Canada’s Top Productivity Hacker: Duncan McCall



Name: Duncan McCall

Current Occupation: Sales & Customer Success @ Growth Genius

Business: Founder of Bitmaker Labs & Co-Founder of BrainStation

Hometown: London Ontario

Education: Western University- Ivey School of Business


How would you describe yourself as an entrepreneur?

I am highly motivated by interacting and working with people. As long as the end benefit is helping others, I get excited.


What makes a successful entrepreneur?

Work ethic is the differentiator.

Hard work trumps skill and talent. If you’re willing to work hard, you can achieve anything.


What productivity tools do you use on a basis

I keep it super simple.

I’ve explored a lot of tools in my time. I used to overuse productivity apps and over optimize my life. Much like others, I got obsessed with checklists and all that stuff. I learned that focusing on 1 or 2 problems per day is the most effective way to productivity.

It’s not the number of tasks that you tackle every day but the quality of the tasks.

I use the Pomodoro technique to focus my time and effort. I work in 60-minute increments with zero distractions.


Are answering e-mails productive?

Sort of.

I’ll set periods for the day when I check e-mails. Outside of those hours, I do not check my email.

This allows me to dictate how I spend my time, rather than being reactive to what other people want.

You can’t completely ignore email, but they should not be taking up the majority of your time. Set aside time periods to answer your emails and that should be more than enough.

“Just focus on the core tasks” – Duncan McCall


What book would you recommend to someone looking to optimize his/her productivity?

The One Thing – Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

Any courses that you recommend?

Learning How To Learn – Coursera

What are your thoughts on study drugs to boost productivity?

Substances like coffee and Adderall are all on one spectrum. So I don’t have an opinion on what is “good” or “bad.” Everything in moderation

Is there an entrepreneur that you model yourself off?

Not really.

There are ones that I follow such as Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, and Peter Thiel.

I wouldn’t say there is 1 person that I model myself off. I pick and choose characteristics off different entrepreneurs whom I follow and instill them within myself.


Is there a time in your career where you were blindsided?


Not everybody operates on the same rules and values and it’s inevitable that you will clash with people.

My reaction is to always try and learn from those experiences and move forward to surround myself with better people.

There are a ton of amazing people out there, and those are the people I surround myself with.


Was it an “Aha Moment” or Iterations?


It’s always iteration. The ideas are not really the important part. It’s your ability to execute on the idea.

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the richest person in the world because he thought of the idea of a social network.

He was just the best to execute on it.


Should you have concrete long-term goals?

Bill Gates has said that his success has come from his ability to focus on a few goals for a long period of time. But I also think it’s important to be open to changing your goals as new information becomes available. It’s important to have focus, but it’s also important to be flexible enough to change your path when it makes sense.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this question.

“Life changes fast and the Duncan from 5 years ago would not have been able to picture where he is today”- Duncan McCall


What is your philosophy towards sleep?

7 hours.

To be efficient in the long term, you need to be conscious of your mental and physical health.

3 hours of sleep is not a productivity hack.


Run us through your mornings.

  1. Wake up
  2. Eat Breakfast -3 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, 2 pieces of toast, a banana, vitamins
  3. Stand Up – Short power meetings (15-20 minutes to set the tone of the day)
  4. Start the day


Does meditation increase productivity?

From my experience: yes

Meditation means different things to different people. For me, it is going on long walks or the gym.

It gives me an opportunity to be in my own thoughts.

Meditation is about being completely present.


Do you listen to music when you are working?


I’m listening to music at all times of the day.


If you could go back time, what advice would you give to the Duncan who just graduated Western Ivey?


1) Make more time for friends, family, and people you care about.

2) Connect with as many people as you can.

3) If you work hard, you can have whatever you want.

4) Buy lots of Bitcoin.


Special thank you to Duncan McCall for taking the time to interview with Influence Digest.

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