A portable repository full of mammals // Can you hear me?

If you know I’m a bit of a Cal Newport fanboy, you might be surprised to discover how inefficient I am with one of my particular daily tasks.

Not just an incy-wincy inefficient either, like taking the scenic route, or moving your entire family to a new continent because you can’t find that hairy spider that crawled under your bed.

No, I’m 60 TIMES as inefficient as I should be.

It’s not as if it’s a willpower-sapping task either, like dieting. This would be super easy for me to fix.

You see, part of my daily routine involves keeping track of virtues, habits, goals… meaningful shit like that.

The app I use for this starts you off in the morning by having you commit to your intentions for the day.

It gives you two ways of doing this:

1) Tapping and swiping on individual virtues, goals, or targets

2) Go “Nuclear” – the “one tap commit” button

The first option takes about a minute, max. And that’s if I’ve been shot with 16 tranquiliser darts. 

The second… well, it takes as long as it takes you to tap your phone.

You’d think being the millisecond-pinching productivity geek I am, I’d be all for the nuclear “commit to all” option. 

Why tap the screen forty-something times, when it can be done in one?

I’ll tell you why – the “one tap” option doesn’t work…

… for me.

I don’t mean the button doesn’t work, function-wise. I mean it wasn’t effective.

Turns out smashing a generic button isn’t as motivating as committing to specific targets.

When I see each target, the image pops into my head. It hits harder. it crams it into my skull a little deeper. It’s more real.

You don’t get that with:


There’s something about reading things in your head.

It’s not “out loud”, but you still hear it out loud, right?

When your customer devours your words, they hear a voice – maybe even YOUR voice – reading the words.

It’s like Jackanory.

As they “hear” the words, they also sometimes picture the image.

You don’t need to force this either. They’ll do it themselves.

All you have to do is casually mention a blue backpack full of baby tigers and… BOOM – it’s there.

(Weird, isn’t it?)

The more specific you are, the better. The more heavy lifting and detail filling YOU do, the easier it is for THEM to imagine.

For example, I could’ve said:

“All you have to do is casually mention a portable storage repository full of mammals and… BOOM – it’s there.”

But you’ve got a lot of blanks to fill in before that becomes crystal clear.

“What kind of portable storage repository?”

“There’s a lot of mammals you know, Holt? I’ve watched Attenborough”

Being specific is a great way to get inside your client’s heads… without forking out for that hypnosis course.

There’s another benefit to this specificicicicicicicicity lark, but I’ll save that for the P.S…

(Because I haven’t written a P.S. for agggggges)

John Holt

P.S. So here’s another benefit of being specific…

It helps your customers make confident decisions.

If you can give them an unmistakable image of what you’re offering, they’ll be no “maybe”s.

Paint that picture for them and you’ll get a clear “yes” or “no bloody chance, mate”.

That might not sound like much, but if you’ve ever hopped on a “quick” call with a “maybe” client and discovered they’d be a bloody nightmare in the first five seconds…

… you’ll realise how specificity could’ve saved you the agony of an excruciating 30 minutes on Zoom!