RealPodVA – Debating New Years’ Resolutions & Goals

We’re back in the RealPodVA saddle.

Dave, Bart, and I talked about goals, the merit of new years resolutions, seeking perfection, trusting your craft, and the arbitrariness of new years.

Also, I appreciate the (paid) service provided by; four hours turnaround time for the transcription is nice.

Subscribe to the Podcast here.


Jim: So you were talking about goals and hard schedules and …

Dave: Yeah. I was just taking a look at what has been going really well professionally in my life in the past 2 years, and the areas in which I come up short on a fairly regular basis, and my scheduling has been the number one thing. And it’s been a good thing that over the past 2 years – the past year especially – I have become very busy.

Bart: Right.

Dave: I’ve got a lot of work coming in in a lot of different areas, both different areas of production and different areas physical locations, and it was fine for me when I could just haphazardly schedule things, because I had nothing on my calendar.

Bart: Right.

Dave: And all of a sudden I got to a place where it’s like, I gotta be way more diligent about how I am handling my scheduling, how I’m handling my … managing my schedule and making sure that I’m delivering on deadlines and all these things. And this feeds into this, because I’ve been sitting on 2 podcasts for forever, because it literally landed in [crosstalk 00:01:08].

Jim: Yeah. We noticed. We’re aware.

Dave: Right. Exactly. And I was just like, I knew I was gonna get a laugh with this, but I was like I also want people to also understand this is a conscious thing for me. That I’m not unaware that I’ve hit this spot, so I’m trying to make very drastic changes into how I handle my scheduling and booking of my calendar to be able to achieve all of the things I need to do on a work side of things.

Bart: Right.

Dave: And so, part of that is also a cry for help from the two of you, which Bart you’ve actually already started with me on for some [Rockfish 00:01:35] stuff. But holding me to deadlines has become a big thing. I was always able to hit deadlines, because I had nothing else going on in my life. It was easy for me to accomplish deadlines. Now all of a sudden I’ve got way more that I’m doing managing both on a production side and on a business management side and getting other people to better doing work for Rockfish Music at this point, too. Making sure that they’ve got their things that they need to do and they’re accomplishing those things. And so I realized I need to make a very significant change in how I’m handling my scheduling.

Bart: It’s really … Making deadlines it’s obviously it’s gotta be fundamental to whatever you do. I get that, I mean, I’m a sports writer by trade, so deadlines have been a part of my life since I was 18 years old.

Dave: Right.

Bart: Writing and stringing and doing that stuff and, I think that you have to … It’s really tough when you have your creative, or you really care about doing a high-quality job to be really deadline-oriented, because it requires an incredible amount of efficiency to hit deadlines and do quality work.

Dave: Correct.

Bart: Because a lot of times, the deadline hits and it’s just gotta be good enough. I mean, sometimes that happens. I think that that’s figuring out how to be … The deadline is the end goal, but in the end, efficiency that you use leading up to it is really … The efficiency you develop is really the key piece of the puzzle, because otherwise if you keep hitting deadlines with crappy work, you’re going to find that you have less deadlines in your life, because there’re going to be less people interested in you hitting your deadlines and paying for them.

Dave: Correct. Correct. And this has always been my key thing, and part of what has helped bring business to me. It was like I do not allow things to go out into the world that is anything less than … B+ work for me is not acceptable work for people to hear from my job.

Bart: My transcript from college will tell you that B+ work is super duper acceptable to me.

Dave: My college transcript would tell you the exact same thing.

Jim: I was gonna say exceptional, but you know …

Dave: Exceptional was right.

Dave: But it’s, I’ve always battled a … I want the things to go out … And I choose my clientele based on this too. I can’t allow crappy work to get out, because then people are gonna doubt whether or not I’m actually good at my job. So I focus very hard on like, I’m gonna make sure that everything that gets out into public consumption is gonna be the best I have ever done on a project that I could possibly, possibly do. And that made hitting timelines and hitting deadlines a challenge at times. But there are aspects to that work that could get sped up significantly. And I’m thinking on cracking some codes on how to, like you said, be both manage the efficiency of the work. Have the quality also match the deadline.

Jim: I’ll push back on that.

Dave: Please do.

Jim: I think that, you know, there’s a story that I’ve been thinking about writing – I have the outline for that – speaks about very early in my career where I was saying to this older guy who came from corporate world, I said, “I wanna make sure I’m hitting perfection with every client that I’m working with. I’m hitting 100% for every single thing that I’m doing.” And he’s like, “I hear you, and that’s kind of adorable that you think that, but my world where we made widgets – or whatever it was – we aim for 95% perfection. Or 96% perfection.” Because trying to get to 100% was not impossible, but it was something that was an unrealistic expectation, because you’re gonna focus most of your time on that 4% or that 5% that you’re gonna lose the 95%.

Dave: Sure.

Jim: And it’s something that I’ve come to terms with through, again – God, I’m so old – my first home inspection was 9/11. So, I’ve been doing this for a long time. And there are clients out there that, I admit, I did not do my best job.

Dave: Right.

Jim: You know? And I think that those are the ones from whom I learned the most.

Dave: Sure.

Jim: About how to better do my practice on a day-to-day basis and try to not make that same mistake twice. But I think that it’s awesome that we – in our respective worlds – we try to do our very best at everything that we do, but I think that trying to hit the very, very best for everything …

Dave: Right.

Jim: It’s a path to madness.

Bart: Yeah, I’ve gotta be honest, sometimes that 50-28 girls basketball game that I was like, it’s gonna get an effort, but it’s gonna get a … it’s gonna have 25 minutes versus then I watched some classic where a kid hits a buzzer beater and, you know, and wins it on it.

Dave: That’s gonna get more attention.

Jim: That’s gonna get a little more time. Craft that a little better. It’s still gotta get out, like it’s gotta get out the next day, but it’s … I think that that’s always … You have to find this balance between being okay. Number one, you gotta trust your own talent.

Dave: Right.

Jim: And you gotta trust like, “Hey, I may not think this is perfect, but …” I basically do a calculus that it’s still better than 95% of what’s out there.

Dave: Right.

Jim: I mean, that’s arrogant to say, I think, but I think that’s [crosstalk 00:07:13]

Dave: It’s confidence.

Jim: Yeah, but like I think it’s got [crosstalk 00:07:15]

Dave: Arrogance and confidence are different.

Jim: You’ve gotta be confident that A: that’s still better, and that’s still really good, and like you said, if you try to bat 1000, you’re gonna bat 250. If you try and bat 400, maybe you can get there.

Dave: Right. So, for work I’ve literally spent the past week, week and a half driving every inch of road along the mid-Atlantic from up to Annapolis and down to the Carolinas and back again and all over Virginia. And in that time, I’ve had a lot of time to think about all of these questions I’ve had going into the new year. And the biggest thing I came up with was what you both have just pointed out, is prioritization. A big part of what I do is artwork. And the artwork side of things, for me, I am uncompromising in that. It is going to, that is going to be the best effort that we could possibly, possibly put together. I’m uncompromising on that. But then there’s a lot of other work that we do. We have to put together little videos that need to get out, and those are the kind of things – or little sound bytes that we need to chop through and get through and stuff. That’s the kind of stuff for me that I’ve kept myself on a “it has to be perfect” versus “this is better than 95% of everything else that’s out there and I can spend this much time on it and achieve that goal of getting that thing out on time.”

Dave: And so, for me, it’s prioritizing the work, just like you said. There are certain games that require “I’m going to put my full attention into this” and then there’s some stuff that’s like “you’re gonna get the appropriate due amount of attention from me”

Bart: The minimum amount of my attention that is required.

Dave: Exactly. And I think that’s a big part of what I need to do.

Jim: Yeah, that’s right. I quoted Jesse Eisenberg from Social Network. I got no problem with that. I watched that movie. It was fine.

Dave: I can’t wait for [crosstalk 00:08:53]

Jim: That movie got the minimum amount of Aaron Sorkin’s attention.

Dave: I was literally just going to say too – considering everything that’s been going on with Facebook – I kind of can’t wait for Sorkin to write the sequel follow-up to that.

Jim: Oh, god. The sequel would be 30 seconds. Like, it died.

Dave: It died. A very ugly death.

Jim: That was a thing. Good job. Move on.

Jim: No, I mean, it’s something. You talk about prioritization. Just rifling through the things I do on a daily basis, I mean, contracts, negotiations, deadlines.

Dave: Right.

Jim: You know, I’m good at maintaining, making sure we don’t miss a home inspection deadline. Or I’ll send my assistant as a back up to make sure that we don’t miss termite inspection and stuff like that. That stuff is non-negotiable. It’s not perfection, it’s just it’s a deadline, you hit that.

Dave: Correct.

Jim: You know, but I think that from a creative perspective, I think we all produce a lot of content, I’d imagine most people in their worlds do. Knowing where to allocate your time to craft … The note that I write every month. I agonize over that. I have 2 editors that help me with that. It’s something that I’ve worked really, really hard on. And it shows. But for some of the blog posts that I do, I need to get this information out there, and it’s pretty good.

Jim: But it’s funny. I had a … I use a buyer survey. When I work with a new buyer client, I send out a survey that’s like 35 questions. It’s a Google Form, comes through, and my assistant puts it together in a pdf so I can skim it pretty easily. I sent it out the other day to a new buyer, and I think I like her quite a bit, because she responds. One of the questions is “What’s your favorite beverage? Beer, coffee, juice?” Just to learn a little more about them. And she says, “Well the ‘e’ is missing from ‘coffee’ in your question, but I’ll still say ‘coffee’.”

Bart: Aww that’s pretty sick, man. Who is this person? How do we become best friends? I live that copy-editor life hard.

Jim: So I’m gonna say, she caught my test. She’s gonna be a good client, ’cause I intentionally mis-spelled that, and I’ll go to my grave telling everybody that I did that deliberately.

Dave: Nice.

Bart: Okay.

Jim: And I don’t think I’m gonna change it, because I don’t have time to go back into the form and edit it.

Dave: Hey everybody. I wanted to take a quick break to talk about Rockfish. I’m sure you’re all aware that the music industry has changed pretty dramatically over the last decade. Artists are able to create more music than ever before. We know, because we’re out here making those records with them. We’re working with talented, up-and-coming artists that big labels ignore. Our mission is to make great records and to create a closer connection between artists, their fans – old and new – and the recording company. It’s really pretty simple. For a subscription starting at $3 per month, you get access to our entire archive of music. And inside, you not only get the records we’re producing, but all kinds of rough tracks, alternate takes, and bonus material. You’re gonna access all of the stages of the recording process. So go check us out at and subscribe. If you’re a music fan, this is an amazing way to access new music and directly support independent artists.

Bart: Can we discuss real quick how … [inaudible 00:12:10] real quick. It’s a podcast, whatever.

Dave: Mark that time down ’cause, you know.

Bart: Alright, let me start that over. Edit that out. Can we talk about just New Year resolutions in general?

Jim: Yeah. They’re dumb.

Dave: [crosstalk 00:12:25]

Bart: See, I thought I was gonna … Here’s the thing, is that I could sense from what my man Jim was saying earlier and what my man Dave was saying, that we have a potential debate here about New Year’s resolutions.

Dave: I want this. I want this debate.

Bart: ‘Cause I’d like to go ahead. I want y’all to talk about it, and that’s great, and I’d love to be here for that part, but I would like to put out my cynical take on New Year’s resolutions real quick. It’s like half-time adjustments. If you’re waiting until half-time to make them, you’re too late. That’s my take on it.

Dave: Correct. What makes the New Year half-time?

Bart: I’m just saying half-time and New Year’s are both arbitrary times.

Dave: Yeah. Why is the New Year even a mark of demarcation? Why … It’s just Tuesday. Or Monday. It’s just a calendar.

Jim: The sense of renewal, Dave is also a true believer.

Dave: And is it like the Chinese New Year, the Jewish New Year, is it the King James version? I mean, what are we talking about?

Jim: King James version. Alright, the Chinese New Year [crosstalk 00:13:26]. The Chinese New Year is now the second largest growing New Year on the planet.

Bart: We should probably abide by that one instead.

Dave: Right. No, for me, I’ve always liked New Year’s resolutions because I’m a goal-oriented person. It goes back to my resolution or goals or intentions, whatever people wanna term it to be. I like goals. I work better when I have goals. I work better when I give myself and make sure I have things to do. And when I have more time free is when I actually slack off on the things that I’m supposed to be doing. I never just knock out the thing that I’m supposed to do and then enjoy my time off. I’m always like, enjoy my time off and then cramming to get my stuff done as quickly as I can at the very end. It’s just a bad, bad character trait I’ve had since I was a kid. And in college, I recognize, the best semesters that I had in college was when I overloaded myself with work. I gave myself no time to do anything other than the work that was in front of me. And then the semesters where I took the least amount of course credits were the semesters I did the worst, because I had more time to do nonsense stuff.

Jim: Oh yeah [crosstalk 00:14:27].

Dave: And so for me, I like New Year’s resolutions because of the goals that you can set up for yourself. Now, whether it’s based on New Year’s or any other time is totally arbitrary. But I like goals. I like having goals and setting goals and giving yourself something to accomplish.

Jim: I choose not necessarily to subscribe to societal constructs that are made up on arbitrary rules.

Bart: Hey, here’s what happens. Sometimes the other person goes on for a really long time, allowing the other person to develop a short, devastating sentence that will ruin the other person. And that’s what we just witnessed. Jim Duncan just tore Dave apart in such a short, succinct way that it really doesn’t matter at all what Dave said before that.

Dave: I have no rebuttal [crosstalk 00:15:13].

Bart: You wanna cut it out? You talked too long, and you gave him too long to get it tight. This is more like a rap battle than a debate.

Jim: I think that whatever it takes to motivate somebody, awesome. If it takes an arbitrary date to say “New Year’s Day, I’m gonna start doing this,” great. But I told my younger daughter, I said, “I’m gonna take most of January off of drinking.” She’s like, “Great. New Year’s resolution. I thought you thought they were dumb.” Like, no, honey, it’s just since my bike wreck, I’ve been drinking way too much and being sad, so I’m gonna take the month off of drinking.

Bart: The holiday’s are done, I’m gonna stop now.

Jim: It’s like, there’s the break. It’s, okay. It’s time to really start active physical therapy and recovery than it is to say “Oh, it’s the first of January of a new year. This thing happens.” I think that for me, by saying this arbitrary day is the date by which things are going to flow, it diminishes the value of that goal for me.

Dave: Okay.

Jim: To say that somebody else set this goal. It was like when I quit smoking 20 something odd years – 15, 19 – long time ago.

Dave: I can’t even imagine you as a smoker. That’s incredible.

Jim: It’s so delicious. It’s really horrible and expensive and bad for me, but I really enjoyed smoking. But I quit smoking because I chose to start playing soccer again.

Dave: Yeah.

Jim: And because I made that choice. It wasn’t “I’m choosing to quit for – I hope they’re not listening – for my kids”. I didn’t say I’m gonna do this for my daughter, at the time. I’m gonna do it for myself.

Dave: Yeah.

Jim: But because somebody else created a reason for me to do it, I just said, “Hey, [inaudible 00:16:50]”. I said, “this is the date by which I’m gonna do it.” And I quit smoking because I wanted it. But it wasn’t because somebody else said so.

Dave: Right.

Jim: So, I think for me, I view it as it must be internal first.

Bart: We’ve talked a lot about time. We’ve talked a lot about being on time. If you were gonna set one New Year’s resolution for your clients, you get to put a New Year’s resolution on those people, that’s an attractive idea, right?

Jim: Yeah, I mean, it’s a great question. I would use, it would be the resolution I would give to all of my clients regardless of the time of the year. And that’s ask more questions. And I expect, I hope and expect my clients trust me implicitly. Most of them do. But part of that trust comes from them believing and vetting the answers that I give and the advice that I give. So I want all of my clients, regardless of the time of the year or seasonality, ask as many – as I call them – as many dumb questions as they have, so they feel comfortable spending a ton of money.

Dave: Right.

Jim: I tell them, sports journalism or music production, I have a whole lot of dumb questions about what it is that you do if I were to step into your world.

Dave: Correct.

Jim: But, and I expect people to come to me with their dumb questions and say, “I need help.” And one of the things I wrote at the end of the last year was what is it that I provide to my clients? And, you know, after years of doing this, I help them make good decisions. You know, and that’s really it.

Speaker 4: You can talk me into a good time. One I can’t get out of. You can talk me into a good time. One I can’t get out of. Cause listening to your mama, well that’s something to be proud of.




Listen to the Podcast here, if you’d like

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