How to multiply your time (with Rory Vaden)

In this podcast (episode #551) and blog, I talk to master strategist, best-selling author and speaker Rory Vaden about finding the question you are the answer to and the problem only you can solve, how to multiply your time, when to say no, and so much more!

Rory is a Self-Discipline Strategist, cofounder of the international training company Southwestern Consulting, and a New York Times bestselling author. As an author and business motivational speaker, Rory's unique insights have been shared on Oprah radio, as well as in BusinessweekPublishers Weekly, and SUCCESS Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Brand Builders Group, the world’s leader in Personal Brand Strategy. They help mission-driven messengers to expand their reach, grow their income and make a more positive impact in the world by teaching them how to build and monetize their personal brand. 

Rory’s first book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, #1 Amazon and #2 New York Times bestseller that has been translated into 11 languages. Rory Vaden writes and speaks about how the key to becoming wealthy and well-known starts with doing the right thing even when you don’t feel like doing it. 

Rory also frequently appears in the national media for his insights on overcoming procrastination, increasing focus, and creating more influential leadership. He has been listed as one of the top 30 leadership bloggers in the world by Alexa and formerly hosted a podcast listed by Inc Magazine as the #1 best business podcast.  

As Rory notes, finding your identity and meaning has so much to with finding your place in the world. But this often is impacted by diluted focus: when you are trying to do too many things at once, you can quickly lose what you were aiming for in the first place. Diluted focus equals diluted results. Many of us spread our attention, time, money and resources so thinly that our personal lives and work suffer. 

This is why it is so important that we learn what to say yes to and what to say no to. Don’t try to just make the “perfect” choice; rather, focus on the fact that you have a limited number of resources. If you try to spread these resources too thinly, you are more likely to fail or not achieve your goals. If, however, you put resources into making fewer things successful, the likelihood of these fewer things being successful is higher. It is not about making the right decision; it is about making your decision right. 

Life happens more in seasons than in an equilibrium, which is why it is better to focus on precision rather than balance. We need to give ourselves the permission to embrace the season we are living in, which may look different to what we expected, and be okay with spending our resources on whatever is the most important for that season, just like farmers have to focus on preparing their crops during harvest time.  

One thing that can trip us up while we are working hard towards a goal is procrastination. There are different types of procrastination:  

  1. Classic procrastination, which is delaying what you know you should be doing.
  2. Creative avoidance: unconsciously avoiding or delaying something you know you should be doing.  
  3. Priority dilution: getting interrupted or distracted while trying to do what you should be doing.  

The last one, priority dilution, can happen if you have too many goals at once, or if you say “yes” to too many things. This is something I am sure many of us have experienced; how many times have you said you just don’t have enough time to do everything you need to do? I know this is something I experience often! 

Time is actually something you can get more of, regardless of what you may have been told or what you believe. You can learn how to multiply your time by making decisions today that create more time tomorrow—by spending time on things today that give you more time tomorrow. Part of this means eliminating what is not important in the season of life you are in right now. When you learn to say no to things today, you give yourself more time tomorrow.  

Rory calls this the “significance calculator”. Don’t just think about today—think about tomorrow and the next day and the next day. When you do this, you realize that when you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to an infinite number of other things. If you are not consciously saying no to the things that don’t matter, then you are unconsciously saying no to the things that do matter—either way we are saying no. The key to success in any area of your life is to learn how to say “no” consciously to what is not significant, so that you don’t end up saying no to the things that really matter.  

This is more about discipline than intelligence. Intelligence tends to load up the plate with a lot of different tasks. Discipline, on the other hands, tells you to go all in on one task. It helps you focus on what is important now to help you multiply your time tomorrow. 

This is part of what Rory calls the “focus funnel”—taking everything you have on your plate and narrowing it down to what is important. This starts with eliminating what is not important (or learning to consciously say no, as mentioned above). Next, ask yourself if you can automate this: how can you spend less time doing the task you need to do by creating a process for it? This may cost you time today, but will save you time in the future. Then, you need to delegate: how can you reduce the amount of tasks you have to do yourself and save time now and in the future, thus avoiding emotional and physical burnout? Lastly, you also can procrastinate on purpose: delay the trivial things so they do not take up time you need for more important things.  

What you have left after all of these steps are the things that you have to do. These are the things that are “significant”: by doing them, you create more time for yourself tomorrow. You will be able to focus on your contribution to the world—you can multiply your impact in the world. You discover the question you are the answer to. 

This is not just about finding success and happiness, which can often make us, paradoxically, unhappy. When you focus on what you can give to the world, what question you can answer, instead of trying to find something to make you happy, you can find someone you can help—you become useful and of high value to others, which will make you happy in the short and long term. Your life finds meaning and joy when you serve other people. Your truest why is a “who”. 

For more on finding out what you are the answer to, listen to my podcast with Rory (episode #551) and check out his work. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).    

This podcast is sponsored by: 

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Relationships are hard work, but they truly make life worth living. Just thinking about my own marriage: it hasn’t always been easy, and we still have our ups and downs, but after decades together, working on ourselves and through our issues and making an effort to truly be there for each other, I can honestly say my life is so much more with my husband in it! But a common misconception about relationships is that they have to be easy to be “right.” But sometimes, the best ones happen when both people put in the work to make them great. And therapy can be a place to work through the challenges you face in all of your relationships – whether with friends, work, your significant other, or anyone. Therapy is an incredibly helpful mental health tool that everyone can benefit from, wherever they are in life! It’s helpful for learning positive relationships and coping skills, and how to set boundaries; it empowers you to be the best version of yourself. Therapy isn’t just for those who’ve experienced major trauma! If you’re thinking of starting therapy, give BetterHelp a try. It’s entirely online. Designed to be convenient, flexible, and suited to your schedule. Just fill out a brief questionnaire to get matched with a licensed therapist, and switch therapists any time for no additional charge. Become your own soulmate, whether you’re looking for one or not. Visit today to get 10% off your first month. 

Podcast Highlights  

2:50 Rory’s amazing work

5:30 The danger of diluted focus  

7:40, 13:21 When to say no  

10:40 The harvest principle 

14:30 How to multiply time

22:50 Discipline is more important than intelligence 

24:30 The focus funnel

36:00 Finding the question you are the answer to 

50:00 The “dares” principle 

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact      

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.   

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