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Megan FlattMegan Flatt is the CEO and Founder of Let’s Collective, a business growth strategy firm devoted to making entrepreneurship easier and helping women-owned businesses scale. Megan and the team at Let’s Collective formed Focus Sessions, 90-minute virtual co-working sessions designed to enhance productivity through distraction-free, science-backed methods. 

Megan has dedicated her career to making entrepreneurship easier and enabling business owners to maintain a work-life balance. She believes people don’t necessarily need more time to succeed but a greater degree of focus. Her philosophy led her to write Focused: Reclaim Your Time, Ditch Overwhelm, and Do Less Better, a comprehensive guide to boosting productivity and minimizing overwhelm.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Megan Flatt shares what inspired her to write a book
  • The problem with hustle culture
  • How Megan grows her business without falling prey to hustle culture
  • Making time for deep work
  • Megan discusses how she helps people set a schedule that works for them
  • How to maximize your focus
  • Megan talks about Focus Sessions and what it provides

In this episode…

Do you ever feel there’s never enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want? Entrepreneurs often grapple with staying focused and managing time effectively, and it can seem like an uphill battle. But what if the secret to business growth lies in enhancing your focus and productivity?

Megan Flatt, an entrepreneur, productivity strategist, and author, honed the art of helping others streamline their workflows. Megan has developed systems and strategies that effectively enhance focus and productivity, not just to do more but to do what matters most. Her insights will revolutionize how you approach your day-to-day responsibilities, making you more efficient, more effective, and ultimately more successful.

In this episode, host John Corcoran of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast joins Megan Flatt, CEO and Founder of Let’s Collective and Focus Sessions, to discuss how leveraging focus and productivity can spur growth. They delve into Megan’s unique time-blocking strategy, how understanding your biological rhythm can optimize productivity, and the importance of recognizing and prioritizing high-value tasks. Plus, Megan introduces her virtual program, Focus Sessions, which promises a new approach to co-working and optimizing your time.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:13

Alright, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, I am the co host of this show. And if you’ve listened to this podcast before, you know that every week we feature smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs, for all kinds of companies and organizations. We’ve had Netflix and Kinkos, YPO, EO Activation, Blizzard, Lending Tree, Grub Hub. Check out the archives, lots of great episodes in there. And this episode is brought to you by EO San Francisco, which is part of Entrepreneurs Organization, which is a global, peer to peer network of more than 18,000 influential business owners 200 or so chapters in 60 or so countries. And if you’re the founder, co founder, owner or controlling shareholder of a company that generates over a million dollars a year in revenue, and you want to connect with other like minded, successful entrepreneurs, eo is for you. And you can learn more about EO San Francisco at, and my guest here today. First of all, to give a shout out to Paige Buck of Kennedy events, who nominated our guest is Megan Flatt. She’s a big business growth strategist on a mission to make entrepreneurship easier. And she believes that you can have a thriving business community and a life. You don’t need more time, you need more focus. Which leads us to her book, she’s got a book that’s called Focused: Reclaim Your Time, Ditch Overwhelm, and Do Less Better. And she’s also the founder of Focus Sessions. And I’ve known Megan for many years, we live not too far from one another, our kids are around the same age. So it’s great to bring you back and to interview you again here Megan? Well, first of all, let’s start with the book. You’ve got lots of things going on, you got young kids, why add a book to your to do list? What inspired that idea?

Megan Flatt 1:49

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. I think, you know, like many people, I think a book is probably been on my bucket list for a while. But I think it’s mostly because I wanted a more clear and concise way to talk about my message, you know, through through blog posts, and newsletters, and podcast, interviews and all of these other mediums that we use to get our message out. It’s not always sequential. It’s not always in the, the formulaic order, if you will, that that someone can really take action on it. And so I really wanted to put my ideas. I really love teaching, I love empowering people to do better, I love really hands on learning, taking action. And so I really wanted to have a way for people who were interacting with my message to really take action. And so the book seemed like the best way to take all of the little pieces of things that I talked about in all sorts of different settings, and put them into a sequential actionable order.

John Corcoran 2:50

And one of the things you start with is, look, we’ve got this kind of hustle, culture mentality, that a lot of people you talk to people all the time, like, how you doing busy, I’m so busy. You know, people say that all the time. And it’s like a badge of pride that people wear an emblem that they have on the front of their chest or something like that. So let’s, let’s unpack that. For starters.

Megan Flatt 3:14

Absolutely. I mean, and I even even knowing it, and knowing that I was going to be writing a book and writing about why that’s not the way to go. I was researching even just to put quotes about entrepreneurship in the book to kind of sprinkled throughout the book on kind of the page breaks and things like that. And when I when I was researching quotes about entrepreneurship, the first few quotes that popped up were entrepreneurs never sleep, you know, entrepreneur, you know, entrepreneurs work harder than anyone else, you know, something like that. Like, it’s like, it’s just baked into the culture, especially of entrepreneurship that we have. There’s, there’s a quote that I used to love to quote that entrepreneurs are the only people that are willing to work 80 hours a week to keep from working 40 hours a week. And I used to love that quote, and then it’s like, Wait, yeah, wait, wait, wait a minute, is this why is this what we want to be doing? And this idea that hustle culture is just that it’s like, you have to work harder. You have to, and I mean, I’m all for working hard, but there’s just this piece of that you have to do more, be better, work harder, produce more turnout, more sleep, less work more hours. And I think it’s driving all of us to the point of burnout to where we’re not enjoying the reason we went into business in the first place. The reason we decided to kind of go out on our own and create these businesses, but this idea that, that you just have to work a little bit harder, hang on a little bit longer. I think it’s I think it’s killing us and I think it’s killing you know, the creativity and the ingenuity and everything else that is the good part of entrepreneurship.

John Corcoran 4:56

Okay, so but the counterbalance to that is well we need to make a living And especially if we are an entrepreneur, we have a business we want to grow, we have big ambitions, growth oriented. How do you balance out those? Those two? How do you grow your business without falling prey to the hustle, hustle culture, you know, approach that so many people fall fall into?

Megan Flatt 5:22

Well, I like to call it we just need to switch to focus culture. So it’s not about and that’s where this in the tagline of the book do less better. It’s not just about doing less and therefore achieving less. It’s about doing doing less for the sake of doing it better. And switching these switching our mentalities switching our our self talk or affirmations, if you will, from these hustle culture affirmations like I, I’m too, I’m busy, I’m too busy, I don’t have enough time. My calendar is packed. I you know, all of these things like burnout is inevitable. All of these things that we kind of think come along with that hustle mentality and switching it to I have exactly the time I need, I’m in charge of my day. And so it’s not about not working hard. It’s not about even putting in long hours. But it’s about really approaching things with intentionality. And that’s really where that that idea of focus culture comes in. It’s it’s doing what you need to do, but doing it with intentionality.

John Corcoran 6:25

And part of that with intentionality is being deliberate and intentional about what you put on your to do list and putting that together to talk about that one.

Megan Flatt 6:38

Yeah, so I love this is one of my favorite things to talk about. I feel like we could talk the whole 20 minutes just about to do lists, but but I think that we have a tendency kind of semantics. When I asked a group of you know, entrepreneurs or a room when I asked people hey, what’s you know, what’s on your to do list right? Now people will say things like, you know, launch a podcast, or redo my website, or, you know, create a new program for my clients, like people, you know, shout these kinds of things out. And those actually aren’t to do list items. So those are, and they’re not even goals, really what they are actually is projects. And I think what trips us up is we have a tendency to put projects on our to do list. So a project is a multistep a multi step project. And a task is the smallest unit of work. And really tasks are what go on our to do list. And so when you look at your to do list, and you’re putting something on your to do list, like lunch, a podcast, or even write a blog post, that’s not actually a task, it’s not actually a to do list item. It’s actually I like to joke that the first step of getting out of overwhelm, you know, when you’re when you’re feeling overwhelmed or feeling like you have too much to do, the first step to get out of overwhelm is to temporarily get more overwhelmed. And but what I mean by that is take that one thing that’s on your to do list that’s, you know, write my blog post for the week, and turn it into the five tasks or more that actually go into writing a blog path, blog posts, you need to outline the blog post, you need to write the blog post, you need to edit the blog posts, you need to find the images for the blog post, or, you know, even if you’re passing that off to a team member, there’s still, you know, there’s still multiple steps. And I think what happens in that To Do List overwhelm, is that we’re putting projects on our to do list, and then we don’t have adequate time, blocked out to do that big of a project, or we don’t really know what that entails. And so not having that clear definition of what done is, I think then trips us up, and then it’s like, oh, gosh, I don’t have enough time, I need more time, I need to work late, I need to, you know, I need to work on the weekends, I’ll start I’ll write my blog post after the kids go to bed or whatever it is, instead of breaking it down into those individual tasks and saying, Okay, I can outline the blog post, I have 15 minutes before my next client call, I’ll outline that blog post, and then being able to move things forward like that.

John Corcoran 9:10

Yeah. Now, we’re in all of this, do we make time for the deeper work the deeper thinking that that, you know, that is necessary in any particular business? If we, if we have, you know, lists of so many different things to do? How do we carve it in?

Megan Flatt 9:28

Yeah, so I actually think what we have to do is like, we have to flip that script, because I think that’s what people try to do is they try to carve it in, right? It’s like here’s all of the other things that I have to do in my in my business, in my family and my life, all of these other things, and then I need to try to find time for that important work that that work that deep work, like you said that the thing that really moves your business forward moves your life forward. And really what we have to do is we have to start by putting that in first. I’m sure you’ve seen that Video or that meme that goes around on, you know, social media every once in a while where the professor is going to put the rocks in the jar. And he’s kind of talking about the rocks being like the most of your family and you know, and all the other things that, but that’s exactly how we need to treat our, our time and our week are our days is that glass jar. And what a lot of us do is we put the sand in first, right, we’re replying to the email we’re applying to the client calls, we’re replying to our team on Slack, we’re paying bills, we’re sending invoices, we’re doing all of these little, these nagging tasks that kind of create there, the sand that fills up the jar, and then maybe we try to put in some pebbles. And the pebbles are, you know, working with our clients recording, podcast, interviews, and all of these things. And then now your jar is filled with sand and pebbles. And when you go to put the rock in, there’s no room left for the rock. But if we just flip that around, if we start with the empty jar, and we put in, I like to call it your highest contribution. So whatever, asking yourself, what is my highest contribution to my business in this season. So for me when I was writing the book, writing was my highest contribution to the to my business. And so I needed to start with my calendar, and I needed to put in the big rock of writing time first. And then once you have the rock in the jar, then you can put the pebbles in, then the pebbles start to fill around the rock. And then there’s still room for the sand, but the sand just has to go in last. And honestly I saw someone actually physically do it. And you can fit just about the same amount in just by putting but just by putting the rocks in first because the sand and the pebbles, you know, fill in all around the cracks.

John Corcoran 11:45

So it’s a great metaphor. Yeah, I’ve seen that done as well. And it’s it just works so well for that. Now. So one of the things that you say in the book is that you have the time that you need. It’s just about finding the time to focus and being realistic about the time that you actually have. I imagine you get pushback at times from people say no, I don’t have enough time. I need more time.

Megan Flatt 12:09

Yeah, well, everything in the book is backed in science. So it’s not just like my thoughts are like, Oh, wouldn’t it be great if I’m just going to tell you that you have enough time and everything in the book is backed by research or science or, you know, different different explorations of work habits and the way the way the human brain works. And so really, this comes down to I love this analogy of a juggler versus a plate spinner, if you think of like the circus and so, so many of us and we even use, we even use it as a term like, Oh, I’m juggling so many balls right now like we even use it as a term if you think about a juggler, a juggler has to rhythmically touch each item. And they have to keep their eye on all you know six balls that they’re juggling at the same time. And they have to pay attention to all of all of those at the same time. And if they dropped one ball, the other ones usually come crashing to the ground too. And it’s really hard to go from I don’t know, I actually can’t juggle. So who knows. But it seems like it’s really hard to go from juggling six balls to only juggling five like you can’t really just set one down. But if we switch the analogy over to the plate spinner, the plate spinner can put intentionality and put focus and energy into getting one plate spinning. And then once that plate is spinning on its own, then they can move on and start spinning the other plate. And they can actually step back and kind of assess the whole situation and be able to say, oh, that plate over there is starting to slow down my my self care plate is starting to spin down, I need to go over there and put some energy into spinning it. And now I can look over here and see that oh, my marketing plate needs some energy. So by focusing in by focusing in and giving energy to we’re still doing all of the things again, it’s back to kind of it’s not about doing less, but it’s about instead of trying to juggle all of them at the same time. It’s putting focus and energy into one at a time. We all know we’ve all heard that research at this point that you that our brains can’t actually multitask. So it’s it’s a it’s a it’s a building from there, you know, instead of trying to be okay, now I’m gonna do here and I’m gonna run and do this thing. It’s like, Let’s block out that time for that big rock. Let’s put it on our calendar. Your brain is only designed to focus for somewhere probably in the 90 minute range. Maybe as much as two hours for some people as low as 20 or 30 minutes. That’s the that’s the most your brain as a as an organ can can focus. So putting in 60 minutes, 90 minutes, I’m going to focus I’m working on a book. I’m going to sit down I’m going to turn I’m going to put my noise canceling headphones on I’m going to turn off slack. I’m going to turn off notifications, and I’m going to spend 90 minutes working on the book and then I’m going to put that down and then I’m going to move to reply to them such as pay the invoices, do all of the other things. But if you think about that, if you put in that 90 minutes, even if you just do it over, you do it once a week, for 52 weeks, that’s 75 hours. Yeah, that’s that’s significant progress on an important, impactful project.