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Productivity Expert Dean Yeong Reveals Insider Secrets Stolen From Noah Kagan To Launch His Online Business While Working For Sumo.com

In this interview you will learn how to prevent yourself from thinking too much, the secret method of highly productive people to overcome procrastination, and the most productive way to work online so you can start a business on the side... 

In this episode you will discover:

  • The best tip on productivity from Noah Kagan (it's not what you might expect)
  • How to balance thinking and execution 
  • Two ways to prevent yourself from thinking too much
  • Dean's favorite note taking app
  • Why Dean Young still has a Facebook account (Hint: it's not about social media)
  • How to overcome Youtube Addiction
  • The secret method of highly productive people to overcome procrastination
  • Why learning can prevent you from having success (and what to do about it)
  • The most productive way to work online
  • How to manage your time working full time and starting a business on the side?

About Dean Yeong

Dean Yeong currently lives in Johor, a southern state of Malaysia and writes about marketing, productivity, and better thinking at DeanYeong.com while working remotely as a marketer for Noah Kagan at Sumo.com.

The Interview

How did you end up working for sumo.com and Noah Kagan?

I started to write on my personal blog way before working for sumo.com. One day, I decided to reply to Noah’s email.

Long story short, I ended up working for him because he needed someone for his blog. A few months later, I was transferred to sumo as a platform marketer. Working for Noah Kagan and together with the team from sumo I learned a lot, and it’s been a great experience.

What’s the best tip on productivity that Noah shared with you?

For me, it’s important to focus on execution, but sometimes I take time off to think. I spent a lot of time thinking things through instead of doing things.

A lot of times I am worried because I think so much and don’t get anything done basically. When I talked to Noah about this, I was surprised by his reply.

He said it’s good that you think so much.

I learned it’s more about being confident with yourself, and being firm with what you are doing. What I learned from Noah is that it’s better to think and do the right thing, than to do the wrong thing without even thinking about it.

I always thought execution was king.

How do you progress from thinking to execution?

The key is to separate thinking and execution. I write a lot about this on my blog. It’s important to have a start and stop point for everything that you do. This includes time for pondering and time for execution.

What I learned from Noah Kagan is that it’s better to think and do the right thing than to do the wrong thing without even thinking about it.


If you are thinking about the problem that you want to solve, it’s good to have a stop point. You need to know at which point you need to stop thinking. When you get to that point write everything down and move on to the next phase.

What’s the best way to implement this strategy?

There are two different ways to implement this:

  1. First, you can tackle this issue in terms of progress.
    For example, when I think about what to write on my blog, I just write down everything that I have in mind. Once I recorded all the ideas for the blog post, I stop.
  2. The second way is to set a time.
    For example, you can schedule 30 minutes for a specific problem. After 30 minutes you will stop no matter how much progress you made. I write everything down and come back to it later.

Do you use any tools or apps to enhance this approach?

You can use pen and paper. I actually use notion which is where I have all my notes. I use these to write my blog posts about habits and avoiding distractions.

What’s the best way to avoid distractions and build better habits? 

The first thing to mention is that I don’t use social media. The only reason I still have Facebook is that I run Facebook Ads. However, I’m not active at all on this platform. I don’t have the Facebook app on my mobile phone. Basically, I only log into Facebook once per week on my desktop computer.

Of course, it’s easier not to use Facebook when you are not attached to it.

The only reason I still have Facebook is that I run Facebook ads.

Personally, I got drawn to consuming YouTube content compared to using Facebook or other social media channels. So, it’s harder for me to resist getting distracted by YouTube.

That’s why I utilize the same strategy I used for Facebook. I don’t have the YouTube app on my phone and I use a chrome extension to block YouTube on my browser for a certain amount of time.

This extension will block YouTube on weekdays from 6 AM to 4 PM. That means when I try to use YouTube during that time, the app reminds me that I’m not allowed to watch videos then.

Besides that, I turn off all notifications on my mobile device. Only one messenger app is allowed to send notifications.

What’s your side hustle when you’re not working for sumo?

Besides running my blog, I work on a course called “Focus Mastery." This product will teach people how to get focused and how to stay focused. Instead of working on productivity tactics this course will teach you strategies of highly productive people.

You will learn how these people get themselves back on track when they lose focus, how they approach their work, and how they manage their time.

What’s the secret method of highly productive people to overcome procrastination?

The most important thing is that they focus on high level goals. They know their high-level mission and what they want to achieve in life. They know what they want to achieve in a 3 to 5 year timeframe.

At the same time, they focus on low-level day to day activities. They never lose focus of the things they need to do right now.

To avoid procrastination you need to become really clear about what you want.

The next step is to practice self-awareness. Instead of beating yourself up when you procrastinate, you need to learn about yourself. Take the time to learn why you procrastinate and how you can avoid this the next time around.

One thing that a lot of people struggle with, and prevents entrepreneurs from achieving their goals, is Internet addiction.

Why is Internet Addiction A Big Thing For Entrepreneurs?

I believe it is a real thing; a bad habit that prevents progress. One thing I learned from Tim Ferris's book “the four-hour workweek” is to go on a "low information diet".

go on A low information diet

Focus on just-in-time information instead of just-in-case information.

I love entrepreneur stories. People working online are typically not wasting their time playing video games or watching nonsense videos.

We want to learn something but most of the time we go too far and learn something that is not related to what we are doing right now.

People working online are typically not wasting their time playing video games or watching nonsense videos.  We want to learn something but most of the time we go too far and learn something that is not related to what we are doing right now.

That is something more people need to acknowledge and work on. It means you only take in information that you need, to get things done at the present time.

What’s the most productive way to work online?

  1. Know what you want to do.
  2. Do it.
  3. Then, shut down your computer and enjoy your life.

If you are starting out, it’s easier said than done. You have to put a lot of work into finding customers through ads, organic traffic or reaching out to them on social media. For an online entrepreneur just starting his business, it’s important to focus on one or two key areas.

For example, focus first on revenue and secondly on getting email subscribers, that's where you start.

Don’t worry about how you will get traffic, how many social media followers you get...

It’s critical to pin down one or two goals that you can execute on.

Focus on a way that is proven to work

When you narrow down your goals, it becomes much clearer what you need to do. Of course, there are a lot of different ways to grow your revenue. Focus on a way that is proven to work from the get go.

One of the most common things in the beginning is to get email subscribers and build a relationship with those subscribers.

Once you build that relationship you sell your product afterwards. The important part many people miss is to find the right product market fit.

Find people who need your product and position yourself in front of them 

If you get product market fit, you solved half your problem. If you position yourself right you figured out the other half of the problem.

The last thing you need to do once that's accomplished is to put yourself in front of these people. That’s the easiest part because you can just give Mark Zuckerberg or Google some money to do this for you.

This is a long process. When I started my blog, I did not have a specific topic. My blog was about self-improvement in general.

Over time, I focused more on productivity, habits and psychology. I’m trying to find my own voice in this space and test different product ideas. I try to find out what my audience really wants and what problems they are trying to solve.

Trust the process

It’s important to trust the process. Don’t fall into the trap of changing your approach all the time. Consistency will pay off in the long run.

Is there a role model whom you really admire?

I have a document with pictures of people who inspire me in different areas of my life. For my work and career there are the following people:

  • Ryan Holiday
  • Ramit Sethi
  • Noah Kagan
  • Seth Godin

All of them have different characters, personalities and ways of working. I really like to learn from all of them and aim to become a combination of them.

What I truly like about them is that they are writers (except for Ramit Sethi, who created a lot of online courses as well). I consume their content regularly, read their books and studied their background stories.

How do you manage your time, working full-time for sumo, while starting a business on the side?

I spent a lot of time to test things out and learn about myself. I am also a big fan of having a morning routine.

Design a morning routine

Designing this morning routine is one of the most important things you can do (along with the routine before you go to sleep).

Between waking up and going to bed it’s important to know when you do your best work. Know the times when you get tired and when you are exhausted. Identify the times where you are most productive and schedule your work then.

When it comes to my side hustle, there’s something people need to realize. A lot of people try to find a way to have everything at once. They do not want to give up something like having time with their friends and family and other hobbies.

Something has to go

When I work on my side business, something has to go. When I try to put a hundred percent of my effort into my career and my side business, I have to cut down in other areas of my life. That does not mean these areas are not important, but don’t attempt to start three businesses at a time while trying to become a pro athlete.

Productivity Tactics Are Overrated

Instead of focusing on tactics aim to think at a higher level. Think about the mindset and psychology of productive people. Find out how they approach their work and how they manage their time. Find out how these people get back on track when they were off-track.

This is much more important then what kind of tea they drink or which to-do list app they use.


Just copying a tactic is a recipe for disaster.

Make Sure It's Working In Your Specific Situation

Match these to your current context. Take into account where you live, with whom you live and work together. If something works for other people in might not work for you in the same way.

That’s the reason why tactics are overrated.

You can try to copy them, but you need to adjust them to your life situation.

Just copying a tactic is a recipe for disaster.




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"I turn it on whenever I need to focus.  Really liking it."
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Martin Boeddeker
 

Martin Boeddeker is the founder of FindFocus.net, the One-Page Productivity Planner and the mind behind the FindFocus Distraction Blocker for Mac. He studied industrial engineering and management in Germany and worked for some of the biggest companies in the world. With FindFocus he wants to help people to get rid of what he calls DigitalADD so they focus on the things that truly matter in life.

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