The Tools You Need to Fight Stress

Episode 181 | Challenges: Leadership Community Workforce

Life often gets crazy busy, and it can be hard to fight the stress that easily sneaks in and overwhelms the everyday. Jason and Jim unpack the causes of major stress and give practical insight and tactics for overcoming the stresses that keep leaders from performing at their very best. Speaking from personal experience, these two manufacturing leaders share their personal tools and explore the need to prioritize your priorities.

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Pinpointing the major causes of stress

Stress can come in quietly and pile up quickly. Life changes, bad news, distractions, and inefficient processes are only a few ways stress can overtake your work, family, and life. Businesses grow, teams expand, and life gets busy! Jason talks about a time when stressful business news impacted his health. Stress not only affects how you view and approach work, but it also affects your health, relationships, and effectiveness as a leader.

Understanding why you are stressed is the first step. The connectedness of the modern business world is one major cause of stress for many industry leaders. Technology has created the opportunity to be connected to everything and everyone at all times. Overstimulation can lead to incredible amounts of stress because there is never time to simply turn off and relax. How do you overcome the limitations of stress-induced scars and build a life of minimal distraction? Be sure to listen to the entire episode!


Eliminating distraction and reducing wasted time

Jason and Jim share some of their personal tools for combating the stresses that permeate all of life - from work to family. Exercise, essential oils, writing out thoughts in short notes or lists, spending time with loved ones and friends, and taking the time to relax and laugh can all help reduce stress. Even spending time with a pet or taking the time to relax and drink a glass of wine at night can help mitigate the constant stimulation that your mind lives in throughout the workday. But what steps can you take to cut stress in the bud and mitigate its presence at work and as a leader? Jason shares seven tools for doing just that.

(7) Turn off notifications on your phone! It is easy to get caught up in group chats or conversations that could be had later or under better circumstances. Jason shares that he only leaves notifications on for family and team members vital to his current work. Otherwise, the conversation can wait.

(6) Use your calendar to plan ahead. Book out the next couple weeks so that you know what to expect and where you need to be and what you need to get accomplished. Knowing your calendar can also keep you from overbooking yourself. Have a plan and write it out ahead of time. Jim and Jason have also learned to be careful with which calendar invites to accept.

(5) Say “No” often. As a leader, you have a choice as to what processes, meetings, and jobs you need to be a part of. Know where to delegate and where to partake and be honest about how much time you have available for jobs and meetings that could be run and accomplished by someone else. Take responsibility where needed, but don’t overextend.


Creating an efficient and stimulating environment

Jason and Jim explore tactics for fighting stress that require you, as the leader, to take a step back and take the time to dwell in objective observation. It is easy to become comfortable in the status-quo and not realize that things need to be changed. Jason and Jim share the following tools for creating that efficient and life-giving environment.

(4) Align yourself with great partners. Being willing to delegate the jobs that someone else can accomplish better than yourself is vital. Who on your team knows more than you about a specific job, or who do you know that has expertise where you don’t? Who has more time to give to a project? By delegating to the right people, you can grow your business by ensuring that everyone is giving their best work in their best arenas.

(3) Create a routine for yourself. Habits and a normalized routine can help keep the guesswork out of the workplace. Setting aside the time to accomplish what needs to be done while also creating space for creative work can help keep your day moving steadily forward.

(2) Take time to reflect on whether or not you have the right people in the right seats. Are your team members able to give their best in their current positions? Being willing to take a step back and observe whether or not a person, project, or conversation need to move forward as they are can be helpful. By simply moving a team member to a different position or by eliminating a project, you can create a more efficient path ahead for your business.

(1) Focus on the “ultra” important. Distractions can take away the energy and time you need to be channeling into what is truly important to you, the team, and your business. Being willing to utilize the tools above can help keep you from giving in to the distractions that riddle everyday life.


Fight stress through prioritizing

Prioritizing can be difficult - especially when you have so many vital priorities as a leader. The last tool Jason and Jim discuss is the need to focus. Jim explains the need for a leader to be flexible in his priorities for the day while not losing sight of the ultimate goal. Your checklist of to-dos will change throughout the day, and that is okay. What really matters is whether or not you are accomplishing the ultra important and moving steadily along the path to your personal and business goals. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for a more in-depth look at the tools and tactics listed above.

Everyone is different and will utilize unique stress-fighting tactics to overcome obstacles and distractions and create a healthy lifestyle. Taking the time to create in yourself the focus and endurance to combat stress will enable you to be a better leader. The important thing to remember is that, “If you're not making chips, you're not making money. And if you're too stressed, you're not making chips.”


Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • What to do when life is crazy.
  • DMDII switched to MXD.
  • What causes stress?
  • Personal tools for eliminating stress in your personal life.
  • Tactics for overcoming stress in the workplace.
  • Prioritizing your priorities.
  • Discovering what works for you.


Tools & Takeaways


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Jason Zenger: Welcome to Making Chips. We believe that manufacturing is challenging, but if you are connected to a community of leaders, you can elevate your skills, solve your problems, and grow your business. I'm your host, Jason Zenger, and I'm joined by my busy co-host, Jim Carr. You are busy, aren't you, Jim?

Jim Carr: Well, quite frankly, I'm not that busy, yet.

Jason Zenger: You're not?

Jim Carr: No, I'm not losing my mind. I'm in a good space right now.

Jason Zenger: You just were busy though, weren't you?

Jim Carr: We have been busy but-

Jason Zenger: And you're looking to forward to being busy in the future, right?

Jim Carr: Anticipating being busy in the next 6 to 12 months. But, I'll let you know more about that as we get into the episode because I know it's irrelevant to what you want to talk about today.

Jason Zenger: You're in like the calm before the storm.

Jim Carr: Exactly. I'm in purgatory right now. I'm waiting for it to shift over.

Jason Zenger: You threw me off with that purgatory comment.

Jim Carr: I know. I did that on purpose.

Jason Zenger: I know. Yeah, so, what I want to talk about today is what to do when you're crazy busy. I mean, I've been crazy busy for a long time. I know that you've had some periods where you're crazy busy, but you've probably been more busy than not. So, I think this is going to be very relevant to the manufacturing community right now because manufacturing has been very busy for several years now. Wouldn't you agree?

Jim Carr: Yeah, I mean absolutely. We bought five new machines in the last 14 months. We've added new people. We've done a lot in the last 8 to 12 months. And yeah, we're ready. We're ready for the next layer of what's going to happen.

Jason Zenger: Good.

Jim Carr: I'm ready. I'm ready to work hard.

Jason Zenger: So, Jim, this is familiar to us where we're recording today. We're in Goose Island, downtown Chicago, but it's no longer the DMDII. So, where are we?

Jim Carr: It's not. We're not in the digital Manufacturing And Design Innovation Institute. We are at MXD. They recently converted and it got a new name.

Jason Zenger: Tell us about it. Why did they do that?

Jim Carr: I have an email here from Chandra Brown, she's the executive director of MXD. And I'm just going to read to you the announcement. It says, "On the heels of our recent announcement of up to 60 million in department of defense funding over the next five years, I have more exciting news about DMDII. The institute is getting a new name, MXD, which stands for Manufacturing Times Digital and will operate as its own independent organization.

Jim Carr: So, will its sister lab, City Tech Collaborative, which will spin out and form a new partnership the summer. Both labs have been achieving strong momentum and stable financial footing. Together, they learned how to build a coalition among industry, academia, government, and philanthropy, and to develop a way for them to co innovate. Each lab is now strong enough to on its own."

Jim Carr: So, I think that's fantastic. We've seen this coming. We've seen the enhancements-

Jason Zenger: That there's gonna be some changes?

Jim Carr: Well, we've seen the enhancements that they've been doing here at DMDII, which is now MXD. And it's great. they've been very good to us. We're proud to say that this is our home. This is where most of our episodes are recorded at, here in Goose Island in Chicago. It's all about the manufacturing industry. It's all about Chicago. We're rooted here in Chicago and we're rooted in manufacturing. So, it just makes sense for us to be here and do most of our shows from here.

Jason Zenger: Okay. So, the MXD has nothing to do with like calculus or Algebra or anything like that?

Jim Carr: It doesn't. Manufacturing Times Digital. That's what it means.

Jason Zenger: Okay. 'Cause if you remember back to your high school days, where we used-

Jim Carr: Algebra, my best subject.

Jason Zenger: Add and multiply letters.

Jim Carr: Were you good in Algebra?

Jason Zenger: I was actually, math was one of my strongest subjects.

Jim Carr: Do you know what the Pythagorean Theorem-

Jason Zenger: So, I was doing like college-

Jim Carr: Do you know what the Pythagorean Theorem is?

Jason Zenger: No, but I bet you want to tell the listeners. Go ahead.

Jim Carr: I do. It's A squared plus B squared equals C squared. Do you know how many degrees are in the right angle?

Jason Zenger: Well, yeah. 90. Duh.

Jim Carr: Okay, good.

Jason Zenger: I do know the base, I'm enjoying you showing how good you are at math.

Jim Carr: Well, right?

Jason Zenger: You have a big smile on your face. You know? I actually studied, I was an engineer in college. I studied differential equations, and I thought it was pretty good at that. Yeah. One of my stronger suits.

Jim Carr: It was definitely one of my strongest suits.

Jason Zenger: I was terrible at chemistry, which is why I probably, good reason, I didn't become a chemical engineer, but-

Jim Carr: And that algebraic skill in geometry skill from a hundred years ago help me be a better machinist when I came into the industry. People are saying, what do I need this for?

Jason Zenger: So, you deal with quotes better?

Jim Carr: Well it's not about quoting, it's the geometry in the Algebra that help you solve, but now they have computers for that that can do it in two seconds.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, exactly. So anyway, why don't we get right into this?

Jim Carr: Let's talk about being crazy busy.

Jason Zenger: Being crazy busy.

Jim Carr: And you always seem crazy busy, Jason.

Jason Zenger: Well, you know, I was thinking about this the other day. Over the last five years, I've had three more kids. My business has like-

Jim Carr: I Hope you put an end to that.

Jason Zenger: Multiplied by five. Yeah, I did put an end to that, by the way. So, that brings me a total of four kids. My business multiplied by five and essentially, took on a new business MakingChips, took on a new life of its own, and we took on new partners and it's exploding.

Jason Zenger: So yeah, it's been busy, Jim.

Jim Carr: Yeah, I know. I can look at you and I can tell sometimes that you're a little overwhelmed.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. And you know, just to be quite frank, there was a time when you and I were in California, when I was delivered some bad news. I don't know if you remember this, it was January, probably two or three years ago, when you and I were in California

Jim Carr: In Napa

Jason Zenger: MakingChips, and I was delivered some bad business news, which eventually resolved itself or I resolved it, but it actually led to me having some chest pains and I had to go to the doctor and it was stress induced chest pains. It was not a good period of time for me.

Jim Carr: You never shared that with me.

Jason Zenger: I never told you that I had those chest pains?

Jim Carr: No, no. How was it?

Jason Zenger: It was bad. I take some supplements for like my adrenal gland and stuff like that because of it, and it was not good.

Jim Carr: So, better get on the treadmill more.

Jason Zenger: Oh, I work out a lot and I actually have a hurt back right now. All my problems I've a hurt back right now because I was trying to rush through my weightlifting and I screwed up.

Jim Carr: You can't rush, don't overdo it.

Jason Zenger: Oh, no, no. Don't ever do that. So anyway, yeah. I definitely have the scars of a stress induced life and I need to definitely chill myself out in the future.

Jim Carr: Well, I'm looking forward to doing this episode.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. So, in the spirit of some of the things that I'm gonna talk about in this episode, I had my assistant, April, compile a bunch of articles on, you know, stress and just put a bunch of bullet points together. I had her do it so that I can not have to do it myself. And I just want to kind of talk through some of those points.

Jim Carr: Yeah, I've got some good comments on that.

Jason Zenger: So, some of the causes of stress. So let's talk about that first.

Jim Carr: Wait before we go there-

Jason Zenger: Yeah, go ahead.

Jim Carr: I'm a couple of years older than you.

Jason Zenger: Just a couple.

Jim Carr: Just a couple.

Jason Zenger: Couple of decades.

Jim Carr: And I think that-

Jason Zenger: Are you saying you're wiser than me?

Jim Carr: I'm thinking- No. Well, maybe more wisdom, but definitely not wiser. I don't know what that means. Wisdom and being wiser, it's about the same, but it's a little different.

Jim Carr: Yeah, it's the same thing.

Jason Zenger: Maybe there was a calculus equation to describe that.

Jim Carr: My question is it seems like nowadays, everybody is just freaking stressed out to the max because we're so highly connected, and I don't think it was like that. I know it wasn't like that back in the 80s and 90s, because we didn't have the resources to get really super stressed out. At the most, we had a fax machine that was delivering a document via this very slow output.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. You know what, Jim? I couldn't agree with you more. The technology is definitely contributed.

Jim Carr: I'm going to blame it on your generation. The millennial generation.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, I agree with you. Technology has definitely contributed to that and I was talking about-

Jim Carr: So, how do we mitigate it?

Jason Zenger: Well, I'm actually reading a book right now about how to combat this, Jim. It's a book called Digital Minimalism, and it's helping me a lot. You know?

Jim Carr: Dude, if there's one person that needs to read that, it's you.

Jason Zenger: Okay.

Jim Carr: Because you do, you're overstimulated.

Jason Zenger: Yeah.

Jim Carr: That overstimulates you.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. My wife calls me extra.

Jim Carr: Yes.

Jason Zenger: Currently, that's what the young kids say. That's a millennial term, apparently.

Nick Goellner: See, I've never heard extra.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. You're like an old man in a young man's body.

Jim Carr: So, how do we combat stress?

Jason Zenger: Let's first before we even go there, let's talk about some of the causes of stress. So, I don't know if any of these things come to mind for either one of you. Life changes, relationship difficulties, being too busy, and your children and family. Those are probably, if I'm going to say-

Jim Carr: All of the above.

Jason Zenger: Oh, that's another thing I didn't mention. I also just moved recently. So, talk about major life changes. That caused a tremendous amount of stress for both my wife and I and my family having to move. Relationship difficulties. I've got a 12 year old about to be a 13 year old. So, that makes that relationship a little bit more difficult and challenging and different and being too busy. We're all very busy right now, and family, I've got a young family too. So, it's, it's stressful right now. There's no doubt about it.

Jason Zenger: The other thing that I wanted to go through is just really briefly, more of the, I guess personal ways, and this is not what I'm going to talk about in the episode. So, I'm gonna go through it quickly. Some more of the personal ways to relieve stress hold.

Jason Zenger: Number one for me would be exercise, and I think that you would probably agree with that. Right, Jim?

Jim Carr: Definitely, without a doubt.

Jason Zenger: Using essential oils. So, I know this is kind of weird for me to be mentioned this on relationships.

Jim Carr: No, I don't think it is.

Jason Zenger: My wife actually just started getting essential oils and put one in our house.

Nick Goellner: Is that one of those pyramid scheme things with-

Jason Zenger: No, no. She just buys it from one of her friends.

Jim Carr: Is that still a thing?

Jim Carr: Yeah, yeah. I know so many people that are doing that.

Jason Zenger: Let's not go off on a tangent about pyramid schemes, but you know, it actually works.

Nick Goellner: They call multilayer marketing.

Jason Zenger: Yeah, just different name for it. Anyway, my wife doesn't sell it, she just buys it. But it works. I mean, we put it in the kids room and my kids have a little volcano essential oil thing.

Nick Goellner: I have some, honestly.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. So, it's good. Writing. So, I know you're a fan of this, too, Jim. You've got to write down your notes and sometimes that gets stressed out.

Jim Carr: Want to make a memo.

Nick Goellner: That can go either way. I was writing an article last week and-

Jason Zenger: No, not writing an article. Writing notes, like actually putting pen to paper, getting your thoughts out.

Nick Goellner: Oh, like getting your thoughts out, 'cause sometimes, it relaxes me and other times it feels like a job I got to get done.

Jason Zenger: And then spending time with your family and friends and just chilling out and laughing.

Jim Carr: That's a stress reliever?

Jason Zenger: Yeah.

Jim Carr: How about drinking a bottle of wine?

Jason Zenger: No, that doesn't come up there because I think that wine can be counterintuitive, because it can relieve it in the short term.

Jim Carr: One glass of wine.

Jason Zenger: And then, cuddling.

Jim Carr: That's what I want to do with you, Jason.

Jason Zenger: Oh, don't be gross.

Jim Carr: Oh, no, no. I know you're kind of a germaphobe-

Jason Zenger: But that was weird.

Jim Carr: I don't think it is.

Jason Zenger: And then the last one that I highlighted was spending time with your pet. So, whenever I spend time with Nick, it's always helped relieved my stress.

Nick Goellner: Oh, that's low. That is low.

Jason Zenger: Alright. Anyway, before we get off on too much of a tangent, let's get into the episode.

Jason Zenger: So, what I did is I put together seven points and these are my seven points for what I've done in order to relieve some of my stress; because I have to say, from the last two or three years, my stress is lower than what it's been before.

Jason Zenger: But before we get into this episode, Nick, tell us what's going on and MakingChips.

Nick Goellner: So, we've been talking about some of the articles that we've been promoting on Linkedin, especially after Wayne Breitbarth gave us some great insight on how to get the most traction there.

Jim Carr: Good stuff, man.

Nick Goellner: Every week we publish at least three pieces of content in addition to the podcast. So, we cover some news, we write an original article, and then we bring in a contribution from ChipIn contributors.

Jason Zenger: So, that's another manufacturing leader who has written an article on

Nick Goellner: Absolutely.

Jim Carr: And Nick, would you tell people if they'd like to be a contributor, how they can do that and the access that?

Nick Goellner: So, yeah. Just go to a making and you can-

Jim Carr: Is that hyphenated? Or is it just C-H-I-P-I-N?

Nick Goellner: I believe it works either way.

Jim Carr: Yeah, because we're looking for some good people that are really relevant in the manufacturing industry that would like to get a little PRA, and we'd like to bring you in and highlight

Jason Zenger: And your expertise.

Jim Carr: Yeah, exactly.

Jason Zenger: And you'll help the rest of the Metalworking Nation.

Nick Goellner: You guys are right on. It's the same thing we do when we bring guests onto the podcast, we're just doing it in other formats as well. So, you can find all of this content in our newsletter. We call it the Boring Bar.

Jim Carr: I love that.

Nick Goellner: Jason came up with the name, so kudos to you, Jason. Yeah, just go to and subscribe there to get the freshest MakingChips content delivered to your inbox every week.

Jason Zenger: So, why don't we get into the heart of this episode, pun intended, because stress does cause damage to your heart. And I want to review seven points that I came up with over the last couple of years that has helped me to reduce stress.

Jason Zenger: So number seven, I'm going to start from the least impactful to the the most impactful.

Jim Carr: I was wondering why it was in the reverse order.

Jason Zenger: And a lot of these come from a business standpoint, not from a personal standpoint, as I said before.

Jason Zenger: Number seven is turning off my notifications on my mobile phone and even text messages. And what that does is it allows you to really just focus on the things that you need to get done. So, a lot of times your stress comes into play because you've got so many to do's that are weighing you down and so many things that need to get done.

Jason Zenger: And if you constantly have that pinging and those notifications coming to you, it's going to distract you and it's going to take you more time to get the important things done. So, I literally, there's only three people that send me a text message that buzzes on my phone. My wife, my daughter, and my COO- CFO. That's it.

Jim Carr: Did you change that?

Jason Zenger: Everybody else, it gets-

Nick Goellner: So, are you using the "Do not disturb" function on your phone?

Jason Zenger: So, what I do is I go into, so I have an iPhone and I go into the iMessage, and I go into each person and you can change it into-

Jim Carr: Yeah, Android does that too.

Jason Zenger: Android I'm sure does the similar, where you can hide notifications for that particular person. So, sometimes the four of us, Caleb included, will get into like a very robust text discussion. Well, I don't get notifications for that because you know what? There's just a lot of stuff flying around that I don't need to get buzzed about all the time.

Nick Goellner: Yeah, I'm in like 20 group texts and it's just so-

Jason Zenger: You don't, mute them. That way, you can focus on what's important.

Jim Carr: That's a great idea.

Jason Zenger: Number six, I plan way ahead on my calendar and you know, I know that this has been a source of annoyance for some of you guys. Like you know, I'm not available. Sorry. It's been a source of annoyance for people that request calendar invites for you, but if I don't have two weeks notice, I'm all booked out. Sorry.

Nick Goellner: Well, it's more annoying to cancel on a whim. So you know, if we know ahead of time then it makes it a lot easier.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. So, the important thing is is have your time set. plan ahead on your calendar so that way, you don't have to go into the day being stressed out because you don't know where to get started. Like put it on your calendar, make sure you book those appointments ahead of time, and let people know that, "Hey, I've got urgent things that need to get done and I can't take every last minute meeting."

Jason Zenger: Number five, say "no" often.

Jim Carr: Yeah, that's a big one.

Jason Zenger: So, this has a lot to do, this kind of related to the previous one, but if I'm going to take a meeting, if I want to put a meeting together, that's one thing. But if somebody wants to schedule a meeting with me, it better have some of actionable outcome that I need to participate in because I get a lot of requests for meetings that, really to be quite honest with you, I probably don't need to be a part of.

Jason Zenger: Just this past week, I mean, it doesn't have to do just with meetings either. Could just say "no" to tasks. We just got done talking about this before that, Nick, you were asking me to put some links into Trello and blah, blah, blah. I'm like, "Well sorry, I'm not going to get around to doing it."

Nick Goellner: Yeah, so it's like, how do you balance the saying "no" to certain things with the EOS advice of making sure that there's processes that are documented, and followed by a-

Jason Zenger: I can choose whether I want to be a part of a process. So that's my choice to say, "Yes, I agree to be a part of that." So, I can say no to somebody and say, "Well, you want me to do this," and I have the right to say, "No, I don't want to."

Jason Zenger: That's not my thing. I'm not doing administrative tasks and nobody's going to force me to do that. And I have the right to say "no."

Nick Goellner: And that's one of the things we've been talking about is I think we're all involved in way too many like low granular detailed processes.

Jason Zenger: Yeah. Exactly.

Nick Goellner: So, we've talked about like maybe we need to get a project manager in place to help us with a lot of it.

Jason Zenger: and a lot of times, the only way to stop that from happening is just to say "no" and to watch and see where the pieces fall. Because a lot of times when you say "no" to something, somebody else sometimes picks it up and does it.

Nick Goellner: Yeah, like Nick.

Jason Zenger: Nick.

Nick Goellner: And Caleb.

Jason Zenger: Yeah.

Jim Carr: I have to add to that one, too. So you know how we always get calendar invites? What I'm doing lately, with regards to that, is I will not accept, unless I know I need it, I will not accept a calendar invite for more than 30 minutes.

Jason Zenger: I'm doing the same thing. That's great. Great insight, Jim.

Jim Carr: It really is because first of and foremost, those meetings typically go over anyway.

Jason Zenger: Everybody wants an hour.

Jim Carr: Everyone wants it, forget it. An hour of my time is a lot to give, and especially to a vendor or a buyer or somebody that's trying to sell to me. Forget it on. If you can't convey your prospect in your message to me in 15 to 20 minutes, you're doing something wrong.

Jason Zenger: I've got another related suggestion is book some of those appointments back-to-back. So, if you're going to do a 30 minutes book, another one that starts when that one should end, that way you are forced to not allow it to go longer.

Jim Carr: Oh, say you got a hard stop at 9:30-

Jason Zenger: Well, you do, and you do just intentionally do it that way. That way, it has a good end at that time and you're not allowed to go over, or otherwise, it's going to affect the next meeting. And the other thing that you could do is actually put a scheduled task into your calendar. So, you could be meeting with somebody for 30 minutes, but then once that 30 minutes is over, just say, "I'm going to spend an hour working on this ChipIn contribution." That way, you have it scheduled in your calendar and you have to end it at that time. Otherwise, you're not going to get around with what you're supposed to be doing.

Jim Carr: Gotcha. Go ahead.

Jason Zenger: The next one, number four, align yourself with great partners. I think this one's great.

Jim Carr: It's very impactful.

Jason Zenger: I mean, if you have the right people working with you, you can help each other by doing your best work. So, if I have somebody that's great at something else that's different than me, but it's something that I need get done, I don't- let me try to come up with something crazy like- 'cause let's just say-

Jim Carr: When you mean partners, do you talk about team members, vendors, customers?

Jason Zenger: It could be internal partners. All of the above. Let's just say you go to me Jim, and you're like, "Hey, I'm trying to machine the stainless steel part. I'm having some difficulties with it." It could be like, "Well, I'm going to send Tom Zenger out to spec out this milling application for you." Or it could be, "I'm having trouble with holding this piece," and it could be, "Well, let's send the AME team out to your place in order to help you with that."

Jason Zenger: I mean, yes. I could go out there and do it myself, but if I can get somebody that's better at it than myself to do it, I'm aligning myself with great partners in order to solve your problems, and I don't have to do the work.

Jim Carr: I think that would be delegate to great partners.

Jason Zenger: Okay. Number three, create routine. So you and I talked about this in episode 99. So, if you go to, we talked about it a lot. And basically what I mean by creating routines is like have a routine that you go through throughout the day. That way, everything is familiar to you for the things that you need to do the same thing every day; but for when you need to be creative or you need to get tasks done, you have those times set aside in order to get that done, you're day, it's going to be that much more efficient.

Jason Zenger: Number two, when you're crazy busy is really reflect on whether you have the right people in the right seats. Because a lot of times, if you're a really busy and you're taking on too many tasks, it could be because you just don't have the right people in the right seat.

Jim Carr: Thank you for defining that acronym.

Jason Zenger: Let's just give you like you, you an example, Jim. I know that a lot of times, you get really busy with doing quotes. Okay?

Jim Carr: I do.

Jason Zenger: And one of the things, and I've talked to you about this for a couple of years now, probably. Probably since we are in California, I remember you were up at like four in the morning and having coffee-

Jim Carr: Drinking a pot of coffee.

Jason Zenger: And doing your quotes, and we're supposed to be doing stuff, not Carr Machine or Zenger's related, and you need to think about the future about like do I have the right people in the right seats in order to get those quotes done? Because you are not going to able to do them for the rest of your life, and that could cause you to be busy beyond what it's going to take in order to grow your company. Because you can't be quoting jobs when, if say, your company's doubled in size.

Jim Carr: That's a lot to manage, though. That that's a big one, right people, right seats is a lot to really think about and analyze and-

Jason Zenger: You've got to take a step back. It's not easy. I agree with you. That's a really tough one and I'm not going to say that I've-

Jim Carr: Because there's so many different elements of how you rate people. You know what I mean?

Jason Zenger: Yeah. This is a tough one and there is-

Jim Carr: That's a really tough one. I mean, I understand about delegating responsibilities and getting all that, but there's a lot more depth and breadth to that than just right people, right seats.

Jim Carr: Well, maybe we should have a separate podcast on exactly what that means about-

Nick Goellner: Well, I already wrote about having the right people in the right seats. In that article, I wrote about manufacturing entrepreneurship. And what I was suggesting is that like for the entrepreneur, you have an opportunity to start with a clean slate. A lot of times if you're in a company that's been around for a long time, you've got a lot of people who have been around for a long time.

Jim Carr: Things get complicated.

Nick Goellner: And you're trying to figure out, "Okay, so here's the people I have. How do I make them the people that I need so that I can fill these seats?" When maybe the right way to look at it as like, "What are the seats that need to be filled first?" And then, making sure you have the people to fill those seats.

Jason Zenger: Yup, absolutely. I mean, sometimes, when you had a business that's been around for a long time, you have people doing things that aren't necessarily the most important things for the business, and if you put them in the right place, it could make a really big impact. And as a business owner, entrepreneur manufacturing leader, it really could free up your stress levels.

Jason Zenger: I Mean, we've got that going on. So, our company established itself in the Chicago land area is having like this beautiful tool showroom, where machinists used to line up and buy toolboxes and fill them up with precision tools and cutting tools and all that kind of great stuff. Well you know what? Nobody comes into a retail establishment any any more to buy. It's like 5% of our business.

Jason Zenger: And so, we are changing our business around in order to minimize that part of our business and reallocate those right people into different seats. That will relieve me of some of my stress and help us to meet our objectives. So I think, that's probably kind of what you're talking about. Right?

Nick Goellner: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: And you got to look at things from a clean slate standpoint and say, "Where do we want to be in three years? Does this part of the business make sense for us to continue to participate in?"

Nick Goellner: And I think that's easier to do when-

Jason Zenger: And you mentioned that with the trending tables. Maybe that has something to do with that.

Nick Goellner: I think it's easier to do when you've got a brand new business-

Jason Zenger: Oh, totally.

Nick Goellner: You can also be compelled to just, "Okay, I know I need a person here, a person here, a person here," and then you hire really fast and you don't do your due diligence and make sure you get the right people.

Jason Zenger: So, that's why the whole notion of right person in the right seat, you really need to look at wiping the slate clean.

Nick Goellner: Absolutely.

Jason Zenger: And seeing where you want to be in three years.

Jason Zenger: And then, the number one thing, and a lot of these are really related to each other. This is even related to saying "no", but the number one thing is just focusing on the ultra important, not the distractions.

Jason Zenger: So for me, that has to do with what is going to move the needle forward? What are my five most important things that I should be doing as a leader in my business? And I need to focus on those things and not getting distracted. So, that's my number one thing.

Jim Carr: Thank you. Those were great.

Jason Zenger: I have a little bit of a disclaimer before you get into yours, Jim.

Jim Carr: Well, I don't have that many.

Jason Zenger: Okay.

Jim Carr: I agree with all of yours, but I think they're different for everyone, every individual.

Jason Zenger: Oh they're totally. Totally. And related to that, the one disclaimer I was going to say is, I wrote this from the perspective of somebody that really defines their own job, and is the manufacturing leader, is the CEO entrepreneur.

Jason Zenger: A lot of these things you can't do if you report to somebody else. So, just be careful about saying to your boss, "Well, I want to focus on just the really important things to me." And he might say, "Well that's not important to me, and you work for me."

Jim Carr: You report to me.

Jason Zenger: Exactly. So, just be careful if they're not handled properly, maturely, it could backfire on you.

Jim Carr: Thank you for those. I appreciate it. My number one thing is prioritize. And I say that to my entire team all the time. I have a list on my desk and it's handwritten, and it's all the things that I have to get done that day, and let me tell you, that list changes. It shifts all the priorities shift every hour, every 15 minutes, every two hours, constantly during the day.

Jim Carr: It's a moving thing. It comes to life. And I believe that if you prioritize the things that are truly important, that you can get things done and it will be less stressful and less crazy on yourself. Another thing too, is definitely the distracters. If you have to get something done, if I've got a bang out 10 quotes, the email gets turned off, the phone gets turned off. I go into a room by myself and I focus on what I've got to get done.

Jason Zenger: I think you've changed over the last couple of years, Jim. I got to be honest with you. Because I don't think you used to be that focused.

Jim Carr: If I hadn't changed, I wouldn't be evolving. Right? I wouldn't have evolved into a better leader of a company. Right?

Jason Zenger: I Agree. I agree.

Jim Carr: So, yes. I have changed, but definitely you can't let your personal distractions impose into your business. If you're working in your business day, you have to mitigate all of the personal distractions. Cell phone, internet or whatever, you just can't do that. You got to put it off. You got to do what is important at the moment. Whatever you got to get done, you got to get that done now, and mitigate everything else. So, that's the only thing that I will add to your list because those are the ones that are really, really important to me.

Jim Carr: Everything else. I agree with you. The exercise thing, I've been an advocate of exercise, I've been exercising for 30 years. It's definitely a stress reliever and it definitely helps unload a lot of stress. I like to drink wine. I think it's a very relaxing thing.

Jason Zenger: Is that your number one?

Jim Carr: No, it's not my number one. It's definitely prioritize, but I don't see anything wrong with coming home at the end of the day and having one or two glasses of wine just to chill out. I get to watch the news, which I enjoy, and then I let go, and I start my day all over again.

Jason Zenger: So, that's funny that you mentioned about watching the news.

Jim Carr: I know some people-

Jason Zenger: I actually eliminated that.

Jim Carr: I Know. It doesn't affect me like that, though. Well, you're different than I am. We're all different, but we're just sharing our own things that are de-stressing.

Jason Zenger: I agree. I agree. I do want to just point that out that that was actually a big cause of stress.

Jim Carr: My wife can't watch the news either.

Jason Zenger: Like, I remember, my wife loves watching the news and they have that whole, what is it? Muller investigation?

Jim Carr: Yeah, that was huge.

Jason Zenger: And I was like, what is this about, anyway? My wife just looks at me and rolls her eyes and shakes her head. She's like, "Really? You have no idea what is going on?"

Nick Goellner: It was the topic for the last two years.

Jim Carr: Anyway, thanks. No, that was great. Nick, did you have anything to end?

Nick Goellner: Well, yeah. I just want to kind of dovetail on the health effects of stress. The original article that we wrote this week, that I wrote, was about how entrepreneurs can avoid burnout and people are always like, "Hey, you need to relax. You could burn yourself out." But, burnout is like a real thing. It's a clinically diagnosed thing. And I went through some really tough times in my life as as a young entrepreneur trying to figure out how to hold it all together, and I went through like a really bad period of burnout. So it's like, take this seriously. This is an important topic, right?

Jim Carr: It really is.

Jason Zenger: And you asked me, Jim, the other day, we had an extensive conversation after that about how I do keep it together and be quite honest with you, it's all in my faith that allows me to keep it all together, ultimately. That's been that probably- Okay, if you were to give number one, number one way to reduce stress, that's been it.

Jim Carr: Great.

Jason Zenger: So, Jim, what do we ask from the manufacturing leaders out there? We don't want them just to listen to these episodes. We actually want them to listen and write down some of the points that we talk about, bring it to their leadership meetings, use this as a means of helping them in their business, right?

Jim Carr: Yeah. Well, I would use MakingChips as a resource and I would share that among their peers. I just read something the other day that said, "The best way to share information is just forward that information right to the people that you care about."

Jim Carr: So, if there is something that you hear, on MakingChips today that is relevant, that you know, a good friend, a peer, and acquaintance, just forward them this episode and just say, "I think you should listen to this because these guys are really bringing up something that's really valid and it will probably help you prioritize your day and de-stress you just a little bit more."

Nick Goellner: Sharing is caring.

Jim Carr: Sharing is caring, that's what it's all about, but we also want everyone to go to iTunes and rate and review. I don't have an iPhone, so I don't know how that works, but I know everybody else in the world has one.

Jason Zenger: You can actually have iTunes without an iPhone, I'm pretty sure.

Nick Goellner: Yeah, and you can rate and review on whatever podcaster you got it.

Jim Carr: Podcast addict or anyone.

Jason Zenger: Spotify, iTunes.

Jim Carr: iTunes. I would go to iTunes. It's the big boy in in the field. Well, at the end of the day, I'm not too stressed right now. I worked out today and I left my team to come down here and the traffic didn't stress me out. It was a light traffic day on the way into the city. And I thought, "Man, I'm going to go with DMDII. I'm going to go to MXD," because you know what, Jason? At the end of the day, if you're not MakingChips-

Jason Zenger: You're not making money. Bam.

Jim Carr: Bam.

Automated: Thanks for listening to the making tips podcast. Jim and Jason knew that the Metalworking Nation, the community of world class makers needed to commit to a new way of leading to stay ahead of the competition. So, MakingChips was created to fill that void. To give you advice from other manufacturing leaders who can push you to take action. Your manufacturing challenges have a solution, and many of them are at

Nick Goellner: If you're not MakingChips, you're not making money. And if you're too stressed, you're not MakingChips.


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