Rob Krecak - Podcast Part 1
[00:00:00] Rob Krecak: What research shows is that employees are up to 500% more productive when they are in flow.
So what that means is if you can get into flow for two hours a day, you can literally accomplish more in those two hours then in an entire day, that's insane. Right. Here's the problem, unfortunately. What the research also shows is that when you are in flow, once you're interrupted, you can need 23 minutes to get back into flow on average. The average person checks their email and slack inboxes once every six minutes. And the average person gets a smartphone notification once every 15 minutes that they're awake.
And so if you're doing the math, you're checking your email once every six minutes, you're just checking your smartphone every 15 minutes and it takes 23 minutes to get back into flow. What that means is that the average person is never, ever, ever in flow. You're never doing high quality work and you're never being as productive as you could be ever.
[00:01:29] Mickey Anderson: Rob Krecak is the founder of Humans First, where he helps companies attract and retain more rockstar employees by guiding them to a four day work week without any loss in productivity or profitability. His story is one that so many of us can relate to. When he got his first wall street job as a sell side equity analyst out of college, he thought he made it.
And after buying everything he wanted on his wishlist, he realized that he still wasn't happy. He left finance to eventually own three anytime fitness, health clubs and for UbreakIfix cell phone repair stores. Then he founded humans first and in episode we debunk the myth that you have to hustle to grow your business. I hope you enjoy this episode with Rob Krecak.
Your story is one that I think so many entrepreneurs and business owners can relate to, and it really challenges the notion that you get the great successful job and it solves all your problems.
[00:02:24] Rob Krecak: I always tell people that I kind of have career add. I do actually have add, but I feel like I've career add as well because my careers are finance and then health, and fitness, and then technology. Right. And so like, those are totally unrelated. They generally don't have the same skill set.
They're generally have almost nothing in common. Interestingly, I think I've kind of combined all of those careers into my current company humans first. I always knew that I love business and I love numbers and I was pretty good at math in school.
And so, finance just seemed like a natural career for me. I ended up being a sell side equity analyst and becoming a CFA charter holder, which if you don't know what that is, it's basically like getting an MBA, but specifically for financial analysis and you have to take the series of three exams where they recommend 300 hours of studying per exam.
I knew a couple of people who almost got divorced over taking that exam. It's like super difficult. I analyzed healthcare stocks with medical device, pharmaceutical companies and. You know, that really taught me a lot about understanding public markets, how to ask good questions to companies, how to analyze a company, how to build financial models and all that stuff.
And, you know, I enjoy the analysis part of it, but I honestly just didn't feel like I was really helping people a lot in that career. It just felt like I was kind of sitting behind a computer and not really serving, you know, humanity. And so while I was doing that 60 hour, week, day job, I opened up my first anytime fitness health club.
And, that was an incredible business model. I really loved the franchise and ended up opening up two more of those in different states. In between I kind of traveled around the world and after I quit my day job, and I went to Europe, central America, south America spoke a little Spanish there and then came back to United States and then ended up opening for you break.
I fix cell phone repair stores, which was another franchise mine. And so I had kind of seven businesses and about seven years, which was like a pretty aggressive pace, but I, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Cause, uh, again, like I kind of get bored of things or like too easy or something.
I don't know. I'll also tell you about how I came to this kind of aha moment with humans first. So I was in one of my cell phone, a pair of stores and I was at the front desk checking people and like I had done thousands of other times. Right. And so this middle-aged woman comes in with her son and her son is, I'm just guessing like 15 years old.
Right. And so she kind of shuffles into the store with her son and she's literally like pushing herself. To the front of the store. And she said, Hey, Tyler, you need to tell this man what you did for, to your cell phone. Cause he had broken his phone and I looked at the kid and you know, I said, Hey man, how can I help you?
What's going on? And I felt terrible for him because he, you could just tell like his body language, his, his posture was very, was very poor. He had very little eye contact. He could barely stand out a sentence. He basically just couldn't have a conversation with me. And the reason that, you know, my heart went out to him is because that was actually me in high school.
I had super bad acne as a kid and this really resulted in me having very low self-esteem self-worth and not being able to connect with people very well. And that was all throughout high school for me. I felt bad for the kid, but we did our best to fix his phone and everything went fine and we were able to fix it.
But then I started paying attention. And then a couple of weeks later, a middle-aged woman came in with her daughter a different one, right. And basically this same scenario happened where the daughter could barely converse with me. And then I had the aha moment I thought to myself, well, maybe the reason that these kids can't talk to me is because they're using their technology a ton and that's why they're coming into the store.
They need their technology repaired immediately when it gets broken, because they're so addicted to it. And so I read this book called Ai-jen by gene twingy. all the different ways that generations are effected by smartphone use and the internet and technology. And that just blew my mind open to this entirely new world.
And I knew when I, once I read that book, my hunch was correct. And so over the last four years, and I call this general area of study technology mindfulness. Over the last four years, I've read a hundred different books and over 2000 articles and studies to truly understand how technology is impacting the world.
The reason that I think my viewpoint is very unique is it's a combination of psychology, sociology, technology, biology, and neurology, all smashed into one. And I feel like when people look at this problem, they generally look at one or maybe two of those areas, but very rarely all five. And I have just gone to the ends of the earth of the last four years to really look at this problem in an extremely deep level.
And that's, I guess what brought me to Human's First.
[00:06:57] Mickey Anderson: As a parent first and foremost, I can so feel for a parent with a child who struggles to communicate as, as a kid like emotional intelligence wasn't something that we learned very much, but as parents now, it's more in the forefront and we're trying to teach our kids how to express themselves and talk about their emotions.
And, and there's this challenge with the distractions and the notifications and the constant need to be validated by this online world. And there's a huge disconnect, so I can so feel for the parents. They're in that struggle of, I want my kid to be happy so I want them to have the phone and be connected, but I also I want my kid to be happy.
[00:07:38] Rob Krecak: One of the other things that I didn't share about my story as a teenager was that because I had that low self-esteem and self-worth, I became addicted to video games because our family computer was in my bedroom and this was in the mid nineties, right.
Where like, most people didn't even have a cell phone yet. And so I kind of say that I was addicted to technology before it was cool to be addicted to technology. Um, but seriously, at different points in my life, I was also addicted to Facebook and addicted to my email. So like, I've personally, I've been addicted to all many different kinds of technology that we have, and I want to prevent other people from, you know, going through that.
And, to your point about children, I mean, this to me is honestly one of the saddest, but also one of the most difficult problems in the entire area of technology mindfulness to fix, because you can't. You know, like, let's pretend for instance I'm your personal trainer and I'm putting you on a diet.
Well, I can just say to you, Mickey, don't eat fast food and don't bring any desserts in the house. That's pretty simple, right? Like you can follow those pretty straightforward rules pretty easily, and I'll obey what I'm saying, but I can't tell a 12 year old, Hey, um, I want you to, um, use your smartphone, but not all the time.
And don't use it. The things on there that are really addictive. Just use them a little bit. Like that's totally crazy right there. I can't just tell you don't use your smartphone for a week to a kid because they need it for other things like school or communicating whatever. And so this problem, although it seems very simple, becomes increasingly complex for a parent
and the other part of the problem is the parents have no frame of reference because most parents didn't grow up with a cell phone when they were 12. And so they don't understand the dynamic, the social dynamics or other things related to it.
[00:09:20] Mickey Anderson: There's always that security of a phone, knowing that if something happens, my kid can call or my kid can connect or get in touch with us. But it, I mean, I think back to when I was like, I didn't get my first cell phone until I was 24. Like I traveled the world all the time and like, I didn't have, it was payphones.
Right. So I think a lot of times the media, especially social media, right? There's that sensitization of news and these terrible things happening that make us want to protect our kids even more. But what we're doing is not necessarily protecting them. We're just making ourselves feel better.
[00:09:55] Rob Krecak: Yeah. Oh my God. Mickey. So that's so interesting you say that. this reminds me of a study. They looked at, a parent and a child, many, many sets of them right in this study. And what they were trying to understand is what is the physiological response of the child and what is the physiological response of the parent when there's a problem?
So they like hooked up all these brain monitors to both the kids and the parents. And what they found is when a child and the situation was a child is at a computer and the child is struggling to do something. What they were looking at is what happens chemically in the brain when the parent intervenes well, what they found is the brain activity of the parent showed that the parent was more relieved than the child when the parent helped the kid. So the, so when we're helping our kids, it's actually helping the parent more mentally than the kid.
And so w th the conclusion to me is that we need, and this is very hard and I'm not a parent yet. Um, so I can't say that I totally relate, but we need to realize as a society that sometimes letting our kids fail or make a mistake that isn't going to be life threatening or doing something that's hard and failing is good for them.
It teaches them resilience. It teaches them grit. It teaches them persistence. And I think as a whole what's happening to society today is that because kids can always communicate out because they have a cell phone, it makes them less resilient because when there's a problem, they just text mom and dad or call mom and dad.
And when we didn't have cell phones, we just dealt with shit, you would just figure it out and kids don't figure it out anymore. This sounds like a very silly thing, but I think that that one thing is legitimately damaging the resilience of an entire generation of people.
And that is not good, low resilience as a, as a species means that, when the going gets hard, we just fall down and die. Like that's not what humans were meant to do. And I just think that that's a really bad phenomenon that's happening to our society.
[00:11:59] Mickey Anderson: Yeah. My husband has this saying that he there's all the time he's in the military and, uh, you know, a tough guy. And he always says, tough times make strong people, easy times make weak people. To your point, everyone's got a phone and to not have your phone on you, it feels like you're almost naked or stripped away from society nowadays does. For kids.
Right? We're we're problem solving for kids instead of teaching kids, how to problem solve. Yes.
[00:12:25] Rob Krecak: That's a really good way of putting that. I like that
[00:12:27] Mickey Anderson: When we think about business owners, we have, a lot of them are parents, for sure. But the thing that a lot of them struggle with is most of their competitors are online on social media, posting doing all of these things. And first off, they feel like if they're not online, they're missing. They're not able to keep up with the market, but at the same time, they know intuitively that like this isn't right. They need to have better boundaries.
So when we think about business owners who are distracted, getting notifications, scrambling tasks, switching, and trying to put their businesses online without crossing that boundary. Right? Like, as you said, the kid with the phone only trying to be on a little bit, how can they use technology mindfulness to start practicing that, in their lives?
[00:13:11] Rob Krecak: Oh my God. Yeah. First I just want to tell you a quick story. So there's somebody in the United States, they're the most successful financial person in the world. They have the best track record in investing and they've owned, you know, dozens of huge businesses.
This person does not have a computer on their desk, and up until two years ago, they didn't have a smart phone. This person is Warren buffet. And so think about that for a second. The world's best investor, does it even have a computer on his desk? And he didn't have a smartphone until two years ago. And that was because by the way, he was an investor in apple and Tim Cook gave him a cell phone that the kids who wanted warrants, they use it. So like, I think that that tells you something.
This in today's world, your time and attention is the most valuable resource. It is literally more valuable than oil. Human time and attention is now the new oil and this is what people don't realize. The business model of almost every single tech company is the following, take as much time and attention as possible from you so that you use their product more.
And then their product becomes more valuable. You are the product. As soon as you realize this, as soon as you start to keep this in mind, as you're using apps, as you're using websites, as you're listening to stuff like the news that those business models are all the same, they're not any different.
Part of the techniques that I like to help people understand what technology mindfulness is you have to find the balance that's right for you, but what's happening today to most people is that we've swung too far. We're using too much technology and there's too much noise, there's too many notifications.
And our minds like literally aren't biologically capable of processing all that. Screens don't exist in nature. Right? And so, but what's crazy. And, and the reason that I named my company humans first is the average person in America. And this is by the way, a pre COVID statistic.
You cannot blame this on COVID. The average person in America spends 12 hours and 21 minutes per day in front of screens and media, 12 hours and 21 minutes a day, let me put it to another way. We spend three quarters of every waking hour of our lives in front of screens and media humans. Aren't first in our life lives anymore.
Screens are. And that's why the name of my company is humans. First to remind people that we are here to connect with other people, not to stare at a screen.
[00:15:47] Mickey Anderson: I like to consider myself a little bit of a rebel in the marketing world because I don't get super into the different platforms. I'm not like a, you need to be on Instagram and you need to be on Tik TOK kind of person.
It's so easy to get caught up in those worlds with algorithms and paid ads. And it's a game that you're not going to win. And so the question is, how do you grow your business if none of that stuff existed? Like what would you do back then start somewhere, right? Yeah. That's it.
Most of the business owners on this podcast listening right now are service-based business owners, so human connection is super important to them. When we think about how they can get back to creating more connections, finding more balanced, some actionable tips that they can start to use to become more mindful of their use of technology and how it's affecting them.
Where would you have them start?
[00:16:32] Rob Krecak: Here's one that I, I really think about often and I want to bring awareness to people. When you say yes to something you're inherently saying no to something else.
When you say yes to scrolling on social media, what you are doing is you're saying no to spending time with your family. Let me tell you about a little study that some psychologists did about Facebook and Instagram. These researchers paid people $102 in real cash and real money to give up the use of Facebook and Instagram for one month.
And what they found is that Facebook and Instagram was causing people to engage in more sedentary activity, lower, their self-esteem, have worse feelings about themselves, increase their stress, and very importantly, take time away from in-person activities with their friends and family.
So when you're on Instagram or Facebook, here's what you are doing, whether you believe it or not, you are making Mark Zuckerberg, more rich at the expense of spending time with your friends and family. That is fricking wild to me. And the average person in America spends two hours and 14 minutes a day on social media. It's literally a part-time job.
I would challenge you listeners to think about something. Could you cut your social media time in half. I'm not even saying get rid of it, just cut it in half. What that would mean is the average person would have like an extra hour a day and then spend that hour doing something in person with someone else, whether it's your friends, your family, or, uh, you know, a significant other call someone and make a coffee date or have dinner with someone.
I promise you that you will feel so much better with that hour with someone in person compared to the hour you would've had scrolling on social media. What I did is for an entire year, I did a social experiment. and this was during COVID so I couldn't necessarily meet with people in person, I kept a spreadsheet and every single week I would have to do one of two things. I would have to either call two people that I had not seen or talked to within the three months prior and talked to them for at least 20 minutes, or I would have to have a one hour in-person meeting with someone I hadn't seen in three months.
And I completed all of it. By the end of the year, I talked to over a hundred people and meet met with a lot of people and it was so freaking cool. It was so rewarding to see these people that I hadn't seen or talked to these people I hadn't talked to. I.
[00:18:54] Mickey Anderson: I'm a huge advocate for in-person networking over social media.
Strategic collaborations and finding like-minded people, even if they're in adjacent industries or even if they're direct competitors, but those connections can sky rocket your business and your life, right. There are best practices and knowledge that you can tap into by connecting with another person in person that you will never get on a zoom call that you will never get through social media.
I would even challenge the listeners, cut that social media time and then book a one hour lunch or dinner with someone that you can network with to just get to know them, like no goal in mind, just to connect. And I think that even for the business owners here could make a huge, huge, change in their lives, in their businesses.
Absolutely. And if you think about it, people buy from other people, they don't buy from companies. Right. For instance, if you have a company that you want to sell it to another company, you have to have a human connection there who says, Hey, this other company, a CEO, I think we should buy your company.
It has to happen that way in some way.
I always say marketing is human to human communication. Right. It's humans selling human solutions to human problems, regardless of the industry.
I want to take a moment to thank you for listening to the hustle, less profit, more podcast. I created this podcast for you and truly hope it provides you with the insight, tools and resources you need to define and achieve success on your terms. If you're enjoying the podcast, I'd greatly appreciate it. If you'd take a moment to give it a five star rating and leave a review. By doing so you're helping to increase its visibility so others just like you can find it online thank you. Now back to the episode.
Now, one of the things that I'm really interested to talk about, and I think many of our listeners are, is this concept of the four day workweek.
I know that this is something that you advocate for and talk about. So can you tell me a little bit more about what it would look like or how we can start to reduce the number of hours we're working without reducing productivity?
[00:20:58] Rob Krecak: Yeah. So what I do as a consultant for humans first is I officially help companies transition from a five day workweek to a four day workweek with no loss in productivity or profitability. And what I mean by that is it's four, eight hour days. We're not talking for 10 hour days and just shifting schedules around.
So everybody at the company, even the management team and the CEO has a full day off every week, if they want. Right. Obviously you don't have to, but most people want that extra day. And so, there's so many ways that you can think about this, but here's kind of what's happening in today's world.
Think about the last time you were at your job and you just had this period of time, it could have been at 30 minutes. It could have been a couple hours where you're like, oh my God, everything is going amazingly well, I'm just crushing it, everything is on point, I'm getting so much stuff done, everything just feels like it's flowing, right? this is a concept of a state of mind called flow. It's a psychological term, and so getting into this state of flow is extremely beneficial from a work standpoint, not even a personal, but a work standpoint, because what research shows is that employees are up to 500% more productive when they are in flow.
So what that means is if you can get into flow for two hours a day, you can literally accomplish more in those two hours then in an entire day, that's insane. Right. Everyone wants to do that. Well here's yeah. It's like, all right, let's do this. Here's the problem, unfortunately.
So what the research also shows is that when you are in flow, once you're interrupted, you can need 23 minutes to get back into flow on average. Well, here are the other statistics that are scary. The average person checks their email and slack inboxes once every six minutes. And the average person gets a smartphone notification once every 15 minutes that they're awake.
And so if you're doing the math, you're checking your email once every six minutes, you're just checking your smartphone every 15 minutes and it takes 23 minutes to get back into flow. What that means is that the average person is never, ever, ever in flow. You're never doing high quality work and you're never being as productive as you could be ever.
Anybody really ever, unless you are insanely mindful and you set aside some time and use some other techniques to. Build in some time in your calendar where you can do, I call it GSD time, which stands for get shit done time. Basically like you block off time on your calendar and then you structure your work environment where there are no interruptions, no smartphone, no email, no slack, no other crap on your computer.
And you just work. And again, this sounds devastatingly simple, and it really is, but you would not believe how many people I've worked with who doing that, doing that thing that I just said, setting aside time and not being distracted, insanely hard. And it really isn't all their fault. Right? Because what's happening in a lot of companies is the CEO let's say, and maybe that's you, or maybe it's, you know, somebody else, right.
Maybe you're an employee listening to this. But if the CEO is on slack and expects you to respond within five minutes, guess what? That's inherently telling all the employees, what that's telling them is you constantly need to be monitoring slack. Because if you don't respond within five minutes, I'm going to punish you for not responding.
And so they are forced to monitor slack every six minutes and, and so that is ridiculously damaging to workplace productivity. But the other thing that it does, which people don't realize is it increases stress dramatically because when you're switching the use of tasks switching earlier, when your tasks switching or switching between applications or your smartphone or your computer or different applications within your computer, the human brain can only single task.
It can't truly multitask. And switching between things means that there's this residual imprint in your brain of what you were just doing. And it doesn't go away immediately. It's kind of hard to explain from a neurological standpoint, but like, there's this residual electrical trace in your brain.
That's saying, Hey, like, I want to be focusing on this thing that I just switched from. And when your tasks switching constantly, your brain then has all these different circuits that are being activated and you can't possibly keep track of all that. And it also is very stressful at the same time.
So if you think about all these, all this technology and all the distractions of what's happening, here's the big picture of what's what's really happening to you as a person. So you're doing all these things, you can't focus, you're distracted, you're multitasking. And so all these things, what they do is every time for instance, you check your email, your is check your phone as a notification.
It activates your sympathetic nervous system. This is the fight or flight system that keeps you alive if there was a threat. So for instance, if there was a saber tooth tiger that attacked me, my fight or flight system gets me amped up so that I can either fight the saber toothed tiger or run away. Well, when your technology is constantly activating your sympathetic nervous system, the problem with that is that your sympathetic nervous system takes 30 minutes or more to fully downregulate and recover.
Well again, if you're checking your email every six minutes, you're amping yourself up every six minutes, it takes 30 minutes to recover. You never, ever get back to a baseline level and your nervous system never, ever has a chance to recover ever. So this is greatly increasing anxiety, stress, and depression in our entire world, I literally think that this is the root cause of the dramatically higher levels of depression, anxiety, and a lot of other psychological problems that we're having.
It's how and how much we're using our technology. And it is happening to everyone every day, all the time. And you don't even realize it. That is one of the things that I wish I could just like blast to a megaphone to these 4.2 billion people connected to the internet and let them know that this is happening to them.
But the good news is that you can change. You can counteract this by doing some things. As business owners, here's what you can do. And this is very simple. You literally could do it in a day and it would completely change how your entire company works completely. So the biggest problem with people checking slack and email every six minutes is that for most companies that I talked to, there were no written standards of communication whatsoever.
They might be verbally communicated, but they're not in a written document that people have agreed to or have signed off on. It could be something as simple as this, Our standard of communication is that we answer all client emails and slack messages within 24 business hours.
Our internal standard of communication is that we will answer all internal emails and slack messages within four hours. And if something is very urgent and we need something done in under four hours, we will agree to slack call each other so that we can get ahold of the person immediately.
That's just a very simple example that obviously can get more complicated than that. What if that information was put in a written document and disseminated to all the employees, what does that do? Well that allows them, to give themselves permission to not have to check their email
once every six minutes they could basically check it once or twice a day and they would be totally fine. But because that document doesn't exist in a lot of companies and employees are left to guess when and how they have to communicate, then they're just basically guessing, you know, whatever they think won't get them in trouble, which is usually like constantly monitored all your shit so that I can show people I'm connected or whatever, which I'm not saying that it doesn't have value.
Clearly it does, but it doesn't need to be once every six minutes. And so having this written standards of communication and completely changes the way everyone can do their job and allows them to block off time on their calendar to focus. But no one thinks about this as the solution of a bunch of problems.
It's really very simple.
[00:28:47] Mickey Anderson: Kind of tying the two together, the company culture and the constant notifications of communication is this concept of burnout because we hear the word burnout all the time. Now it's this hot topic and the way that I look at it, and I'd love to get your perspective is burnout happens when you have that chronic stress built up from work where you're just constantly being hammered.
And then you also believe that your company doesn't care, right? There's this disconnect between, okay, I'm suffering. My company knows and they don't care and they're not doing anything to help me. And that's when we feel burnout in my experience. But I'd love to know your perspective on what burnout is and, and how it's affecting.
[00:29:26] Rob Krecak: Yeah. So this is absolutely a hot topic, but in one of the things that humans first can help companies with the most. So the statistics are over 50% of the us workforce is burned out now.
We are at the highest level of burnout and stress we've ever had, but also relative to the rest of the world, the us is also the most stressed out country compared to the rest of the world. I am so confident I understand the true reason behind this. It is because we are not
giving ourselves downtime because everyone is just working from home, which again, like, I know why we're doing that. We have to do that a lot of time. That's great. I think it's a good thing in general, but if your computer is, let's say in your bedroom, like my wife says in our house, there's no physical separation between like where you sleep and your job basically, you can't disconnect.
But let me ask you a question. So tell me this Mickey, what's something that you are really anxious about, or you're not looking forward to in the future. It could be related to anything,
[00:30:28] Mickey Anderson: Anxious about looking forward to, yeah. I would say. My husband going away again, he's in the military and he gets deployed a lot. He's gone now. Um, probably like the anticipation of the next trip is stressful.
[00:30:43] Rob Krecak: Yeah, totally right. And I, I totally understand why you would feel that way.
And so let me kind of give you this example, right? So let's pretend that, and again, this is not even a realistic example, but it's just more for illustration. Let's pretend that we were in the same city and I followed you around. And every six minutes I tapped you on the shoulder. And I said, Hey, Mickey, aren't you worried about the next time your husband's going to leave.
Right? Like, isn't that, isn't that kind of worrisome to you and I, and then the next six minutes, I tap you on the shoulder and say that again. And then the next six minutes, I tap you again. Well, that is exactly what is happening psychologically when you check your email once every six minutes, you're going to this list of shit that you need to do, it stresses you out.
You're probably not going to act on all of it in that moment. That leaves us humans, feeling overwhelmed, humans, experience a sense of overwhelm as a loss of control. And any loss of control is seen as a threat. That is why our body has a stress response. I get that there's reasons why we need to communicate and collaborate.
And I'm not saying we don't need to do that because we do, but we don't need to collaborate every six minutes. We don't need to be on slack all the time. The unintended and unfortunate consequence is all this constant communication and constantly being online reminds us of all these things that we don't necessarily have control over, or we can't resolve in the moment.
It leads us to feel overwhelm and anxiety, and that leads us to feel burned out. And again, like this is happening across the country. This is no one is immune to this. This is happening in almost every company to almost every employee. And it's not getting any better. It's only getting worse.
[00:32:23] Mickey Anderson: But that mental image of someone tapping me on the shoulder every six minutes, I feel like, wow.
At home I know that social media use is a whole different ball game. When you have a family with phones and devices and TV and screens. Right. We go from our computer screen at work to the TV and Netflix at night. Are there ways that we can use what we're learning about flow and focus in business and start to improve the other aspects of our life?
[00:32:56] Rob Krecak: Oh, this is such a great question. I love that Mickey. So what's interesting, right? If there's all this happiness research, is really interesting in that they've taken like a list of, let's say, 40 different activities that you might do in your life. Right? Like working surfing on the internet, going to a concert, driving to work in the morning, driving to work in the evening, socializing all these really different random things.
Right. And they've polled people and ask them how much happiness does this activity bring you? What you'll see is that surfing the internet for instance, or even being on social media is very mediocre at best. It's like, it's, it's not like bad for you. It doesn't like make you feel bad, but it doesn't make you feel great.
Interestingly, the things that make you feel the best and the happiest are group flow activities, like going to a concert, like seeing a theater or a play in person, or, socializing is pretty high up there as well. Right. Which isn't always flow, but it could be right.
so keep that in mind for a second. And then let me talk about meditation and I'll explain like how this is related to what we're talking about. So. Do you meditate at all Mickey or you do oh,
[00:34:08] Mickey Anderson: Practicing meditation for 12 years now.
[00:34:11] Rob Krecak: Wow. I just got into it a little bit more recently and I'm really liking it so far. And I I'm, I've been reading all about it though. I love researching. So could you just tell me briefly, like what, why is meditation helpful or beneficial for you? I'm curious.
[00:34:25] Mickey Anderson: Yeah. So as a very cognitively driven person, I am in my head all day long, constantly, and I get distracted and I have ideas and I have stuff going on and there's constant mental chatter. And sometimes I forget my body exists and I just live up here. And so what, what I love about meditation is I'm able to like disconnect a little bit and see from the outside, all the chaos that's going in my monkey mind, as I would say, and just focus on the breath, going through my body.
I'm feeling that sensation because even breathing, sometimes we don't feel in our bodies. Right. And that, to me, I find super grounding. Um, I started in the morning nice and early. So it's a really easy way to start my day. And as a busy mom, running a business and parenting by myself, most of the time, that's like 10 minutes to myself very often.
Yeah. So for me, it's really coming back into my body and kind of just observing the thoughts without. Getting caught up in them.
[00:35:28] Rob Krecak: So it sounds like to me, the best benefit for you is being present. Like it really brings you into the presence.
[00:35:33] Mickey Anderson: Yes.
[00:35:34] Rob Krecak: Love it. And so what my understanding, at least of what, you know, for any person, the, the main benefit of meditation is that it does bring you into the present, which also means then that
you're not worrying about the future and you're not ruminating about the past. Right. That's, that's kind of why meditation is helpful. So if you think about technology and what it does, it's like the anti beditation for your life. It basically pulls you out of the present all the time with all the notifications and all the other shit that you're doing on it.
Constant technology use is like the anti meditation for your entire life. That's kind of a way to think about it. When you think about it in that way, you're so like, holy shit, like that is, you know, obviously that's not good like that, that can't be a good thing.
The reason why we love technology is it satisfies our three most basic human needs that every single person on this planet wants. Those are autonomy, mastery and purpose. If you think about it, a cell phone, you can control, you can do everything in it you want.
So like that's autonomy mastery is like perceived progress in something. And basically everything is gamified now. So like that's a no-brainer as well, especially with social media, and perceived connectedness or connectedness is connecting with other people.
We think. Connecting with someone on social media is the same, but what happens is the amount of oxytocin and serotonin, which are two brain neurotransmitters that regulate tons of things in your body, the amount of serotonin and oxytocin that are released when I'm on social media is not the same than when I interact with somebody in person.
What we're doing to ourselves is we are catering to our most basic dopamine based needs by scrolling on social media, which gives us dopamine hits or playing games or whatever. That's a dopamine based activity we're replacing what used to be serotonin and oxytocin based activities with this short term dopamine fix, that's what's happening. That's the real huge, like the super big picture, right?
And so what we need to realize is as a, as a society, but also as a family is we need to create opportunities and activities where we all enjoy doing something and get back to these in-person serotonin and oxytocin based relationships.
The problem though, is the phone is engineered to be addictive. I find it much easier to structure your life and structure your phone use in a way that doesn't basically allow you to have those temptations. That will allow you to spend more time with your family and do those more important in-person activities that we're meant to do as human.
[00:38:14] Mickey Anderson: You know, it's, it can be as simple as leaving your phone in the other room. I found that that honestly is probably one of the easiest simplest, but most powerful things I've done and helpful.
As kids, we grew up, like being bored was normal.
[00:38:28] Rob Krecak: Yeah.
[00:38:28] Mickey Anderson: Because there was always white space in your calendar space. During the day, I was like, what are we going to do? I don't know. And you'd sit there and think about it for awhile. Whereas now everyone just hops on their phone and there is no boredom time. And in my experience, boredom time was the time when imagination and creativity ran wild.
[00:38:45] Rob Krecak: Totally.
[00:38:46] Mickey Anderson: And so I'd love to know what we can do to tap back into that creative kind of more childlike self by removing ourselves from technology.
[00:38:55] Rob Krecak: Uh, I love this. This is such a great thought Mickey. so interestingly, just like this week, I saw data that shows that the zoom collaboration makes you less creative. Not surprising, but there's data now that shows this.
This sounds super basic, but like doing things in person will definitely make you more creative than doing stuff over zoom. That's there's data that shows that. But the other thing is I think you said this very well. We don't allow our mind to wander.
We don't allow ourselves to have any downtime anymore. It's interesting. Right. And this is like a weird example, but a lot of people have amazing ideas in the shower because they feel very safe. They feel very secure and there's nothing else they're doing. I know, I do know a couple of people who bring their phone in the shower, which to me is like, that's like the last frontier, like have we really reached the point where we're bringing our phones in the shower?
Um, no, that's just
[00:39:46] Mickey Anderson: the thought of bringing the phone in the bathroom. Sometimes it's like, maybe there should be like a barrier there.
[00:39:53] Rob Krecak: So I do think and I haven't actually implemented this yet, but one of the things that I have been thinking about doing is for one hour a week, putting a block on my calendar to just sit there and think, do nothing else.
Like I sit there, I bring my, I have a notebook and I have a pen and I set my technology aside or put it in the other room. And I'm not obviously not in front of a computer and to just sit there and think about shit. And, you know, I have not done this every week, but I have done this several times recently.
And I was like, oh my God, this is great. Like, I came up with so many good ideas. I like resolve some, mental conflicts that I had and I just thought it was incredible. I do think as a society, we are extinguishing the possibility for creativity because we are filling every single moment of every single day with technology use or some other thing like the TV, the TV is no different, honestly, it's just, it's just another distraction.
Right? It's just another thing that is, giving you an input when you don't need an input.
[00:40:58] Mickey Anderson: I, you know, I wish he could see my office right now because I have two massive whiteboards and I like, I'm a copywriter by trade. So Mondays and Fridays are writing days and I'm a hand writer for a reason because I'm more creative.
I'm away from the screen. I don't have distractions, but I find just that time in front of the whiteboard is so powerful. It's something so simple, but I've found it. It has absolutely improved my creativity. So that's interesting to hear.
[00:41:25] Rob Krecak: Oh, another thing that I just wanted to mention real quick about, um, writing, right?
So I keep notebooks. This is my forties seventh notebook of stuff, which is like an insane amount. The reason that I write notes with a pen. Is because research shows that when you hand write things, you have 35%, about 35% better memory retention, because your brain has to slow down because you can't write that fast and you remember stuff way better.
So my wife, like, I, I take notes in every book that I read or almost everyone. And like a couple days later, I'll tell my wife. I'm like, yeah, what about this? The book. She was like, how do you remember all this crap? And like, it's because I sit there and took notes on it. And that's why I can remember it.
And I like one of the only people that I know that uses a notebook and a pen, and again, like, Hey, if you use the digital stuff, whatever, you're free to do that, but just know that you writing stuff on a computer is not going to allow you to remember as much as like someone else writing with a pen and paper you writing with pen and paper.
And I guess you have to ask yourself, like, what's important, you know, do you want to do things quickly or do you want to remember more information? There's a trade off there that I don't think a lot of people understand. Exactly.
[00:42:34] Mickey Anderson: Exactly. It's funny. My husband teases me all the time. Cause I have 18 million notebooks stacked all over the house at different places, for different reasons.
There's like a book reading notebook and then an ideas notebook. And then, so he teases me because he brings me home more notebooks and he's like, I'm feeding your addiction. Yes.
[00:42:50] Rob Krecak: I love that. I think that's great. Mickey. That's really cool.
[00:42:53] Mickey Anderson: I'd love to talk about the future, you know, with COVID a lot of us coming out of COVID are feeling this craving for connection are wanting to get out into the public and see our friends and family and connect.
And I'm curious to know your thoughts on what the future holds for us in terms of technology and our connections and the way we move forward out of COVID where we were so dependent and addicted to our technology and have this kind of opportunity now to transition and make a change and whether or not we're actually going to take it.
[00:43:26] Rob Krecak: Yeah. I have a bunch of great statistics for you. The, the most sad thing that I've learned in the entire last four years was this, the number one Googled fear in 2020 was a fear of other people. And I know that that was because of COVID, but regardless of the reason, we now fear the thing in life that makes us the most human; connecting with other people.
I think about that, I still become speechless sometimes because the solution to overcoming that is not an easy one. And here's some other things that I see happening that I honestly, it's not painting a great picture for the future to be totally honest. The amount of political division that is causing people to move because of it, like actually get a different house.
These researchers were calling almost unrealistically high. In other words, we are moving across the country or becoming so physically, politically divided as a nation it's so high that like, they almost can't comprehend that it's that high.
Over 50% of the United States logs into Facebook daily, there is no single news source in the world that people log into more than 50% of the time, except for Facebook.
And so , what can you do with this information? What people can do is to, and this is very difficult, but to try to be more tolerant of other people's viewpoints and to try to be empathetic and think about how would you feel if you were in their shoes or if you were in their position. The other thing that I think people can do is to realize that the reason that so many people say so many bad things and hateful things online is because there's no empathy online.
Like when you and I, friends, as I can see right now, the look on your face. And if I say something offensive to you, you're looking at your face is going to be terrible. Like I'm going to feel bad as a human, right. Well, when I say the same thing to you on Facebook and make a comment on your page, I don't see that bad reaction you have.
And it's like that for every platform. It's not just Facebook, it's Twitter, it's online forums. Right. And so, because there's basically almost no empathy online, people say the most outrageous stuff that they would never say to anyone's face. And so I guess the thing that I just asked people is, you know, stop and think for a second is the thing that you're saying here online and this online comment, would you say that to their face?
If you would maybe comment it and if you wouldn't maybe rethink what you're saying.
[00:45:49] Mickey Anderson: Yeah, the more we learn to ask questions instead of jump to conclusion or give answers the more empathy we can feel in our lives. And the more understanding ultimately we get,
[00:45:58] Rob Krecak: I really like that.
What I challenged people to do is think about how you feel after you use technology. Think about how you feel after you check your email at 10 o'clock. When your boss sent you an email and you're pissed off, can you get to bed right away or are you going to stay up for another hour or two hours?
And feel terrible? I just hope that, you know, maybe the listeners who are hearing this would start to pay a little attention and generate some awareness of their feelings after they do certain things, especially when related to technology. And what I found for myself, and obviously this doesn't necessarily have to be everyone, but I get so much more resonance and joy out of doing things with people, in person or, at least over zoom instead of like typing messages to people and stuff like that.
And so I just hope that this, you know, maybe that resonates with people. Maybe they even just pay attention to one thing and change their behavior. And, if they just change one thing, like to me, that's a win for humans.
[00:46:56] Mickey Anderson: That's some great advice and, the things that really stand out for me to kind of give some actionable steps for the listeners is one, audit your technology use and recognize what you're saying no to when you say yes to certain things. Number two, set yourself up for success with flow states, right?
Carve that into your schedule whenever possible. Turn off notifications, pull out the pen and paper, do what you can to get into that place and not be distracted. And then three, recognize how you feel throughout the day as you use different things and let that be your guide as well. This has been just such an incredible conversation.
I'm so grateful for our listeners who are interested in learning more about Humans First and you, and what you can do for them and their businesses. Where can they find you online?
[00:47:38] Rob Krecak: Yeah, Mickey. So I'm happy to actually, offer the listeners something as well. I would offer you a free 30 minute consultation with me.
All you need to do is go to my website, humansfirst.us, I have a couple buttons on there. One says like, get in touch. Another one says, tell me more. If you just hit those buttons, you can enter email. And if you just let me know that you listened to Mickey's podcasts, I'll give you the free half an hour consultation with me to chat a little bit more about your technology use and how, you know, I could instill some better habits for you to some better technology, mindfulness and, you know, improve your life.
Um, yeah, but I definitely encourage people to go to, humansfirst.us and check out our work. We also have a blog there. I really highly recommend reading the blog post. The very first one at the bottom is called Softwares Eating Humanity. That's kind of my general thoughts about this entire topic and kind of what's happening to humanity.
It's summarizes some of the stuff we said today, but a lot more.
[00:48:29] Mickey Anderson: Awesome.
Well, thank you so much. Awesome. Thank you so much. Mickey.