Catch Cory Huff on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns: [00:00:10] And thank you so much for being on the #PirateBroadcast. And it's a fabulous day to talk about a number of things. And if you're joining us live, thank you so much. I really appreciate the fact that you're here. And if you're watching this in the future or listening to this on a podcast, like, comment and share and all the social shenanigans that allow us to be seen to be heard and be talked about once in a while. All the #gratitude in the world. Cory good morning. How are you doing?
Cory Huff: [00:00:39] I'm doing very well. I'm up nice and early on the west coast. It's 7:00 AM. I've been up for an hour and a half because I'm a freak and I wake up, my brain is just okay, it's time to wake up. So I've already gotten my yoga in. I've done a little bit of work. It's a good thing.
Russ Johns: [00:00:55] Oh man. Oh man. I appreciate you getting up and being here today and we met through a lunch club.
Cory Huff: [00:01:04] That's correct.
Russ Johns: [00:01:05] Which is a new platform. If you haven't connected on lunch club yet, reach out to me, DM me, find out what it's all about or I'm sure Cory can inspire you to learn more about it as well. And Cory you're in Portland, one of my favorite cities of the world, and I lived in Portland and enjoyed Portland for a lot of years. And so tell us a little bit about what your focus is in Portland these days. Cause I know you got some exciting things going on.
Cory Huff: [00:01:32] Yeah, we got some good stuff going on. So we are I have a few different things. I have a, what do I call it? A problem? With starting things, like I've worked in startups my entire career and I just serially joined new companies or start new companies sometimes accidentally start new companies. And back in December, my best friend said, hey, you should come work for me. He's got a wonderful business called productive flourishing. That is actually the oldest company that I've worked for. It's 14 years old. But we are launching a new tech product in early 2022. It was some cool announcements coming soon about that. And what we're launching is a digital version of our very popular the momentum planning system. And we have been talking, the company overall, we talk with people about productivity and how to do things in a productive way without driving yourself crazy. And a lot of our clients are larger organizations or executives and team leaders. And the big topic lately has been burnout, tons and tons of people in the professional office job world. Totally burned out right now. And with possibly returning to somewhat normal, sometime in the next few months, maybe we hope a lot of people are saying, I don't want to go back to the way things were before. I don't want to go back to going to the office every day. I'd rather stay work remote, or I'd rather work from home. So there's a lot of things in flux right now. And that's about to hit the third wave of COVID. It's okay, how do we continue? Like staying safe while also not going crazy from being locked up or from, having to stay distance and as a 10 on the extrovert scale it has been a real effort for me to learn how to do that and work from home. So I'm really enjoying the process, really enjoying the experience of being part of productive flourishing, and helping people finish the projects that they love in a way that is fulfilling and exciting and brings the energy instead of burning out.
Russ Johns: [00:03:30] Yeah. And as far as burnout goes and also the last 18 months has been challenging for a lot of people. And there seems to be two camps, cory. The first camp is I've adapted to working from home and I don't necessarily want to stop. And then there's the other camp. It's I can't wait to get out of this and go back to the office and meet some people, hang out with some people and have some interactions, social interaction with somebody other than my computer screen. And so that creates a quite a divide in what businesses have an opportunity to expand on. Have you seen that in your business and in your experience?
Cory Huff: [00:04:16] Yeah, a hundred percent. So our team at productive flourishing is a hundred percent remote and we have been from the beginning. So we live in four different states and come from all over. The clients that we work with, definitely seeing those sorts of challenges too, like definitely seeing the range of experiences from we want to bring everybody back to the office to we've gone a hundred percent remote and we're letting go of our lease and we're never going back and everything in between. And definitely, managers coming to us saying, what do I do? Some people on my team want to come back to the office. Some people on my team want to stay remote. What do I do? How do I handle it? So we're all figuring it out together.
Russ Johns: [00:04:57] It takes time because one of the things that we have to think about is I don't think it's ever going to be what we would consider pre COVID normal. I think there's a lot of diversity. I think there's a lot of ideas. Cause I've been a remote worker for 10 years, over a decade. Yeah, probably longer. And the reality is that it's one of those things that you adapt to and I can go out and meet people and greet people and go to events and things like that. However my ideal workspace is some quiet time in front of the computer and I'll have any of the distractions of what a normal office would have. And so it works for me. And I have to have empathy for someone that has no kids, dogs, lots of distractions in the house that can challenge them on a regular basis. I don't know,we'll see it unfold, we'll watch it unfold, we'll see what takes place next. The big thing though, that I want to dive into is burnout because working from home, working in an office, either one, whether you're frustrated with traffic or you're frustrated with isolation, or you're frustrated with the office, one of the things that you touched base on is burnout. And that is such a key factor right now that I think a lot of people are stressed out. They don't know what's going to be happening and dive into what your thoughts are on that. Because I think it's important for us to talk about.
Cory Huff: [00:06:26] Yeah. Burnout has a few different causes, right? And when we say burnout, we're talking about just that lack of energy. The I sit down to do my work and just nothing comes. I can't summon the willpower. I can't summon the creativity to do the work and it happens chronically, it happens days at a time, weeks at a time. And the things that cause this sort of state, it's not just having too much work to do because all of us of having too much work to do can be a contributing factor, but it's also being busy being busy. It's also having life things happening, right? If you've got a new baby or if you've just moved across the country or maybe you're sick or a loved one is sick. Or there's a worldwide pandemic that's gone on for 18 months. All of those things are contributing factors and then also having the right kind of work. So if you are stuck in a job where you're being asked to do something that doesn't align well with your skills and interests and you're having to constantly force yourself to do whatever it is you're doing. Then that is a contributing factor for burnout as well. And we have been trying to dig in with people to say, what is the actual cause of your burnout here? And when we work with leaders, it's okay, your team is burned out. Why are they burned out? Are they aligned? Do you have the right projects and assignments assigned to your team? Are they working a realistic number of hours? We can't work 60 hours during a pandemic. Do you have kids at home that are distance learning? Are you supporting them? Do you have the support that you need while you're supporting your kids? So if you want to be a good leader, a good manager, it's digging in and figuring these things out in order to help your team rather than just saying, oh, go take a day off and come back.
Russ Johns: [00:08:09] Yeah. Cause I don't know. I know that when my lifestyle or all of the things in my life are not in alignment, a lot of things are distracting me and a lot of things are challenging me and not in a positive way, I have a tendency to recognize burnout sooner rather than later. And making adjustments in what you're doing, how you're doing it, where you're doing it all contributes to reducing the burnout. However, it still takes place. And like I was telling you before the show, I'm coming up on 500 episodes of the #PirateBroadcast, doing this thing and I love it. And I'm going to take a break after 500 episodes and take some time off. Do a digital detox and maybe, step away for a minute and say, okay, what can I remove from my life? And what can I add to my life to create a better alignment in what I'm doing, how I'm doing it and who I'm doing it for. So I think that's really important for us to decide, because right now we have options. There's always an opportunity out there.
Cory Huff: [00:09:18] Yeah. Yeah. I recently just pulled back from some volunteer duties that I was working on. Some things shifted at work and shifted in my personal life that made it so that I needed to pull back from my volunteer duties so that I could have the right energy and concentration level for the things that really matter. And those are painful decisions, right? It was something that I really enjoyed doing, something that I was learning a lot at, but it was just time consuming and it wasn't well aligned with what my actual skills are. It was just a need that I saw that I could help with. And I decided, you know what, I need to preserve my energy and time for the things that are the most important that helped me have the biggest impact.
Russ Johns: [00:09:59] So how did you go through the process of prioritization? Because I know that's something that a lot of people struggle with, prioritizing the things we focus our attention on.
Cory Huff: [00:10:12] Yeah. I do have a ranked list of how I prioritize things. And it's pretty explicit. So this is just talking about myself here. So top is my spiritual life. My relationship with God. For other people that might be the divine, whatever that is for you. And then it's myself, taking care of myself so that I can then take care of others. And then after that, it is my family. And then it is my friends and then my job. The job and the friends piece are a little fungible. And I think a lot of people when you get those things out of order, it starts to snowball and make everything else worse. I think for a lot of us we've been trained to not put ourselves first. And when you don't take care of yourself, if you're not exercising, if you're not eating well, if you're not meditating or praying or whatever it is that keeps you balanced. If you're not doing those things, then you're not able to show up as your best self at your work and with your friends, with your family. So that's why I think prioritizing yourself is so important. And obviously you have to take care of your job so that you have the resources to do all the other things. But I think those other things, all snowball down into work. And so whenever I have an employee or even a coworker who is struggling, I will sit down with them and say, what's going on? What's going on in your life outside of work so that we can help you figure it out.
Russ Johns: [00:11:37] One of the things that I recognize in my own life, and this is just me, is the more out of balance I am, it's stressful. I just feel that angst. It's just like your mind is always going a hundred miles an hour and there's no downtime because even when you're not doing anything, if you're thinking about the things you're not doing at the moment, it's still stressful. It still generates the energy that you need, so when you're out of alignment, when you're not working on the things you enjoy and you love, it really wears on people.
Cory Huff: [00:12:11] That sounds like being a business owner or a founder. Yesterday I was on Facebook and your Facebook shows you your memories, things you posted about one year ago or five years ago or whatever. Seven or eight years ago, I had left my day job and I had started a business and it was going well, but my post was like things that I'm thinking about today. And there were like 15 of them and they were all over the place. And I think that's true for executives. It's true for leaders. It's true for moms and dads. It's true for anybody who has responsibilities for other people. It's very easy to get caught up in all the things and there's strategies you can take to get those things out of your head. You write them down or externalize them somewhere. So you can actually see them as a list. And that usually helps a lot with the anxiety piece because then you can say, oh, okay, here's the things. And here's the ones that actually matter. And here's the order that I can do them in. That helps me a lot.
Russ Johns: [00:13:05] Yeah, I want to give a shout out to Elise. Thank you so much for being here. I love that you're joining us today, Howard. Howard's an awesome business owner here and finding that balance is a consistent way is always an ongoing challenge. Absolutely. Every day is a new adventure. Marcia says good morning to all the pirates. May you have something truly special happen in your life today. Well, having you here, Marcia, is truly special. So it's already happened and hanging out with Cory, what better activity can I have? Cory, so what do you do for downtime? Relaxation? Just when Cory wants to decompress.
Cory Huff: [00:13:45] What do I do? So my go-to I'm such an extrovert. I love hanging out with people. I get energy from hanging out with my closest friends. So I've got a Dungeons and Dragons group that I've been playing with for 10 years, 10 to 12 years, depending on the player. We've been hanging out together a long time and it's just fun. We'll get together on a Saturday afternoon and play from like noon to five. And we'd laugh and we play pretend, and we have little strategy battles and just goof off. And it's great because everybody in the group is a guy like me, in their late thirties, early forties, few kids. And it's just a nice little time for us to blow off steam. Can't do that all the time though, unfortunately. So beyond that I certainly enjoy going for a walk or exercising. I've gotten really into yoga the last two years. And then playing video games, just having something where I can sit on the couch and turn my brain off for half an hour to an hour and go blow things up.
Russ Johns: [00:14:40] Gaming is huge. Have you done anything in the VR world yet?
Cory Huff: [00:14:45] I bought an Oculus at Christmas. I bought a virtual reality headset called an Oculus at Christmas. And it's really cool, but the technology is just so close to what we think of as being virtual reality. There's a great game where you you use the little hands sensors to get the controls to fly around in a 3d... it's like playing dodge ball in an interior like three-dimensional world. And so you're on teams and you grab a ball and you fly through the air and throw that through a goal. It's really hard to describe, but it's quite impressive. You don't move with your legs, you move around with your arms. But like with the virtual reality goggles on, it feels like you're flying through space. Yeah, so there's some really cool stuff happening in VR, but it's not quite ready for mainstream.
Russ Johns: [00:15:35] It's almost there. And you think back though, when you started even in dungeon and dragons and how it's evolved in the gaming world, online activity, the fact that we're live streaming here is amazing too. So it's just, it will arrive.
Cory Huff: [00:15:54] I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in sixth grade, which was 19... And it was like the secret club. This kid saw me reading a fantasy novel in school and was like, do you want to come play D&D and it was like our secret thing that we didn't tell anybody about it. Cause we would get made fun of if anybody found out about it. And now everybody plays D&D, it's a $500 million a year business and they've got celebrities doing live streams.
Russ Johns: [00:16:22] Look at the cosplay expansion that's taken place.
Cory Huff: [00:16:27] Absolutely.
Russ Johns: [00:16:28] And it's just we all have an essence of adventure in us. I think, it's one of those things that we just haven't explored it to the point where we've found our real place in that arena yet.
Cory Huff: [00:16:40] I love it. I was so into reading mythology as a kid like Hercules and Greek mythology and stuff like that. Superheroes are our modern day mythology and it is so cool to see the stuff that I read in my room, under a blanket so that nobody would see me with a flashlight, like that stuff's on the movies now, and that's crazy. And everybody knows who iron man is now. And it is really fun to see that stuff.
Russ Johns: [00:17:06] Yeah. Hey, KD joins us. He says, hello. Jenny Gold in from Colorado. Good morning pirates. Jenny says, this is a great show, thank you. Thank you so much for being here, everyone. We had an issue with LinkedIn joining us, so LinkedIn broke. I think I fixed it, so I'm not sure if anybody's coming in on LinkedIn or not, but I just want to thank everyone for joining us today. And we're with Cory Huff from Productive Flourishing. Let me get that right. And it's amazing that the world we've arrived from and where we continue to go. So what about this new product? Anything you can share on this new product that you're gonna be launching next year?
Cory Huff: [00:17:49] This is the momentum planner and we've sold the momentum planner for 10 years. And the funny thing is that I use that as the example, but the most popular version of our momentum planner is actually a downloadable editable PDF that has all of the dates for the whole year in it. But the momentum planner has been downloaded. The digital version has been downloaded over a million times. And our customers have asked us, hey, could you just make this into an iPhone app? So we are and we will be launching it early next year. And the cool thing is so planning is so personal and everybody who gets into planning starts to develop their own planning system. But what we've done is the momentum planner is not just a planner. It's not just a blank receptacle. It's more of a methodology and a way of teaching you about how to plan and how to think about getting your most important projects. So with the app, when we launch, the goal experience is for when you open up the app for it to say, hey, what are the most important projects that you're working on? Let's help you break those projects down into manageable pieces that you can accomplish over a month or a quarter of them. A week a day. And then, if you try to overload yourself and put too much into your planner, we'll say, hey, you might want to think about how that thing you're trying to do is going to take you.
Russ Johns: [00:19:04] I'm one of those individuals that it's only going to take five minutes, five hours later.
Cory Huff: [00:19:09] Yep. Yeah, we're all that way. Charlie the founder of Productive Flourishing has been doing this for 14 years. He's guilty of it. He and I constantly have to remind each other, yeah, this is too much and you should see us in team planning sessions. Our quarterly team planning sessions are hilarious. Cause we're like, here's everything. They're going to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks and we can do all the things. And then we have to like, okay, now we're a productivity company. Of these things what's realistic for us to do? And and then we start killing our darlings and it's really tough. And we have to have some hard conversations about what we can actually accomplish, but it's like that creative rumble, we call it the project cage match. That creative rumble allows us to surface the best ideas and figure out what actually matters because you can't do everything.
Russ Johns: [00:19:57] Right now, I'm going through this process of a weighted decision matrix. So I can identify which darlings need to maybe set off the side for awhile. Because chasing shiny objects and squirrel hunting is easy for me. And so you really have to pay attention to your energy because you only have, it's not even the time. It's the energy, that really has to be something to consider.
Cory Huff: [00:20:23] Yeah time management is energy management. We all have the same amount of time. The people who get the most done are the people who are the best at managing their energy and their focus. Some of us have bigger obstacles or fewer spoons to use the spoonie analogy. Some of us have fewer spoons to start with. Less energy.
Russ Johns: [00:20:41] I love that. I know that you got a big event coming up over the weekend and I really appreciate the fact that you're here and I love talking about this. I love talking about productivity. Any productivity hacks that you can share with us before we wrap up today, Cory?
Cory Huff: [00:20:56] Productivity hacks. So we're coming up on, I guess we've now tipped over into the second half of the year. Yeah, it's whatever, it goes by faster. It feels like the older you get the faster it goes. So our 2022 planners drop on August 17th. So if you wanted to pick up the 2022 planners, you'd get the rest of 2021 included in the bundle. But if you are trying to figure out how to plan, next week starting August 10th, over at productiveflourishing.com we are running what we call a time-blocking challenge, where we show you how to take all your things that you do and put them into a chunk, like specific blocks of time and we show you exactly what that means. And we're going to do a five day challenge where in 15 minutes per day we're going to show you how to rearrange your existing schedule so that you bunch like activities together so that you can be more productive, more efficient. So that should be a fun, five day challenge. So if you wanted to hack I'd say, join our challenge over at productiveflourishing.com.
Russ Johns: [00:21:54] I love it. I love it. Yeah. Thank you so much for being here, Cory. I really appreciate it. And how do you like people to connect with you? What's the best way to connect with you?
Cory Huff: [00:22:01] Yeah, if you want to talk about productivity or leadership, ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And that is my email. If you want to talk about anything else, facebook's probably the best place. Just ping me over at facebook.com/cory Huff. Yeah. We didn't even get it. We didn't even get t o the other thing that relaxes me. Okay. So next session, we can talk about me trying to recreate Alvin Joe's 150 hour chocolate cake. There's your teaser for the next episode.
Russ Johns: [00:22:30] There you go. Fantastic. Thank you so much, everyone for being here. I love that we can sit down and have these conversations, learn a little bit about productivity, stress relief, maybe future planning and go to Productive Flourishing and get on that challenge and see if you can block some time out to learn about what's gonna be important in your world. So as always, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday. Thanks, Cory. Appreciate it. Bye.
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