September 29, 2022

Make Time to Save Time: A CMO Guide to Productivity

What’s a CMO’s number one adversary? Time. 

In a role with such a wide purview and high expectations, there are a limited number of hours to get it all done. Enter Kory Kogon, VP of Global Field Development at FranklinCovey and author of The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity 

Kory recently joined a CMO Huddles Bonus Huddle (re: a private Q&A) to share the 5 most important choices anyone makes during the day and change bad, time-sucking habits in order to be less busy, more productive, and healthier all around. Don’t miss it!  

What You’ll Learn  

  • 5 techniques to improve your productivity  
  • How CMOs can get control of their schedules again 
  • The 5 most important activities to increase your energy levels

Resources Mentioned 


  • [1:28] Meet Kory Kogon 
  • [4:45] How CMOs can minimize meetings  
  • [10:17] Choice 1: Act on the important; Don’t react to the urgent 
  • [19:30] Choice 2: Go for the extraordinary; Don’t settle for the ordinary 
  • [22:32] Choice 3: Schedule the big rocks; Don’t sort the gravel 
  • [26:28] Change bad habits with weekly daily planning  
  • [30:10] Choice 4: Rule your technology; Don’t let it rule you  
  • [34:06] How to be an inbox ninja 
  • [38:34] Choice 5: Fuel your fire; Don’t burn out 
  • [42:46] Kory’s top productivity tips for B2B CMOs  

Highlighted Quotes  

“Get out of reactive mode and get into proactive mode.” —@korykogon @franklincovey Click To Tweet “Don't schedule more than 50% of your calendar on any given day with big rocks because real life, you're going to get interrupted, the CEO is going to have an urgent meeting, all those kinds of things.” —@korykogon @franklincovey Click To Tweet “The probability of accomplishment goes up 200-300% the more specific we get around goal setting.” —@korykogon @franklincovey Click To Tweet “Every email is not just a message; every email is a decision your brain has to make.” —@korykogon @franklincovey Click To Tweet “The 5 Energy Drivers are Moving, Eating, Relaxing, Sleeping, and Connecting.” —@korykogon @franklincovey Click To Tweet

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 312 on YouTube

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Kory Kogon

Hello Renegade Marketers! Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, the top-rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals. Alright folks, you’re about to listen to a Bonus Huddle, a specially curated huddle that we run once a month, with experts sharing their insights into the topics that are most important to our huddlers.  

The expert at this particular huddle was Kory Kogon, FranklinCovey’s Global Productivity Practice Leader and co-author of the #1 Wall Street Journal best-seller, The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity, which you should get your hands on ASAP.  

We had a terrific discussion covering each Choice in the book, zoning in on how to form better time management and productivity habits, something especially important for B2B CMOs today. Let’s dive in!   

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring-to-business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Our special guest today is Kory Kogon who is FranklinCovey’s Global Productivity Practice Leader. Kory is a Co-Author of 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity, a book that I’ve been raving about with anyone who will listen. I feel like I’ve gotten to know Kory just a little bit because I’ve been listening to the book. And so her voices in my head because she is one of the narrators and one of the co-authors. So I’m delighted she’s agreed to join us today to share her thoughts on how you, your departments, and even your organizations can improve productivity. So welcome, Kory. How are you?

Kory Kogon: I’m great. And thanks for having me here. I’m delighted to be here for everybody. And thanks for taking the time with me here today.

Drew Neisser: First of all, where are you?

Kory Kogon: I live in Tucson, Arizona. I’m originally born and raised in New York City. And most of my family, my sisters and their families are still back in New York.

Drew Neisser: All right, well, you’re in Arizona fighting the good fight. Now, before we get too deep in the discussion, I noticed that you have a certificate in the foundations of Neuroleadership from the NeuroLeadership Institute. And you know, I gotta—pardon my ignorance, but what is Neuroleadership?

Kory Kogon: Very nice question. So if you think about neuroscience, science is the brain. Here’s what’s happened as whether chief marketing officers or any leaders out there today, we’re in the knowledge worker age, so we’re paid to think, innovate, create, and execute. And so back in the industrial age, you know, the tools that had to be optimized with the hands in the back. Today, we’re paid to think, innovate, create, and execute, and it’s not manual labor, it’s mental labor. So really, any good practices or behaviors around productivity and leadership are brain driven. So Neuroleadership is the work around leadership, utilizing the “why” behind why we do things, or why people need things to be more motivated or do things differently. And that’s neuroleadership

Drew Neisser: I love how you rattle off its think, innovate, create, and what was the fourth one?

Kory Kogon: Execute. And, Drew, I’d say the five choices was built with input from many neuroscientists because of that.

Drew Neisser: Little bit personal for just a little bit longer, we all have an Achilles heel when it comes to productivity, or at least don’t call it an indulgence that aka time suck, that we rationalize by saying, “Oh, it’s relaxing.” Now mine is my Bridge Baron app. Surely you have one too.

Kory Kogon: So let me just be really clear. Everybody should have an indulgence. And I get this a lot. We all should love things when people will say, “Oh, well, I love that. And so I shouldn’t be doing that I should be doing something more important.” And that’s sort of baloney. See, there’s the New York in me coming out. Because it’s when you overdo it. So with your app, if you overdo it, if it’s taking away from something more important, then that becomes a problem. I like television and martinis.

Drew Neisser: Gin or vodka? 

Kory Kogon: I swing both ways. It’s gin and vodka. Lately, I’ve been on a vodka kick. But I’ve been drinking gin martinis for a really long time.

Drew Neisser: There’s obvious reason why we’re together here today. For those who’ve been on Renegade Marketers Live. They know that gin, we have a bias towards gin in this universe. Let me tell you why I felt it was so urgent that you join us and you’re sort of to me, an EMT arriving at a train wreck. It’s always been hard to be a CMO. It’s a high pressure, highly demanding job. It has a classically high turnover rate. Non of that’s news, but when the pandemic struck in 2020, and most CMO started working from home, the 2 hours that they gained from the commute did not go to say working out and healthy lifestyle, they just went back to work. The biggest culprit in all of this was meetings and the proliferation of meetings. And it turns out these little sidebar conversations that you had in the office weren’t as much time sucks as you might have thought. They in fact, the time suck became when those went away. And every conversation became a meeting. So what happens is, if you’ve looked at the CMOs calendars, they went 9-5 every single day. And I’m just curious. And so we call this meeting mania, we spent a lot of time on it. Is this a broader part of the pandemic and an epidemic within it?

Kory Kogon: Well, you know, I’m actually surprised you said 9-5, because we talked to organizations and even relatives, my own family, where they’re flummoxed, CMO or not where they’re like, “Wow, I’m like tethered to the phone, because it doesn’t seem to matter what time of day or night, there’s some meeting, somewhere, happening. So this is definitely it’s not just you, it’s everywhere. And I appreciate what you said about, you know, some of those, you know, coffee machine or watercooler stops, you know, those informal meetings have turned into formal meeting some of the work here is how do we in formalize those meetings again, and separate them out from the meetings that really have to happen. So it is an epidemic of meetings, although I think there’s so much zoom fatigue and stuff like that, I think, for survival reasons. And with some learning, people are starting to understand and organizations are starting to understand how to work on minimizing some of the meetings and I even in our own company, I’m like, do you really need that meeting? Can you just step back and think about it and your CMOs, you cause a lot of the meetings. And really, we should go first, a lot of times, we’re just in, you know, idle automatic mode, if you will. And so is there a way to just look at the meetings and scratch a couple off? I mean, there’s so much relief when I see like, I don’t have to be at the Monday meeting like woohoo. And it’s just amazing, right. So how can we as leaders, look at the meetings and think about what can I do to take a few meetings off? Maybe uninvite, a few people who don’t need to be there. And you have to be careful about that. You don’t want to hurt egos. The other thing is, could you please make them 45 minutes, not an hour, and give people the grace of 15 minutes to catch their breath or take a little walk or go to the bathroom or get a gin or something like that. So those are a few few tips.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, in fact, we spent almost a month on this topic and definitely shortening the meetings was a key a lot of folks—when we’re going for 15 minute meetings and you had to rationalize doing longer—meeting purge became a an exciting thing. One of the things that is difficult, and a few of the CMOs have mentioned this is that because they’re global companies, so they have people in Asia, and they people in South America, which is less of a problem for them. But they were finding that they were up at either 5 in the morning doing calls or they were doing them at 10 at night. And it was just this, you know, endless thing. And I wonder this is sort of the combination of international where you go with that and what these folks can do, because you don’t want to make the folks in India necessarily feel left out. But it’s a problem. 

Kory Kogon: So if I’m hearing you correctly, it’s the “I’ve got the early morning meeting on one side of the world, the late meeting at night on another side of the world, what do you do about that?” I am in that exact same position. And also, I just want to tell you, the productivity practices that are not one of the greatest attributes I had is I’m not perfect. I’m more of a laboratory rat with this. So I go off the deep end sometimes with some of this to the chagrin of my family and even at work too. I suffer from some of this as well, I work globally. Next week, July 4, I start a sales Academy with the world. July 4, because it’s not July 4 there. So July 4, that whole week. 5:30-8:30 in the morning, 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. What it used to be was because I’m a nice stout 5:30 in the morning to 8:30 in the morning, and again for Asia, 5 o’clock at night till 8 o’clock in the morning. I said no to that. I said I can’t do that this time. It’s just too much with everything in between. Here’s why I’m telling you that story. Because the minute I said, “Listen, you know, guys, I can’t.” They’re like, “Okay, we get it.” So for those of you that have those calls, be careful what we’re self imposing, and think about how could you do it differently. So are there days or weeks where you can do one half of the world and another week where you do the other part of the world so you’re not killing yourself at both ends. Now sometimes it’s out of our control. And I’m a realist about that too. But if we think a little bit about it, and how do we redo it, sometimes we can make it work, even though we’re like, “Oh they’ll never agree to that.” Well, you know what they will agree to it. It’s just that we never say no to it. And Ben I saw you comment about you don’t know how to say no. So I said, I’ll work, you know, 27 hours a day all over the world. And they’re like, great, Kory, she’ll do it until I said, No, I can’t. They’re like, okay, no problem, we’ll fix it.

Drew Neisser: So the big picture of the book, you talk about the 5 choices, and I want to make sure that we at least review all of those because they provide a wonderful framework, a strategic framework for sort of this challenge. And the first choice is act on the important don’t react to the urgent. And that one really resonated with me, because I ended up preparing for these show notes on Saturday, because my Friday got blown up by a bunch of urgent but not necessarily important requests. Talk about this choice and why it’s the first choice and why it’s so important. 

Kory Kogon: Well, you’re right, Drew, it’s number 1 for a reason. And before I tell you that, let me give you the clarity on the problem or problems that you are really trying to solve, which goes back to the neuroleadership that I was talking about before. This is not about we have bad time management, it has to do with, again, if we’re optimizing our brain and becoming intentional, around what are we doing. Here’s what we know the 3 key problems are. Number one, we’re making more decisions than we ever have, before every email, every text, every child knocking on the door, the dog, all of it is a decision that we make. Second, our attention is under attack like never before. So we used to say it’s the technology. It’s not the technology, we’re working remote, we’ve got, you know, the dogs not here today, but he would be knocking on the door, and they’re doing the lawn outside, you know, the the backyard, there’s noise, all that kind of stuff. So our attention is really under attack. And we’re sort of worn out from it all. Having said that, the idea of making so many decisions all day long, our brain is in survival mode. And so a lot of times we’re going let me just scroll through all these emails, and then I’ll get to the important stuff. And that’s survival. I’m telling you all of that, because the idea of we have so many decisions to make, and we’re worn out is really the crux of the problem. So we can say, well, you know, be intentional about what’s coming in. And then you have to say, Well, what do I do with it? Well, you need to go for important, don’t settle for urgent, and you need a process in order for your brain to figure out what’s most important, less important, not important. We call that the Time Matrix, and it takes the words urgent and important, puts them together in a matrix. So things that are important and not urgent are your really important things. Things that are urgent and important are crises, things that are urgent and not important are distractions. And things that are not urgent, not important are waste. So when you and I’m just giving you a synopsis, it’s important because when you have a process like that, and you are intentional, and every single incoming you’re saying, “Is this a crisis, should I be doing this or not? Am I drinking one too many martinis, and my family is waiting for me. So it really is damaging. Now it isn’t adult, you know, too much of an indulgence.” It helps keep us honest, and really figure out both individually, team wise, and organizationally, what’s important, less important, not important, and gives us a language and a methodology to be able to keep that straight in the organization.

Drew Neisser: I think about this from a strategic standpoint, if I’m a CMO, and I’m thinking about urgent versus important, right? On the important side, I’m looking at how do I help grow the business? How do I get my staff and the right staff to be doing the jobs? All my strategic priorities. And I’m probably pretty good at saying that I know what the strategic priorities are. The urgent part is the problem because CEOs particularly it’s more happens at startups and leaders who are not leaders who haven’t been trained to be leaders. And this is really true in a lot of the startup world is like everything’s urgent from the CEO. And we see this all the time. I mean, if there’s a reason why a huddler doesn’t show up at a huddle, it’s “Oh, my CEO just called.” 9 out of 10 times. Talk about how a CMO can get a CEO to sort of help with seeing the difference between their urgent ego driven requests. And what’s really important both to the organization and the CMO, being able to deliver what they committed to the organization.

Kory Kogon: I have 3 answers to that. Probably not gonna remember 2 of them, but we’ll see I’ll give it a go. First of all, 100% of the time when we’re having this discussion, people will say, “Oh, well, you know, Kory sounds good. Having a process, having a rubric is good. Too bad my boss, the CEO, you know, if they should be here, you know, kind of thing. And my answer to that initially is, “Fine, we get that, but I’ll tell you what my parents used to say—I’m 1 of 3 girls. I’m the middle child. If there’s anybody with middle child syndrome, you get me. And you know, I say, “Dad, you should punish Ellie”—my eldest sister. And he’d say, “You know what, don’t worry about Ellie. When you’re doing it perfectly, then we can worry about Ellie.” So I say the same thing here. Before you go after the CEO. What is it that we are doing that we can do a better job reclaiming time, attention, and energy. So that’s one. So for instance, when I was talking about the quadrants, a lot of times some of you might be go to people. Or you might have people on a team like that, you know, Drew’s come to me and says, “Kory”—or I go to Drew, and I say, “Drew, do you know where that new thing is that new policy? The new campaign is?” And he says, “Oh, yeah, it’s on the internet.” And I say, “Oh, yeah, but Drew you’re so good at it, would you mind just helping me?” And he puts down what he’s doing and helps me and I say, “Thank you.” And then Katrina texts me and says, “Hey, Kory, do you know where that new thing is?” And I say, “Oh, yeah, it’s on the internet. But just call Drew, he will help you.” And so we become accommodators, and go to people because everybody’s addicted to us. And so, you know, that’s just one example of saying, what are some things that we are doing, if you are a procrastinator, it means you’ve made a perfectly good quadrant two thing, something that was important, not urgent, and you’re like, “Nah, I’ll wait. We’ll get that campaign going. Next week. I’m doing right now. I’ll wait.” And it ends up in quadrant one, because you wait to the last minute and quadrant one is never gonna go away. There’s always going to be real crises and stuff like that. So what is it that we are doing that we can clean out our own days, in order to put a little breathing space in there, even with the CEO Hakan on us, you know, with something else? Right? So we got our life in order. So that’s answer number one. Answer number two, take this for what it is. I’m an executive leadership in FranklinCovey, I talk to the CEO all the time, talk to the CEO. And that’s the importance of the Time Matrix. A lot of times—here’s what I say about all of us. Leaders don’t wake up in the morning going, “How do I make them miserable today?” It just happens naturally, right? It’s just happens naturally. And people don’t mean it. So a lot of people don’t even realize, again, it’s a brain things unconscious, they don’t even realize they’re just sending things downstream. And you’re all very good at what you do. So you just take it on, take it on, take it on, they’re not thinking to thing about it. We have all kinds of evidence with executive teams, etc. sit them down with the Time Matrix go through it, here’s what we’ve got, here’s how we can move things around. Or you just have the conversation around urgency, and what are the systems? And what’s the conversation for expectations around it? So that’s two. Third answer is, and this is common, and sharing alliances with my partner who’s on with us gets this as well, we see this in organizations where you do have this gigantic initiative. And sometimes it’s beyond just basic time management. Because what we’re trying to do is get an initiative accomplished in the midst of the day job, we call it the whirlwind. It’s just everything you need to do to keep the business running. And then you have the strategic initiative, and you’re trying to get that done too. And what we say at Franklin Covey and very connected to the 5 choices is sometimes you need to take that strategic initiative, put it over here and give it very special treatment outside of trying to get it done in the day to day as well

Drew Neisser: Love that order. So the first one is say take personal responsibility, like “Physician, heal Thyself” or get your house in order whatever metaphor you want. You’ll look at and say I’m bulletproof here, because I know what my priorities are. I manage these things. I’ve got systems in place that set it up. So that hey, they asked me this one time I sent him the link, they asked me another time I realized, Okay, I’m gonna put all the links somewhere, wherever I find them, you’re gonna remove yourself part of this is there’s a little psychological thing going I’m indispensable. 

And that may be you’re playing into that. I think that’s really an interesting insight. Number two, talking to the CEO is an interesting one. We could spend a lot more time on a lot of companies have things like OKRs or iOS operating system in some ways, then it’s simply saying, “Hey, were these still the rocks that we talked about?” 

Kory Kogon: That’s right. 

Drew Neisser: Going back and saying and fees are still important, and we talk a lot about in huddles about saying no. And the third one, the initiative is just like okay, suck it up and get it done. Put it over here, but still get it done. I’m with you. We are going to spend a lot more time on the important a little bit less time on the urgent or just try to manage those things better. Next up in the book is go for the extraordinary don’t settle for the ordinary—I love that. At huddles, we talk about sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness. We think about you know, everyone here wants to be extraordinary at their job. That’s why they’re, you know, showing up at a bonus huddle to hear you, stuff happens though! Help us get a handle on how do we go for the extraordinary, don’t settle for the ordinary when at the same time sometimes, you know, perfect is the enemy of good. I don’t know there’s a lot of conflicts in mind about this talk a little bit about the second choice and how—because you can’t do extraordinary in everything.

Kory Kogon: Right. 

Kory Kogon: You can to and when we say extraordinary, we’re not talking about solving world peace, although that would certainly be an amazing thing in this day and age, right? We are talking about when we say, you know, being extraordinary, am I making my greatest contribution in the few most important roles in my life. We cannot be extraordinary and everything. And we probably all—I’m sure you’re all very well connected, I’m sure you are on boards, I’m sure you have community things. So you have a million roles. And what we say is, you know, want for now narrow the focus to the few roles that right now in this time, my window is over here—so the world is over there. My house is over there—During this time of the world with everything that’s going on right now, what are the few most important roles that I need to be really good at? And what you need to do is name it and give it a face. Meaning what does high value contribution look like in that role as a CMO, as a father or a mother, as a partner or a spouse, give it a face. Because when you give it a face in the neuroscience world, meaning write a statement, what does that mean? Label it. In a neuroscience wrote, it’s sort of like signing a wedding certificate, you know, you might have been living with that person for a really long time. But when you put it on paper, it’s like a whole new day. So it’s the same thing here. You know, I as vice president of content management and productivity, you know, I will build the capability and strength of people all over the world. So that’s what I think about in my work role as a dog mother of a 16 year old dog, you know, make sure he has the best end of life, you know, experience and you know, those kinds of things. In doing that, what happens is you creating targets for your brain. And again, it’s all about the neuroscience. So when Ben comes to me and says, “Kory, do you have a sec for that blah?” I’m thinking, “Do I?” Against my statement, I don’t know, Ben might be brand new. And I’m like, You know what this is a good reason for me to say, “Yes.” Or Ben has come to me 17 times for the same thing. And then I need you to go learn how to do it over there. So all we’re doing is taking just a few of our most important roles and naming what high quality looks in those and living into it. So you go in for extraordinary, not settle for ordinary, but not in everything when narrowing the focus.

Drew Neisser: So if there’s one exercise, encourage the CMOs to do if you do get the book and you go through this exercise, and you set up your roles, and you happen to have a partner. I went through this exercise and then I said to my wife, “These are the roles that I play and one of them is a husband. Can we just talk about this? How am I doing?” It was a really good conversation, because immediately she said, Well, how am I doing it? And you know, I said, So what are your goals? It was a good thing, because we didn’t say, “Oh we wanted to be extraordinary life partners, but we established a bar for each other. And then we talked about what it meant to be where it how this fit in as a role for parents, and what that meant to us.” And so it was really good conversation. So I encourage you to go through that exercise, it does make you think as you start to write down all the potential roles that you play, and that list could get really long. And so you then have to sort of triage it and say, “All right, there may be only one thing I can do on this one.” The next one I really like which is scheduled the big rocks don’t sort gravel. Can you talk about the metaphor and some tips for seeing how CMOs can separate rocks from gravel?

Kory Kogon: The gravel, first of all, is everything. It’s every email, every task, every phone call, it’s everything that’s coming in at you. Some of which might be you know, noises just again, stuff that we have to do in this bigger whirlwind that I mentioned earlier. The big rocks—which is where it rocks emanated from in the iOS system, by the way, yeah, it gives attribution to Stephen Covey—the big rocks are the most important things that you need to do next week that are related to the few most important goals you have, in most cases. This is almost a psychological gymnastics kind of thing with some proven science behind it. So we call weekly daily planning, which is a key you know, key thing. I’m sure you’re very successful people, you all have your planning systems. A lot of times what we do though, is we do our planning, just in time, Monday morning, let me check my task list. Before the week starts, take a few minutes, whether it’s Friday or Sunday—whatever makes you happy. And when I say, you know, like we say, take 30 minutes. I don’t care if you take 20 minutes or an hour, get out of reactive mode and get into proactive mode. Where you’re really just thinking about it and think about—and this goes to patties that I know that I need to be extraordinary—But I don’t do it because by the end of the day at 7 o’clock, I’m just done. Me too—But what we do is the week before we take those few most important things that are really critical to get done. And when I say that I mean needs to be done on time, and with quality, because I think the quality part sometimes gets left out when we’re hitting a deadline, not that we epically wouldn’t do that. But what is it that I need to get done, and okay, I’m gonna put that in my calendar, no matter what, that it’s a big rock, that thing is gonna get done. The better job that I do, putting in a few big rocks for the following week, not 100. And it doesn’t have to be against every role, but those things are really important to you. The gravel then can fall in around it. We also say don’t schedule more than 50% of your calendar on any given day with big rocks, because real life you’re gonna get interrupted, the CEO is gonna have an urgent meeting, all those kinds of things. So that’s the idea of big rocks. And I’ll tell you, one of the scientists, Dr. Heidi Halverson, who wrote the book Succeed, she’s an expert in goal setting. In one of our videos, she states that the probability of accomplishment goes up 2-300%, the more specific we get around things like that. So that’s big rocks.

Drew Neisser: I have almost got to the point where I can get rid of a to do list because I just if it was on my calendar, it was something that would get done and then everything else would be gravel. But one, I hadn’t considered that just put 50% big rocks at 50% There’s a couple of things that make that a little more complicated, obviously, is dependencies. Two there’s this interruption. Now I’m gonna go back—one other part of this thing, which I believe is part of this section, and maybe the other—if I’m in it, take a half an hour at the beginning or the end of every week, and plus sort of 10 minutes, I think you prescribe, you have to put that on your calendar too, for whatever reason, I’ve been putting that on my calendar ever since I read the book and that time just disappears every single time. This is a hard habit to get started and really figure out because if we’re sort of going to do this on an ongoing basis talk a little bit about this habit problem I think a lot of folks will face.

Kory Kogon: Well you know, it goes back to—first of all I have worked with a lot of CEOs of some very big companies around this and it is always interesting—it makes me smile when I’ll hear back from them is one of the best things we worked on was weekly daily planning. CEOs say that it really gave them some air to breathe when they just stepped back and set some things in the calendar for next week. 

Drew Neisser: What occurred to me is part of this is the psyche of feeling that I’m actually accomplishing something right? 

Kory Kogon: Yeah. 

Drew Neisser: If I can look at my calendar and I can see that 50% of the time I’m spending is actually on big rocks. That would be awesome. I don’t think necessarily that it is if I actually kept track of it. But the habit part of this of the 10 minutes for the week I’m better at the big rock scheduling than I am at the habit forming weekly daily planning. Get me to the daily planning!

Kory Kogon: All right, all right. First of all, if not, everything’s a big rock. I mean you pick and choose those carefully. And I’m gonna be honest with you I am crazy busy. This past weekend was the first time I didn’t feel like cortisol was flowing complete into my veins about to kill me, which is a toxic neurotransmitter, which is my own fault but I’m getting it under control, I even got a standing desk this week. Finally, which is crazy that I didn’t do that before. Your brain—quick lesson here. Unconscious brain, back your brain. Conscious brain, front of your brain. We live here, your brain loves routines, anything that—so putting any pans, brushing your teeth, giving directions to somebody, like just go to the red light turn to the store, I know how to do it, I don’t know how to tell you, you know, that kind of thing that’s all the back of your brain. Front of your brain, very intentional, prefrontal cortex. It’s where I make conscious decisions, I decide whether I should have a second martini or not. Those kinds of things. It’s conscious. The more you do conscious things, the more your brain cells fire and rewire. It’s called Hebb’s Law, if you want to look it up, fire rewire. And those new connections go to the back of your brain, creating new routines. That’s how you create a habit. But those are very fragile connections. So you have to work really hard—It’s like exercise, right? If I work at it and try something enough, I’ll get good at it or a new software program or something like that. So you just have people say, “Kory, what’s the magic bullet to doing this?” There is none. It takes pure discipline to say do weekly daily planning. And you should do the 10 minutes because it’s very zen like for me at the end of the day. And I do keep a task list. I have a calendar and task I can’t live without my task list and my whiteboard. The end of the day when I just reconcile everything, just take it. I didn’t get to that big rock. Let me move it someplace else. I can cross off some things that I got done and I’m like, “Okay, now I can go enjoy my martini and my television.”

Drew Neisser: So you could start probably a million sentences with, “Drew should.” So we’ll just add that one spend 10 minutes there. Okay. Now I want to get back to at the very beginning of the conversation you said we’re being bombarded with decisions, our attention are under attack. This gets to rule your technology, don’t let it rule you. So can we talk about you mostly see, most are either on Gmail or Outlook? Where should CMO start when it comes to technology to support their productivity efforts?

Kory Kogon: Well, the first thing you got to do, and I’m not a champ at this either, although I’m very conscious of it, before you start talking about what technology you have—I always like to say confessions. Are you addicted to your technology? Are you using your technology in a Q3/Q4 kind of way? Because if you’re addicted to it, that’s half the battle. So you sort of have to think about that and comes to terms with that before we can say, “Okay, now we can align our technology.” So if you’re the type of people that everybody at the dinner table is on their phones, or the kids are not on the phones, but you are—by the way, there’s been some studies, as much as we blame the kids, there’s been a lot of studies around children suffering because of the parents love of their technology. And the kids are competing for love versus a cell phone or the iPad kind of thing. I digress, but that’s part of it. Make sure you are using your technology in a Q1/Q2 kind of way. One more thing I’ll say about that, because you are chief people in your organization’s there is—and with the great resignation and all of that going on, you want to lose your people even faster, multitask while they’re trying to talk to you, particularly with your cell phone. “Yeah, oh, yeah. No, what do you need, I can do two things at once.” Or even on Zoom, they sense you’re doing your email while you’re talking to them, that is the fastest way for them to go look for another place to work. So if you want their engagement, give them your full attention. But that is a real waste of good technology and good human beings.

Drew Neisser: Speaking of this in the psychological thing, most of us if you’re working at home, like I have a huge screen here that’s like the equivalent of three screens. And if I don’t consciously turn slack off, and turn email off and turn my phone off, even when we’re having this conversation, I can’t help but be distracted. And if you’re talking about you know, in our case, it could be to a huddler on a one on one it could be for the listeners it could be you know, your your boss, your associate, if you think you can do things, multitask, it’s really it’s one of those great myths, and I’m so glad you brought that up. By the way, in our household, it is our dog. If my wife and I are both on our phones, our dog goes nuts! “Put those down, you must pay attention to me, I need your love. Stop it!”

Kory Kogon: There’s a lot of research on that also. So when I take Wesley walking, I am very careful, because they can sense that you’re disconnected from them. So pet lovers, please keep that in mind. You’re not fooling them for one second and it makes them very sad. 

Drew Neisser: That’s hilarious. Who knew there was actually some science behind that.

Kory Kogon:  There’s studies on that, by the way, somebody earlier asked about can you multitask? Multitasking is a skill, and it’s called switching here is the punch line. The research shows that if you want to do one thing very well, you can only do that one thing at a time. So it’s two different skill sets. But you need to know that. And again, that focus on getting one thing done really well. There are a lot of people who think, “Nope, I can do this. And I can do this.” And again, parents are multitasking their kids and stuff like that because they have to. But when it comes to your work, or something really important, you want high quality, you need to focus on one thing.

Drew Neisser: We’ll get to this time management—the time of day and the fuel your fire kind of a thing. But I certainly know there are times when I can write and if I close every piece of software and just have Word open, I have a much better chance of getting something written in the allotted time that I’ve given to it. Okay, let’s talk about being an inbox ninja, what it’s going to take for those folks, because this is a problem that needs to be whipped into shape.

Kory Kogon: So there’s a couple of things here. First of all, if you’re using Google, Google’s strategy is that it doesn’t matter how many messages you have in your inbox that you should be able to use it sort of, you know, they have such a significant search engine that you should be able to search. That’s fine, I still like a good clean inbox. Because, you know, I don’t want to live there. But I just want to give, you know, attribution where it belongs, that’s their methodology and I have a bunch of friends and they just search for their name. That doesn’t work for me. I’m on Outlook. I have 40 or 50 right now. You know, it’s sort of like my desk and again, this sometimes it’s a style difference. My desk needs to be clean at the end of the day. My physical desk needs to be cleaned at the end of the day. So I do work on, you know, getting rid of junk, the delete button is my best friend, it gives me a shot of dopamine, every time I can get rid of something, I am just so happy. Everybody sort of lives in their inbox and has had some of the same issues where you know, your boss will say, “Hey, did you get my message?” And then you scroll around looking for it, or you read it on the phone, you mark it unread, you read it later. I mean, it really is a big waste. Here’s some tips around your inbox. And there’s some principles behind this too. First of all, every email is not just a message, every email is a decision your brain has to make. Every email is a decision your brain has to make. So what I strongly recommend is how do we pre decide because you’re getting a lot of emails where it’s like, “Oh, you know, there’s that thing again, or there’s a newsletter, I want to read that later.” You’re taking brain cells, retinas stuff that you should be able to pre decide. So what we want to do with sort of the principle of automation, you should be able to automate 20-30% of the things in your inbox based on pre decision. So all of you, I’m sure most of you know how to create rules in Outlook, and it’s called filters in Google, create some rules. For me, I don’t care if the water is on the Jefferson Building and FranklinCovey headquarters, I have a rule that when something comes in about the Jefferson Building, throw it the heck out. Or if I get reports from a department that are not urgent for me to see, I have a folder there. And so it bypasses my inbox, I have pre decided that. So this is one of the big things to think. And you can max out rules. So you might have some rules. But now you know the principle. They allow 30 or 40 different roles, I’d set them up and either delete things. I’ll give you another example. Some recruiters that I know, they only want to interview people between you know a certain time and they want it copied to you know, HR, all of that can be set up in a rule. So that it’ll put a time block on when you should be calling, it’ll send the resume to HR. You can do all of that and really automate a lot. It’s one of the best known secrets. Second thing, the second tip I’ll give you, for me, you dread email. I love it. So even in the house here, my partner will say, “Kory, can you do something?” I’m like send me an email, don’t tell me walking through the house. Why? Because I use a combination of the task management system, the calendaring system, because what happens is in your inbox, another great secret when Sherry Lyons says to me, “Kory, you’re going to be working with Drew, I need you to prepare for this.” I take that email, and I just drag it down to the task folder, opens up the task, the information and our whole thread. All the information from do automatically shows up. And I put a date on when I’m going to prepare, close it and out of my inbox. Same thing with calendaring. And Sherry told me you know, we’re going to be doing it on June 30. So I took that same email with all the information, dragged it down to my calendar thing and opened up the calendar item, I put a reminder on it, close it, it’s out of my inbox. So I’m not living in my inbox, I’m actually turning things into what they really are. And outlook and Google give you tremendous opportunity to do that. So I have a whole engine of productivity going between my task list calendaring. That’s pretty cool. That keeps me honest and keeps me looking pretty good in the eyes of FranklinCovey.

Drew Neisser: So there’s a lot more we could cover with this, obviously. And we have a couple of inbox ninjas among the huddlers. But let’s make sure we get to the last one because I think this is so important. Choice number five is fuel your fire don’t burn out. And this brings us back to the beginning of the conversation when I mentioned that most CMOs are working longer hours since the pandemic began. Can we talk about the repercussions of sort of overworking for a second?

Kory Kogon: Yeah, I can. I am personally able to share that with you. You heard what I said. I mean, this weekend—and I’m not saying this proudly. Of all people you know, what kind of impostor am I that I’m like, you know, crawling around like I don’t feel well because I’m half dead. And you know, and my partner’s like, well, Kory, you’re working yourself into the ground. So a lot of times it’s choices like my parents used to say, “Kory use your self control.” You have to use your self control, you need to say “no” to some things and set boundaries around some of this and make sure you’re taking care of yourself. And the worst thing is—most of you, if not all of you have people reporting to you. It is the worst thing in the world for them to see you not taking care of yourselves or not taking time off or not relaxing or not giving them a break or whatever. Because then like well if he or she would they are doing it, you know, then I have to work as hard. Somebody has to go first, but just getting some boundaries in place, and making sure—we say the 5 energy drivers: we’re moving, we’re eating right were relaxing, we’re connecting, which has become so important, getting enough sleep—not enough sleep all kinds of research, you only get a few hours of sleep a night, you will test out intoxicated, which means cognitively impaired, which means you can’t think, which is what you paid to do.

Drew Neisser: Moving, eating, connecting, sleep…what was the fifth?

Kory Kogon: Relax.

Drew Neisser: Oh, there we go. Bridge Baron bringing it!

Kory Kogon: You know, I’ll tell you really quick. And it’s those 5, you know, moving, they’ve done studies, that if you exercise, but then you sit at your desk, 8-10 hours a day, you negate the effects of the workout, I told you about sleeping, and you know, your parents could have taught you these 5 things is there, but we don’t do them well enough. It’s just very integrated. And the interesting thing was, the pandemic has really given connect, a real place, right? Because it was before was this idea of connect, but we saw the pain that people go through when they don’t connect. And so that the health and energy of making sure people are connecting, whether it’s in person, or even over zoom.

Drew Neisser: Well, and I also imagined the connectivity of these things. If you’re moving a lot and eating well, and connecting with people and finding time to relax, you’re going to sleep better. And if you do these things, what goodness will happen?

Kory Kogon: Actually, it’s a very good question. And what happens is you are giving your brain, the oxygen and the nutrients that it requires, in order to be able to make the highest value decisions and keep your attention focused. And practice the habits that Drew was saying. It’s impossible to do it without taking care of your brain. And the other thing that comes into play with that that Energizer is your purpose that you determined in choice 2. So that plus the 5 energy drivers really gives your mind what it needs, the oxygen, the nutrients, it needs to stay focused and get this work done in a good way to a good outcome.

Drew Neisser: If we are talking about being our optimally productive people. If we just focus on important decisions versus urgent if we just focus on doing extraordinary and getting our priorities, if we just focus on scheduling the big rocks and not letting technology rule us we could still fail. We could still fail because our body won’t support these activities. But I love about this book is there a good part of this is this is part of it too, in order to achieve optimal if you will, or get the stuff done that you want to get done and have your body with you when you’re finished with it. Kory one last thought for folks as they think about this productivity journey, what’s your last parting was bits of wisdom for them?

Kory Kogon: I think this is a really tough time in the world. And we have more coming at us all of the time. I do think really, you know, to what Drew was saying earlier, don’t try to try all of this at one time try something and give it some time. So if it’s getting good at you know the Time Matrix, let me get really good at you know, clarifying what, what’s important, less important, not important. And let my mind discern with that. Do that if it’s identifying your roles do that if it’s energy drive, you’re gonna work on do that but don’t bite off everything and then because then you’ll go well you know, that’s not going to work. So take a little if you have the book whatever take a little bit of the time try it and even you know we do work around change all the time. And we say I made the commitment to do it and then I started doing it doesn’t feel perfect, so I stopped. Don’t stop, keep practicing and your brain will rewire. And little by little you know you will get some nice new habits in place. They’ll just like you wake up and go Oh, I did my weekly planning today and it weren’t that oh by

Drew Neisser: Little…

Kory Kogon: Little by little

Drew Neisser: Poco poco se valet host, that’s what it is new habits gradually adopted. Okay. Well, Kory Kogon what a pleasure to have you here today. Thank you so much for joining us. Where can folks find you or follow you or follow up with you?

Kory Kogon: Thank you for that. And thanks for having us through. We appreciate that you can always go to I am on LinkedIn in a pretty big way. So you’re welcome to find me there you can go www dot Franklin has a number of white papers and some really good case studies on organizations that have institutionalized the five choices across their organization Microsoft Sweden, another company that’s name is escaping me. And of course the book if you’re looking for that is Amazon or any of the booksellers

Drew Neisser: Alrighty then. Well, thank you so much again, Kory, and thank you huddlers for joining this very special bonus huddle. If you’re a B2B CMO and you want to hear more conversations like this one. Find out if you qualify to join our community of sharing, caring, and daring CMOs at

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me. audio production and show notes are by our friends at Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceovers Linda Cornelius to find all the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book and the savviest B2B marketing boutique in New York City, visit I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those renegade thinking caps on and strong!

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Renegade marketers. Unite is now a production of share your genius. Melissa Caffrey is our content director. The music is by the amazing burns twins and intro. Voiceover is Linda Cornelius to find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about them. And the savvy is B2B marketing boutique in New York city.

Please visit I’m your host Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.