’re just recovering from the burnout. And so that’s kind of where I am. And I’m just in a better place this week. But you kind of have to sit with that before you start planning and jumping into the next thing. And I’m not going to push myself if that’s really where I’m at today.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, interesting.

Kira Hug: Yes. And while we’re talking about goals and failures, I feel like I want to admit a failure to you, Rob, and share One I haven’t shared on the podcast because I have talked about on the podcast. If I share a failure, a goal failure, you have to share one too.

Rob Marsh: I’ll see if I can come up with one. I mean, obviously I don’t want to accomplish all my goals, but yeah.

Kira Hug: You have to think really hard because you’ve done them all.

Rob Marsh: I’ve got one.

Kira Hug: I talked a lot about my Ironman training this past year, and it’s been such a big part of kind of, this was something I started for my 40th birthday. And so it was really connected to my birthday and not necessarily to the year. And had this amazing year of training hard for it. And like, I felt great. all year, and my body, I just felt amazing. And then November kind of burnt out before the race, and so I had to postpone the race, which did not feel good. I do not like postponing big things, especially when I tell everyone I know that I’m doing the hard thing. So that is something this year, you know, I had time to think about it, like, well, is this still important to me? You know, I don’t believe in continuing to focus on a goal just for the sake of doing that goal if it’s no longer important or relevant to you. But what I realized is it still is relevant to me. And again, when I was training for it, I just felt so good. I’m more into the training anyway. So that’s something for the year ahead where I got to do it. It’s important to me. It needs to happen. And I will figure out how to make it happen.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, listening to you talk about that, you know that I’ve ridden this bike race that’s called Lotoja, which is this crazy one-day, 200-mile race. And while that day is amazing, and I think the Ironman is sort of similar. You’re there with everybody who’s competing and supporting each other, but the training is the thing that makes you feel good. And we would get off all through the spring and summer, 100-mile ride or 120-mile ride on a Saturday, dit down and it just feels amazing. And I really am not an exercise nut. I do not love, I don’t absolutely love running. I don’t love lifting, but I love having run or having lifted. I love how I feel after I exercise, which is one of those things that I have to use to drive myself to, you know, get out of bed and actually do the thing that I don’t like doing.

Kira Hug: Yeah, same. Same. I’ll just train. So I think it’s good for me to have a deadline. And if the race is a deadline or any deadline helps, I have to have that. I can’t just train without the deadline in mind. So that’s happening. But I did want to share that failure because I know it was a big part of what I had chatted about on the podcast previously. And so sometimes things don’t work out as planned. And you just have to reassess and see if it’s still worth focusing on.

Rob Marsh: Yeah.

Kira Hug: So what’s your failure?

Rob Marsh: I talked on the podcast last spring about finishing my book and I have not done that. In fact, you know, as I was sitting down thinking, okay, what do I want to accomplish this year? And I didn’t necessarily set them up as goals, but more like behaviors, you know, like I want to be a better writer. I want, you know, I want to be more disciplined. I want to be healthier. I want to, you know, build a more profitable business, those kinds of things. Writing my book is one of those things just came back to mind again. It’s like, okay, what can I do if I can get that done? You know, what does that make possible? And so it’s back, it’s still on my list because like you said. Ask the question: does this goal still support what I want to accomplish? Is this still going to move me to do the things that I want to do? And sometimes the answer is no. But in the case of writing this book, it is yes. And, you know, some people were kind enough to volunteer to, you know, be my readers and I just left them high and dry. I didn’t, you know, I got a couple of chapters, I got everything outlined and a couple of chapters kind of, kind of written, but we just got busy with other, other things. And so it’s still on my list. 

You know I want to have it happen in this coming year but also i understand some limitations and it’s a big piece of work and so we’ll see. But one of one of the things that i need to get better at is my daily writing practice and really focusing on specifically what I’m writing. Oftentimes that writing turns into something for a post somewhere in the Facebook group or on LinkedIn, or it becomes an email. And I need to use more of that time to support specifics in my business. So that’s something I’m going to be doing differently this year.

Kira Hug: Yeah, we did talk a lot about that last year. I think around this time where you and I were talking about our books and then my book didn’t happen.

Rob Marsh: We still don’t have any books, but that is going to change hopefully again this year. I don’t have a goal. I’ll publish it by June 1st or whatever. I think I was a little bit more emphatic about it last year. It’s one of those things. Yeah. I’m creating those behaviors that will make these things possible. So rather than thinking in goals, Like I said, my behaviors are I want to be more disciplined. And there are definitely things I can do there. Spending more time with a deliberate reading habit, deliberate practice for the things that we do, being healthier, just getting my blood pressure down. You and I have talked off the podcast about this is one of the things I just have to do. And so there are some things behavior-wise that I’m thinking about. So that’s how I’m thinking about goals.

Kira Hug: Yeah, I might just do no goals and just focus on the behaviors and just see how it plays out. Maybe that’s how you write your book is you don’t set the goal and you just focus on the daily behaviors.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, it might work. While we’re talking about this, there’s so many things that people talk about when we talk about goal setting and personal discipline and getting things done. And I just started making some notes about some of the fallacies that get us stuck. And some of them come from that amazing book by Oliver Burkman called 2,000 Weeks. And he pointed out a fallacy around time management about this story. I think it may have started with Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits. But there’s this story of the bottle and the rocks and the sand and the water. And whoever is putting all this stuff together, they’ve got this jar, this mason jar. And they pour in some water. Then they pour in some sand. And then they put in pebbles or little rocks. And by the time that they’ve put all that stuff into the jar, there’s no space for these big rocks to fit in. And then they do it over again, where they put in the big rocks first. And then, of course, you put in the pebbles, the little rocks, and you kind of shake it, and they all fit between the big rocks. And then you put in the sand, and that fits in between all the little rocks and the big rocks. And you pour in some water. And the idea is that if you get the order right, you can get everything done. 

Oliver Berkman in his book points out, well, the problem is we all have more big rocks than will fit in anybody’s jar. Like, we all have so many big things that we want to do, let alone the little things, that when we tell that story, we’re sort of selling this idea that, oh, you just have to get them all in the right order. And the fact of the matter is, no, you actually have to narrow down to, like, what are the one or two things you’re actually going to do this year, or in your life, even? You know, if a project, you know, if it takes 20 years to raise a kid, That’s a pretty big rock that is making space in your jar that means that there are a lot of other big rocks you might want to do that don’t fit. Or if you want to write a book, that means that there are other big rocks that don’t happen. Just understanding that the order is not the thing that makes it all possible. It’s the fact that we just really have to drill down and identify the one, two or three things that we really want to focus on. And life is about making those hard decisions and cutting out some of the stuff that would be really nice to do, be exciting to do, but we just can’t do everything.

Kira Hug: Yeah. I think my toddler, just broke the jar. If we’re putting all the rocks in the jar, I think he just smashed the jar completely. So there is no jar left. He’s a pretty big rock.

Rob Marsh: Yeah, for sure. I mean, kids do break the jar. And other things break the jar too. But yeah, the order is not enough.

Kira Hug: Well, that’s such a good point, too. Some rocks are larger, too. I mean, a toddler, for instance, which could be any type of project for anyone, is a larger rock than maybe even my 11-year-old or 8-year-old right now. And so those rocks change in size. And so you can’t always fit them in at the same time. And you have to take rocks out to fit the big ones in. And so it can get really confusing. And you’re trying to fit it all together and fit it perfectly in. know, screw on the cap and it just doesn’t work. So thank you for clearing that up because yeah, that’s never really translated to me either.

Rob Marsh: There’s another fallacy out there. And that is, you know, the 5am or the 4am club, you just have to get up early enough to get more stuff done. And from a behavioral standpoint, there’s, I mean, there’s logic here, right? Like, if you get up when nobody else is doing stuff, you know, everybody else is still asleep, you may be able to get some more things done. But the idea of just getting up early does not solve the problem either. I mean, again, you still have all the big rocks, right? You still have all the stuff you need to do. You need to have that discipline. And if you get up earlier, it oftentimes means you need to go to bed earlier, which means less happens on the end of your day. So it’s not enough to just try harder or to get up and focus and just pound more out. That’s a recipe for burnout as much as it is a recipe for accomplishment.

Kira Hug: OK, well, maybe that’s what led to my burnout this year, because I feel like it does work. So I think it’s worth pointing out that there are downsides to it. Definitely, if you’re not getting enough sleep, there are health implications. So you have to make sure you’re going to bed earlier. But I wake up 3.30 or 4 AM quite frequently. It’s not every day, but it’s frequent enough. And it’s helped me just kind of stay on top of things in a way that if I didn’t do that, I think I’d be able to make money.

Rob Marsh: Boy, I’m not necessarily down on the idea of getting up early. No, I know you are. Because you do too. Yeah, I get up at 5 AM and I go for a run or I work out or whatever. And it does help me, but it’s really not about the time. It’s really about getting the stuff and doing the things that you need to do and showing up as you do. So for example, one of the reasons that 5 AM works for me is because when my alarm goes off, my, you know, my, my app, my watch buzzes or whatever to wake me up. I’ve already set out all of the workout clothes and stuff the night before, like the decision was made, you know, 12 hours before. So I don’t have to get up, go through the drawers. I’m not going to wake up my wife. I can go into the other room and just change and go. And because the decision was made, you know, before I went to bed, like getting up is not difficult for me. That might be a bit of a practiced habit that I’ve developed over years. But going back to the idea that this is a fallacy, I think a lot of time management gurus are selling this idea that you just have to get up earlier in order to do this. And it’s not the time that makes the difference here. If you want to have a better exercise habit, of course, you’ve got to set aside time. Maybe it’s in the morning, but maybe it’s in the afternoon. Maybe it’s when kids go to school, or maybe it’s after a partner comes home in the evening and can take a turn, those kinds of things. Or if you don’t have kids, it’s when you have that business lull, when you’re not able to write as well as you might have early or late. So it’s less about the time, I think, is really my criticism here.

Kira Hug: Yeah, I mean, finding the time that works for you. Evenings do not work for me. I can’t think and I’m not going to do anything on the business at that point.

Rob Marsh: I think there’s another fallacy out there. We’ve talked a little bit about this with Linda Perry, our amazing mindset coach friend, who has been on the podcast a couple of times. But this idea that if you put stuff on your vision board and manifest it into your life, that things will happen. And that’s just, it doesn’t work. Manifesting is not a thing. Obviously put stuff on your vision board, think about it, but you’re the one that manifests it by doing stuff and getting stuff done. So if, you know, if you put a, whatever your goals are, you know, if you put a big house or lots of money or, you know, whatever you want on the vision board, You’ve got to create the behaviors that are going to allow that to happen. It’s not enough just to put a picture on the wall and hope that things are going to come together.

Kira Hug: OK, don’t take away my vision board. I am going to manifest, so I’m just going to ignore this part of the episode. And I’m going to continue with my vision board that I have not created yet, but I will.

Rob Marsh: you’ll put your vision board up, but you’re gonna, you’ll, you’ll do the things that actually make it happen, right? Like manifesting is not enough. I mean, the idea of manifesting requires a lot of work and effort. So then the last, the last of the fallacies that I think time management gurus talk about It’s just  the idea that you sometimes you just need to motivate yourself. You need to, you know, listen to another Brian Tracy book or Zig Ziglar book, and you need to surround yourself with people who are doing things. And obviously that can have a positive impact on your behavior. There’s no doubt about it, but motivation is not enough. You need to build the habits that make, you know, discipline happen. And like I said, you know, about getting up early, it’s like, if I didn’t put out my workout clothes, my running clothes, you know, the night before, if that stuff wasn’t ready to go, now I’ve got to kind of decide, well, am I really getting up to do this? And I’m a lot less motivated, you know, when I’m tired, maybe I didn’t sleep well last night for whatever reason. And it gets a lot harder, but because the decisions made… it’s less about the motivation and more about the habit that I’ve created.

Kira Hug: you should just go to sleep in your workout gear.

Rob Marsh: That’s the next step. Yeah.

Kira Hug: That’s what I do. I just don’t change my outfit. I just roll right into the next day. Those are great. I would, I would just add some based off, you know, we’re running a couple of small, small coaching groups and they’re focused on setting goals for Q1 and it’s over a couple of months and we’re just, holding them accountable to it every single week. And it’s been really fun so far. We’re still early in the quarter, of course, but a couple ideas from that already. One is the importance of connecting dots. And really, if you did set aside time to think about your end of year goal for 2024, this sounds obvious, but it’s really important to make sure your end of year goal connects with your Q1 goal. Of course, all the quarter goals, but definitely for Q1. And again, that sounds obvious, but oftentimes I find that many of the writers we work with have this end of year goal, and then we look at what they’re focused on for Q1, and it’s not related, or it’s not necessarily going to move the needle and help them achieve the measurable outcome for the end of the year. And so that alignment and then breaking it down monthly, weekly, so it’s all connected and working towards the same goal. Again, it’s like it seems obvious, but it’s worth looking at your goals and how you’re breaking them down to make sure that’s a connection point. 

The other one for me that I have to remind myself to, I guess, to not beat myself up about is the importance of on and off days. And I don’t know how you think about this, Rob, but just not every day is going to be the same as a writer, as an entrepreneur, as a parent. And so I have some days where I’m really dialed in and focused and other days where it’s a little bit more laid back and sometimes I might beat myself up over that. I know a lot of writers we work with do that. And they’re like, why didn’t I get anything done yesterday? I was so I was so on the ball on Tuesday and then Wednesday, I couldn’t get anything done. And I just think that we could offer more forgiveness to ourselves as as professionals and entrepreneurs to say every day is not going to be an A plus. And that’s OK. Like, we also need to have that flexibility baked in for more creativity, more space, more time to just think or even goof off. or focus on other areas of our lives. And so that’s something that I’m trying to kind of work into my week where there are certain days where I just am, it’s just lighter and I’m okay with that.

Rob Marsh: That’s a really big one. I mentioned this in our think tank at one point where I realized at some point in my career that if I have a very productive day, I crank out stuff. Even after six or seven hours, I’m still feeling really good almost always. It’s probably not 100% of the time, but I bet it’s at least 90% of the time. The next day, is not productive at all. And it’s because our brains are a lot like muscles. You can’t go to the gym and work the same muscles day after day after day and not have a rest day or not have a negative impact on you. There’s a reason why you go to the gym and one day you work your chest and arms, the next day you work your legs, the next day you work your back, or you take days between to rest before you work different muscle groups. 

Our brain is the same way. And if you use your brain a ton, it also needs rest. It needs rejuvenation or relaxation, sometimes just plain old entertainment or nothing, boredom, before it’s ready to spring back and do that. And so obviously there are different ways to plan around that. You only make yourself work for a certain number of hours a day so that you get that rest every day. Or if you have a super productive day, just build in time knowing that the next day is probably not going to be as productive. Obviously deadlines and those kinds of things kind of force us through that stuff, but deadlines are also the kinds of things that if we do that enough, it produces burnout. And then that’s just our brain saying, hold on a second, I need rest. I need some time to do something different.

Kira Hug: Yeah, I think we’ve talked a lot about themed days, which are quite popular, but even the themed day concept often means that we’re working hard from nine to five or whatever those set hours are during that theme day, but it’s still like in your desk all day. And I know for me, I’m kind of, I’m tired of sitting in my desk and my neck is hurting. So I need more time away from my laptop. And as writers, I think we need to make sure we’re living more so that we can write and reflect humanity more for our clients and for our own businesses. So we need more time away from the desk. That’s not a fallacy. That’s just realism.

Rob Marsh: I mean, there are a couple of things that do work. One of the things that really works for me to make sure that stuff happens, if it’s in my calendar, it’s almost always going to happen. Whereas if it’s in my brain, it’s like, oh, this is the three things I’m going to try to get done today. If it’s in the calendar, I’m showing up for that meeting or to do that thing. And it takes a little bit more discipline. If you write it in your calendar, say, OK, I’m going to start writing this particular thing, or I’m going to work on this particular project if nobody else is there to meet you. But with a little practice, a little discipline, if it’s in the calendar, it happens. And so don’t necessarily work from lists on sticky notes. Don’t necessarily even work from a task list in Asana. Get stuff into your calendar because that’ll help you do stuff. And if you do what you said, Kira, you’ve tied all those activities back to your Q1 goals, your month one goals that are going to help you achieve your end of year goal even better.

Kira Hug: Yes, and that just made me think of measurable outcomes. I mean, I kind of touched on this, but just thinking about our goals, what does work is being able to measure whether or not you are successful. And so, again, seems like obvious, but if you have a goal and it’s not something that you can measure at the end of the year or the end of the quarter or the end of the month, then it’s gonna be really hard to determine if you hit that goal or not. and to analyze it. I mean, as copywriters and content writers, we’re into analysis and kind of really digging deep into the analytics to see where we fell short and how we can fix anything. So understanding what your goal looks like from a measurable point of view, it’s not just about growing, you know, your word, right. Growth for your business. It’s like, well, what does that look like? Revenue wise, what does that look like at the end of the year? What does that look like every single month of the year, every week of the year? Can you put some numbers to it so that you can track it along the way and you aren’t shocked at the end of the year if you hit it or if you don’t hit it because you’ve been measuring it the entire time?

Rob Marsh: Yeah, and when we think about those kinds of metrics, too, we need to be a little bit careful that the metrics we set are the metrics that we control. So for instance, a copywriter will say, well, I’m going to land four clients this month or this quarter. The problem with that is that we don’t control whether a client says yes or no to us. What we can control is the number of pitches that we send out or the number of things that we’re doing to attract clients into our business. So it’s OK to have a goal that says I’m going to land four clients. But you need to then make the connection to the behaviors that you’re doing on a daily or weekly, monthly basis that make that thing happen. And then that’s really the thing that you’re measuring. Because if you say, OK, if I send out 10 pitches a week or a month, And I know my close rate is roughly two out of 10 are going to close. Okay, well, if you need four new clients, somewhere that 20 to 30 mark of pitches, proposals that you’re sending out is going to land you that. And if you send out those 20 and only three people say, yes, that is not a failure because you didn’t control the very last thing. You’ve done the 20 that you committed to do and it’s a success. And I think we just need to make sure we’re always connecting back to our behaviors rather than letting the success of a goal stand on somebody else’s choice or behavior. And the same thing is true of revenue dollars in a business. You can create a program, you can sell it, and if fewer people buy than you expect, that’s not necessarily a failure if you’ve done all the things leading up to that point that could make it a success.

Kira Hug: Yeah, because sometimes you don’t know if you don’t have that data available to you from previous years to know which behaviors typically lead to which outcomes, then you have to just take your best guess and probably be a little bit conservative in matching behaviors to outcomes. And then see how, you know, track it along the way every month, every quarter to see, okay, like, I need to really up my behavior because this isn’t leading to the type of result I want, or I need to try something else.

Rob Marsh: Exactly.

Kira Hug: Okay, so what else? Anything else work, Rob, for you personally that’s worth mentioning?

Rob Marsh: So two other things. I already mentioned sort of setting up your environment for success. That’s how I, you know, get myself up as I have to close out ready or whatever. I suppose if somebody’s goal is around, you know, eating better, clearly you want the candy out of the house, right? Like the same is true of work. If you’re, if you don’t work with a messy desk, then clear your desk off so that you can focus and do the things that you need to do. So just set up your environment for success. And this is nothing new either, but as you’re planning out what you want to do, you need to take a moment to think about what’s going to stop you from doing this stuff, predict what’s not going to work and figure out what you’re going to do ahead of time in order to deal with it. So, you know, you mentioned your toddler, Kira, you have, you know, goals. It’s like, what happens when, you know, my toddler gets sick, which is definitely going to happen at some point this year. How am I going to deal, you know, and these are the three things that I can do to get around that. Or you predict something’s not going to work in your business, so you make those pitches. And what happens when somebody says no, or worse, comes back with vitriol and, I can’t believe you’re wasting my time. How do you get through those negative things so you don’t get stuck on them, you know how to deal with them, and you can move on? And just as part of your annual plan, you want to think through those stoppers, the things that are going to get in your way, that might slow you down, and when they happen, have a plan for those two.

Kira Hug: Yeah, it could just be a simple if-then statement. If this happens, then I will do this. Exactly. Just so you’re prepared ahead of time and keep it really simple.

Rob Marsh: Yeah. So Kara, you mentioned a little while ago, you’ve been steeped in tiny habits. I don’t know, ideas or insights from your time as a tiny habits coach that will help us get more done.

Kira Hug: We talked a lot about behavior today. I think for me, it’s just keeping the baseline really low. Not keeping expectations low, but just keeping the habit very simple and tiny, hence the name, so that you can stick with it. Because as soon as you feel like you’ve failed, we give up. and we abort and we ditch those behaviors, even though maybe they were working for a while. And so I mean, a good example is like, I didn’t do the Ironman. So I did take a little bit of time off from my training. But now it’s just getting back into it and starting small with 20 minutes a day of movement. And the movement could be yoga, it could just be I don’t know, I guess I could just be dancing. I could be anything. But it’s just, for me, that’s baseline. And I know from there I can work back up to running 13 miles, 14 miles, and doing a lot more. I’m not there yet. So I can stick with 20 minutes. And if I can’t stick with 20 minutes a day, then I’ll lower it to five minutes a day. But it’s just building that confidence, this reminder that this is important to me. I value it. I’m going to do it every day. This is part of my identity. And if you don’t do it, it’s just bouncing right back in and keeping it simple so that you feel like you’re accomplishing something and you stick with it for the long term. And you’re surrounded by people who can celebrate with you. I think the accountability piece, I don’t think we’ve really mentioned that, but that’s critical here, and so that’s something that we are doing a lot more of this year in small intimate groups of about four to five people. And so if that’s something that you’re interested in and you want some coaching and support and feedback on your goal setting, your behaviors, or you just know that you struggle with accountability, You can email us help at and we’re putting together one more group for now of about four to five people over the next three months to work with us closely and to make sure we’re meeting every single week and you’re doing what you said you’re going to do. And if you aren’t, figuring out why not and can we shift your plan and can we adjust so that you’re accomplishing your goals this quarter.

Rob Marsh: So if I want to write a book, this would be a good program to jump into and you’re going to help me.

Kira Hug: I could get you to write a book. I think I could make that happen if you were in this group, Rob.

Rob Marsh: So for listeners who maybe don’t want to write a book, but maybe they want to launch a product. Maybe they want to rethink their brand. Maybe they want to do something else in their business. These coaching opportunities are really big for that kind of a move forward in their lives.

Kira Hug: Yeah, I think you should be a member in the group, Rob. Focus on the book. We’ll add four other people. So if you want to be in a group with Rob, maybe email us and mention that. And then I’m just going to kind of like Whip you into shape and get you writing that book.

Rob Marsh: You’re going to do it. I’ll be your case study, Kara.

Kira Hug: Yes. That actually would be fun.

Rob Marsh: I don’t know if that would be fun, actually.

Kira Hug: That would be fun for me. Well, you’d walk away with a book.

Rob Marsh: I would have a book. I’m not sure it would be fun, but I’d have a book. So yeah, we’ll see. So if you’re interested in that, please do email us at help at And we’d love your feedback on this episode. If it’s helpful for you at all, please let us know.

Kira Hug: Would we?

Rob Marsh: We’ll keep bringing, hopefully, information and insights to help you grow your business.

Kira Hug: In the meantime, send Rob cake. Deliver him some cake that is actually decent so he can experience yummy cake. That’s a good point.

Rob Marsh: If there’s a good cake out there that I’ve missed, maybe that’s what I need to try is just to have a good cake. 

That’s the end of this episode of the Copywriter Club podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter, a songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter, a songwriter, David Muntner. 

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard, please visit Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I’ll leave a review of the show that just really helps. And the feedback tells us if you like what we’re doing. 

And don’t miss our other podcasts at You can also watch that on YouTube and listen wherever you get your podcasts. 

Thanks for listening. We will see you next week.

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