Focused

Relay FM

David Sparks and Mike Schmitz are not nearly as productive as they’d like to be. Join these fellow travelers (and a bunch of special guests) as they share the best ways to get focused, and talk though their successes and failures along the way. Hosted by David Sparks and Mike Schmitz.

All Episodes

Educator, speaker, and online course creator Ian Byrd joins Mike and David to talk about quarterly retreats, technology, and focus. David makes a commitment.

Sep 15

77 min

Bullet Journal Method founder Ryder Carroll joins us to talk about taking time offline, asking the right questions, and finding the the balance between style and substance in getting the right things done.

Sep 1

61 min

Laura Vanderkam joins the podcast this episode to talk about challenges and opportunities in working from home. Mike and David also break down their ever-evolving shut down routines.

Aug 18

80 min

Jay Miller joins us to talk about balancing many interests, transferring your focus as you switch between them, and what it means to live the multipotentialite lifestyle.

Aug 4

94 min

Mike and David cover a lot in this week's episode ranging from David's attempt at a sabbatical to sleep to productivity in virtual reality.

Jul 21

97 min

David tweaks his shutdown routine and preps for his sabbatical, Mike unpacks his hybrid productivity system, and they each have their own productivity challenge to complete.

Jul 7

72 min

The Pen Addict Brad Dowdy joins in to explain how he struggles to stay focused and discovers that he's a time blocker. We also get very nerdy about pens and paper toward the end.

Jun 23

98 min

Sean McCabe is back to talk about sabbaticals - and to convince David to take one of his own.

Jun 9

102 min

It's Episode 100 and Mike and David are looking back and looking forward in terms of focus.

May 26

74 min

Dave Caolo joins us to talk about games & productivity, how his bullet journal helps him stay focused, and working from home without going crazy.

May 12

69 min

Dave Hamilton joins in to talk about how to keep your focus in the workplace and during a pandemic. Also, Dave uses an isolation tank and we have questions.

Apr 28

92 min

David & Mike continue the overload series with a look at emotional overload. They consider the value of introspection, share some fun distractions, and discuss being ok with not being productive.

Apr 14

66 min

Mike and David consider keeping your focus while working from home.

Mar 31

59 min

David shares the big lessons he's learned from five years of working independently. He and Mike talk about the fear of failure, intentional constraints, effective delegation, and the impact David's furry new coworker has on his productivity.

Mar 17

76 min

Matt Ragland explains how he uses his paper bullet journal to stay focused.

Mar 3

78 min

In this second part of the overload series, David & Mike discuss emotional hijacking, the myth of multitasking, and how to tame the lizard brain.

Feb 18

66 min

Author, physician, and busy guy Kourosh Dini joins us to talk about how to stay focused when you have a lot of things going on.

Feb 4

80 min

David and Mike kick off a new series on overload by examining their own FOMO triggers and make the productivity case for intentionally missing out.

Jan 21

70 min

David and Mike are not fans of New Year's resolutions but they are fans of creating new habits.

Jan 7

91 min

MindNode designer Harald Eckmüller joins us to talk about using mind mapping as a focus tool.

Dec 2019

68 min

As we approach the end of the year, Mike and David check in on their own Focus journeys. Also, David has a secret life as a Jedi and Mike is using coffee to hack focus.

Dec 2019

93 min

Relay co-founder Myke Hurley joins us to talk about the power of yearly themes, becoming more intentional, and working with other humans.

Nov 2019

82 min

In this episode, Mike and David tackle sleep, napping, and how important they are to Focus.

Nov 2019

90 min

David and Mike reveal their obsession with calendars. They discuss time and tasks, maintaining motivation, and their own calendaring workflows for how they plan their day.

Oct 2019

104 min

In this episode, Mike and David dive deep on why Focus is so important. They also share thoughts about Ultralearning and why sometimes survival alone is good enough.

Oct 2019

83 min

Author and Designer Mike Rohde joins us to discuss the practice and process of sketchnoting. We talk about choosing the right tools, the benefits and drawbacks of analog vs. digital, and why sketchnoting is for everyone - even if you don't think of yourself an artist.

Oct 2019

72 min

In this episode, Mike and David tackle The Hustle. Is that a good thing or bad thing? The hosts also get around to gratitude and virtual help.

Sep 2019

83 min

Anthony Ongaro joins us to talk about practical minimalism, designing an intentional life, and his multipotentialite resume which covers everything from musician to log roller.

Sep 2019

71 min

Mike and David tackle the challenges that come with saying "No" and why a well-intentioned decline can make all the difference.

Aug 2019

67 min

The Focus Course founder Shawn Blanc is back to talk about the importance of margin, how it gave him the space he needed to work through a personal crisis, and life lessons learned from his orange 1984 Jeep CJ-7.

Aug 2019

66 min

John Zeratsky had the dream job at Google but left it all to write a book, Make Time, and reset his defaults. Learn about John's journey and how resetting your own defaults can make all the difference.

Jul 2019

63 min

David and Mike are sick and tired of being sick and tired, so in this episode they share some things they've learned about managing energy. They discuss staying positive, Mike continues his digital Bullet Journal experiment, and David spends some time "reseaching" the perfect notebook.

Jul 2019

72 min

In this episode, David and Mike dispel a myth about their feelings toward time tracking and David outs himself about exactly how unproductive he was on his last trip. Mike's getting serious about bullet journaling and also has a distinction between Personal Retreats and Greycations. Also, imposter syndrome is still a thing.

Jun 2019

87 min

The conversation on moving the needle continues as David and Mike talk about intentional constraints. Mike embarks on a task management spirit quest, David shares his Bullet Journal advice, and together they consider the balance of process and results.

Jun 2019

90 min

David & Mike unpack David's new system to help focus on important work, talk about stepping off the hamster wheel of efficiency, and discuss what to do about productivity shame.

May 2019

80 min

David and Mike interview professional Saxophonist Bob Reynolds to talk about the importance of productivity when creating art.

May 2019

102 min

The host of Hurry Slowly joins David & Mike to talk about avoiding burnout, percolating ideas, intentionality for introverts, and what it means to do truly productive work.

Apr 2019

84 min

This episode focuses on hyper-scheduling and how to turn your calendar into a productivity weapon. Mike and David also continue the conversation about digital minimalism and share a few of their favorite books.

Apr 2019

82 min

Video game developer Shahid Kamal Ahmad is back to talk about his digital declutter, staying present, and quieting the voices in your head with an intentional approach to managing your technology.

Apr 2019

86 min

David and Mike continue to explore the topic of intentionality and the role it has in every area of your life. They also catch up on some listener feedback, David gets ready for a (hopefully) productive work trip, Mike answers David's questions about Masterminds, and they discuss the importance of space and margin in living the life you want to live.

Mar 2019

75 min

In this episode, David and Mike talk about getting intentional and getting productive with an unproductive boss. Finally, they cover productive Italians.

Mar 2019

74 min

On this episode, Laura McClellan, The Productive Woman, joins to talk about her perfectly scheduled day (and what happens when that goes wrong), habits, mastermind groups, and staying motivated.

Feb 2019

68 min

David and Mike navigate the minefield of email, sharing strategies and workflow tips to help you curb inbox addiction and reclaim your focus.

Feb 2019

83 min

Author and productivity experimenter Chris Bailey joins us to share ideas and strategies for getting your focus on.

Jan 2019

84 min

David and Mike kick off Focused with an in-depth look at why New Year's resolutions usually fail. They discuss the power of tiny gains, why systems are more important than goals, and how you can change your identity by implementing better habits.

Jan 2019

81 min

Mike and David wrap up the Free Agents run with a discussion of depression and Free Agency and David has some overall thoughts on free agency as they transition the show to "Focused".

Dec 2018

65 min

David and Mike do a year end audit of their own Free Agency to figure out where they spent their time and money. They talk about fixing broken systems, when to try something new, and make a big announcement about the future of the show.

Dec 2018

52 min

Mike and David dig in on their morning routines. Mike finds himself entering the Free Agent arena like never before and David wants to start year-end planning.

Nov 2018

62 min

Productivityist founder Mike Vardy joins David & Mike to tell his free agent story, from Costco to comedian to productivity strategist. He shares how he learned to think outside the big box store, the importance of establishing systems, and how to create time and freedom for what's important.

Nov 2018

49 min

In this episode, David and Mike look at the concept of Kaizen and how little changes can add up to big results. They also help Michael as he makes his second attempt at free agency, share what they do for fun, how bad David is at using virtual assistants, and their favorite music to work by.

Oct 2018

65 min

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