11 Realities About Being Productive.

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Living and working in the productivity space I get to read a lot of articles and watch a lot of videos about productivity. I get to hear stories from clients and followers and I get to experience living a productive life every day.

One of the things that stands out to me is the number of people desperately searching for a ‘hack’ that will magically do all their work for them. That could be the latest new productivity app raved about in productivity forums and groups or a new way to organise to-dos in to-do list manager.

The reality is there are no shortcuts and there are no magic apps out there and there is never likely to be in the future either. If you need to do the work, you have to do the work. That’s the reality.

So in an effort to dispel many of the myths and untruths about personal productivity here are a few truths you should know:

1 The only way to get the work done is to do the work.

The biggie. If work needs to be done, someone needs to do it. Nine times out of ten that “someone” is going to be you and there are no apps, hacks or shortcuts to doing great work. You are going to have to sit down (or stand up) and just get on and do the work. Thinking about it, complaining about it or reorganising the order in which you will do the work is not doing the work. Doing is the only way the work will get done.

2 Complaining about how much work you have to do is not doing the work.

Telling everyone how busy you are does not give you any gold stars. Everyone thinks they are busy. The reality is “busy” is just a state of mind. If you think you are busy, you will feel busy. We all have twenty-four hours each day. Some people get a lot of quality work done, many do not. The ones getting the quality work done are not complaining, they are doing. The ones complaining are not doing the work. The more they complain, the less time they have to do quality work. Stop complaining and just get on and do the work.

3 Reorganising your to-do list is not doing the work.

I find a lot of people spend far too much time reorganising their to-do lists as if a new way of organising it will magically reduce the amount of time they need to do the work. It does not. All you need a to-do list to tell you is what work to work on. Then, when you see a task that says “Work on fixing bugs in the latest software release” you can go straight to your coding app and start fixing the bugs. It’s simple and it has been working very well for years. As a guide, it should be taking you less than ten seconds to get started on your work for the day. You open your to-do list, you see what needs doing, you start doing.

4 Checking your email is not the same as doing email

This one always gets me. I see so many people just checking their email and not doing anything about it. The way to manage your email is simple. When you see an email, you make a decision about what you need to do with it. Either you reply, file or delete. Just looking at the email and then moving on to the next email is not efficient. It means you will now have to look at the email at least twice. Make a decision about it and then do it.

5 Complaining about disruptions and distractions is not dealing with the problem.

We all get disrupted and distracted at times. Complaining about it is not going to stop them. The only way to stop them is to stop looking at your phone, turn off notifications on your computer and to politely ask your colleagues and boss for some uninterrupted time to get on with your work. Asked politely, most decent people will respect your time and allow you time to get on with your work.

6 Most meetings are a waste of time.

The vast majority of meetings you are asked to attend are not going to move you forward on your projects. Most of these meetings are just talking shops and an opportunity for people to complain about how busy they are. If you can, avoid 90% of the meetings you are asked to attend. Be selective and develop strategies to avoid attending these meetings (I know this one is much easier to write than do)

7 Speaking to someone gets results faster than emailing them

One of the fastest ways to get a solution to a problem is to pick up the phone and call the person who can give you the solution. Better still, standing up from your desk and walking down the hall to speak to the person is even faster. Emailing the person is not going to get you the solution very fast. You could be waiting days for the reply. Get up, move and ask the question directly. (But respect number 5)

8 Not knowing your outcome before you start will result in failure and delays.

Far too often people begin projects without being clear what it is they are trying to accomplish. Make sure when you start a project you are clear about what the desired outcome is. If you are given a project by your boss or a client, ask the right questions so you and they know what outcome is expected. When there is no clarity, procrastination will set in. A simple example would be saying “I want to earn more money”. If I gave you one extra dollar, you would have achieved your goal. You need to be specific with something like “I want to earn an extra $1,000 this month” This is clear and specific and will give you the starting point to begin planning out how you will do it.

9 The water cooler/staff canteen is not a place where work happens.

Yes, you need water. Yes, you need food. But that is all these places are going to give you. They are not going to help you get your work done. They are generally areas of gossip and complaining. Avoid these places as much as you can. Nothing good ever comes from indulging in gossip.

10 Not getting enough sleep will destroy your performance.

If you think staying up late working on a piece of work and getting up early to finish it will result in a great piece of work you are wrong. You need breaks and you need sleep. Pulling all-nighters and trying to survive on a few hours sleep each night will result in something breaking — usually you. A lack of sleep is not only bad for your health, it also damages relationships and dramatically reduces the quality of your work. Just don’t do it. Take your sleep seriously.

11 Not having a plan for the day is planning to fail.

If you are serious about becoming more productive then you need to plan each day. It does not have to be a minute by minute plan, but you do need to plan what you want to get done that day. Without a plan, you are going to end up working on someone else’s agenda and that is never going to work out well for you. Plan the day. Keep it simple and try to get whatever you plan completed by the end of the day.

Becoming more productive is not difficult, but you do need to be very clear about your work. Playing around with your to-do list, attending every meeting and just ‘checking’ your email are guaranteed ways to make you feel busy but you will have little work to show for it at the end of the day. End the day with a plan for the next day and when you start the day, start the work.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

My New Learning Centre is Now Live!

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The Carl Pullein Learning Centre Redesign launch Sale

To celebrate the launch of my redesigned learning centre, I am having a 72-hour sale on all my bundled courses. 

This is a not to be missed opportunity to get some fantastic productivity courses at super-low prices. 

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You can choose my Super Seven bundle which includes all my latest courses as well as Time & Life Mastery and Complete Guide To Building A Successful Life. All for a wonderfully low price of $149.00 - That’s a saving of over $140! 

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Or if Life management and goal planning is your thing, I have reduced my Life Mastery Bundle to $99.00 - that’s a saving of over $75.00! 

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And finally, if productivity is your thing and you want to become even more productive, you can get my productivity bundle for just $59.00. Which includes my latest Your Digital Life 2.0 Online course. 

You need to act quick as these amazing offers will only be available for 72 hours. On Monday prices will go back up. So get your bundle ordered today, save a ton of money and start building the life and systems you want to build. 

Don’t forget, once you are enrolled in the courses you get life-time access, high-quality HD video lessons, free pdf downloadable files and regular updates on many of my courses. 

If you’ve been hesitating before, now is the time to act and begin your journey to becoming better organised and more productive. These are the kind of courses that can have a huge, positive impact on your life. 

If You Want The Success Of Gary Vaynerchuk, You Have To Work Like Gary Vaynerchuk.

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For many people the dream of building a successful business is real. To be able to create something from your own ideas and to build it into a multi-million dollar enterprise is the stuff dreams are made of. We’ve all heard the success stories of people like Steve Jobs — drop out of university, team up with a tech genius and build a world-changing company. Or Gary Vaynerchuk — turn a liquor store into a huge online success and then build a media company and become an internet sensation. It all seems so easy.

The media paints a misleading picture

The truth is it’s not easy. It’s incredibly hard. The media has a tendency to focus on the glamorous side and play down the daily grind. There are very few glamorous moments. The real truth is eighteen hours a day, seven days a week of mundane grind. It’s about grabbing a few moments with your family when you can and it’s about missing out on a social life. For most twenty-somethings, getting out on Friday and Saturday nights with friends, having a few beers and talking about how they are building a business to change the world is considered essential. We need a break sometimes don’t we? The problem here is, Gary Vaynerchuk never took a break.

While all of Gary Vaynerchuk’s friends were out partying and chasing girls in their twenties, Gary Vaynerchuk was in his father’s liquor store working. Fifteen hours a day, seven days a week. While all of Steve Jobs’ classmates were out tripping in the seventies, Steve Jobs was working on building the Apple I with Steve Wozniak. It was a relentless, seven days a week grind. Back then, nobody was talking about them, no media organisation was chasing them for interviews. They were just like you and me, nobodies in a world full of nobodies except they were doing things differently. They were not socialising, they were not partying. They were working. They were doing the boring, repetitive, mundane work that everyone hates, but has to be done to build the foundations of success.

It is only when people like Steve Jobs, Gary Vaynerchuk and Elon Musk break through and become successful, as defined by the media, does the media begin to pay attention. It is only when they have achieved some form of success do they start writing about these people. They show the corporations they have built, they show off the products created, but they never show the hard work and grind it took to create these successful products and businesses. The failures, the ‘back to the drawing board’ moments and broken friendships and relationships. None of these is ever shown. They are not part of the glamour narrative. The failures though, the back to the drawing board moments and broken relationships are 99% of what it takes to become hugely successful.

Most people wanting success still don’t get it

I occasionally watch a Gary Vaynerchuk keynote. He very generously posts them on his YouTube channel, and he is always telling people to stop focusing on the glamorous side of entrepreneurship. He’s constantly talking about the grind, the hard work and the sacrifices. Even in his short videos on Instagram and Facebook, he talks about patience and the lack of it most people have today. Yet, you can tell from the questions his audience ask that most people still don’t get this. They believe they can become hugely successful without the sacrifice. No, you can’t. That’s not the way the world works.

We were all penniless once

Tony Robbins tells the story of how Sylvester Stallone turned Rocky into a huge success. The repeated rejections, his first wife walking out on him, having to sell his beloved dog and the sleepless nights. The grind of writing and re-writing the script with no money for food. All this happened when nobody knew who Sylvester Stallone was. He was a penniless bum with a dream. Just like most of us were at some point in time. But what made him different was he would not accept defeat. He knew he could make it as an actor and he was never going to settle. He was prepared to go through hell to get there and he did go through hell.

When Rocky became a success, that was when people started to pay attention. The journey to creating Rocky was quickly written out of the narrative and the focus was on the glamour. How many millions Sly was making from the movie and when the next one would be coming out.

The 99% of your time

And the same happens with Gary Vaynerchuk today. We all see him walking around the streets of LA, New York or London talking to the camera. It looks glamorous, it looks like the dream life, but it is only a snapshot of his day. It’s fifteen minutes of a day with 1,440 of them. 1% of his day! What we don’t see is the other 99%. The dealing with clients, the day to day mundane business he still does seven days a week.

The reality is if you want to be hugely successful you are going to have to spend your life focused on the 99% mundane, boring, repetitive work. The glamour will not come for a very long time. The work and sacrifice must come first and it’s decades of work and sacrifice, not a few months. And it will never stop. Your friends will be your business associates. You hobbies will be your work and the beautiful house and expensive car you may one day be able to buy will rarely be used. You will be spending all your time on your work, not driving down PCH in a Ferrari California or sunning yourself around your pool. Your reality will be the office, a regular taxi and a hotel room.

Now, are you prepared to make that sacrifice? At the end of the day, you will always be remembered for what you accomplished and your happiness will flow from what you have achieved and what you are striving to achieve. Happiness does not come from the glamour. It comes from a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 99% of you will not be prepared to make that sacrifice (which is fine) and that is why only a tiny percentage of people will ever become as successful as Gary Vaynerchuk.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below👍. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why You Should Be Reducing The Tasks In Your To-do List.

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Many years ago, I worked in car sales. I learnt a lot in those days about people and about how a business with multiple parts could work together. One area of the business that stood out for me was the service centre. The service centre of the dealership I worked at was attached to the showroom and I had a lot of contact with the team that worked on the cars brought in for service and repairs.

A valuable lesson learned

One of the lessons I learned from the service centre was how they organised their work. When they took an appointment for a service or a repair, the basic work required was entered on a booking sheet and a day was assigned for when the car would come in. The booking sheet contained only the basics of what work needed carrying out on the car. For example, it might have “full service” or “oil change”. Apart from the make and model of the car and the customer’s name, there was not much else on the booking sheet.

When the car came in, however, a worksheet was placed inside the car. This sheet contained the list of work that needed to be carried out, notes made by the person taking the booking and a place for the mechanic to write what he had done and what he believed needed to be done. Any issues, anything waiting from the parts department and customer requests were all written down on this worksheet. It was a system that worked and one that led to very few mistakes. As a result of this system, our service department had one of the highest customer service ratings in the country.

Going all in digital

When I decided to create an all-digital productivity system in 2009, I adopted a similar approach. I had my to-do list manager, my calendar and my notes app. My calendar always told me when my deadlines were, where I was meant to be and when. My to-do list manager told me what work I should be doing that day and my notes app was where I kept all my project notes, things that needed thinking about and things I was waiting for. My notes app acted as my worksheet. It was where it really didn’t matter whether things were beautifully laid out or were in any kind of organised list. It was my reference guide. I could dump links to articles of interest, telephone numbers of key people related to the project and issues that needed resolving.

The system I created meant my to-do list manager told me to “Continue working on Project X” and in my notes app, I found the corresponding note called “Project X”and contained in that note were all my thoughts, ideas and, to a certain extent, what I needed to work on next.

A better way of handling tasks

It’s a system I’ve used for years and it works. Often, I find many people write out a task list on their to-do list manager like this:

  • Download image
  • Resize image
  • Crop image
  • Colour correct image
  • Add text to image
  • Post image to website.

Instead, all I would have is a task called “Post new image to website”. This means my to-do list never looks overwhelming. It allows my notes app to be my digital playground and it really doesn’t matter what I dump in the note. I am free to write what I want, how I want and I am not forced to create endless lists in a hierarchical manner.

These days, I can also add a link directly to the document I am working on, be that a Google Doc or an Apple Pages or Keynote file which makes this system even more efficient. Less clicking and an immediate update on where I am with the project.

My workflow essentially works something like this:

  • Review Todoist to see what work needs doing. Click on the Evernote note link and
  • open Evernote note to that project and review notes.
  • open document I am working on and begin work.

It’s simple, it gets me up to speed very quickly and over the years has evolved into a sleek, efficient system.

Here’s how I use Todoist to get this working:

 

A better archiving solution

Another benefit of using this method I found is I am able to save the notes I made during the project in my archive. This means in the future, if I ever work on a similar project, I will have all the notes and ideas I had from a previous project available to me. One of the problems with to-do list managers is once the task is done it disappears and although some to-do list managers do archive your completed tasks and projects, they are not easily searchable, unlike with an app like Evernote, where all your notes are searchable.

An Antidote to project task overwhelm.

When you start adding a lot of unnecessary tasks into your to-do list manager, you very quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the length of your lists. You will also find it difficult to resist the temptation of picking and choosing what to work on. Some tasks will be easy, others will be more difficult and quite a few will be sheer drudgery. Not a good way to get you motivated to get on with your work. When you see a task such as “Continue working on Project X” and, in my case a direct link to my project notes from my to-do list manager, I have no overwhelming list. Just a simple direction to work on a specific project. The choice I have to make is do the work or not do the work. Once you start working, the flow begins and you quickly get into doing the work.

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So if you find you have long lists of tasks in your project lists, consider farming some of those tasks out to your notes app. Create a note with the same title as your project and use that note as your playground. You can add ideas, notes, links and keep track of what you have done each day. Once the project is complete, you can archive the note for future reference so next time you have a similar project you will have a good set of notes to guide you through the difficulties.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

 

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

What it’s like to be part of Robin Sharma’s 5 AM Club.

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Last week I joined the 5 AM Club. For those who don’t know, the 5 AM club is a concept started by Robin Sharma where you wake up at 5 AM do twenty-minutes exercise, twenty-minutes planning and twenty-minutes study. It’s a great concept and it is something I have been wanting to do for some time.

I did modify the 20/20/20 structure a little. Personally, I don’t like exercise first thing in the morning and I believe planning the night before is more effective. However, I have taken the learning part and changed it to work better for me.

Where it all began.

One of my goals is to become fluent in Korean by June next year and the only way I can do that is if I can find some time to consistently study the language. This goal began a few weeks ago after I watched a talk by the wonderful Brian Tracy. In that talk, Brian Tracy asked the audience to ask themselves one simple question:

“What one skill could you learn right now that would have the biggest positive impact on your life and income?”

After thinking about this question for a few days, I realised there was one skill I could learn that would have such an impact on my life. That was to become fluent in Korean. I live in Korea, my wife is Korean and my in-laws family are all Korean. Being able to speak Korean fluently would have a huge impact on my life.

The question I had was “where would I find the time to consistently study?” The answer to that question was obvious; there really was only one time I could do it — 5 AM. The next question was: Could I wake up at 5 AM?. The reality is I have no choice. If I am serious about becoming fluent in Korean over the next twelve months then studying between 5 AM and 6 AM is the only time I know I can dedicate myself consistently to achieving this goal.

So, Last Sunday, before going to bed I prepared all the materials I would need to have one hour of uninterrupted study time. I divided it up into three, twenty-minute segments and went to bed. 5 AM my alarm went off, I crawled out of bed, put the coffee machine on, picked up my iPad and began learning my Korean self-introduction. And so my journey began.

The first day I was tired. My eyes were red and my body felt like I had not slept at all the night before. It was painful. Monday night was a struggle, but I managed to get all my work done. Tuesday 5 AM came along and again my alarm went off and again I crawled out of my bed. Again it was painful. Tuesday was the worst day. I felt exhausted all day. My body ached and it was made worse by having a lot of classes to teach that day.

It was only then did I realise the obvious. If I was waking up an hour earlier than I normally did, I need the be going to bed an hour earlier. Once this obvious fact sunk in, I went to bed at 10:30 PM instead of 11:30 PM. That made a huge difference. Wednesday morning was fantastic. I woke up, felt normal and didn’t feel like I was crawling out of my bed. I managed to get through the day without feeling tired — well okay… just a little tired.

Don’t deprive yourself of sleep. Go to bed earlier.

From this experience, I learned that you need to adjust your sleep time. I usually get around six hours sleep, by waking up early I was only getting 5 hours and that is not enough for me. You, of course, may be different but most people require between six and eight hours sleep each night and you should not deprive yourself of it. If you are going to do this then you do need to prepare yourself properly and make sure that if you are getting up earlier at the front end, you need to go to bed earlier at the end of the day.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely. I now understand the power of having that one hour every day to focus on myself. You don’t have to follow the 20/20/20 ritual of exercise, planning and study Robin Sharma suggests. You can create your own “Power Hour”. To get the most benefit from this hour, though, it should focus on your self-development. Whether you exercise, study, plan or meditate doesn’t really matter. What matters is you dedicate this time to spend on yourself. Never do work, check your email or social media or do anything for anyone else during this time. This is your time to do with whatever you like for yourself. Think of it as your special hour or, as in my case, my “power hour”.

Will I continue with this?

If nothing else I have learned I can wake up early and still function like normal human being. But what I have also learned is that by waking up at 5 AM and doing something important — learning Korean — that is aligned with my goals and my purpose gives me such a positive feeling of fulfilment. I know what I am doing will benefit me long into the future and at the same time I am building up my self-discipline which will just get stronger. With stronger self-discipline, I will be able to do more things that require discipline and that can only benefit me more.

Once I have achieved my Korean language goal, I shall use this time to develop another skill. I really enjoy waking up and not feeling rushed. I love that feeling of having one hour to study something that will make me a better person, benefit my relationships and ultimately increase my income. What being fluent in Korean will do for me is almost limitless and that knowledge is all the motivation I need to lift my head off the pillow at 5 AM and begin the process of study.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below👍  It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How Many Productivity Apps Do You Need?

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We are spoiled for choice when it comes to productivity apps that promise to change our lives and make us more productive. Each new app attempts to disrupt the field with new features, new ways to input our stuff and then spew it out in another cool way with lots of different colours, font sizes and swipes.

The difficulty this throws up is with that choice — which is a good thing — comes with it the temptation to experiment and play — which is a bad thing. Experimenting and playing takes time. Time, that for most of us, we cannot afford to use in this way.

How many apps do you really need?

This got me thinking. How many apps do we need to be productive? My definition of personal productivity is getting the work that matters done in the most efficient and effective way. So how does having more apps help this? More apps mean more time looking at apps and lists of things to do. That’s not doing the work. If you have to check your calendar to see if you have time to work on the projects Trello is telling you need to work on and then to open Notion 2 to see how all this fits into the bigger picture of your life before finally opening Google Docs to start writing the report you are supposed to be working on. That’s not being very productive. That’s being very inefficient and unproductive.

App switching is one of the most inefficient and ineffective things you can do.

I sometimes joke with my colleagues and friends when they tell me they have found a new app that promises to improve their productivity. If they have time to be switching apps then they are obviously not very busy. I don’t know where they find the time to switch. The truth is I have never come across anyone who has switched a productivity app and then become a lot more productive. I have often found the reverse to be true though. I’ve seen many people switch apps and become much less productive because they spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get a particular feature to work that worked perfectly well in the app they were using before they switched.

So, to help see if you have too many apps, here are a few indicators to look for:

  • If you are checking a task off in more than one place — that’s too many to-do list apps.
  • If you have to look in more than one place to see where you need to be and when — that’s too many calendar apps.
  • If you can’t remember where you put a note — that’s too many notes apps.
  • If you can’t remember where you started writing your report — that’s too many writing apps.

You only need one to-do list manager, one calendar and one notes app. If you are using more than that, you have too many apps and they will be causing a drag on your productivity, effectiveness and your efficiency.

One app for one type of work.

If you write reports, essays, articles and other written documents in more than one app, then you should ask yourself if you really need so many writing apps. I use two writing apps. Each has a specific use. Short and long-form writing is done in Ulysses and my books are written in Scrivener. Ulysses’s export options allow me to send any written document out in any form I want. That would be MS Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs, PDF or even email if I chose. So there really is no reason to use any other writing app. This means if I want to do some writing, if it not writing my book, then whatever it is I want to write will be in Ulysses. Easy to find and no decisions to make about where I will write the document.

The same goes for creating presentations. I use Keynote for all my presentations and even if a client sends me a PowerPoint file to check, I can check it in Keynote, make any corrections and export it as a PowerPoint file. I have no need to spend time learning two apps. I only need to learn how to use Keynote and as I have been using it since 2004, there’s not much left for me to learn.

What is productivity all about?

Productivity is not about the apps you are using. Productivity is about the work you are doing. If you have too many apps, or the apps you do use are slow and inefficient either because they are too complex or you haven’t learnt how to use them properly, then you are not going to be as productive as you can be. You are not going to be remembered by the apps you use, but rather by the content you produce. That’s what people remember about you. The most incredibly productive people alive don’t use any apps, they use a simple pen and paper to collect their notes, ideas and to-dos. Sir Richard Branson, Cheryl Sandberg and Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) collect everything into notebooks. We don’t need sophisticated apps to manage our work. We just need to do the work. That is what productivity is about — the work. It is not about the apps.

 

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below 👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why You Need To Start Thinking More About Yourself Than You Do About Others.

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A recent comment from a student of mine pointed out that an exercise I have students perform in my Ultimate Goal Planning Course helped him to realise that he was spending far too much time thinking about what other people wanted and not enough time about what he wanted.

I must confess that the exercise was not necessarily designed to elicit this response, but I realised he was right. We do spend far too much time thinking about what other people want.

Where did this come from?

Where this comes from I can only guess. It probably comes from when we are growing up and we are told that to think about ourselves too much is wrong and that we should always put the comforts and convenience of others first. And on the whole, when talking about good manners this is good advice. But for discovering what we want and what we want to achieve in life this advice is wrong. It is wrong to study medicine because your parents want you to. It is wrong to go to law school because your teachers told you that would be a good profession for you. These are wrong choices if none of those professions is what you want to do. These are right choices if these are the professions you want to go in to.

If you are going to build a life for yourself and create a life you will love, flourish and grow in, then you need to put yourself first. It does not matter what your parents, grandparents or friends want you to do. That’s what they want you to do. It is their desire. It is not necessarily your desire. If you do follow the path your parents want you to follow, sure you will make them happy, but you will not make you happy, and your happiness must always come first.

The only way to a life of joy and happiness is to build your own path.

The truth is if you want to lead of life of true happiness, joy and passion you must create your own path. You must decide for yourself what you want to achieve and you must decide for yourself what you want to do. Taking advice from parents, friends, teachers and professors is fine — I would say advisable — but in the end, the choice must be yours and yours alone.

I was very lucky growing up. My parents’ attitude was they would provide me with the education I needed and support me in higher education if I wanted support, but after that what I did was my choice. They never pushed their opinions on me and whenever I talked to them about what I wanted to do, they listened, asked questions, but never offered any opinions about what I should do, unless I asked for it. I had the freedom to make my own choices, but with that freedom came responsibility for my own life. Which on its own was a great life lesson. My life, my responsibility.

Your life. Your responsibility.

And that is the way it should be. Your life. Your responsibility. Just one look at the business pioneers in the last twenty years and the two top people; Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both given the freedom to make their own decisions about their future. Of course, they made a few mistakes, took a few risks (dropping out of university might be considered a big risk) but they had the freedom to make their own choices and make their own mistakes and learn from those in a way that meant they had to accept full responsibility for those mistakes. There was no else to blame.

Until you are prepared to accept full responsibility for your own life, you are always going to be following in the footsteps of others. The problem here is what others want you to do might not be in your own best interests. I’ve seen so many people take positions in their companies that were not positions they really wanted to do but were told by their superiors that this position would suit them. Their superior’s motives were usually because that position needed filling and they were the only person available to take the position. Not only is this bad for your future career, it is also allowing others to dictate the direction your life goes in.

Saying “no” is hard but…

I know it is hard to say “no” to other people, but saying no is often in your own best interests. I know, you are risking disappointing other people, but when it comes to the direction your life goes in, that is far more important than you disappointing a few people. Their disappointment may last a couple of days, your “yes”, on the other hand, could cause a lifetime of disappointment and misery for you. When put that way, the decision you have to make is easy.

What are your fifty things?

To help you decide what is important to you, take some time to write out the fifty things you want to do in the next ten years. Make sure they are the things you want to do, and not things other people want you to do. This list is all about you and nobody else. Think about the places you want to visit, the work you want to do, the cars you want to buy and places you want to live. Everything you want to buy, want to visit or want to experience. Get them written down and start making them happen for you. You will find the first fifteen to twenty things are easy to write. After that things become more difficult because you have to go really deep inside yourself to really know what you want. This exercise will be the start of you building the life you want to live.

Your life, your responsibility

If you want to build a life for yourself, a life you can be proud of, a life of achievement and success on your own terms, then you are going to have to take responsibility for your life. Once you make the decision to break free from the voices of the people around you and start making choices about your future for yourself, you lose the opportunity to blame others when things go wrong, but you gain the freedom to build a life worth living on your terms.

If you want to know more about my Ultimate Guide To Goal Planning, you can get more information from the information page here.

 

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below👍. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Never Let Anyone Take You Away From Your Core Daily Disciplines.

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Your core daily disciplines are the things that give you control, flexibility and freedom to live a great life. They are the things that are important to you. It could be your fitness, your self-development or your family values. If health and fitness are important to you, you will exercise regularly and eat healthily.

Your discipline ensures you go out for the run in cold wet weather or despite there being a plate of cookies on the meeting room table you refrain from eating any. If self-development is important, you allocate time every day to learn and develop the skills you want to learn. These are your core disciplines and they are based on the things that are important to you.

Choosing the easy option is the reason you don’t achieve your goals.

The reason so many people fail to achieve the things they want to achieve is that they allow other people to distract them from the things that are important to them. Your friends call you on a Thursday afternoon and invite you out for a few beers. You had planned to go to the gym, but you’ve had a hard day at work so you agree to go for a few beers. It hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym and it’s hard to say no to your friends. So you take the easy option and go for the beer.

On its own, that one night out for a few beers instead of going to the gym is going to do little harm. But the problem is not the one time, the problem is you likely regularly make those kinds of decisions. You regularly take the easy option instead of staying focused on your core values.

Being a disciplined person gains you respect from your peers.

Many years ago I worked with a guy who made it a priority to go to the gym Monday to Friday after work. He was in incredible shape and he ate clean and I mean clean — clean sources of protein and a lot of fruit, veg and nuts. On a weekend, he allowed himself the freedom to eat and drink and do whatever he liked. Interestingly, once you got to know Andy, you knew not to invite him out during the week because he would always say no. Andy got a lot of respect from the people around him. We all wished we could be like him (and look like him!).

The truth is we can all be like Andy. We can gain the respect and admiration of others and we can set an example for those people around us by not giving in to the easy decisions. By staying true to our core values and disciplines.

Don’t give other people the power to determine the course of your life.

When you allow other people to prevent you from doing what is important to you, you are giving other people control of your life.

  • If exercise and maintaining your health is important to you, you will find time every day to exercise and to each healthily. If you allow the agendas of others take your exercise time or to push you to eat unhealthily or drink too much alcohol, then you give those others control over your life.
  • If studying new skills and improving your education is important to you, yet you allow other people to change your schedule so you cannot attend your class or practice your skill, then you are giving other people control over your life.
  • If spending quality time with your family every day is important to you yet you allow your boss to keep you late at the office doing additional work, you are giving up control of your life to your boss.
  • If you are responding to work messages and calls on a weekend instead of playing with your children you are giving up control of your life to your boss, colleagues and customers.

Take responsibility and control of your life.

To take control and to take full responsibility for your life and your time You need to establish boundaries that cannot be broken by the agendas of others except in extreme circumstances. If you don’t do your daily core disciplines because you are not in the mood or you feel lazy, you are giving in to your weaker self. Stop yourself. These are your core disciplines, these are the habits and actions that will transform you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. It’s our negative, undisciplined self trying to maintain an easy life and we must ignore that voice and pursue the goals and dreams we have for the future. You need to develop the strength and discipline to do those daily activities that will move you a step closer each day towards where you want to go.

Once you establish these boundaries, and you do not allow the wishes and agendas of others to cross those boundaries, you will start to receive respect from the people around you. People will look to you as an example to follow, people will want to be like you and people will start asking you how do you do it? Just like we all saw Andy as a shining example of how to live life. You will also start making progress towards achieving all those things you want to achieve in life.

It’s not all discipline and rigidity.

I am not suggesting you say no to everything that comes your way. It is important to have some flexibility in your life. But when pursuing the important things in your life you need to become uncompromising. Sure, if you want to keep Friday nights free so you can hang out with your friends, great, schedule that time. If you want to go out clubbing and drinking on a weekend, wonderful do it. But when Monday comes round, you get back to your focused, disciplined life and become uncompromising again. You go to the gym, you do the class, you spend time with your family and you allow nothing to get in the way of pursuing developing yourself into a better person.

That’s how you go from where you are today to where you want to be in the future.

you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit the like button below👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

If You Want To become more productive do less.

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As I search around the world of productivity I am always struck by how many people take pride in the number of tasks they are completing each day. I see numbers such as twenty, thirty and even as high as fifty tasks completed and announced on Twitter or Facebook as if it was a badge of honour.

If that is the number of tasks you find yourself completing every day then perhaps it is time to take a look at what it is you are actually doing each day.

Unimportant tasks should not be on your daily list.

Whenever I come across someone completing thirty plus tasks per day I know they are unproductive. They are unproductive because they are completing too many unimportant tasks. Often they will have tasks like “take the dog for a walk” or “brush teeth” on their list. Of course, taking your dog for a walk and brushing your teeth are important in their own way, but these kinds of tasks should not be on your to-do list. They dilute the effectiveness of your list and you shouldn’t need to be reminded to do those tasks.

Focus on the tasks that will have the most positive impact on your day.

To have a better to-do list and to become more effective you need to focus on the important things. The things that will take your life forward and move you closer toward achieving your goals. Those are the tasks that should be on your list. Each and every task on your list needs to have a positive impact on your life. Putting unimportant, mundane tasks on your daily list only fools you into thinking you are being productive. You are not. It’s like running on a treadmill, you are going nowhere, but believing you are moving forward because you are building up a sweat.

How the Golden 10 can help.

This is when the Golden 10 really helps. This is the ten minutes at the end of the day where you plan the next day. It is where you can take a look at your list for tomorrow and decide which tasks will have the most positive outcome on your day. Choose two or three tasks that, no matter what, you will complete tomorrow. Don’t add more than three, when you add more than three, you are trying to achieve too much. All you need is two or three. Over a week, that is ten to fifteen tasks you complete that have a significant, positive outcome on your life. For all the other things you have to do, the things that have no positive outcome on your life, you just get done when you can do them.

Throughout the day, I am adding a lot of non-important tasks to my inbox. These are things like “send receipt to student”. I add it to my inbox so I do not forget to send the requested receipt. It’s a two minute Job, but when I am asked for it, I am usually working on something important and do not want to be disturbed. I just dump the task in my inbox. I know I will review my inbox at some point in the day, so it’s off my mind and in my inbox. Those tasks get done in the few minutes I have between doing the important work.

Separate out your mundane routine tasks.

I also have a number of routine admin tasks that need completing each day. None of these tasks is important from my goals or life perspective — they just need doing — for these I keep them in a separate project called “routines”. Separating my routines in this way allows me to hide them from my daily list of tasks so I can focus on the most important things. This is how you become productive on the important things in your life. Separate the mundane, just have to be done routines from the tasks that have an impact on your life.

This simple adjustment to the way you use your to-do list, over a short period of time, will bring you tremendously positive results. You will start making progress on the things that are important to you and you will develop the habit of focusing all your attention on tasks that have a positive outcome on your day.

Productivity is not about how many tasks you complete each day. Productivity is about making progress on the important things in your life — day after day — and eliminating all the distractions and unimportant stuff from your life.

 

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How To Stop Re-Organising Your Work And Just Get The Work Done.

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Last week on my Productivity Mastery Video Series, I talked about why your to-do list is not going to do the work for you and sometimes you just need to get the work done.

This is something I see all the time. People spend so much time reorganising their to-do lists, playing around with the settings and changing colours and view options and not doing the work. Then they complain they are so busy they have no time to do the things they really want to do.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t recommend feature-rich productivity apps. There is always too many things to play with and this playing around is often at the expense of the work that needs doing. These apps, while on the surface appear to give you everything you could want in a productivity app, very quickly become a procrastinator’s heaven, sucking you in on a never-ending quest for the perfect set up and preventing you from getting the work done.

Collect | Organise | Do

My to-do list manager collects all the stuff I need to pay attention to, it is a place to organise all that stuff at the end of the day and it tells me what work needs doing next. That’s it. My ratio of work to organising is in the region of 95% of my time I am doing and 5% I am organising the stuff I collected. I feel there is still a few more percents I can squeeze from the organising side of the ratio. If I could get it to 2% organising I would feel I have a perfect balance. The less time you spend inside your to-do list manager, the more work you get done. That is the mindset you should be adopting.

Output -V- Input

Becoming more productive is not about the tools you use to be more productive. Becoming more productive is about your output. What to-do list managers and other productivity tools do is tell you what needs doing next and the fewer steps it takes to tell you that the better.

Just because your to-do list manager can maintain a dashboard of all your current projects, can automatically assign dates to your tasks and prioritise things for you doesn’t mean you do not have to do the work. No matter how feature rich your to-do list manager is, it is never going to do the work for you. To become more productive, you are going to have to increase your output. Productivity is your output measured against your input. So if you are collecting everything and spending too much time organising what you collected, then your output will suffer and you are not being productive. To be more productive you have to reduce the time it takes to collect and organise your stuff so you can maximise the time you spend doing the work — the output.

Set up for speed.

Make sure the way you collect stuff into your system is as easy as it can be. Set up keyboard shortcuts, learn the fastest way to collect on your mobile devices etc. When it comes to organising, set your system up so moving tasks and commitments into their right placeholders takes as little time as possible so the time available for output (the doing) is maximised. When you place your focus on maximising the doing, you create a system that works for you and a system that takes your productivity into areas you have always dreamed of.

The more time you can find to do the work and the less time you spend organising your work, the more productive you will be. If you can spend ten minutes or so the night before deciding what you will work on the next day and start your day with those tasks, you will find you make a great start on improving your output. Too often when you don’t plan the day before, you spend far too much of your most creative time (the morning) trying to decide what to do. That’s not a good way to become more productive. That’s just wasting valuable creative time.

The ‘perfect tool’ does not exist — everyone is different.

App switching, playing around with settings, colours and layout of the productivity apps you use is not doing the work. It is time wasting. Maintaining a simple system of lists of things to do, a calendar that shows you where you have to be at the right time and a notes app that allows you to find your notes when you need them is all you need. The simpler these apps and systems are the more productive you will be.

Focus more of your attention on your output and less on the tools and you will very quickly see fantastic results in what you get done.


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below👍  It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.