Here are eight (simple, but not easy) life hacks I’ve learned that have a profound impact in shifting how I spend my time. Spending my time the right way makes me better. Doing them, shifts my personal ethos to one where I am living the intrepid life…
1. Handle incoming email right away. This means deleting it, taking immediate action on it, or scheduling a TO DO in your master calendar. If you complain that you receive too much email, then you have allowed your inbox to control you. It should be the other way around. I maintain INBOX ZERO everyday, and it has made me far more productive. You have to control your inbox by taking immediate action. For most people, managing email takes too much time, and is a burden. My insane focus on it, to make my inbox work for me, actually makes email fun for me.
2. When you meet up with someone, and promise to get together to explore (real) synergies, make the appointment ASAP. That way, the idea and reason for your proposed connection is still fresh, and the excitement is still buzzing. If you wait a while, the momentum is lost, and who knows what you missed out on.
3. The night before, make a list of the FIVE things you MUST complete the next day. If you accomplish nothing else other than those five tasks, you’ve had a good and very productive day! The hard part is taking the few minutes to focus on the top five list. [I use the Lift app to remind me to do this each day.]
4. Remember, and reflect upon mindfully, each and every day, what you are here to do. And then, more importantly, question whether all of your daily activities (not just sales + marketing efforts) are promoting and extending the story of your mission and purpose. [I use the Lift app to remind me to do this each day.]
5. Meditate every day. Even if for 2 minutes. I’ve only started doing this at the turn of the year, and I am amazed at the results, and the peace it brings, even in the middle of a frenetic day. And this becomes more powerful with time as you practice and get better at it. Use this tool to help get you started.
6. Set reminders, hourly if necessary, to be sure you are not wasting your time away, but are doing your important work that deep down, you want to be doing. I use this app to remind me every sixty minutes. Trust me, as conscious as I am about how I spend and utilize time, this damn reminder catches me unfocused half of the time. But I am improving…
7. You know those tasks that you want and need to do, that for whatever reason, you don’t do them? But then, when you are about to have company, or about to meet with a client, you are forced to hustle to get it done before zero hour? Yeah, me too. All the time. Why in the hell are we waiting to do the task just for the benefit of someone else? Do it now, and enjoy it. Don’t wait so that your guest/client is the one who benefits. [The funny thing is, those people rarely notice anyway...]
8. SLOW DOWN. Rarely does anything have to be done in a hurry. If it does, you are doing it wrong, and/or you poorly manage your time. Take the time, be careful, be mindful. You really have to force yourself to slow down, you have to be very mindful about it. And doing things slowly actually is faster. When you rush through things quickly, two things result: Average work. Or more likely, poor work, that requires extra time spent to do it over and do it right.
[Now, read #8 again. But this time, read it VERY slowly. If I know you, you probably skimmed through it very fast whilst multi-tasking with some other activity...]
9. Listen. I just listened to a skype recording of a recent conversation I had with a business associate, an advertiser on one of my radio shows. And I interrupted him once or twice. Not intentionally, I just had something I wanted to say. Springing off number 8, you need to slow down in your conversations too. This is a hard lesson for me and many others, but it will have dramatic impacts on the value of your human interactions. Pause, before answering, we’ve always been told. This enables you to NOT step on the other person, this allows her to finish, and then it gives you a second or two to think before answering. And that’s always a good thing…
It took me months to jot down these nine ideas. Simple life hacks I’ve learned that make a real difference in living my life and work better. I hope they provide you some inspiration, or at least get you thinking…
What do you think? What can you add?
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This post is not finished. I will add to it as I learn new life hacks. So, you might want to bookmark this and come back often. This evolving blog book idea is inspired by Hugh. The drawing is his too.