[YDL 2.0 EXCERPT 5] You Need To Do Something To Make It Happen

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Here is another excerpt from my forthcoming book, Your Digital Life 2.0. This excerpt comes from the Goals section of the book and talks about the necessity of action.

Your Digitial Life will launch on Monday 11 December on Amazon, iBookstore and directly from my website. For more information click here  

Without action nothing happens. So many people say they want to achieve something, yet they never do anything to make it happen. It always astounds me that so many people use the phrase “I want…” yet just sit there and do nothing to make that want happen. I strongly believe that all human beings have the ability to achieve almost anything they want, if they would just get up off the sofa and take some action. Do something, anything. To make something happen, you need to do something. To make a cup of tea, requires you to put the kettle on, put a tea bag in a cup and pour the hot water over the tea bag once the kettle has boiled. That is action. Your cup of tea is not going to make itself. Even if you do not make the tea yourself, you still need to ask someone to make it for you. That is action.

One of the biggest causes of inaction are the words “when Christmas is over I am going to…” or “after the New Year I will…” or “when my kids have gone back to school I will start…” These are excuses to not do something. There is never a right time and there will never be a situation when the conditions, time, weather or whatever it is that you are using as an excuse to not do something will be perfect. Once you have decided you want to do something, then that is the time to start doing it. If nothing else, you can start by capturing your thoughts into your note taking application and begin the process of planning out how you are going to achieve it and why you want to achieve it.

This book did not write itself. Each day I scheduled time to write at least 500 words. Some days it was easy, other days it was very hard. But I knew that unless I took action and typed at least 500 words each day this book would never get published. And that really is the point about taking action, it does not have to be one huge effort, done right, taking action on anything whether it is a goal, a project or writing a book, it is small, manageable action steps that take you closer and closer towards whatever it is you are wanting to achieve.

Take some time to have a think about all the things you are making excuses for not doing. Things like, cleaning out your wardrobe, looking in to enrolling in a further education programme or even buying your first home. Whatever it is you want to do, write them down and then write out the reasons why you have not started. When you have completed this exercise, take a look at those excuses. What you will find is that they really are not stopping you from starting. Quite often the reason you have not started is because you really do not want to do it, or the motivation for doing it is not in line with your real values. This is where your note-taking application can be of real value because it will show you exactly what you truly want to do, and what you do not want to do. If you do not want to do it, then remove it or put it into your someday | maybe folder to review at a later date.

Remember, action is what makes things happen. Excuses never do.

[YDL 2.0 EXCERPT 4] 'You Don't Manage Time, You Manage Yourself'

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Here's another excerpt from my forthcoming book, Your Digital Life 2.0. 

You can find out more by clicking here. 

Your Digitial Life will be available from Monday 11 December on Amazon, iBooks and directly from my website. 

You don’t manage time, you manage yourself.

You will no doubt have noticed some people have amazing ability to achieve a lot each day, they seem to meet their deadlines and still have a full social life. How do they do that? Why can’t you do that?

When I researched this I discovered something really special. The most productive people I’ve learned about—Sir Richard Branson, Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming and Margaret Thatcher to name but a few—always had a set structure to their day. They woke up and went to bed at the same time every day and stuck to a rigid routine they rarely, if ever, altered. Even on holiday Margaret Thatcher stuck to her normal routine of waking up at 7 AM and going to bed around 2AM (she famously survived on four hours of sleep every day—not something I would recommend) Winston Churchill always took a nap between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM everyday so he could work late into the night. And Ian Fleming would close all the windows and doors of his study in his Jamaican home, Goldeneye, every day between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM and he would write undisturbed. These habits were rigidly stuck to and everyone around them knew they could not be changed or disturbed.

Routine and structure seem to be the golden thread running through amazingly productive people’s lives. If you have no structure, no discipline and no routine, somebody else will dictate what happens to you and this is very rarely a good thing—trust me on that one. You are the captain of your own ship and if you are not in control, the winds and seas of this world will take you far away from where you want to be. Understanding that you cannot borrow time from today to add to tomorrow is the best starting point to establishing a daily routine. Knowing that all you have is 24 hours to work with, all you need decide now is how you will make use of those precious 24 hours.

[YDL2.0 EXCERPT 2] Learning From NASA's Mission Control

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One of the most productive and effective places on earth is in Houston, Texas. NASA's Mission Control utilised the latest technology to not only put a man on the moon in 1968 but were so well practised and dedicated to their cause they were able to bring back the astronauts of the fated Apollo 13 mission safely. 

Here's an excerpt from my forthcoming book explaining how they could do that. 

For more information on Your Digital Life 2.0, you can visit the page


"One of my favourite films of all time is the film, Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks. The film is the story of the Apollo 13 moon landing mission in April 1970. The problems for Apollo 13 began about twelve hours into the mission when a simple procedure caused an explosion in the engine bay of the spaceship, which started a sequence of events that kept the whole world on tender hooks for four days. The question was, would the crew of Apollo 13 survive and make it back to earth safely?
What most people did not know at the time was the amount of planning and preparation the engineers at Mission Control Center in Houston did before every mission. It took months of testing scenarios, contingency planning and then more testing and simulating before a mission launched. The engineers and flight directors tested every conceivable scenario so they were prepared if anything went wrong. Nothing was overlooked. Unfortunately, one of the very few inconceivable events happened and Mission Control went into full crisis management mode. 
The most inspiring part of the whole Apollo 13 mission was the way Mission Control managed the problem. Once they had the spaceship stabilised and the crew safe, they went about planning the next steps. While the film does not show the timeline very well—it makes it look like all this happened over a few hours, in fact, the rescue mission took four days.—Each step was meticulously planned and tested in the flight simulators. Each problem and potential problem was evaluated and steps were planned to manage or mitigate those problems and a full re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere plan and a checklist was developed and tested before being given to the crew around fourteen hours before the re-entry phase began so they had time to check it themselves. 
The crew of Apollo 13 re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and returned to earth safely. The rescue mission and that is exactly what it was, was executed perfectly and it was all because the team and crew had trained for any eventuality and had plans in place to avert any disaster. 
In many ways, the productive person is like Mission Control Center. They have every potential problem covered. If anything goes wrong with any part of their work or day, they have a plan to quickly and efficiently overcome the problem. They have every possible permutation of scenarios covered, leaving them confident in whatever they do and free of stress and worry."

[YDL2.0 EXCERPT] Don't Let Complexity Creep Destroy Your System

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Complexity creep is the evil force that has one goal: to destroy your productivity system. Here's an excerpt from my upcoming book, Your Digitial Life 2.0.

Your Digitial Life is out Monday 11th December 2017. Find out more right here

"The biggest risk to your system is ‘complexity creep’. This book has outlined a way to build a basic system. A framework if you like for you to build on and customise to fit your way of working and thinking. With that responsibility, though, comes the need for constraint. With this responsibility, comes the serious risk you will start adding things to your system in the belief it will make it better. The chances are it will not. Anything that may make your system better needs to be focused on one single area; how fast will it allow me to add a task, an event or a note? It’s really about speed.
If you maintain a strict rule to keep a hard edge between your to-do list manager, your calendar and your note-taking application you are certainly on your way to developing a system that will work for you for many years to come. The mistake I see so many making is they begin to try and merge everything together. In my experience when you do that, when you try to use one app to maintain your whole system, you are inviting in complexity and you will start to compromise the integrity of your system.  It is possible to create your whole system around one app, Evernote for example, will do it but in doing this you will have to make compromises and build workarounds in order for it to work. This is completely unnecessary. It is far better to use the tools you have for the purpose they were built for. After all, a Ferrari will tow a horse trailer, but why would you do that when a Land Rover Discovery would do the job so much better?"