The Productivity Giants Series with John Lee Dumas, Founder & Host of Entrepreneurs On Fire


How often do you feel like you spend the majority of your day doing something you love? For John Lee Dumas, that’s the goal – teaching strategies and delivering inspiration you need to pave the path to entrepreneurial freedom. After all, isn’t it about time you live the life you dream about while you’re doing the daily stuff you hate?



John delivers this knowledge via his podcast Entrepreneurs On Fire, where he interviews various successful entrepreneurs to find out their biggest failures, ah-ha moments, and the best resources and advice they can offer listeners to help them on their own entrepreneurial journeys. Past guests include Barbara Corcoran, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vee, Seth Godin, and more.



We talked to John from his home in Puerto Rico to find out his personal productivity habits and hindrances. Find out the secrets to how he gets things done ahead:


What does the first 90 minutes of your day look like?


I wake up at 5:30am; first 20 minutes I read a business-related book. Then I meditate for 15 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of journaling and gratitude. Next, I do my 10,000 steps on my treadmill desk while reading articles and consuming great podcast content, and I wrap it up with my infrared sauna.


What’s your number one productivity/time-saving tip?


Leveraging FOCUS & REFRESH sessions. It’s essentially the Pomodoro technique, and it’s incredibly powerful. When you’re able to set a timer for 30 minutes and FULLY FOCUS on the single task at hand – no distractions – you’ll be amazed by how much you can accomplish when you get up to doing 2, 3, and 4 FOCUS sessions per day. Follow each up with a 5-10 minute REFRESH period, and you’ll be rockin’ your productivity like never before!


I created The Mastery Journal to give others a step-by-step guide to start making these sessions a daily habit because of the incredible impact they’ve had on my journey and helping me get to where I am today.


Do you have a pre-bed/nightly routine?


I’m getting my gamma-ray glasses on at least 1-2 hours before bedtime, and really my only other routine/habit is to be heading to bed around 9pm so I have time to unwind and read before falling asleep.


How often do you check your inbox?


I used to have a nasty habit of keeping my inbox open throughout the day, but with practice and discipline I’ve gotten it down to twice per day: one time mid-morning, and one time before I shut down at night. I also limit my time in my inbox during each of these sessions – otherwise, you know just as well as I do: it’s easy to get lost in there and end up wasting loads of time.


#1 Email tip?


Take the time to set up your filters within SaneBox. They can’t work for you unless you tell them how you want them to work.


Favorite SaneBox feature?


SaneSnooze is incredible – it is what helped me get away from being in and out of my inbox all day long.


What’s the biggest hindrance to your productivity? How do you combat it?


Distractions. As entrepreneurs, we don’t always decide when that next idea will pop into our minds – or when we’ll think “Oh yeah, I meant to do that earlier and don’t want to forget”. These types of thoughts can be incredibly distracting and easily pull us off course.


Having the discipline to take a quick note so I don’t forget about it, and then immediately continue focusing on the task at hand is not an easy practice, but I’ve become pretty darn good at this over the past couple of years.


When you lose focus, what do you do to regain it?


I ask myself: “Is this the absolute best use of your time right now?” I also remind myself what the #1 most important thing I could be doing right now is (another way of looking at it), and that helps me get back on task.


What have you learned from your failures?


Failures are a part of the journey, and after having over 1,800 conversations with successful entrepreneurs I realize how critical our failures are to our success. On every episode of Entrepreneurs On Fire I ask my guest to share their worst entrepreneurial moment – we all have at least one, if not more – and then we follow this up with their biggest ah-ha moment. It goes to show that success does come after failure, and oftentimes it’s a direct result of it, because when we learn what doesn’t work, we give ourselves the opportunity to uncover what does work.


What book has changed your life and why?


The ONE Thing by Gary Keller – I strongly recommend it to every entrepreneur because of the principles it discusses – productivity, focus, and managing overwhelm. It helped me realize how important that ONE thing is.


The most worthwhile investment in time, money, or energy that you’ve made?


I consider every investment I make worthwhile, otherwise I wouldn’t make it, but certainly hiring my first mentor, Jaime Masters, was huge. I hired her when I first started out on my podcasting journey, and she helped me jumpstart the podcast and pushed me to launch even when I didn’t “feel ready”. Launching my podcast is what started the domino effect that today is Entrepreneurs On Fire.


What’s your definition of productivity?


Productivity isn’t just about being able to “get a lot done”. Productivity is about accomplishing tasks that MATTER to you and your business. That means you’re not working on tasks that don’t have a SPECIFIC purpose. Every task is helping you get one step closer to accomplishing the goals you’ve set.


In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?


Recognizing the importance of focusing on my health and wellness. The renewed energy, the focus, how great I feel – I can’t believe it took me this long to really dig deep into how the body works and how important the foods and liquids we put into our body are. It affects everything else.


What have you become better at saying no to?


I’ve become better at saying no to things that I’m not passionate about. In the beginning, when I first started growing my business and brand, I recognized the importance of leveraging almost every opportunity that came my way. Now, I’m much better at weighing not just the opportunity, impact and potential ROI, but also how I feel about the thing I’m being asked to do/participate in.



Follow John on Twitter.