Episode: How to Create More Margin in Your Personal Life
Michael Hyatt: Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt.
Megan Hyatt Miller: And I’m Megan Hyatt Miller.
Michael: And this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work and succeed at life. We’re known for practical advice for ending the overwhelm at work, and in this episode, we’re going to show you how to apply those same principles to your home. But first, Megan, welcome back.
Megan: Hey! I’m so glad to be back. It feels like it has been forever.
Michael: We so missed you. For people who are just tuning in for the first time, where have you been?
Megan: That’s the question. I have been on parental leave. My husband Joel and I adopted a baby girl in May, and she was born really early. She was born at 27 weeks. She was 1 pound and 2 ounces, so we spent a whole lot of time in the NICU and then time at home, transitioning. Now she’s 9 pounds and about 10 ounces and doing great, and I’m back to work.
Michael: She’s smiling now.
Megan: She’s smiling.
Michael: Laughing a little bit.
Megan: Yes. So cute.
Michael: Sometimes we feel like we come home to a second job, and that has to be true for you.
Megan: Oh, absolutely. I have five kids, ages 18 to a few months.
Michael: What were you thinking?
Megan: I know. It is absolutely a second job, and if I’m not careful, it can be even more overwhelming than work can.
Michael: Well, we’re going to show you guys how to bring the same focus you have at work to your home, and you’re going to create more margin for the people and activities that really matter most.
Megan: That’s right. This is going to be super practical, and I guarantee it’s going to be a game changer for you and maybe some friends. So be sure to share this episode in your favorite social channel and tag everybody you know. Trust me. They’re going to thank you. Larry Wilson, welcome. It’s good to see you again.
Larry Wilson: Yeah. Great to have you back, Megan.
Megan: Thank you.
Larry: While you were gone, we launched a new podcast. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention.
Megan: I heard. It’s kicking our butt.
Larry: Yeah. Michael, how do you feel about that? The ratings for the first few episodes of Focus on This, our new podcast, kind of got ahead of Lead to Win.
Michael: Yeah. I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I think it got up to as high as #4 on all of iTunes Business, and how high was it on all of podcasts on iTunes? Like 29, maybe…31?
Larry: Yeah, it got into the top 30.
Megan: It’s a really great show.
Michael: It’s a great show, and if you guys haven’t listened to it, listen to it and subscribe to it. We need your help too. I feel like we have two great shows, but I really think the iTunes algorithm has a lot to do with the number of subscriptions, the number of reviews. So if you haven’t subscribed to Lead to Win, now is the time to do it.
Megan: That’s right. I’m back, and the best episodes are coming, so don’t miss them.
Michael: There’s no doubt about that.
Larry: I love this topic of ending the overwhelm at home, but I’ve looked over the content you’re about to share, and I have to tell you, I think it’s going to be challenging for some people, because some people come from that mentality that “Hey, my house is my responsibility,” so when you start talking about off-loading tasks, like cleaning, cooking, going to the grocery store, and some things we’re going to get into, people think, “Hey, I’m supposed to do that.”
Megan: I think we all feel like that or have felt like that at one time. The challenge is just like at work, there are not enough hours in the day to do all of the things that need to be done, and if you’re not thinking about how to automate and delegate in your personal life, you’re really creating a situation where rejuvenation is really hard, where you’re going to find yourself exhausted and not having enough left, time-wise or energy-wise, to invest in your most important relationships, your own health, things like that.
Michael: I think this particularly afflicts women. Just culturally, there’s more this sense of ownership of the home on women. That’s changing, thankfully, but I think it’s easier for guys to eliminate, automate, and delegate on the home tasks, because they kind of come to terms with the fact that there’s not enough of them to go around, but I think women labor, unfortunately, under this cultural imperative that they have to do it all.
Megan: Have two full-time jobs.
Michael: Yeah. It’s just not sustainable. I think we have some real help here, and if nothing else, we’re going to give women permission to be able to off-load some of this stuff and to be able to find that time they need for rejuvenation and for margin.
Megan: That’s right. I think it’s important to say, though, that this is not just an episode for women. Probably everybody feels overwhelmed. They get home on the weekends, and there’s too much to do. We have some fun solutions for you I think you’re going to like.
Larry: Well, let’s get into that. The idea here is that your Desire Zone (and we’ll explain that a little more fully in a second) isn’t just for work. Start thinking about how to automate, eliminate, and delegate at home. So, three steps to creating more margin in your personal life. Step 1: determine what matters most at home.
Megan: This is so important, because very often, we’re in a reactive state. “The house needs to be cleaned, I’m out of groceries, I need to run to Target,” all of those kinds of things, and we’re not really thinking about where we add the most value. Our personal resources, our energy and our attention, are finite, and we need to think about it like an investment.
Just like we do in our businesses, in our work, we need to think about that at home. When we start to frame this up in that way, like, “I can’t do everything, but what are the most important things for me to do that are going to make the greatest impact…?” For example, with my children or my spouse. Like, what are those things? That’s a helpful way to start thinking about it.
Michael: I think it’s helpful, too, to come back to the Desire Zone. This is a concept we talk about in The Focused Leader conference. It’s in my book Free to Focus. The idea is that you’re going to make your biggest contribution where you have the most leverage, but more importantly, where you have the most passion. What do you love to do? What do you enjoy doing? What do you find satisfying? What gets you up in the morning? And then what you’re the most proficient at, what you are naturally good at.
Megan: That’s an important one.
Michael: It’s an important one. I can just tell you, from my own perspective, I came to terms with the fact that I’m not good at fixing stuff, like physical stuff.
Megan: Me neither.
Michael: I’m not good with those…
Megan: Like handyman kind of stuff.
Michael: Yeah, the handyman kind of stuff. In fact, my family has joked about me (and you were part of making fun of me) being sort of the Tim Allen of our home, you know, Tim “The Tool Man.”
Megan: It’s actually not even that good.
Michael: That would actually be a step up. That would be an upgrade if I could be Tim “The Tool Man.” I’m really terrible with hand tools and stuff, so when I attempt to fix stuff, I actually make it worse. It’s not the best and highest use of me, and it’s going to be cheaper… I mean, I could think of things I’ve tried to fix in the past, like the washing machine, or whatever, and all I did was make the project more expensive to fix.
Megan: You start out by thinking, “What matters to me, and where do I add the most value?” That’s how you get at this Desire Zone concept in your personal life, but from there, it really is useful to break up the things that need to be done at home into categories. For example, your relationships. Maybe your children, your spouse, roommates, the most important relationships you have on a daily basis in your home. For example, home-cooked meals or dining out. What’s important to you there? What do you enjoy? Fitness, sports, hobbies, church or religious activities. Those are just some of the categories. I would add also cleaning and maintaining your home, those kinds of things.
Michael: Lawn maintenance.
Megan: They have to be done…by somebody at least. So that’s a helpful way to start.
Larry: How much time would you guess people spend on these household chores a day?
Megan: It probably depends how many children you have, but I think on the small end, probably 10 or 15 hours a week if you’re single. If you have a spouse and children, you’re probably pushing 20 to 30 hours a week. It is actually basically a full-time job.
Larry: Well, would you be interested in hearing some statistics?
Michael: I would.
Megan: I bet we underestimated.
Larry: The Bureau of Labor Statistics… The average person over 15 years old spends these times on these household chores on average: 13 minutes a day cleaning up the kitchen after meals, 17 minutes a day on laundry, 29 minutes a day on interior cleaning tasks. Not at my house, but…
Michael: Normal people.
Larry: Seven minutes a day maintaining the lawn, garden, and house plants. So that’s 66 minutes per day per person living in the home.
Megan: So we’re talking about, if you have several kids, more than a full-time job. If you’re listening to this and you’re feeling overwhelmed on the weekends, I just want you to feel validated, because this is a lot of time you’re spending on these things.
Larry: The goal here is to get clarity on what matters to you in your home. That’s obviously going to be different for everybody.
Michael: It is. I just wanted to ask, Megan, what would you say to the person who says, “Well, it all matters. It all has to get done”?
Megan: Well, it does all matter and it does all need to get done. It doesn’t all need to be done by you. We’re not talking about you have to hire someone to do all of these things. We’re going to get into some really practical solutions. That’s just one option among many. But you’re right. It does all need to be done, but it’s not possible for you to do it all and have a life.
Michael: I guess what we’re asking people who are listening to this to do is to suspend disbelief. Let’s just go with the idea that some tasks are more important than others. When you look at playing the long game, some things are more important than others. Whether I spend my time with one of my daughters or one of my granddaughters having a meaningful conversation with them or I go out and do the lawn… The lawn is going to need to be mowed again next week or the next week after that, but this may be one of the few times I have for this interaction with a granddaughter that’s priceless.
Megan: Can I tell you what mine are? I went through this… I’ve been through it several times as kids have joined our family. For me, one of the most important things is to sit down and have dinner around the table with my kids. I feel like all the research is very compelling on this fact, that kids who have family dinner around the table are in better mental and emotional health, they’re in better physical health, all those things. So that’s a huge priority to us. Sitting down and reading stories before bed. That’s super important to us. Those are just a couple of things that are critical.
What I realized, though, is my kids are never going to remember if I did the laundry. They’re not going to say when they’re 25 or 30 years old, “Mom, you know what I remember? I remember how every day when I opened my drawer there were clean socks.” Yeah, they need the clean socks. That’s not a small thing. It’s necessary, but it’s not where I’m making my highest and greatest contribution. So for me to try to figure out a solution for that, among other things, made it possible to do family dinners and storytimes, because instead of trying to do laundry during those times, I’m able to just be present.
Larry: There are some people… Not that anybody would say being present with your kids is not important, but there are some people who actually love to fold the laundry.
Megan: Are you one of those people? I feel like you are by that statement.
Larry: I don’t want to get into that, Megan, but I just want to give people permission to know that if you do like cleaning the bathroom (and there are people who do), hey, more power to you. If that’s rejuvenating, it’s a way you feel like you’re adding value to your family, by all means make that something that’s in your Desire Zone for your home. That’s okay too.
Step 1 in creating more margin in your personal life: determine what matters most at home. Step 2: filter your household activities to see where you gain the most value. I’d like to start off by giving you a list of the most dreaded household tasks, according to this report at least. I’ll see if it matches your list. First, what do you think the most dreaded would be?
Larry: Michael, what do you think?
Larry: Be more specific.
Michael: Washing dishes?
Larry: Cleaning the bathrooms.
Michael: Oh, of course.
Megan: Yeah, that’s true.
Larry: Then cleaning the blinds. Is that a thing?
Megan: Are people doing that?
Michael: That’s a thing?
Megan: If you’re doing that, you don’t have to do that.
Larry: Dusting lighting fixtures and ceiling fans. Fourth, doing laundry. Fifth, scrubbing baseboards. Again…
Michael: That’s a thing too?
Larry: Apparently, it’s a thing. Sixth, cleaning the oven. Everybody has something they dread, and what you’re getting at, Megan, is where do you add the most value? It’s not necessarily what the task you personally enjoy the most is but where you add the most value.
Megan: That’s right. For example, I said family dinners are super important. That’s something we spend time on together. Storytime is really important. I also love to organize. I feel like, as busy as our lives are, having very organized drawers and closets and cabinets eliminates a ton of friction in our lives.
Michael: It’s kind of a superpower for you too. You’re really good at it.
Megan: I love it. The Container Store is my happy place.
Larry: Michael, we’ve mentioned the Desire Zone a couple of times, and you talked briefly about it, but I think there are probably people who need a quick refresh on what the Freedom Compass is and the Desire Zone that’s a part of that.
Michael: Okay. You’re going to have to visualize this a little bit. I want you to imagine that we have a two-by-two matrix, which I love two-by-two matrixes. There’s a two-by-two matrix for anything you want to explain in the world. In this particular one, one axis is your passion and the other axis is your proficiency. So, what you love and what you’re good at. When those come together, what you love and what you’re good at, we call the Desire Zone.
The exact opposite, particularly relevant for this discussion, is your Drudgery Zone where you don’t have any passion and you don’t have any proficiency. For me, that would be, like I said before, fixing things. I’m not passionate about it, I’m not any good at it, and it’s just a disaster when I try to do it. But there are two other zones too. There are things you’re proficient at but not passionate for, and those we call the Disinterest Zone.
For me, that’s doing things like either company or personal accounting, paying the bills. I’m actually pretty good at that. I can create the spreadsheets. I can run Quicken or QuickBooks, and I’ve done that. I did that for years, but I had zero passion. It was something I kind of had a low-level dread about every weekend when I had to do that. So that’s your Disinterest Zone. Again, it’s going to be different for everybody.
Then there’s the Distraction Zone. I don’t know how that affects us at home, but it definitely affects us at work, where we have passion or we enjoy doing it, but we’re not really any good at it, and it’s a place sometimes we go for fake work to avoid the real work or the Desire Zone work where we add the most value. That’s kind of in a nutshell the Freedom Compass, but the idea is where you’re going to add the most value is when you’re spending the most time in your Desire Zone activities, and that means you have to begin by getting rid of the Drudgery Zone activities. That’s how I prioritize it.
Megan: This is really easy to come up with on the personal side, because we all have things we just hate to do. Maybe in your Disinterest Zone…you’re good at it, but you don’t love it…would be grocery shopping, but you hate cutting the grass, and that’s in your Drudgery Zone. You’re not good at it. Every time you do it, you don’t weed-eat well or you skip that part. It doesn’t look good.
Michael: Or cut your toe.
Megan: Yikes! That’s something below your Drudgery Zone.
Michael: Danger zone.
Megan: That’s right. But I think it’s pretty easy for everybody to make a list of these things.
Larry: We’re talking about the things you’re passionate about or at home that you enjoy doing and the things you have some proficiency at. Would it be fair here to substitute on the home front the things that add the most value to your family or to your rejuvenation?
Megan: Yeah, I like that. I think that’s a helpful, very practical way to think about it.
Michael: It starts by making a list. We encourage people to do this, our coaching clients and at The Focused Leader. Literally, to go back through your calendar or to go back through your task list for the last couple of weeks and make a list of everything you’ve done on the home front. Don’t discriminate here, but just everything you’ve done over the last week. Just get a list. Then what we encourage people to do is go through and rate them.
Are you passionate about this? Do you enjoy doing this? It’s a simple question to ask. Then ask yourself on every single one of those items, “Am I good at it?” You have to be honest. “Am I good at it?” Now those things you’re passionate about and that you’re proficient at are going to be your Desire Zone activities, and those where you have neither passion nor proficiency are going to be your Drudgery Zone, and those are going to be the first items we’re going to encourage you to eliminate. We’re going to talk about how to do that in a minute.
Megan: By the way, this is an excellent exercise to do with your spouse or partner, because what you will find is that, hopefully, you have some differences in what your Desire Zone activities and your Drudgery Zone activities are, and one of the strategies you can use, as we start talking about eliminating, automating, and delegating everything that’s not inside your Desire Zone, is to trade off with your spouse or to delegate to your spouse things you don’t enjoy that maybe they do.
Michael: Like we said before, clarity is everything, and the whole point of this step is to get clarity about where each of these tasks fall into your Freedom Compass so you can decide what you’re going to delegate first or what you’re going to eliminate or automate first. That’s the whole point.
Larry: Step 1: determine what matters most at home. Step 2: filter those activities to see where you gain the most value. That brings us to Step 3: eliminate, automate, or delegate the things that are outside your Desire Zone.
Megan: This is going to be so fun. I can’t wait to dig into these things.
Michael: We should say we’re kind of a work in process, because we’re still finding new areas where we can process this, but that’s so fun. I referred to it earlier. We had the team training yesterday where people were sharing all of these hacks at home, and my head exploded. There were so many things I hadn’t thought of, so many ways to be more efficient at home and make it more fun. We’re going to share some of that here.
Larry: Let’s talk about, first of all, eliminate. That’s the way the Freedom Compass works. That’s the way we do it at work. So, eliminate at home. How have you done that?
Megan: For example, some people think they have to cook every day, but actually, you can do what we call mega-batching, and you can cook in an afternoon on the weekend so you don’t even have to worry about it all week. For example, one of our team members, Deidra, shared yesterday about a book she loves called Cook Once, Eat All Week. I haven’t heard of this book, but it’s a brilliant concept. Apparently, you take an hour and a half on the weekends, and you’re able to cook enough meals for the whole week, and apparently, the meals are excellent.
Michael: It has recipes too.
Megan: It has recipes, and there are recipes for different diets.
Michael: Shopping lists.
Megan: All kinds of stuff. It’s great. So that’s a good one. Also, just not manicuring your lawn to the same extent. Some people really go over the top about that. Maybe you could mow a little less often or maybe you could have more simple beds and plants so you’re not out there planting flowers. Also, parents, pay attention to this. School fundraisers or volunteering. Make a donation, but you don’t have to go door to door. You don’t have to be in the PTO. You can just choose to opt out. That’s a way of eliminating.
Michael: I want to add to that. This is my de facto response to any invitation I get to any kind of fundraiser: “I will pay you if I don’t have to come.” Because that’s going to take an entire evening of my life, an evening I will never get back. I know the whole point is to try to “wow” me and get me to write a check, so I’ll write the check if I don’t have to come.
Megan: I think that’s great. I’ve just decided with my kids that I have opted out of volunteering at school. Now, certainly, that could be a Desire Zone activity for some parents. They love to go to school. They love to help with the parties. I hate it.
Michael: Don’t you feel guilty?
Megan: No, I don’t. I send stuff in. I send snacks, whatever they need. I’m happy to do that, but I don’t actually volunteer. Also, Pinterest-style birthday parties. Okay. Just a little secret from a mom of five. Just go to the trampoline place, pay the $150, or whatever it costs, and come home to your clean, quiet house and be grateful.
Michael: I don’t even know what a Pinterest-style birthday party is. What is that?
Megan: Oh, you were not raising kids in this whole season of Pinterest. You’re talking about wedding-level birthday parties, where parents are making decorations, themed food. It’s ridiculous.
Michael: So this is where parents do this to themselves.
Megan: Right. But you feel pressure, so you feel like you’re supposed to do it. Another thing like that is sending Christmas cards. We’ve never sent Christmas cards, because I just can’t get it together to do that, but if you think of the hours that are involved… Forget the choosing outfits and the color coordination, but the addressing the envelopes, trying to get them.
Michael: Here’s why this is so easy to eliminate. Think about what you do with the Christmas cards you get. You literally look at them for less than two seconds and throw them in the trash. Am I right?
Megan: Also, we have Instagram.
Michael: That’s right.
Larry: I’m going to stick up for Christmas cards, because that’s in a friend of mine’s Desire Zone to handwrite notes on beautiful cards.
Michael: If it’s handwritten, that’s a different thing.
Larry: I’m not going to say who it is, but someone I know well, and then you get to buy the cool stamps that only come out once a year, and it’s really a fun activity.
Megan: Well, that’s a great example. If it’s in your Desire Zone, then you keep going.
Larry: Yeah, it’s in my Desire Zone. I’ll just go ahead and put it out there. It is for some people, but I do understand…. My list is very small. I don’t send a lot of Christmas cards.
Megan: You’re not sending 200 cards to everybody in your church.
Larry: No. I’m sorry, Michael, but I don’t know if you guys are on my list this year.
Michael: Apparently not. I would remember that. But for everybody who sends those Christmas cards where they just sign their name on the bottom… Let’s just save the trees. Don’t do that. It’s totally worthless. I couldn’t care less.
Megan: It can totally be eliminated.
Michael: Yeah, eliminate it.
Megan: Another thing: extracurricular activities. In our house, we limit one activity per kid, which is still plenty to keep us busy, and that is a huge help. We could do more. Every year, my kids ask, “Can we do Cub Scouts? Can we do this other thing, this club, or band?” or whatever. We just say, “No. You get to pick one thing, and we’re happy to take you to that one thing, but we’re not going to be running around like crazy.” Again, because our priority is dinner at the family table most nights of the week, and we probably get five nights a week at the table.
Michael: You have to decide if you want to be a taxi driver or not, because that’s essentially what you’re dooming yourself to if you allow more than that. All you’re going to be doing is driving.
Larry: Okay. So that’s eliminate. Let’s talk about automate. What are we going to automate at home?
Megan: This is such a fun one. I’m literally giddy thinking about it. We have never lived in a better time for automation than now, especially on the personal side. There are so many services and apps that are relatively inexpensive or free that can make your life easier. For example, financially. There are auto-deposits, direct deposits. There’s automatic bill pay. There are budgeting apps with reminders, like Mint or You Need A Budget.
Another area that is huge is groceries and meal prep. This is something that for most people takes probably two hours or more a week. You can use shopping services like Instacart or Prime Now, Kroger ClickList, Shipt, all those things, and you’re going to have groceries delivered for free or almost free and save yourself that whole time. For example, I ordered groceries through Instacart the other day, and I think it cost me $15, and I saved two hours. I mean, my hourly rate is more than $15, which is a great way to think about this, by the way.
Michael: Do you have to tip those people, typically?
Megan: Yeah. Maybe I tipped them $10 or something.
Michael: Okay. But think of it this way. People say, “Well, I don’t really want to pay the tip.” Again, think of what your hourly rate is. You’re going to pay $5 or $10 for a tip to save yourself two hours? No-brainer.
Megan: There are also menu-planning services that give recipes, and some ship ingredients. There are also the box meal companies. Those are great. You can batch menu planning by the week or month. This is one of the things I have. Every time the season changes, like spring, summer, fall, winter, I have a list of recipes I just work through. I have maybe 20 recipes for each of those seasons, and then I never have to think about what’s for dinner again because I’ve planned it, and it’s just automated.
Michael: And it’s enough variety.
Megan: It’s enough variety. It’s not too much, but it’s enough.
Michael: Sometimes people think they have to come up with something brand new every time, and they don’t.
Larry: I just want to pause here and sort of state the obvious, I guess. I never thought of these things as automation, but they really are.
Megan: They’re kind of like self-automation.
Larry: They are. A number of the things you’ve said, I think I’m going to go home… I don’t have to actually write a check to the electric company every month. They will auto-withdraw that if I want them to. I can check it and keep track of my usage, but wow.
Megan: In every one of these cases with automation (and we’re going to get into some more ideas in a second) there’s an initial investment of time to either set it up with an app or something like that or, like in my example of menu planning, it takes me several hours… I’m pretty much done with it now. I can just use it forever, but when I first did it, it took me several hours to make those menus for each group of seasons in the year. Now I don’t even think about it, but a few hours invested saves me probably an hour or more a week.
Michael: Okay. I have an automation one I just learned about, and I’ve been using it now for about two months.
Megan: I know what you’re going to say. This is cool.
Michael: This is really cool. So, one of my least favorite things to do…it feels like a total waste of time…is to stop and fill up my car with gas. It takes about 10 minutes, sometimes more. Usually, I discover that I’m out of gas when I’m in a rush to another meeting, so then it really is an inconvenience. Now what I do… I use an app called Yoshi. (We’ll have a link with my affiliate link in the show notes.)
Here’s the cool thing about it: all I do through the app is I schedule a fill-up at my house or at the office or wherever I am located, and I have Gail’s car in it too. It costs like $20 a month, but they guarantee you that they’ll give you the same rate or less for the gas that’s selling within a two-mile radius of where your fill-up is.
Then they come out with a small truck, fill up your car, send you a photo. I mean, the level of service is unbelievable. They send you a photo of them filling up the car, tell you that it’s done, and send you a receipt, because they have your credit card on file. So I never have an issue with gas anymore. It’s just one little thing. It seems like, “Well, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. What’s the big deal?” but for me, that’s just a convenience. It can be automated.
Megan: I think it shows, too, that there are areas of friction in your life on the personal side that you don’t even notice until you start thinking about it. Once you start thinking about it, there’s a huge opportunity to remove that frustration through elimination or automation. Okay. Let’s talk about household and supplies beyond grocery shopping. So, prescriptions. This is one of the most maddening things to me.
If you or your family are on regular prescriptions, dealing with Walgreens, and they all run out on different days, it can feel like all you do is go to Walgreens or CVS to pick up your prescriptions. However, you can set that up on a three-month delivery. I think Walgreens has something like this. You can also do this amazing service I use called PillPack. PillPack comes in little pouches that are pre-measured, so all you have to do is tear off your little packet of prescriptions. It can be administered at certain times a day, so if you have things you take at different times a day… It’s just super helpful. I love that one.
Another really annoying one is air filters in your house. How many people are forgetting to change their air filters because they never think about it? There’s a service called Second Nature that will send you filters every month or every 60 days. You can set up what you want and how often you want it delivered. We have never had cleaner air since we signed up for that.
Then, of course, Subscribe & Save on Amazon for pet food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, or just Amazon in general. I mean, I used to go to Target once a week for home supplies. I never go anymore, and I can tell you that I’m saving money, because I’m not buying all of the random other things at Target. I didn’t buy any earrings or something like that. It is so helpful.
Larry: Let me just pause here so Megan can take a breath sharing all of her favorite things, and we can just remind people, if you’re driving or whatever you may be doing, we’ll put these all in the show notes, every resource we mention today. So just go to leadto.win, and you can click on them there.
Megan: There are a few other things here in the category of chores. You know, a robotic vacuum. I’ve never done this. Have you?
Michael: I haven’t done it.
Megan: The Roomba is a big favorite there. There are also a couple of other brands. You could also switch to under-counter water filters instead of using the pitcher-style ones. That’s kind of an automation. You don’t have to think about it anymore.
Larry: I don’t know why I never thought of that.
Megan: Yeah. Self-automation, making yourself a chore schedule. Also, using activation triggers. Activation triggers are basically attaching something you need to do to something else you’re already doing that’s going to naturally remind you without you having to think about it. For example, I have my vitamins next to my face care products in my bathroom, so every night when I go and wash my face, I’m like, “Oh yeah.” I’m reminded that I need to also take my vitamins, which for most people, at least for me anyway, can be hard to remember.
Michael: Yeah, that’s good.
Megan: That’s a good one.
Larry: Let me ask you about these home management systems like from Amazon, Google, and Apple. Everybody has their little Echo or these devices. Do you use that kind of thing?
Megan: I don’t use that kind of thing. I have to be honest and say it kind of freaks me out a little bit.
Larry: What about you, Michael?
Megan: But you do.
Michael: Yeah, totally. I love home automation. I wish I could go through and rewire my entire house and put it all on home automation, because I have an app. I use the Lutron system, and before that I was using… Amazon has their own system with the Echo, and so forth. But, yeah, my lights come on at a specific time every morning. They go off at a specific time every night. All of the wall lamps in our entire house are controlled by automation. I wish I had the garage door set up with Lutron in the same system, and I wish I had the lock set up in the same thing.
Megan: Oh, that would be cool.
Michael: But our alarm system…all that can be controlled with the app.
Megan: I have that for our home security system as well on an app, and it’s pretty cool.
Larry: Okay. We’ve talked about eliminating some things from your personal life or your home life, automating some things, and now delegating. I have to tell you, this was pretty easy for me when I had six teenagers at home.
Megan: That’s right. Teenagers are very handy for delegation.
Larry: I don’t have that anymore. Can you help me?
Megan: Yeah. There are a lot of options here, actually. This is probably where most people’s minds will go first, not the automation or elimination, so this will be a little easier to wrap your head around. For example, housecleaning. This is one of the things, as your list pointed out, that’s really frustrating for people. You can start small by having somebody come every other week.
Michael: That’s how we started.
Megan: That’s right. We did too. That’s a relatively small investment for a big payoff. You can get your bathrooms cleaned. All of those things are important. The blinds and the baseboards. You could even just have somebody come and do your floors, whatever you hate the most. You can evaluate the impact that investing in that service would have on your personal margin, your ability to rejuvenate, your ability to invest in your family.
Michael: When Gail and I first hired somebody to help with the housecleaning, it was a struggle mentally. First of all, we have to admit, not everybody has the same kind of resources, and frankly, when we started this, we felt like it was a little bit of a stretch. We didn’t know where the money was going to come from, but I thought, “Man, if this could free Gail up…” This is not the highest and best use of Gail. She doesn’t enjoy it. To be honest, she’s not that great at it.
I thought if we could bring in somebody else to help with at least the heavy cleaning every couple of weeks it would free her up to do what she does best, which is anything having to do with relationships. She was still struggling with it, because she felt like, “I really need to own this.” I said to her, “Well, look. One of the things you’re going to be doing by doing this is giving somebody else meaningful work.”
All of a sudden, she got excited, because it was my niece who was doing it initially, and she got super excited about helping her, so then it made sense. I think we just have to acknowledge that not everybody is going to have the resources to do this, because we’re going to get into some really advanced stuff here that we’ve been able to do at this stage in our lives, but it can be expensive.
Megan: We also worked up to it. The truth is in every one of these categories, regardless of your budget, there are options you can take advantage of.
Larry: It may be that people have the resources, but they’re not convinced it’s the best use of their money, and that’s a hurdle to get over as well.
Megan: I think that’s where you have to think about what your time is worth.
Michael: So, should we go to yard work?
Megan: Yeah. Yard work is a great one. You hate doing this.
Michael: I hate doing this, and for years now, probably 15 years, we’ve had a service that comes to our house. It’s like a swarm of locusts. There are like 10 guys who show up, and in 20 minutes, they have completely trimmed the lawn, they’ve done all of the weed-eating, they’ve trimmed the bushes if they need it, they’ve made sure there aren’t weeds in the beds, all that. I can’t believe how much they get done. That would take me hours on a Saturday.
Megan: When I was a kid, we used to spend all day Saturday working in the yard. I can hear the groans in my memory.
Michael: Oh my gosh. So true. Obviously, we have to pay for that, but that happens every Friday so that it’s ready for the weekend and we get to enjoy the lawn and all that over the weekend.
Megan: Now if you love this, don’t delegate it, but if you hate it, then think about delegating it. Also laundry. I’ve said that several times. There are pick-up and delivery services for both laundry and dry cleaning. Laundry Care nationwide is one. You can also, as several members of our team have done, find a babysitter, if you have someone regularly babysitting for you, who will also do laundry. That’s a great solution.
Michael: I’m a little bit hesitant to talk about this one. This is the advanced state I was talking about. You and I both employ a person we call a home manager. I have Kyle. You have Tessa. Is Tessa full time?
Megan: She is.
Michael: Kyle is half time. He works from about 7:30 to about 12:30. What Kyle does is he manages everything related to the house. He doesn’t do the housecleaning, but he manages the house cleaners. He manages the vendors. We have a construction project going on. He’s managing all that. He runs errands for us. He does all the food prep. He does the shopping.
Michael: And he loves the laundry. He even does the cooking for us. He cooks breakfast for us, he cooks lunch for us, and he does the food prep for dinner. This has made such an enormous difference in our family. First of all, Kyle is like family. We love him to death. He has added so much value, and it really frees Gail up, and it frees me up, because I always have an organized, clean home. I always know the meals are going to be prepped, the laundry is going to be done, all that stuff, and I know I’m not burdening Gail with that. She’s free to love on the grandkids, to be involved in church, and a lot of other stuff that’s a better use of her.
Megan: This is obviously the ultimate level of this. In our home, Kyle and Tessa are using these strategies of elimination and automation to make their work more efficient. Speaking for myself, the ability to make the investment in our business that I want and need to and the ability to be the mom I want and need to is made possible by having someone take over the management of our home.
Certainly, I could do most of those things, but it would come at a cost. It would come at the cost of stress and exhaustion, and probably, with as many kids as I have and as much professional responsibility as I have, it wouldn’t be possible for me to do what I’m doing without her, so she is a lifesaver. She handles all of the cooking for us during the week. I cook on the weekends.
She does grocery shopping. She manages all of the vendors. Today we have somebody doing some electrical work at our house, and she’s handling that so I don’t have to think about it. She makes appointments for the kids. She changes sheets. She organizes things. I mean, all of the things I would do if I were a stay-at-home mom, she does, because as it turns out, that is a full-time job.
Larry: Well, today we’ve learned your Desire Zone doesn’t have to be just for work. It’s okay to eliminate, automate, and delegate at home too, and there are a variety of ways to go about that from free or sort of self-hacks to much more resource-intensive solutions. It starts when you determine what matters most at home, then filter those household activities to see where you add the most value, and then eliminate, automate, and delegate so you stay within your Desire Zone. What’s your final thought on this topic, Megan?
Megan: At Michael Hyatt & Company we talk a lot about the idea of winning at work and succeeding at life. That’s what we call the double win, and it’s what we are the most passionate about. It’s our mission. The truth is if you’re going to succeed in your life, one of the best ways you can do that is to apply the same strategies that have helped you to be productive and effective in your professional life at home, and that’s really what we’re talking about today. I promise you the ROI on that is much greater than you even think.
Michael: We’ve talked about this in a previous episode, but I think it’s important to develop an experimental mindset. You don’t have to do this forever, but even if you’re going to get housecleaning or if you’re going to get some other service to help you, just try it as an experiment. See if it makes a difference in your life. See if it gets you the margin that enables you to do the things that you and only you can do. If you can do that, you’re going to add value not just at work but at home.
Larry: Well, thanks for sharing these practical tips today. I think this is really going to be a game changer for a lot of people.
Michael: Thank you, Larry. Thanks for leading us through this. And thank you guys for joining us on Lead to Win. If you enjoyed this episode, please do your friends a favor and share this episode in your social feeds. We’ll see you here next week when we’ll show you how to take your critical thinking skills to the next level. Until then, lead to win.