Episode 47 – Simplify your Life with James Schramko

In today’s episode, we kick start 2016 with an amazing interview with James Schramko of superfastbusiness.com.

Throughout the episode, we explore some of the core principles that help people grow as professionals and achieve outstanding results. We also dive deep into the power of a digital detox and going ‘analog’ in our daily lives and how this can impact the lives that we lead.

Other concepts explored in the episode include
1. How deliberate planning works
2. Why one at a time goals make sense for growth
3. The meaning of Ikigai
4. Why you should question everything
5. and much more..

If you’re looking for accountability and support to grow as a PE professional and implement many of the concepts featured in today’s episode, then I strongly encourage you to take a look at the ConnectedPE Community.

Press Play below to listen or visit the podcast page. Alternatively download a full episode transcript here


00:29 Jarrod Robinson: Hello and welcome to the PE Geek podcast and the first episode for 2016. Now I’m gonna start by saying that I’m so excited for what the year holds in terms of this podcast, all of the content on our website at thepegeek.com, our webinars, live events and everything else. If you thought 2015 was good for the content, then 2016 is going to be even better and I’m really excited to be bringing you as much as we possibly can to help you use technology in your classroom effectively. However, before we get to that point we’re gonna talk about a topic which might seem a little bit counterintuitive to a podcast which is all about educational technology. However, I think there are some core underlying messages that absolutely make the stuff that you’re doing with technology all the more powerful. Now, in the latter part of 2015, I wrote a blog post called Digital Detox which really seemed to resonate with the audience, and basically I was sort of talking about all the different things that you can do to relieve yourself of the major stresses related to digital life and technology and lots of the different things that can be absolutely counter-productive to the things that we do.

01:57 JR: Now, I went outside of the physical education space to find someone who has achieved this on a whole level unlike anyone you probably ever likely to come across again. We’re gonna be interviewing James Schramko of SuperFast Business who is the adviser to the advisers when it comes to seeking improvement in all forms of life. He’s very much like a life coach, a business coach wrapped up into one and throughout his journey… He actually began as an internet marketer and someone who spent an enormous amount of time online connected to devices and working in all those sorts of things that very much parallel with the lives of teachers. So, I wanted to share him and his insight into breaking through so many of the hurdles which I know for a fact are gonna happen to teachers when they get back to school in the new year and they’re bombarded with a million different tasks.

03:02 JR: Hopefully, the things that you encounter in this particular episode will help you simplify your life and really focus in on the things that matter, and for us obviously it’s helping students achieve a result, and it’s helping us achieve a personal growth as well. So, in this particular episode, we’re taking you right back to the absolute basics and you’d be surprised how powerfully profound that is. It might seem obvious, it might seem completely, completely what you should be doing, but the reality is most people are not doing it and hopefully James’ message will sink in and help you get to that particular point. Now, as always with all of our episodes, you can head along to thepegeek.com and find full episode transcript and the notes and resources and links from each of our episodes. So, without further ado, it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome James Schramko, how are you James?

04:03 James Schramko: I’m really good, thank you, Jarrod.

04:05 JR: Awesome. Now, before we start I really wanna publicly thank you for the help that you have sort of made possible for me, and I’m doing this on behalf of the people who are listening because the stuff that you’re helping me with has directly impacted the people who are listening to this podcast, and going to the blog, and listening to the community, and all of the sort of stuff that we’re doing. So, really wanna make that clear in public right now in front of my audience, so thank you for that.

04:34 JS: That’s very kind. It’s kind of like I am a wholesale coach enabling other coaches to go and be really good for their community.

04:43 JR: Absolutely, and I really appreciate it. So what does your background sort of involve? I’ve got you onto the community… Onto the podcast today, because I feel that you help people get results. Is that sort of the flavour of things that you help people do?

04:58 JS: I think so, I see myself as a problem solver and I’m a good business problem solver. I’ve had a good broad exposure to serious business in big brands, and also small business, and local, and international. So, I’ve got a really good gamut of business experiences that allow me to quickly identify where people can make changes to get better results. So it’s like being an almanac of business strategy and knowing pretty much what’s going to happen for when you change things just because I’ve been exposed to it before.

05:37 JR: Perfect. I feel like there’s so many parallels between the things that you’re doing in the space that you operate in and the sort of things that teachers are looking for with their own growth, and it sort of comes back to this initial phase where I feel like planning is sort of important and you’ve got some really big insight into why you feel that’s a relevant thing to do.

06:00 JS: Well, if success is about doing the right things, then it’s sort of helpful to identify what those things might be and then to actually plan them. That’s sort of the first premise.

06:10 JR: And do you have some sort of framework that you tend to follow related to planning? Is it as simple as putting down your thoughts like you’ve mentioned?

06:20 JS: Well, I break it into timelines. I work with 12 weeks, which some people call quarterly, but we don’t like the word quarterly so much ’cause that implies a quarter of a year and it defeats the purpose of having a short deadline. See, if you have a long deadline you tend not to do things. It’s like if I said to a year seven student, “Look, you’ll be doing your high school certificate in year 12,” I’m sure they’re not really that focused on it, but if you said to a year 12 student, “Okay, we’re gonna have our first round of trial exams in just 12 weeks from now,” they’re gonna have to start thinking about it. So, putting timelines uses that deadline effect and it takes into account Parkinson’s law which is that work expands to fill the time available. So, if you shorten the time you tend to shorten the amount of time things actually take to do. You’ll actually be able to complete multiple times worth of stuff in the traditional year than most people because you’re reassessing on a more regular basis.

07:26 JR: Awesome. So, I feel like this is definitely a problem of general teachers, myself included, not necessarily having regular checkpoints for their own goals and professional growth, and I feel like the ConnectedPE community that we’ve set up definitely sort of fills that gap. Have you sort of found this to be the true flavour with communities?

07:48 JS: Well, in the communities that I have they are highly performance oriented. I’m held accountable by my students. In fact, if I don’t do a good job of getting them their results they’re not going to stick around. So, I’ve developed multiple ways of helping people get results, and one of the most effective is to have people be accountable daily, so that regular frequency. And the other thing that’s turned out to be really effective is to just reduce their focus to just one item, so doing one thing at a time.

08:23 JR: One thing at a time.

08:23 JS: So, it’s a small input with a small timeframe, so things tend to move along fairly quickly.

08:30 JR: Awesome. And because of that you start to see regular touch points as well from people and you get to have a bit of a look over the top of their shoulders to see that they’re progressing along.

08:41 JS: I’d be like the GPS system in the car reminding you that you missed your turn and you need to take the next turn to get back on track.

08:48 JR: Yeah, I feel like teachers don’t have this guidance a lot of the time, like we get thrown into classes and we don’t tend to have that support mechanism that’s on a day to day basis, that’s accountable. Do you think accountability plays into it at all?

09:04 JS: I think it varies depending on… Some people are very self directed, I would say I am very self directed and then there’s other people who really need some strong help in that regard. So, if I were to give you a nice metaphor for that, it would be if you and I go down to the bowling alley and I can swing the ball down the aisle and hit the pins most of the time and you might be hitting the gutters every time. You need bumper bowling, you need those bumpers up to guide you back on track and to avoid you going into the ditch. So, if someone is feeling that it’s sort of hard to move forward with things there’d be a few things that I’d look at. Firstly, it’s their motivation as to why it’s not that important for them to do it, and then I’d be looking at their conditioning, what’s caused them in the past to have this approach, and then I’d be looking at what sort of support or environment could help construct a better outcome for them. And for those people, sitting down and clearly identifying just a few steps to move forward with and putting a short timeframe on it and then finding out how they’re going. It’s kind of like the student who does the homework the night before, if you have a daily update or a weekly catch up then at least they’re doing their homework every week and they’re making progress.

10:29 JR: Yeah, for sure, and I really wanna touch on another point that you mentioned there recently about the person’s… Is it something that they enjoy in their purpose, I know that you recently made a blog post about, what is it ikigai? Something along those lines?

10:44 JS: Yeah, it’s… Yeah, ikigai, ikigai. It’s hard to pronounce, it’s a Japanese word.

10:50 JR: What’s that all about? Because I feel like that’s also a pretty relevant thing for growth.

10:55 JS: It’s about finding your life meaning. It’s touched on in various business texts, but the original Japanese one is about aligning what you love, so your absolute passion, with things that you’re good at that you actually can get paid for and that the world needs. So, if you can find something that encounters all of those areas then you’re gonna end up reaching your life’s purpose, the reason for waking up in the morning they call it.

11:29 JR: Awesome. So at the moment for you a big part of things that you do is obviously helping people through a community, helping people achieve growth I guess and would you count some of your own day to day activities in there as well? Like the… I know surfing is a major thing that you enjoy.

11:48 JS: Absolutely, I think surfing actually helps me meditate, to be earthed, to go analogue, get away from a computer. I think that actually makes me a better person, karma. I’m more appreciative of the world around me, and I think that translates directly through to my students because I’m in a better position to help them. I’m more centered and a little more… I can also relate to challenges in a constantly changing dynamic because you get so many lessons when you surf.

12:24 JR: Awesome. So where did that start for you? Is it something that you’ve always done? Or is this a new hobby that you’ve picked up along the way?

12:32 JS: It’s not something that I’ve always done. I actually traded workaholism for surfing about two years ago if I were to put it in a humorous context. I actually went to a retreat that podcast partner, Ezra Firestone, and I put on. We actually decided, “Hey, you know what? We should rent a house on the north shore of Hawaii. We should invite some business owners to come along and we will sit down with them and fix up their business. We’ll also teach them yoga and we’ll feed them nutritious food and we’ll do some healthy activities.” And Ezra and I grabbed a surfboard and he took me down to Chuns Reef for a surfing lesson. It was my first time surfing as an adult, and we went out there and he said, “You make sure you fall flat like a pancake,” and I’m like, “Why?” “Yes, well, ’cause there’s a razor sharp reef underneath.” I’m like, “So this is where you bring people to teach them surfing.”

13:35 JS: And I basically sort of liked it and since I live at the beach, and I see the surfers and I liked the culture, and I liked the way they carry themselves in society here, I liked the food they ate, and I liked the clothes they wear I thought, “Maybe I should just absorb a little more of that culture and get into it.” So I got myself a surfboard and here we are now like a complete surfing addict and it absolutely changed my life.

14:05 JR: Sure. I mean, I think there’s a really big lesson there about going analogue and I think that applies to everyone ’cause I feel like people are going down this rabbit hole of digital tools and social media. I feel like teachers are the same, like getting bombarded with emails from colleagues at all hours of the day. I mean, how important is that analogue world to you?

14:29 JS: I think it’s almost gonna be a lost art. I grew up in a generation where we didn’t have the tech when I was a kid. We were riding BMX bikes out at night with no helmets and then coming home when the street lights come on. Yeah, the technology only really started coming in when I was in the last years of school and then in my working career it gradually came in until the point where it was so obvious that things were going tech that I decided to focus on understanding it and to build a business around it, which is what I did starting about 11 years ago. I think that there’s some wonderful things that tech can bring. It’s great for reuniting people with long lost school friends and it could be good for relationship building and discovering parts of the world and all of those things, but it also… Really, it can be a massive disease for society.

15:27 JS: If you look around when you’re out and about you’ll see people glued to a small screen. They’ll be in restaurants texting people when they should be talking to each other perhaps. They’ll be just on another planet, they’re really in a trance or zoned out. And they’re also putting a lot of data out there for everyone else to acquire and to target, and I think they’re dulling their life experience. So, for me, putting down the tech was a big step because there’s a lot of science showing that we get addicted to it that when the little ding goes off on our notification, that a little bit of dopamine releases and gives us a positive feeling, we’re needed, there’s something for us.

16:14 JS: And I’ve noticed with my own kids they can really get heavily absorbed into it and it can change behavior. So, I think it’s a problem for society. I think in 10 years from now, and you can look this back up if you want and tell me if I’m right or wrong, and I hope I’m wrong, but I think it’ll be a tragic social disease as bad as smoking or asbestos and all the other things we found out weren’t such a good idea at that time, like putting coconut oil on at the beach or eating from aluminum pots. I think it’s gonna be something that they look back on and go, “Gosh, that was a horrific situation that we put society in.”

17:00 JR: Sure, definitely. Do you have any obvious action steps that you have that you sort of abide by related to managing email or anything?

17:10 JS: Yeah, really simple ones. Firstly, let go of the need to be accessing everything all the time. You don’t have to be in the grid so be aware of this fear of missing out and just be okay with not having everything, not subscribing to every email, not feeling that you have to log in to something all the time. It’s not really going to change the world if you don’t log in ’til tomorrow. The world’s not gonna miss you if you’re not there on Facebook for a couple of hours. Simple things you can do are just not taking technology to bed, like don’t take devices into the bedroom, just clear your inbox, keep it empty and have good habits around the way you manage that so that you’re not feeling burdened by a growing inbox by setting appropriate filters and not letting the wrong things in and making sure that you’re only really dealing with the vital that you can release yourself of a lot of that pressure and then just don’t get confused about needing to have all these interactions on social media, it doesn’t really grow you as a person that much. There’s a lot of things to do in the outside world that you could experience that I think people are missing out on.

18:28 JR: For sure. I’ve really rallied that call about email and I think you made a really good point, I can’t remember where I heard you say it, but email is the to do list of other people is that…

18:40 JS: Is it. Email is literally a to do list that other people get to add things to, so…


18:44 JR: I feel like people don’t even use it effectively.

18:48 JS: Hardly anyone uses it effectively. I’d say we’re in the very rare few who are under control with email. I think it’s probably the number one killer for productivity for business owners or people who are trying to effectively manage their life, they’re usually always feeling a sense of being behind, a sense of overload, a sense of overwhelm, sense of confusion. Invariably when they do try and address it they don’t have the techniques that equip them to be able to deal with it properly. So they end up making bad decisions, spending money when they shouldn’t, and getting into even worse rabbit holes.

19:32 JR: For sure. And if you would like to… If you’re listening here and you would like to tackle your inbox woes, then there is a training inside of the Connected PE community that will help you get inbox zero and help you with some of the management workflows that I use personally to tackle my email. James that’s probably brings it to the end of our episode, focusing in on some of the stuff here related to digital world. Is there anything else that you wanna to share about this whole overwhelming digital life that we have?

20:05 JS: Well I think just a general overview is to question everything. Just think about what it is that you want. Sometimes you’re so close to it, it’s hard to see and you need some help from the outside. So I would say, especially in your case, someone listening to this podcast would be wise to ask you, Jared, if they see what you’re up to and they think that you’ve got some things figured out, then they should seek your guidance on how they might achieve that as well. When we set down last year and talked about what you’ve been up to and what your plans were, we were able to map out some ideas that you were able to implement that made significant and lasting compounded changes for the rest of your whole life time. So getting an outside perspective is a good start, but make sure that whoever you’re getting advice from is qualified to give it to you.

21:03 JS: And that’s why you should really question everything, make sure you scrutinize anyone whose advice you wanna act on, like the American public, some people are even considering voting in Donald Trump. Which from the outside looks like a terrible idea based on… If you look closely at the person and his actions and his ideas, it seems terribly dangerous. I can’t imagine him anywhere near a nuclear button for launch. That’s just scary. So question everything, have a look at where you’re getting advice from, if you’re in Jarrod’s community then interact with him, he’s a very, very smart man and I’m sure that you’ll get some good guidance.

21:48 JR: Perfect. I really feel like you’ve delivered a lot of value here around some real core principles that apply to I think everyone and this podcast could definitely resonate in so many different niches. So I wanna thank you for your time today James and I’m… Where can people find out more about you if they wanna follow the stuff that you’re doing?

22:07 JS: Well just head over to superfastbusiness.com and you’ll see what I’m up to over there.

22:12 JR: Awesome. Thank you James and we’ll speak soon.

22:15 JS: Thanks Jarrod.

22:17 JR: So there we have episode number 47 with James Schramko at SuperFast Business, and the recurring theme absolutely is about simplification. What can you do to simplify all the things that you’re doing so that you’re constantly moving forward? How can you plan for growth in 2016? Now if you need any support guidance and assistance with managing the digital overwhelm or helping you achieve some new results and I absolutely recommend heading along to the ConnectedPE community where podcast listeners can actually get access to an exclusive not available anywhere else 14 day trial. And if you wanna do that you head along to thepegeek.com/trial, T-R-I-A-L, and that will give you access to 14 days inside of ConnectedPE where you can get credited for all of the training that you’ve done including this podcast episode, you can generate a certificate for it, for your performance records, as well as every episode that’s ever happened on the PE Geek Podcast. You can generate certificates for all the webinars and most importantly you can join all of the live upcoming trainings which are happening with the phys-ed experts from all over the globe. So if you would like to join us again that link is thepegeek.com/trial, T-R-I-A-L. Okay that brings us to the end of the episode and I look forward to sharing with you on episode number 48. Until then keep learning and I will see you soon.



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