We have a access to more information than any other human before us. Why is not everyone on the same page of working productively, of running that meeting properly, of avoiding interruptions? It has been covered in texts time and time again.
As Derek Sivers says, "if more information was the answer, then we would all be billionaires with perfect abs." Is the fact that we have more information mean that there is a proliferation of choice so it is hard to find the best advice to improve yourself? To make you better at whatever you choose to do?
Or is it actually that the majority of people do not choose to even try to make themselves better? To try to be more noble, more virtuous, more productive?
If you are even trying, then you are at least in the top 20%. If you are trying consistently, then you are in the top 20% of that.
This distinction grabbed my attention in a post from @thefabulousjourney
Nothing is as hard as math in high school. Not much else in your life after that requires learning alien concepts.
The rest of your life is solely about putting in the effort.
It is not hard to do the work, it is just working 'hard'. Although there is really no 'hard' about it. It is just being consistent and not giving up.
The only person that can make you fail is you. By quitting.
Is it mindless to constantly do the same thing over and over and lose conscious thought about it? When thinking about the daily commute or the grind of working for a big corporation in a low-grade job, then it seems prudent to stop and reassess where you are where you want to get to.
When thinking about daily habits, it seems more sensible to set it and forget it - to keep the existing ones and build on top. Unless you have bad daily habits, in which case replacement should be the focus.
The ones I am talking about are the ones that were developed from active thought. Ones that were developed from Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning, for example.
These active habits: exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, affirmations - these do not ever seem like they are mindless or futile to just keep doing every day. Quite the contrary.
Doing this practice every day helps to be more mindful, more present and more grounded. And if you have reached the stage where you are doing them consistently without thought, then you have truly mastered the habits necessary to bring whatever wealth you desire into your life.
This is going to be the best year of your life, as every year should be. To find out why read my previous post.
This year my focus is on being fit and healthy. I have realised that after sacrificing some time in my morning in order to get some business stuff off the ground, that nothing is sustainable without finding time for exercise, yoga, meditation and eating right. Shortcutting these things inevitably leads to suboptimal performance showing up elsewhere.
There are a lot of things that can be fixed by just getting up earlier in the day.
What are you making time for this year?
Consistency is king
Ordinary things when done consistently produce extraordinary results
"I tried" means you gave up. If you didn't give up it's a habit. Habits work and you would be there already.
Keep on keepin' on.
When I am at my most productive, I follow the life S.A.V.E.R.S mnemonic from Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning book. Then I write morning pages to get blog ideas. And finally, catch up with my developers for any issues or test the latest build of my app. All before leaving for my day job at 0730.
What this looks like for me is:
S. Silence. I use Headspace app for 10 minutes of meditation first thing after I get up to start the day calmly.
A. Affirmations. These were really difficult to start with but have built up over time and now also include lots of quotes - mainly ones to stop procrastination
V. Visualisation. I use a visualisation board. Which contains a visual split of Tim Ferriss’ dreamline: things I want to have, things I want to do, and who I want to be.
E. Exercise. I don’t use weights as I want to avoid injury and want to be in proportion. So I do pull-ups, chin-ups, pushups and air squats. I also do 10 mins of Yoga Studio app on the Apple TV or iPhone to stretch out and increase flexibility. This also reinforces the mediation as there is lots of deliberate breathing.
R. Reading. I used to hate reading at school and I still hate reading fiction. But reading non-fiction in the morning really starts to get my creative juices flowing and ready for action.
S. Scribing. I use the 5-minute journal to practice gratitude and also just to get in the habit of writing things done and out of my head. When I started my blog I also then started practising morning pages…
This is basically just starting writing. It does not matter if you do not know what to write, you just write for three pages every morning. I thought this would be hard, but I find it incredibly therapeutic. Most of the time when I cannot think of a blog post, if I start this one just materialises out of my subconscious. If not, then it gets everything off my chest ready for the day ahead.
As I referenced, I also write a daily blog to make me get in the habit of shipping things that are not perfect. This is a good habit to cultivate, especially for a person like me who is more prone to procrastinating over perfection.
A couple of tips for those that feel like you can’t get up early, but want to start. Firstly, you can do it! I used to be a complete night owl and would not get going until after 5 pm. And I would be the last one in the bar at night. Realise that there is no natural morning or evening person, you are just a reflection of your habits. Also, realise that there is no race, you can start slowly and improve.
A great tip is to first, just get in the habit of sitting up when your alarm goes off. If you cannot even get up without snoozing for an hour, then no point setting your alarm for any earlier. Do this for a week then, once you can literally get up on the alarm start to set your alarm 10mins earlier each day until you manage to get to your desired wake up time. I like to still get 8hours sleep a night so this means going to bed earlier. This might be a deal breaker for some, but how much do you really want to be more productive? 8pm-11pm I know that I am not going to be doing any work anyway, I will be watching Netflix. So better to cut that out, go to bed and do something productive in the morning. It is a lot harder to waste your time-consuming content after you have just woken yourself up to do it.
Once you can get up on the alarm and at the time you want, you may still feel a little groggy. Try reading on an iPad or tablet - the light will ease you awake. For more abrupt wake-up, try brushing your teeth straight away, splash cold water on your face or just go straight to a cold shower.
There are some things that I now need to do daily just to get back to normal:
Drink apple cider vinegar
Take vitamins (B12 and D-3)
Avoid refined sugar
Eat slow carb
Avoid gluten and grains
Wake up at the same time every day
Write a blog post
Write morning pages
Go for a walk
Have a cold shower
Reach out to my network
Of course, these things make everything else possible…if done consistently.
Ordinary things done consistently produce extraordinary results.
When I first started work after University it was as a Sales Ledger Clerk in a small accounts department of a door handle manufacturer.
As it was an entry level job and I knew nothing I used to have tasks given to me. And I used to do them as fast as humanly possible, like a game, before jumping up and asking for the next task.
I remember being so amazed that the other people in the office were not working as fast as they could that I told my mom when I got home. She said, “yes, that’s what people do.”
If you get through your work, guess what there is no more work. You don’t have to be here, in the office, if there is no more work to do. Or you get to do better work.
Now we have the internet. It was not invented when I started work. And you can do whatever you want from wherever you are. It is like a travelator.
And you can still run on a travelator to go even faster. Why wouldn’t you?
Cost leadership is broken.
“It's cheap, fuck face, what are you moaning at me for?”
Caring is the only thing a human can do that a robot can't (currently). If your business model is to get in stock, move them fast, sell them cheap then the customer becomes a commodity as well as the product.
Don't want to buy right now? Move on, go somewhere else. “You just lost me a sale” is the mindset of the sales person. There is someone else ready to buy and you are not.
This works… Until the commodity dries up. Until the economy tanks. Until a competitor has slightly higher (or the same) prices and cares just an ounce more. Until someone else makes it a slightly more pleasant experience for the customer than you.
Then the only thing differentiating you from everyone else dropping their prices is how much you care. If you want to be a cost leader then the extreme is to employ no people. Outsource. Use self-service for everything. But the barrier to entry for this is low and who is going to buy your products if no-one has a job in your country?
Caring is the differentiator. Care more. Care for more people. Care more often.
The extent of my “multitasking” abilities:
Thinking of blog posts or app feature ideas or framing questions in the shower
Listening to podcasts while driving
Doing social media on the toilet
For everything else. Be present.