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How To 10X Your Motivation, Get Re-Inspired, and Have Bill Gates Like Effectiveness

In this blog post I’m going to share a simple, but rarely implemented strategy to get re-inspired, boost your motivation, and help you get more done while enjoying the process.

Recently, I took 3 straight weeks off to just evaluate, think, and strategize.  That’s right, I didn’t work, answer my phone, or even worry about what wasn’t getting done.  And I have to say, it was the best thing I’ve done for myself and business in a long, long, time.

As a result, I have a new motivation for what I’m doing.  I’ve gotten more done in the last 2 weeks than I have in the previous 2 months, and I’m inspired to wake up and work hard each and every day.  Even the mundane and boring tasks don’t bother me anymore, because I know exactly why I’m doing them.

Sure, I took a financial hit at a time that was less than ideal, but I have no doubt that this small short-term investment will have long term dividends of far greater magnitude.

Since, I was even able to complete The Handyman Pricing Guide I’ve been working on for the last year and get it ready for a February 4th launch date.  Keep a look out for that!

Now, you may be thinking “Damn, 3 weeks!  That’s ridiculous!”  And I totally agree.   Spending 3 weeks not generating any income and failing to use that time for vacation seems like a huge waste of time.  But, that depends on your situation.

Here’s the thing.  If you don’t know exactly what you are trying to achieve in life or in business, the single most important thing you can possibly do is figure that out.  That’s what I was doing.

You see, I’ve been trying to grow two businesses simultaneously for the last 3 years (This blog and my handyman business).  I’ve known for a long time that trying to do both is not only unsustainable, but relatively unproductive.  Doing great work that helps people is important to me, and I feel like I’m unable to do that when I’m spread so thin.

So, I came to a crossroads and realized that I had to step off the hamster wheel and figure shit out.  That’s exactly what I did and I’m absolutely stoked on the results, so I wanted to share the strategy with you to help you get re-inspired and have the best year ever.

The Fine Line Between Thinking And Doing

There is a fine line between thinking and taking action.  Think too much and you’ll never have time to execute on your brilliant ideas.  This is known as “Analysis Paralysis.”

For example, if you’ve clearly decided the handyman business is right for you and you’ve researched the best practices for getting started, continuing to analyze is a gigantic waste of your time.  At a certain point the value of further analysis is negligible and action is the only thing that will bring further clarity.


…It’s far less effective (and enjoyable) to act if you don’t have a clear end goal in mind.  And I’m talking crystal clear.  If you’re trying to win a race but don’t know where the finish line is, which is more important: To just start running or to figure out where the finish line is?

It’s very difficult to achieve success if you don’t know what success even looks like.

The most effective and successful people know when to think and when to act.  For example, did you know that Bill Gates takes an entire week off twice a year just to think?  He calls it a “think week” and he’s been doing it for years.  Even during Microsoft’s biggest growth periods where his time and attention where paramount, he still made time to completely get away to research, plan, and strategize.  Bill Gates is clearly a man of action, yet he also understands the importance of stepping back and asking the bigger questions.  If this didn’t bring tremendous benefit to him, do you think he’d continue to spend 2 weeks a year completely by himself for the last 20 years?  I doubt it.


Spending Time Thinking Actually Creates More Time

It may seem like taking an entire week, or in my case 3 weeks, is a waste of time.  However, in the long run it actually creates more time.  At least more productive, effective, get shit done kind of time.

By taking a step back to gain perspective on your efforts and intentions from the ten thousand foot level, you’re able to make big decisions more powerfully.  You’re able to achieve a higher level of clarity on what’s important and what’s not, what you should expend your efforts on and what you should eliminate.

Here’s where you gain the time back.  That clarity of what’s most meaningful and important helps make thousands of future decisions for you.  You no longer have to spend your time and limited cognitive fuel each day focusing on the inconsequential and unimportant.  This saves you from decision fatigue and frees you up to act.

The ability to make decisions faster can save hundreds of hours and even reduce your stress significantly.

Aside from saving you the time of making decisions, a higher level of clarity gives you the ability to make better decisions that can lead you where you are going much faster and with less effort.

A Simple Strategy For 10Xing Your Effectiveness

If I’ve got your attention, I assume you have two questions bouncing around in your head.  How long do I need to think, and what do I need to think about?

The length of time doesn’t matter that much, although I would shoot for a week uninterrupted at a minimum.  For me, I needed three weeks.  It really depends on the depth of what you are trying to figure out.

What’s more important is the questions that you ask yourself during this time.  I went through a really involved process of reading several books, taking strength analysis tests, and researching my options.  I went nuts.  But here are the two questions I was essentially trying to answer.

What do I really want to achieve or do?
What is the most effective way to achieve said answer?

Now, it may seem very easy to answer these questions on the surface level.  But what’s really important is to be extremely detailed and specific with your answers.  I can’t stress this enough.  That’s the part that takes time.  Your goal is to be really inspired and excited about what you come up with and this is only possible if it’s specific.

Most people have a general idea of what they want (I did).  They want more money, a more fulfilling job, to lose some weight, more free time with their family, etc.  But, they don’t have these goals clearly defined.  A good way to know if you’re specific enough is to explain it to somebody else and see if they can clearly understand and picture it.

To 10x your motivation and get truly inspired your answers should be so vivid you can taste them.  And, they also need to be worth tasting.

Also, at least for me, I had to do enough research and thinking to get down to what was truly essential.  I had to know that in 6 months I wasn’t going to change my mind and want something else.  Again, the time was worth it and I’ll say it again.

If you don’t know exactly what you are trying to achieve in life or in business, the single most important thing you can possibly do is figure that out.

With that said, if you’re in the middle of taking action on a plan you’ve created, keep going!  Don’t let this or anything else impede your progress!  But, if you’re stuck in a cycle that isn’t bringing you the results you want and you’re ready to get to the next level, a “think week” might be just what you need.

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  • Keith January 22, 2015

    “So, I came to a crossroads and realized that I had to step off the hamster wheel and figure shit out.” – Big D

    Dan, you are spot-on ! My wife thinks I’m crazy, but sometimes I just need to find a quiet comfortable place (alone) and reflect. Sometimes , it’s on the sofa in the spare room with a notepad, and other times it’s going for a walk with my headphones or laying in bed after waking up.

    I’d never heard of Gates’ “think week”, and I appreciate you mentioning it.

    This practice has been used with great success for centuries, and is often done is short daily bursts called “prayer”.

    No matter how it’s done, it’s always beneficial.

    Thanks for the great blog, D

  • James Mason January 25, 2015

    Great advice Dan!

    Don’t leave us hanging, what’s your big goals for 2015 and beyond?

    • Dan Perry January 27, 2015

      Hey James,

      I knew somebody would put me on the spot!

      I spent the majority of the time deciding whether to focus on my handyman business or this blog and which would lead to the most interested path in the future. I came to the conclusion that even though I enjoy both, in order to do either one on the level that I’d like, I had to choose one. I love working with my hands and helping people, but I also love dissecting complicated subjects, simplifying them, and then teaching them to others to empower them to maximize their experiences (essentially, to learn and teach).

      I’ve decided to focus on the latter, and really develop my analytical, writing, and teaching skills and step away from my handyman business. The handyman business is still operating, but only one day per week for existing customers. I’m now focusing the vast majority of my time creating courses and content to help handyman businesses thrive.

      My business goals for 2015: Help 1000 handymen successfully start or grow their businesses in 2015 and generate $10K in revenue in a single month by Dec. through online courses, ebooks, and coaching. (This will be a stretch!)
      My Long term (big) business goals are to write a New York Times Best Selling Book and Speak to a crowd of over 1,000 people who paid to see me speak on a subject that I’m deeply passionate about (either green technology or maximizing the human experience in some form).

      • Anton January 27, 2015

        Hi Dan, just stumbled upon your site and this post and am really surprised and happy to see somebody in somewhat similar situation as myself. Im a craftsman and doing some handyman work on the side. Been freelancing for awhile working with some contractors, designers, artists, mostly as an assistant and contractor. I just started taking courses in 3ds max to learn how to do rendering and transit more to digital creativity. While I also love working with my hands I understand that I am limited in terms of creativity and income. Nevertheless I am excited to start my own business doing some custom handyman work.
        What do you think? Thanks for the article. I just had similar “think” time off; firstly from lack of work and also somewhat by choice. It really is very effective.

        Thanks in advance

        • Dan Perry January 28, 2015

          I think being a handyman is a great creativity outlet. You can really make it into whatever you want. Once you develop a customer base you can really niche down your services. I know many that end up focusing on furniture making or only custom cabinetry. There are a million different ways you can go. Adding the ability to 3d render your design creations for your customer is a great way to add value in a way that very few can.

          Look forward to hearing more about your progress.


      • James Mason February 10, 2015

        Awesome Dan, great goals!

        You have made the right choice, wish you all the success mate.

        Btw- You should look into changing your comments to the Discuss platform so we can stay up to date with your comments.

        All the best from Down Under.

        • Dan Perry February 10, 2015

          I’ll look into it. I appreciate the tips.

  • Justin Hunt February 1, 2015

    Hi Dan

    Justin from the IBM group here. You are absolutely right about having to get off the hamster wheel. I am really struggling with that now, not least because I want to “get off” without letting people down. Great post, and a really nice site too! Thanks.

    • Dan Perry February 2, 2015

      Hey Justin,

      Thanks for stopping by to read the blog! And that’s a good point you make, sometimes in order to get what you want you have to let people down. The way I get over this is realizing that it’s impossible to achieve anything great while keeping everyone happy.


  • Myko May 19, 2015

    Hi Dan,

    Amazing blog, great information. These questions you mentioned:
    What do I really want to achieve or do?
    What is the most effective way to achieve said answer?
    Reminds me Brian Tracy’s speeches very inspiring, I absolutely agree with you and trying to work on them too.


    • Dan Perry May 20, 2015

      I’m not familiar with any of Brian Tracy’s stuff, but it sounds like he’s on the right track!

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