From Hopelessly Overwhelmed to Unstoppable Force – A Case Study

productivity-toolI felt hopeless more than anything else. Here I had discovered this amazing new world where I could design my work around my life (instead of the other way around), but I just couldn’t get there.


It wasn’t for lack of effort, that’s for sure. In fact, I’d been working on Life Stoked daily for over a year at that point. I knew exactly where I wanted to be, and I was already impacting others lives in exciting ways! The future was bright!

But in that moment last summer, I felt hopeless.

I remember sitting at my desk staring at my computer screen. A pile of notes lay in front of me, a pen in hand, and no idea what to do next.

There was just too much to do! Articles have to be written, marketing has to be planned, websites have to be updated and maintained, services have to be refined, and clients have to be served. And this was all “on the side” of being a full time husband, dad, and employee.

I was completely overwhelmed.

And so I did nothing. I froze. I sat. And I stared.

Days went by where I did little real work. As days turned into weeks I began to feel both frustrated and hopeless. I was frustrated I wasn’t making progress, and hopeless because I didn’t know how to handle it all.

What I needed to regain hope

What I needed was a way to attack and achieve my big goals without being completely overwhelmed. I needed a way to get big results with limited time.

And I found it. My quarterback method completely changed the way I work, and it completely changed my results! I want to share with you exactly how I implemented it, and five unexpected ways it changed my results!

How the Quarterback Method changed my future

The first and most important thing that the quarterback method forced me to do was to focus. I had to decide what I wanted to accomplish. One big thing. Not two or three. One (at a time anyway).

I decided I wanted to test out a new idea for a workshop see if it was a viable business. That’s what I wrote down on the first page of my notebook (which I call my playbook). That’s what I wanted to accomplish next.

Instantly my todo list was cut by 90%. Suddenly, I could breath again.

Beneath my crystal clear goal I wrote down three things I could do today to get me a little tiny bit closer to proving my workshop idea. I wrote:

  • Continue reading the book for my workshop
  • Sketch out workshop rough plan
  • List five people I can talk to about the workshop

That’s it. That’s all I wrote. Three simple things.

Five unexpected ways a simple list revolutionized my results

I didn’t expect this experiment to have such dramatic impact on my results. I was shocked at the power of this simple list I created. It revolutionized my results in five unexpected ways over the next few months (and still today).

1) More energy. More power.

As soon as I finished my list first day of three things that could get me closer to my goal I instantly felt energized. I was no longer standing at the foot of Mt. Everest. Instead I just had to manage three small things.

If I could do that, then I was taking real, measurable steps towards my dream, and that is what fired me up so much.

“I can do this! This will be real!”

2) More motivation.

Everywhere I went I had a playbook in my back pocket with a map to my biggest goal. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed again, or get down on myself for how far I still have to go, I could just pull out my playbook.

Right inside was page after page with my goal written right at the top. It’s a powerful reminder of what I’m really working towards. I always know exactly what step to take next to get me there.

With all of the distractions and activity we’re exposed to every day, the analogue playbook is a great tool to help you recenter yourself before you dig in to do some real work.

3) More progress.

The quarterback method takes advantage of what Darren Hardy calls The Compound Effect. Small steps in the right direction taken consistently over time yield massive results.

Instead of being scattered with my efforts over a variety of initiatives and departments, I was now laser focused. Work was getting done. Projects were being shipped.

4) More accountability.

A couple months ago I went through a tough two week period where I was down on myself for not making much progress. I thought for sure I’d be at level 50 by now, but I was only on level 10. What the heck?!

I was thumbing back through my playbook to see what I’d been working on and I found something interesting. Page after page of important things to work on, without a single checkmark.

What was I doing? Beats me! But it wasn’t anything to move the needle, that’s for sure.

5) Less wasted effort.

Because my todo list is laser focused on my top goal (which I wrote at the top of the page), less important work starts to feel a lot more like a distraction.

Do I really need to be tinkering with my mailing list signup form? Probably not. Do I need to be spending time researching a course I know I can’t afford? Nope. Is scheduling a complete days worth of social media updates really that important? Doubt it.

There’s no time for sightseeing when you know where the gold is buried.

What ELSE can I do?

I was a brand new dad when I started using the quarterback method. A friend and fellow Life Stoked Nation member had the best compliment for how this truly impacted my results:

“I expected you to slow down after Gideon was born, but somehow you’ve sped up!”

Imagine that. During one of the busiest and most overwhelming periods of my life, I managed to accelerate my progress. And if I could do that, what else could I do?

What is holding you back from taking down your big dreams? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you’re wondering exactly how to implement my Quarterback Method yourself, then click here for the step-by-step.

(photo credit)

  • Paul

    Good stuff Deacon. I saw a quote on my son’s teachers white board. Excuses are the bricks that built the house of failure. I added that procrastination must be the cement. More people just gotta get on the right track and do what’s important. Looking forward to the next time. Fortune favors the bold

    • Deacon Bradley

      That’s awesome Paul, hah! I struggle with procrastination like most people. The QB method helps me a ton because of the built in motivation. I usually want to reach my goal way more than doing nothing, and when the steps are bite-sized for the day I can will myself to do it :).

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