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SPI 614: 3 Lists to Freedom

As you listen to this episode, I want you to go through a quick exercise with me. You can just do it in your head, but the real magic happens when you put pen to paper.

This is a method I learned about from Chris Ducker, a close friend who’s had a massive impact on my life. In fact, I highly recommend you read Virtual Freedom — Chris’s book is packed with incredible knowledge and exercises like the one we’re doing today.

Chris calls this the 3 Lists to Freedom. As the name suggests, we’ll be creating three lists to help us move forward in our businesses and have more time for the things we love.

I’ll walk you through each step, but pay close attention to the final one. That’s going to be the “money list” that can make the difference between a scrappy entrepreneur and a CEO.

We talk about why and how to remove yourself as a bottleneck in your business, even though it might be hard to let go of certain tasks you might be great at.

This is a valuable exercise that has saved me countless hours. I can’t recommend it enough!

SPI 614: 3 Lists of Freedom

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he thinks that Buffalo Wing Sauce in a bottle was one of mankind’s best decisions, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Hey, happy Friday. Pat here. I wanna do a little reflection.

You know, I often think about the people who’ve had the biggest impact in my life, especially in my businesses as a brand new business owner in 2008, after getting laid off, I really had no idea what I was doing. Right? And it’s always, always other people in their teachings, their encouragement, their accountability, their help, that has helped me get to where I’m at today.

This is why joining a community is really important. This is why finding a, a buddy or two online that you can kind of grow together with is really important. One of those buddies that I had while I was building my business, his name is Chris Ducker. You obviously, if you’ve listened to the show before, you know who that is. If not, he is a friend of mine who I initially hired his company, virtual staff finder to help me find some VAs. And we met up in 2010 at Blog World Expo, and we’ve become friends ever since. And you know, our families know each other and we send gifts to each other’s kids and all that kind of like, we’re that close now.

But Chris has definitely had a major impact in my life. Not just because he’s helped me feel like I’m a better basketball player than I am after the time I beat him in basketball. Mind you, it was an arcade basketball and he could probably school me on the court, but we don’t have to talk about that.

Or, you know, just him being there for me during tough times. Like any good friend would. But he had one particular book come out that made a major impact on my business that I wanna talk about today and give credit to. And I wanna run through an exercise in that book with you. And have you think about this and whether you pick up the book or not, I want you to think about the exercise that we’re gonna partake in together today, because it really is where you get a lot of time back.

Right? And this book is called Virtual Freedom. This was back when Chris was kind of known as the VA guy, he still is kind of known as that, although it’s more the Youpreneur guy and building personal brands. And again, you can check him out at But before that, Virtual Freedom, this book has helped tens of thousands of people get more time back, right?

Because it teaches you how to find outside help and how to get comfortable with that. And the mechanics of that, et cetera. And again, he has this business called Virtual Staff Finder where you can go and hire the company. You pay him a few hundred dollars to go and find a VA for you that you then train, however you wanna train.

And they’ve been vetted. They, their skills have been vetted, et cetera. I’ve used a few people from virtual staff finer before I decided to hire my team in house in the United States all in the same time zone. So I don’t use VAs from the Philippines anymore, but definitely still can help you do that.

Anyway, that’s my plug for Chris and his companies, but this exercise is called the three lists to freedom. And the three lists to freedom is, has been made famous by Chris Ducker. A lot of people have talked about it. And I want you to think about this as well. So if you take a sheet of paper and you fold it into three columns, you have three columns, right?

List one list two and list three. So we’re gonna go over each of these lists. This is an exercise you can do alongside with this podcast or afterwards. And if you have a team or a partner that you’re in business with, I highly recommend you do this exercise with them, because this is where both of you can work together to get more time back and to have a better understanding of your time and the business that you have and whether those things are in alignment or not. Right? So the first list, the first column, you wanna list the things that you don’t like doing. These are things that are required of you in your business, but you just don’t like to do, you know, it might be something like bookkeeping.

If you still do that, it might be podcast editing, for example, or video editing publishing, blog posts, like the actual mechanical technical part of publishing a blog post versus the writing. Right? So list all the things that you’re doing in your business that you don’t like doing. Next list. Number two, the middle column, you wanna write down the things that you can’t do.

With regards to this, it might be things that you’ve tried to do, but have failed that big or small, and it might be things that, you know, you have to do or should do in the future, but you just haven’t pulled the trigger on it because you can’t do it. You don’t have the skills or you don’t have the ability or the time to do these things, but are things that perhaps could be done in your business or should be done.

And list number three, this is the money list list. Number three, that’s what I like to call it. I think Chris has called this the money list as well, because this is where you get the most bang for your buck. When you hire out, this is where the differences between scrappy, entrepreneur and CEO of a company happen is here in list number three.

And that is the things you shouldn’t be doing. It may be things that you are doing, and it might be things that you like doing. And it might be things that you are great at doing, but you shouldn’t be doing at the level that you’re at now, if you’re just starting out, you’re bootstrapping, you’re literally wearing all the hats.

Well then you probably, even though you shouldn’t be doing all those things, you kind of have to right now, but you still wanna write those things down because they become useful to see on paper. Or on your desktop, or even on a notepad, if you’re doing that on your phone right now, or even just mentally thinking about it.

And again, I hope that you do put pen to paper on this because something will happen when you see a lot of this stuff. But again, list number three, the things you shouldn’t be doing. So to recap, list number one on the left hand side list, the things that you don’t like doing. List number two is the things you can’t do. List number three, the things you shouldn’t be doing. So things that you are doing, and again, perhaps you are great at them and can do them yourself, but you shouldn’t be doing so.

An example of that for me, would be something like editing my podcast. I shouldn’t be doing that. And there was a time where I believed I was the only person who could do that. It was pre 2014. It was 2014 that Chris and I had some long major conversations about business and time and, and burnout. Chris’s experienced burnout before to a point where it’s hospitalized him. So he’s been very passionate and because he’s a friend, he’s been very, very vocal with me about where I put my time and I’m again, very grateful.

I would not be doing what I’m doing today. I would not be where I’m at mentally in my business. If it weren’t for Chris. Editing my podcast is on that list. I was great at it and I could do it rather quickly. And because I could do it quickly, I said, well, there’s nobody who could do it as quick as me. So I might as well do it.

Nobody can do it in the style that I like. Nobody, nobody, nobody could do it. But that was false. I didn’t think anybody could do it, but the truth was there are many, many, many people who could do that kind of thing better and faster, but the bigger truth is I shouldn’t be doing that anymore. That’s not to say I’m not grateful that I did it.

That’s not to say I don’t recommend that you do the things that even though you shouldn’t be doing them, you kind of have to, or should at the beginning, just to get that experience case in point with the podcast editing, you know, I teach a lot of podcasters over And a question I often get is, should I hire a podcast editor right away?

And I always say, no, you wanna do it yourself. At least for the first three to five episodes. So. You understand how it works. You can develop a style that you like, you can appreciate it, but then when you hire out, you can better instruct those people or that person or that agency to do it in the way that you want.

And secondly, if that agency or person or company folds or goes away or ghosts you, which sometimes happens, you can pick up the slack and for temporary purposes, you you’d be able to, to do it yourself again until you find somebody else to replace. So that’s why I think anyway, a little bit off tangent there.

List number three, the things you shouldn’t be doing, these are the things that are the most difficult to let go of. But these are the biggest levers to get more time back in your life. When you let go of these things, like when I let go of podcasting and initially Mindy took over the editing of podcasting.

She’s now become such a vital person in, in all of our tech and solutions based stuff in our business at SPI Media. But we have other people editing the podcast now. Oh my gosh, she did it just as well and faster and I had more time. And I ended up saving about five to ten hours per week. Which, looking back, that’s like a no brainer. I should have done that starting maybe in 2011, just less than a year after I started my podcast. If only I knew. This is why I’m passing this forward to you, I want you to check out Virtual Freedom. You could get it on Kindle. You can, I believe get the audio book for it, or you can just get the physical copy.

It’s fantastic. I remember when Chris was designing the cover for that, he, he allowed me to offer some input for that, which was really neat. But, this one particular exercise is just a little Costco size sampling for you of what else is in this book. And I’m not getting paid to say this. I don’t even think Chris knows I am saying this, but hopefully he randomly listens to this episode.

I know his birthday came up and this is not a birthday present. I already gave him something else. But hopefully Chris you’re listening and I want you to know how much of an impact that you’ve had on my life and the lives of others. And hopefully this episode can start that for others too. So three lists of freedom, things that you don’t like doing things that you can’t do and the money maker, the things you shouldn’t be doing. Maybe even just for now, think about one thing that you probably shouldn’t be doing that you’re still doing, that you know, is taking up some time. You’re probably good at it, but you know, at this level you shouldn’t be doing. Now. I, I wanna also end by saying, you don’t have to let go of everything. There are things that on paper I shouldn’t be doing, but I choose to do them. I opt into them knowing that it’s gonna take time. But what I love about that is then in I’m not mad at myself for that.

I chose that direction. And the thing I’m talking about is my own presentations, my webinars, my slide decks for stage talks. I do all of that stuff myself, including all the graphics, the storyboarding, the choreography, et cetera. That’s all me. Cuz I really enjoy that. And although it takes time, I could, I could get some time back.

That’s one thing that I’m okay spending time doing. It’s not a waste to me. So don’t feel like you have really have everything on that third list dumped off to somebody else, but at least keep the things that, you know, you’re most passionate about that you’re most excited about that you can’t imagine letting go.

Okay, fine. Keep those for sure. You can have more time for those by letting go of the other things that you are also doing that you probably shouldn’t be doing. So I hope you enjoyed this episode. Big thank you again to Chris Ducker. You can find him at and check out his book. Virtual Freedom.

Which contains the three lists to freedom and many, many, many more things. So I appreciate you take care and happy Friday. I hope you enjoy the weekend and look forward to serving you next week. If you aren’t yet subscribed for whatever reason, hit that subscribe button. It’s super easy. It’s it’s cheap, it’s free. Consider that like a little high five for me and put in my hand up. Now that’s a way to high five me hit that subscribe button and you’ve got another episode delivered to you on Wednesday and it’s gonna be an epic interview coming up. I promise you.

Thank you so much. Peace out and as always team float of win.

Ah, can’t even say it. Team Flynn for the win, there we go. Don’t edit that out. This is real life. All right. Take care, everybody. Cheers.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski. And our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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