Why You Should Be Scheduling Me Time every day.

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It’s very easy to be dragged kicking and screaming through the day by events outside our control. From bosses demanding more work, partners and family members asking us to do little favours for them and friends on social media asking (indirectly, of course) to like their latest picture of them drinking a cup of coffee. We all fall into this routine and for many, it becomes the sum total of their lives. Living their day to day existence on the demands of other people.

The damage this does in the long-term is incalculable. It’s not that running around after our highly strung and disorganised boss for one day is going to hurt our career prospects or damage our health, but when this is repeated every day it does damage our wellbeing and our own personal development because it stops us from working on our own lives, doing the things we enjoy and spending time with the people we love and care about.

One of my language student’s average attendance rate is one class every six weeks. She’s supposed to have a class every week, but she always has some crisis that needs attending to. It could be her boss has just given her some urgent work to do, or one of her colleagues is upset and needs someone to talk to. I’ve heard all the excuses. From having to go to the bank to not feeling very well. She’s mastered the art of finding excuses.

The thing is, learning English is something she decided to do as a valuable self-development activity. Learning a language might not be urgent or result in an immediate benefit. But it is something you do for yourself. Likewise, if you were learning anything such as a musical instrument or martial art. None of these will result in an immediate benefit. Before you receive any benefit there will be a lot of hard work, consistency and frustration. But the benefit to you by pushing through those difficult times is worth it.

Anchors keep you grounded.

It is important to have a few anchors for your life. Things like having a morning routine dedicated to your own self-care. Having time dedicated to physical exercise each day, quality time to spend with your family and an evening routine again dedicated to your self-care. These are essentials that should be non-negotiable. Your boss, customers, friends and colleagues should not be allowed to take that time away from you and the only way that happens is if you let them.

The skill is learning to protect your time and to say no. Of course it easy for me to write that, much more difficult to do, but then learning to drive a car is difficult if you have never driven a car before. With practice, driving becomes an automatic response. You don’t need to think about starting the engine and driving off after a few weeks of consistent practice and the same goes for learning to say no. At first, it will be very hard — uncomfortable even — and you will feel guilty, but after a little time your default response will change from yes to no and then you will find it easy to protect your time and the activities you have decided are important to your life.

Learn the skill of saying “no”.

And that is the skill — turning your default “yes” into a default “no”. We are programmed from an early age to please people and a part of pleasing people is to say “yes” to their requests. If you want to take control of your day, though, you are going to have to default to “no” and to protect your valuable time. Unlike money and material things where if you lose those you can always get them back, time is something once gone has gone forever.

I protect two-and-a-half hours each day for “me time”. I have forty-five minutes for self-development and fifteen minutes for quiet reflection every morning. I also have thirty minutes dog walking and fifteen minutes for planning each day as well as forty-five minutes for exercise. That’s just two-and-a-half hours out of twenty-four. Of course, in that twenty-four hours, I need to include sleep, washing and eating time, but time focussed on me is just two-and-a-half hours. If I am available for my bosses, colleagues, friends and family outside of those hours each day, then I have nothing to feel guilty about. And that is how I see it. I dedicate two-and-a-half hours to me-time every day and outside that time I am available to anyone else if I can help them.

Those two-and-a-half hours each day keep me grounded and focused on what is important to me. I see them as a vital part of my personal wellbeing and would never consider sacrificing even one minute for anyone else except in an extreme emergency.

Saying “no” is not selfish.

It is not selfish to give yourself some me-time each day — in fact, I would argue it is vital to your own wellbeing — because when you take care of yourself you will always be in a better position to help other people with your energy, knowledge and strength. When your life is a spiral of drama, gloominess and negativity you are not going to be of much help to anyone. When your life is a beacon of energy, light and positivity you will inspire others to lift themselves up and be like you. That is not being selfish, that is giving back to the world at large and one very strong reason why you should be protecting your me-time every single day.

So how much time are you going to give yourself every day? What will you do with that time and how will you protect it from the demands of others? If you haven’t answered those questions yet, perhaps now would be a good time to do so.

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.

This is Why Your To-do List Isn’t Working.

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One of the best pieces of advice you can be given if you want to get yourself better organised and more productive is to write down everything you need to get done on a single list. That simple act of getting everything on your mind out and onto a list will immediately remove a lot of stress and give you a better sense of control.

Our brains are not very good at storing reminders and are terrible at reminding us to do something at the right time. I am sure you have noticed this when you discover you need to buy more coffee while making your morning cup of coffee, only to forget to do so when you come home at the end of the day. Your brain reminds you to buy more coffee when you go to your cupboard the next morning and try to make your morning coffee. Very frustrating and a good example of why you should not be relying on your brain to be your to-do list.

Creating an endless list

Unfortunately, when you do start to write your to-dos down the list can become endless. The initial brain dump can be very stress relieving, but it does raise other issues. The biggest of which is once you have all the things you have to do written down is completing those tasks. Sadly, life does not stop just because you have written everything down. Life continues and your to-do list continues to grow. If you are not completing your to-dos faster than to-dos are coming in your list is going to get longer and longer and that is why so many people give up writing to-do lists. It becomes a never-ending cycle.

This is one of the reasons why David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology has endured so long. It does not focus on one central list, it creates lists for the different areas of your life. A list of tasks for when you are working at your computer, a list for when you are at home and a list for when you are with your partner for example. This methodology reduces the number of tasks on your task list to only those tasks you can complete now because you either have the tool or are in the right place or with the right person to complete the task.

Be very clear about what you want to do.

There is another reason why to-do lists sometimes fail and that is the way you are writing your tasks. If you write “coffee” onto your to-do list, it is not clear what you need to do. If you have a crazy day of meetings and crises, when you see the word “coffee” on your list at the end of the day it can be hard to immediately understand what you need to do about coffee. Likewise if you write “banking” on your to-do list on Friday afternoon with the intention of doing something at the bank on Monday, when Monday comes round and you see the word “banking” on your list, you are going to have to think what you have to do about “banking” and often you will have completely forgotten what that was.

To overcome this, change the way you write your tasks by adding an action verb. For example, instead of writing “coffee”, write “buy more coffee on way home” or instead of writing “banking” write “update bank book at bank”. Keep it simple and keep it clear.

I understand when you collect a task you are often in a hurry and this is why doing a mini-review at the end of the day is important. You may have collected a task into your inbox which says “Jane design approval” so when you do your mini-review you can expand the task to something like “talk to Jane about next month’s article design approval”.

When I sat down at my desk this morning, I saw the task “write first draft of this week’s blog post”. It was clear and left me in no doubt about what I needed to do. Had I just written “blog post”, that could have meant many things. It could have meant I needed to edit a blog post, or read a blog post or find a suitable image for a blog post.

When you write tasks out in a clear, action orientated way, you create lists that give you a much better indication of what you need to do and how long it will take. Writing a first draft of a blog post takes me around ninety minutes. Going to the bank to update a bank book would take around twenty minutes and buying coffee on the way home from work would take five or ten minutes. This means when I look at my to-do list for the day, I not only know instantly what I need to do, I also have a good idea how long my tasks are going to take me.

Taking the time to create a to-do list that is clear will work better for you. No longer will you need to stop and think what you meant when you originally wrote the task, you will know immediately and you will find you will be able to better plan out your day giving you less stress and less overwhelming.



Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please 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.

How To Break Your Negative Patterns Of Behaviour.

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One of the reasons we fail to achieve our goals or new year’s resolutions is we fail to build the right habits to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve. Most of us are very good at coming up with ideas about what we want to achieve, what we want to change and even how we will do it, but when the new year begins we fail to develop the necessary habits to make those plans and ideas become reality. As the saying goes: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”. At the core of this saying lays the cause of so much frustration and many excuses.

So, if it is the patterns and habits we follow every day that prevent us from making the necessary changes needed to achieve our goals then it follows that once we are aware of our habits and daily behaviours, we can make a few simple changes to gain some spectacularly positive results.

A typical example.

If you wake up in the morning at the latest possible time , turn on the news, check your email while rushing to shower and get out the door to catch the bus, spend all day dealing with crises before heading home to eat an unhealthy dinner while sat in front of the TV watching programmes you are only half interested in and repeat that pattern every day, then the outcomes you currently have will continue. They will continue until you break that daily pattern.

To break that pattern, try waking up one hour earlier and doing thirty-minutes exercise and thirty-minutes reading a book while drinking a nice cup of coffee, before unhurriedly stepping into the shower and leaving the house to catch the bus in a relaxed, content state.

You do not have to do this in one big change. If waking up one hour earlier scares you, then begin by waking up thirty minutes earlier. Just make sure that with this extra time in a morning, you have a plan to do something positive that will benefit you and take you a step closer each day towards achieving your goals.

Likewise, when you get home in the evening you could cook yourself a healthy meal before heading outside for a 30-minute brisk walk around the block. You do not have to do anything extreme, just change a few behaviours.

Jim Rohn said “success is a few simple disciplines practised every day. Failure is a few errors in judgement repeated every day” When you really begin to understand that to change anything about yourself and your life all you need do is change a few simple habits and begin practising more positive behaviours each day, positive change can and will happen.

Review your daily behaviours and habits.

To start this change, look at your daily behaviours and habits and identify those that are destroying your health, opportunities and success. Which of your daily habits place a drag on your health and productivity? Which ones leave you feeling stressed and exhausted? These simple questions will lead you to identify what is damaging your chances of achieving your goals and New Year’s resolutions.

Once you have identified the patterns of behaviour that are destroying your chances of success, you can then begin the process of turning them into more positive habits and behaviours.

Don’t change everything at once.

Now the secret here is to not try and change everything all at once. What you are doing is developing new habits and behaviours and you have plenty of time to make the changes you need to make. Trying to do everything all at once will likely lead to failure. It is far better to create a twelve-month plan and divide that into quarters. Then, in the first quarter focus on changing your morning habits. In the second quarter change your evening habits and in the third quarter change whatever else you want to change. Plan for the long-term and take things slowly.

Robin Sharma says “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and so gorgeous at the end.”And it is true. If you have always woken up at 7:30 AM changing that to waking up at 6:30 AM is going to be hard at first. Your body clock is used to waking up at a particular time and is going to fight you. But you need to stay focused on the task. When your alarm clock goes off at 6:30 AM, and it is freezing cold and every bone in your body is screaming at you to stay in your warm, cosy bed, you have to fight to win the battle and you are going to have to do that every day for a few weeks. That could be for as long as ten weeks. (It takes around sixty-six days to install a new habit) Prepare yourself for the fight. Visualise yourself waking up early and make sure you know exactly what you are going to with your new found time.

You can change — anyone can.

Whatever it is you want to change, you can do it. Change can be difficult — it can at times appear impossible — but by focusing on your daily patterns of behaviour and taking things slow and not trying to do too much at once, you will soon start to see and feel the benefits. Positive change in life not only improves the quality of your life, it also enhances your feelings of happiness, accomplishment, and fulfilment as well as improving your self-discipline and natural energy levels. There are so many reasons for you to begin making positive changes in your life, the only question left is: when are you going to start?


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.

The Secret To Greater Productivity Is To Focus On Less.

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When I was a little boy, my mother used to tell me my eyes were bigger than my stomach. This was because I always wanted more food than I was capable of eating in one sitting. And just like your eyes being bigger than your stomach, your thinking about how much you can do each day is bigger than you can actually do.

Over-enthusiasm causes problems later.

Often, when we start to get ourselves organised we create a long list of to-dos and immediately feel better having got everything written down. Then we begin to tackle those tasks and every time we look at the list our hearts sink and a feeling of overwhelm descends. From there it’s just a short walk to procrastination hell.

For those who have followed to principles of David Allen’s Getting Things Done, the idea is to break everything down into bite-sized chunks organised by context so things don’t feel overwhelming, unfortunately, long lists of to-dos do just that, they create a sense of overwhelm. Just going to see a film at the cinema could create a list of ten to fifteen things. In reality, all you need is “Find out when Wendy can go to see Bohemian Rhapsody” and “book tickets to see Bohemian Rhapsody”. Two tasks. I would not even create a project for that. I would just add them to my family area of focus holder.

And that’s it really. Occasionally in our over-excitement to create to-dos and projects we fill our to-do list managers with a lot of unnecessary tasks and projects.

Look for the shortest route to completion.

What you should be asking yourself is: “how do I get from where I am now to where I want to be in the shortest distance and time?” In our going to the cinema example that would be simply two tasks — not several tasks such as “check calendar for free evenings”, “find out the bus timetable” and “decide what seats to book”. When you break things down into such finite detail you end up with an overwhelmingly long list and rather than make you more productive, it is much more likely to turn you into a habitual procrastinator.

If you want to become more productive, then shorten your lists. Focus more on what you want to achieve and less on the individual tasks.

Imagine you have a report to complete. Many people will create tasks such as:

  • talk to Fiona about 2018 sales

  • discuss with Terry any issues related to customer support.

  • finalise the design with Annie

  • ask Sarah about who to send the report to.

  • collect images for the report

  • write report

  • email report to recipients

Focus on the one task that will accomplish the most.

Now that’s all good and clear, but there’s a lot of tasks there that do not really need to be on your list at the start. The most important task there is “write the report” that’s the goal with this project. All the other tasks may need doing, but they are far less important than the writing of the report.

So a more effective list would be:

  • write the outline of the report

  • write report

  • finalise the report for distribution.

That gets the report written, and if you do need to insert images, get more information about sales and adjust the design you can do all that once the report is written. What you really need to do is get the report written. Images, design, customer support issues and sales data can be added once the bulk of the report has been written.

Creating lists in this way, reduces overwhelm and gets the biggest, and often the most difficult, part of the project done. Adjustments and tidying up can be done later.

This is how I manage all my projects including writing books. A book project, for instance, has around two tasks for the majority of the time:

  • write outline

  • continue writing book

Once I begin the editing, then other tasks will get added. Until the book is written, illustrations, charts and images can wait. It is only when the first draft of the book is written will I know exactly what illustrations and images I want to include in the book. So there is no point in having all those tasks at the beginning. The important thing is the first draft is written, without that everything else is pointless.

Structuring my projects in this way focuses me on the task that matters ( in this case writing the book) and keeps the less important tasks at bay. When the editing of the book begins, I will be adding many more tasks, but I am not dating those tasks. All I have is a task that says “continue editing book” and I will begin by opening up my list of things I want to add/subtract and just get on and edit.

To-do lists are great, and modern technology has embraced the humble to-do list and made collecting and organising tasks very easy. But just because it is easy, does not mean you have to go crazy and add more and more tasks to your list. You need to get creative and reduce your lists to keep them motivating, yet at the same time, they trigger what needs to happen next. The goal is to keep moving forward and making progress. A long list of tasks is only going to mean you have more choices to make, and that will inevitably cause you to delay starting doing what really matters to get the project completed.

Becoming more productive is nothing more than becoming more effective with your time. When you plan one or two things you must get done the next day and you start the day working on one of those tasks, you are going to have more days where you get important things done and feel satisfied with what you have accomplished at the end of the day. When you have a lot of those days adding up, you are going to find you start accomplishing a lot more with your available time.


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


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 Procrastinating Once And For All.

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Many of you, I am sure, have big dreams. Things you want to accomplish in your life, goals to achieve and a lifestyle you want to create. Yet, despite having these dreams and aspirations, you never seem to be able to get round to doing anything about making them happen.

One of the biggest reasons for this is procrastination. We think about what we want, begin to give some thought about how we will achieve it and then get pulled away by another blog post on motivation or productivity or a video by Mel Robbins or Robin Sharma. It becomes a never-ending cycle. We sit down with the intention of finally doing something about what we want and get dragged off in directions we had not intended to go.

So how do you overcome this?

Be specific

Nine times out of ten the reason you never actually start doing what you need to do is that you have not clearly defined what it is you actually want. You may have a vague idea — to build a solid financial foundation for your future, for example — but it is only a vague idea and every time you sit down to develop a plan you begin to feel overwhelmed, so a Ray Dalio video on investing seems close enough to make you feel like you are doing g something.

To avoid this kind of procrastination you need to get very specific. What do you define as being financially secure? How much money do you need? What investments will you need to make? How will you grow your investments? Unless you answer these specific questions, you will always struggle to get started. The task will always feel too big. The solution is the break things down into bite-sized chunks so you can begin moving forward and building momentum.

Be intentional.

Whatever it is you want to achieve unless you are intentional about doing what you need to do to make it happen it will never happen. Knowing you need to start exercising is very different from intentionally starting to exercise. As Tony Robbins says, you need to “turn your shoulds into musts” “I should start exercising” is never going to happen. “I must start exercising” has a much greater chance of becoming reality.

To do this use your calendar. Whatever it is you want to change or begin doing, schedule time on your calendar to do it. Often to make something happen consistently, you need to have a regular time to do the activity. If that is exercise, get it on your calendar. If you want to master a new language, get your study time on your calendar. If you want to save more money, get putting money into your savings account on your calendar.

Whatever it is you want to do, be intentional. Set a day and a time when you will do what needs to be done and stick to it. You don’t accidentally roll out of bed at 5 AM in the morning and go out for a run. You go out running when you intend to wake up early and go out running.

Be consistent

Consistency is the key component of any person’s success. Without consistency, nothing will change. Saving $100 in January and then not saving anything else until July is not going to give you the results you want. Likewise, if your goal is to wake up early and you only get up early once a week, you are not achieving anything.

When you consistently schedule your activity on your calendar, when the time comes to do whatever you need to do arrives, you don’t need to think about what to do next, you will know exactly what you need to do and you will do it. I set my exercise time at 2 PM every Sunday to Thursday. I know exactly what I need to be doing at 2 PM on those days. It’s on my calendar and I know exactly what I want to do. There is no procrastination, no matter how tired I am or how cold or wet it is outside. If my calendar says I am going running at 2 PM today, that is exactly what I will do.

Be Aware.

Being aware of what you do when you procrastinate helps you to stop yourself from doing it. If you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through Instagram frequently, don’t let yourself go near Instagram until you have completed the task you want to complete. In extreme cases delete the app from your phone. Although this is not necessary if you cannot resist the urge, delete it. Alternatively, hide it on a screen you rarely go to so the temptation is not there.

Knowing what your procrastination habits are goes a long way to helping you avoid situations where you procrastinate. In the past, I have found following the political machinations in the UK one of my bad procrastinating habits. I ended up deleting all news feeds that contained UK political news and now only allow a limited amount through into my RSS reader, Reeder. That way, I am not distracted whenever I am doing research for courses or articles, but I still get to know about the antics of the politicians in Parliament when I catch up on the news later in the day.

Be disciplined.

Discipline, along with consistency, are two of the most powerful traits of highly successful people. Without discipline, you will never get yourself out exercising or sit down to study applied economics. You need discipline and the good news about discipline is it is like a muscle. The more you exercise it the stronger it becomes.

To develop your discipline all you need to do is start small. Begin by limiting your social media time to lunchtimes and evenings for thirty minutes, for example. Learn how to say “no” to yourself. When you find yourself procrastinating, say “no” to yourself and stop doing whatever it is you were procrastinating with. Go for a short walk, or get up off the sofa and do the dishes. Do something other than what it was you were procrastinating with.

Over time you will find yourself being stronger mentally and that will set you up to be much better at preventing yourself from procrastinating.

Procrastination is not all bad. There are times when your brain needs a distraction to be creative. Procrastination is bad when it is stopping you from doing your important work or is not allowing you to get on with achieving your goals. When that happens you need to take steps to stop yourself. Be specific about what you want to achieve, be intentional with your time consistently and be aware of your procrastination triggers These habits will allow you to develop the necessary discipline to be more focused on what you want and will take you further towards achieving the success you are capable of.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like 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 I Use My Apple Watch To Maximise My Productivity.

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One of the surprising things in my life is my Apple Watch has been the biggest influence on my personal productivity since I first got an Apple Watch in 2015. Surprising because what I first saw as a device to monitor my exercise very quickly became the centrepiece of my productivity collection process.

The integration of Siri with the Apple Watch a couple of years ago was the catalyst for the productivity gain. If I need to collect an idea or a task or just add an item to my shopping list, all I have to do is raise my wrist and add the task or item to my list. It could not be any simpler. No typing, no opening of apps, just raise and speak.

Whenever I am coaching people, I always stress the importance of making sure collecting your ideas, tasks and events has the least amount of resistance. Whether you are using a pen and piece of paper or your phone, you should be optimising your collecting process so it is fast and easy. When your collection process is fast and easy you are much more likely to collect everything and not ‘trust’ your brain to remember it. For me, the Apple Watch has made the collection process so much easier.

It is true I now collect a lot of things I later decide has no importance to me, but if you want a productivity system to really work for you, collecting everything is what matters. Later, when you do your processing you can decide, in a cool, reflective way, whether it is relevant to you or not. Deleting a task or idea is simple and only takes a split second. Not collecting that task or idea could cost you a lot of time and money later. So, an increased volume in my inbox is not something I worry about.

So, how do I use my Apple Watch to improve my overall productivity?

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Watch face.

On my watch face, I use a customised Infograph. At the top I have today’s weather by temperature — a useful piece of information in South Korea as the temperature can vary quite significantly — and my exercise app so when I begin my exercise the Workout app is easily accessed.

In the centre of the face, I have the calendar complication at the top. This gives me today’s date by number as well as my next appointment. This feature is fantastic as it means with just a glance I know exactly what I should be doing next and when. I have my deep work sessions on my calendar with a clear description of what I want to work on during that session so with a glance at my watch I can see exactly what I will be working on next.

Also, in the middle of the face, I have the times in LA and London. I work with clients in Europe and the US, so knowing what time it is in those times zones is a very useful piece of information to have at hand. I also have my activity tracker in the centre to let me know how I am doing on my activity metrics for the day — this helps me decide whether to get off the bus a few stops earlier to ensure I close all my activity rings for the day.

Finally, at the bottom of the face, I have the timer and Drafts Apple Watch app. I use the timer for when I am meditating and cooking. I like to do a fifteen-minute session of meditation in the morning after I have finished my studying and the timer means I do not need to looking at my watch to see how long I have been doing. Instead, I get a vibration from the watch to tell me fifteens minutes are up.

Drafts Apple Watch App.

Drafts is the hub of my collection process. I use Drafts to collect everything I want to collect. Even on my phone, I prefer opening up Drafts, typing or dictating whatever it is I want to collect and sending it off to its rightful place. On my watch its one tap and dictate. It’s incredibly fast and it maintains a discreet number on the watch face to tell me what is in my Drafts inbox. That helps me to know if there is anything in there that needs processing.

Optimisation.

Optimising the way you collect your stuff is how you continue to grow and develop your productivity system. Often it is the small adjustments to how you collect or how you organise your stuff that can bring you big improvements to your system. If you have a complicated array of systems to collect your stuff, you will resist collecting. If you are not collecting into a trusted place, you will resist organising and if you don’t know where anything is you will not be working on the work that matters.

Using the best tools you have available to collect and organise your life and work and making sure these tools are set up so they work best for you is one of the fastest ways you can improve your overall productivity system. If you have a few quiet days this month, take a look at your system and see where you can make some small improvements. Look at how you collect your tasks, events and ideas. Can you make that collection faster? How are you organising what you collected at the end of the day? Can you improve your Golden Ten time? After all, the goal with any productivity system is being able to spend more time doing so you can spend more time doing the things you love doing with the people you love doing them with.



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.

Why You Should Build Your Productivity Around Your System, Not Your App.

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Getting Things Done by David Allen is one of the best books around for developing a productivity system. It provides a framework in which you can develop a tailor-made system. Unfortunately, as with all books that become a bible in an industry it gets interpreted in many competing ways.

We have the capture everything and spend an inordinate amount of time classifying and adding contexts to what you captured. Then we have the capture anything related to a project and add the task to the appropriate project and then we have the purists who add a context to everything and use contextual lists as their daily to-do list.

A lesson well learned

I’ve been a GTD aficionado for coming up to ten years now and I admit I have travelled through all interpretations. In the last few years though, I learnt when I spend time in my to-do list organising my projects and contexts, I am not doing work. I used to have the most wonderfully organised To-do list manager. Every task was meticulously labelled and each task was assigned to a project. It was an obsession with me. But around three years ago I realised spending two hours or so in my to-do list manager every day organising and reorganising wasn’t actually getting any work done. I felt I was doing work, but I was not. I got myself stuck in organising and planning mode and I never got a lot done each day.

And that is the problem when you spend so much time in your to-do list manager, or any productivity app organising and reorganising, you fall into the trap of believing you are being productive when you are not being productive at all. You are just being organising.

The difference between being organised and being productive.

Being organised and being productive are two very different things. Knowing where everything is is being organised, getting the important work done as efficiently and effectively as possible is being productive.

Now, being organised is a good thing. It can save you a lot of time because you are not wasting time looking for what you need to do your work. But just knowing where everything is does not make you productive. Having a to-do list manager that is meticulously organised with dates, labels, links and projects is good. But it does not necessarily mean any work is getting done. If no work is getting done then there is no productivity.

What you really need is a system that works for you.

What you need instead is a to-do list that contains your important tasks and shows them when you need them. A quick glance in the evening before you go to bed should show you what needs to be done the next day, and when the next day begins you get straight on doing the work that matters. A to-do list manager should filter out the unimportant tasks so what you see are the important tasks. When you create a to-do list that does that, you dramatically increase your productivity.

No app will do that for you, only the system you build will do that. It does not matter whether you are using Todoist, Things 3, OmniFocus, Trello or Notion, the app is only as good as the system you have in place. If the system you create involves a lot of maintenance, you are not going to be productive. You need to create a system that collects everything quickly and easily, where organising what you collect can be done in twenty minutes or less at the end of the day and the rest of the time it stays in the background only showing up when you have done your one or two most important tasks for the day.

What really matters.

What matters is you are doing work that takes you forward every day. To do that you need to be able to see what tasks will have the biggest impact on your important projects and goals. When you fill your to-do list manager with unimportant tasks they quickly drown out the tasks that would move you closer towards completing the project or achieving the goal and gives you a false sense of being productive when in reality you are just running round in circles. When you couple that with spending too much time maintaining your system, you are simply not getting enough done against the amount of time it takes to organise everything. The ratio you should be aiming for is 90% doing and 10% organising. That equates to 7 hours 40 minutes of doing work and 20 minutes organising in any given 8 hour working day.

This is why apps that have a large feature set fail in the long-run. While the developers are doing their best, feature-creep is a real problem for people who want to be more productive. More features mean more things to adjust and play around with. That requires time, time that would be better spent on doing work.

If you want to become more productive, so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy doing, focus on your system and not the app. Streamline your system so it is focused on collecting and doing and make the organising as simple and as easy as possible. Aim for a 90% doing and 10% organising ratio and when you get there, you know your system is well on it’s way to working for you.

If you have the right system in place, a system that works for you, it will not matter what app you use. Your system will just work and that should be what you are aiming to build. Build your productivity around your system, not your app.


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.

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.

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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 Hustle Porn Is Not As Dangerous As The Naysayers Tell You.

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There is a whole category of blog and social media posts blasting the rise of what has become known as “hustle porn”. Hustle Porn is those motivational posts and videos that show people working out, waking up very early and doing work and not ending their day until they are exhausted.

The reality in life is if you want to achieve greatness — and there’s nothing wrong in that — you are going to have to do the work. You are going to have to be better than everyone else and you are going to have to work long hours. There are no shortcuts and no magic formula that allows you to stay in bed until lunchtime on weekends. You have to be focused and you have to do the work.

Now, not everyone wants to do that and that is perfectly fine. We live in a wonderful world that allows us to live our lives the way we want to. To criticise a genre of books, videos and blog posts because they tell us what it takes to become successful is really missing the point. These videos, books and blog posts tell it as it is. To imply that you don’t have to work hard to build a successful business or to become a better person is just plain wrong.

I’ve met dozens of people who pay $100 a week to go to the latest new fitness classes that promise you will get fit and lose weight and all you have to do for an hour a week is stretch out your legs and arms with a group of other like-minded people and you will lose those ten pounds you’ve been wanting to lose for the last three years in no time at all. Sorry, it won’t happen. To lose those pounds requires you to push yourself, get out of breath and sweat. Laying on the floor stretching your arms and legs in a hot room will not do that for you.

If you want to lose weight, build a successful business or become an Olympic champion you have to do the work. There are no shortcuts. The work involves a lot of hours. It’s the hours you put in and the consistency of the work you do that will get you there. Nothing else will.

However, where criticism of hustle porn is correct is where you are told you have to work eighteen hours a day seven days a week. working eighteen hours a day seven days a week and trying to survive on three or four hours sleep is not sustainable. Sure you have to do the work, but you also need the rest. As with all advice (and motivational content particularly), you do need to take it with a pinch of salt. When you begin to feel tired mentally or physically stop and rest. Go for a walk, take a nap or just turn on the TV and watch something. Being aware of your physical and mental state and acting accordingly is important if you want to maintain your physical and mental health. You do not have to do it all in one day, one week or one month. Success takes time, it takes patience, a lot of action and plenty of time. Mix those four ingredients into the mix and you have a sustainable pathway.

We live in a fast-changing world. A world where it is predicted 80% or more of the jobs available today will disappear within the next 20 years. Schools and universities do not prepare us for the future, they are teaching nineteenth-century principles in a twenty-first-century world. The best way to learn about what is required to survive this future is from the people who are thriving in today’s world — many of who did not have a great formal education — the people who are doing the work that matters to build a career and a life for themselves that so many people admire. Is that wrong?

I believe it is far more dangerous to not do the work. To sit around and live a sedentary lifestyle, that involves going out with friends for a few drinks complaining about your boss or how much work you have to do and sitting at home scrolling through the thousands of lifestyle images on Instagram or Facebook. Dreaming and doing nothing. That is what leads to depression, misery and stress. getting up early and doing the work to build a life and a career of success that gives you purpose and with purpose comes fulfilment.

Is there a happy medium? Of course, there is. Doing the work, being strict about resting, getting enough sleep and taking care of your health should always be at the top of your to-do list. Spending hours on social media, complaining to your friends about how hard your life is and binge-watching episodes of your favourite drama is not going to get you very far in life. You will end up miserable and depressed. Finding your purpose, having a goal, wanting to better yourself, these are the building blocks to a fulfilled, happy life. When you find your purpose and a clear set of goals, that’s where you will find your happiness and if you need a little motivation from a video of “The Rock”, Gary Vaynerchuk or Will Smith then great! If it motivates you, watch it.

As with all things in life, too much of something is not necessarily good for you. If you are spending hours every day watching and reading hustle porn, then it’s going to be counterproductive. You are watching videos instead of doing the work. If you spend too much time thinking about doing something you are not taking any action. Results come from your actions, not your thoughts.

The best advice I could give you is choose your own life’s course, work hard, rest well and don’t listen to the naysayers who tell you-you are wrong to wake up early and work long hours, because that’s where life’s true value is.


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please 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.

Where’s Your Anchor?

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Having a place you can go when all around you is in chaos.

Many years ago, whenever I went on holiday I always felt safe and secure once I was booked into the hotel or, if I was camping, had erected my tent. This was my anchor, everything I did while on holiday, or a business trip, was centred around that anchor. It was my temporary home. A place I could always come back to, regroup and plan what I would do the next day.

I’ve used This ‘anchor’ idea in my productivity system for many years. Rather than being a physical place though, my productivity anchor has always been either my journal or my Franklin Planner, when I used a Franklin Planner. It is a place where I have a list of all my plans, goals and dreams and in times of overwhelm, stress and drama, I can go there and it brings me calm and refocus.

Other people’s demands will drag you away from what’s important.

It is very easy to get waylaid by the stresses and dramas of the day. Other people’s emergencies, demanding bosses, upset customers and angry partners. These things can very easily distract us from our goals and purpose. We may start the day with the best of intentions, but one hour in our workplace on a Monday morning can destroy our intentions for the day and we find ourselves dealing with other people’s agendas and we lose track of our own goals and objectives for the day. When the day ends, we look back at the day and wonder where all the time went and why we did not do anything we wanted to get done.

This is why having a place, either a digital place or a paper-based notebook, is a vital tool in your productivity toolkit. It is a place you can always come back to and review your intentions, your goals, your plans and refocus you on what is important to you. It is the reason why all the best advice about planning, goal setting and productivity always say “write it down”.

Our brains are attracted to distractions.

Our brains are very easily distracted. Anything unusual, loud or new will get our attention and our brain will then try and make sense of it. That is how our brains are wired. It goes back millions of years and it is a defence mechanism our brains developed back when we were on the lunch menu for animals that had a taste for human meat.

Today, we live in very different times, of course. We are no longer on the menu of roaming wild animals. Instead, we are now on the menu of people who want us to take responsibility for their problems. While that may be a good and noble thing to do, it also means we lose focus on our goals and intentions and this means we spend all our time serving the interests of others at the expense of our own interests and that is not a very good place to be.

Having an anchor gives you a place to refocus.

The way to avoid this and take control of our lives is to have in place an anchor. A place where your goals and aspirations are written down so you can read through them and remind yourself of what you want. What your goals are and where you want to go in your life.

Although I am very much in the digital space — my to-do list manager and notes app are all digital — I still use a paper-based anchor. My journal acts as my anchor and it is where I write down my goals, my life’s purpose and my daily objectives. Throughout the day, whenever I am doing work at my desk, my journal is there next to me, reminding me of my objectives for the day. It’s where I keep track of the work I have done for the day and allows me to see what I am working on. If I find my list of things done is filling up with other people’s problems, I know it is time to take a few minutes to read through my own objectives for the day to make sure I am addressing them, and not spending all my time dealing with other people’s crises.

Work on yourself you can help the people who matter to you.

It is important to be there to help your friends, family and colleagues, but you also need to be working on yourself. It is you who is more important, and while that may sound selfish, it is not. Remember the last time you took a flight somewhere? When the flight attendant did the safety instructions, whose oxygen mask did they tell you to put on first? Your’s or your young child’s? Your’s. And the reason for that is if you do not take care of yourself first you will not be in a position to help others. And that lesson is true in life too. For you to be in a position to help others you need to make sure your life is in order. If you neglect your life and your goals and spend all your time working on other people’s problems, in time you will become a burden to other people and those other people are usually the people you most care about.

No matter how you do this, having a place where you have your own goals, plans and life outcomes written down will bring you incredible peace of mind. It will allow you to refocus your energies on what is important to you so you are in a position of strength to help those people you most care about. It brings clarity, purpose and it is a way to check you are making progress in the right direction. And more importantly, it becomes a joy to do.

The world we live in is a very distracting place. The demands for our attention not only come from people we interact with, but we are also inundated with adverts, notifications and ‘breaking news’. Having an anchor in place that brings you back to what you want, a place no matter how chaotic life around you brings you peace and focus is a great way to stay on track, and maintain your momentum towards achieving all the things you want to achieve in your life.

Start planning 2019 now!

If you don’t know what you want or are struggling to set goals and plans, then take a look at my Ultimate Goal Planning course. It is a course designed to take you on a journey of discovery and will help you to establish what you want to achieve and show you how to turn those into achievable goals on a realistic timeline. Now is a perfect time to take this course with 2019 just around the corner and at just $59.99 is a fantastic investment in your amazing future. More details can be found 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.

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 Takes To Achieve Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Success.

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As many you already know, one of my interests is to research successful people and reverse-engineer how they became successful. I believe we are all born equal. No one person is born with super-human powers that help them to become more successful than everyone else. What determines success is life experiences and mindset and over the last couple of weeks or so I have been researching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson discovering how a former Pro-wrestler became Hollywood’s highest-earning actor ever! After reading articles about Johnson’s work ethic and total commitment to his work it became very clear how he did it.

Have an insane work ethic.

As with all forms of success, whether that be in acting or sport, you find the people at the top have an insane focus on becoming the best. They out work, out train and out learn their ‘rivals’. They are incredibly competitive, while being competitive may be unfashionable, their total focus is on being number one.

Dwayne Johnson’s rivals may wake up at 6 am and practice their lines. Dwayne Johnson wakes up at 4:00 am and exercises. Rivals may feel working a twelve hour day is more than enough, Dwayne Johnson does seventeen hours and still feels there’s more to be done.

And that’s the thing, Life is competitive — it always has been — look at any large, successful company structure. There’s normally only one CEO, yet there will be thousands of entry-level positions. It’s relatively easy to enter a company, it’s much harder to become the CEO of the company. To become the CEO you need experience, skills and a unique ability, a differentiator. It’s that unique ability — the differentiator — that gives you the advantage. It could be you are a brilliant negotiator or have the ability to build incredibly talented teams. What that unique ability is, is less important than the fact you have that ability.

Focus on your strengths.

Dwayne Johnson may not be a classically trained actor, but he does have immense screen presence. His physicality jumps out at you and his booming voice is not only endearing it is also incredibly charismatic. You can bet he works on those parts of his skills relentlessly.

It is your strengths that will give you the advantage, not your weaknesses. Don’t ignore your weaknesses but focus more on your strengths because your strengths will be what gives you the advantage.

When I was a competitive 1,500 metres runner I knew my strength was my sprint finish. I knew as long as I stayed on the shoulder of the runner leading the pack when it came to the last 200 metres I was in with a good chance of winning the race. This meant I needed to make sure my speed endurance was strong enough to put me in a position where I could allow my strengths to go to work. So I trained for speed endurance doing sets of 400 and 600 metres with very short rest between runs until I could run no more. I was strengthening my strengths. Sundays, though, were always long ten to twelve mile runs — stamina was still an important part of the overall training programme, even though that wasn’t my strength I still needed the ability to stay on the shoulders of the leading runners if I wanted to win.

Be obsessed with the details.

When you look through Dwayne Johnson’s social media feeds, it is clear he is most comfortable wearing sportswear. Yet, as a leading actor, he is required to attend premieres of his films and do media events. You can’t exactly turn up in your training gear for an event like that. What does Johnson do? He hires one of the top stylists to dress him for those events. Whenever you see Dwayne Johnson at a premiere, he looks fantastic! Dressed entirely appropriate for the occasion. It’s that attention to the details that put Johnson at the top of his field. He understands what it takes to get to the top.

You see the same with Tony Robbins. When Tony Robbins is on a business TV channel, he’s wearing a suit and tie. When he’s performing in front of 15,000 people at an Unleash The Power Within event, it’s dark blue jeans and a dark blue shirt. Your image and the details of the work you create matter.

Whatever it is you want to achieve, striving to be the best at what you do is a sure fire way to achieve it. Never settle for average when with a bit of effort you can become the leader. You can be the one people look up to as the leader and you can be the one to set the example for people to follow. Total commitment, total dedication and total focus. That is how you become a leader, that is how you achieve success. There are no shortcuts, you create your own luck by doing the work, reading the books, lifting the weights and practising your craft day in day out.

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If you want to learn more about achieving success and becoming the leader in your chosen field then take a look at my Ultimate Goal Planning course. It’s a complete system that will help you to discover what you want to achieve and shows you how to create a plan to go out and achieve it.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit 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.