Our video from the Keep Productive YouTube channel:
We also sponsored their apps of. the month video which you can see here
This is ingrained in us from an early age but is not innate. Even the best hunting machines in the animal kingdom by far fail more than they win. Lion versus gazelle, nine times out of ten the gazelle will get away. The lion has adapted to have enough energy from one meal to be able to keep failing. We must do the same.
What do you have the energy to fail at?
Probably not something that you do not care about - an exam in a subject you hate, a job interview just to pay the bills. But what about something that you are passionate about? Music? You must fail a lot to learn an instrument and keep practising anyway. Sport? You are not going to win the World Cup without ever losing.
But school and some companies gear us up to fear failure. Which ironically is the surest way to ensure failure - it is just that it will be later on.
The fear that one exam will ruin your whole life will show itself again throughout your life. You are afraid to speak up in that meeting. You are afraid to change jobs even though you hate it. You are afraid to do something that you are passionate about.
What is stopping you?
Only the constraints that society has put on you. Surround yourself with other information. Surround yourself with positivity instead of fear and realise that failing is moving forwards. Keep trying anyway. Keep the passion. Embrace the gift of something not working out, take the lessons from it and try something else.
What is the alternative? To be paralysed into inaction your whole life? Do something.
The first of this weekend's link posts is from Ryan Holiday with 7 stoic strategies for navigating the workplace. Our favourite is below, but read them all here.
On tough days we might say, "My work is overwhelming," or "My boss is really frustrating." If only we could understand that this is impossible. Someone canât frustrate you, work canât overwhelm you â these are external objects, and they have no access to your mind. Those emotions you feel, as real as they are, come from the inside, not the outside.
The Stoics use the word hypolepsis, which means "taking up" - of perceptions, thoughts, and judgments by our mind. What we assume, what we willingly generate in our mind, thatâs on us. We canât blame other people for making us feel stressed or frustrated any more than we can blame them for our jealousy. The cause is within us. They're just the target.
Read the whole article here
This has to come above all else. Just like looking after yourself first because you cannot help anyone else if you do not have your health. As long as your focus is on how to help others, then looking after yourself first is okay. If you have a tendency to be selfish, then you may need different advice. But if you are the sort of person that always puts others before yourself, you may be burning yourself out to the point that you can no longer help them.
It is okay to take some time for yourself. You need to unwind, decompress, de-stress. There is no point putting others first if you are angry, irritable and frustrated. Sort yourself out so that you are in the right frame for your interactions. Otherwise, you are not really helping - you are there in body but not in mind - just going through the motions because you have to.
A quick cheat code for getting some time for yourself? Get up before everyone else. No need to lose sleep, go to bed earlier. Getting up earlier is the easiest way to be more productive. Workout, meditate, journal. Whatever it is you need to do to get back to yourself, early morning is the easiest time to do it before the day descends into chaos and whim.
Wanting little is the key to a good life. We were watching Seven Year Switch on TV with a wife who did not work berating her husband for not being ambitious and for being too childish. She wanted money to buy a car to go and do nice things. They have a small child and he is amazing with her, running around enthusiastically on the playground whilst the wife was tense and worried about getting the child home to be changed or fed. He also loves his job. He does bar work so not likely to have a substantial increase in salary, but he loves it.
It was really interesting to see the reasons they cited for being unhappy. For another couple, the same things could be what they dream about. Living in the UK, not under a dictatorship, not in a war zone, not in famine or disease or high crime. Having a child when this is so precious to those that cannot have children. Having a loving husband who wants to help out with the cleaning, cooking, childcare and makes enough time to do this.
There is so much to be grateful for and to enjoy, yet all the wife could focus on was a lack of material things. If she did have a husband that worked fourteen hours a day to earn money to buy them things they did not need, I suggest that she still would not be happy either. I think that what she is really worried about is how she comes across to her friends and parents.
Worrying what other people think can lead to a lifetime of unhappiness. This is the first thing to consciously let go of and then keep practicing and reminding yourself every day.
For the first of the weekend link posts we turn to riding the wave of motivation by Doug Toft who has some great advice from BJ Fogg, a psychologist at Stanford University. This fits in with our thinking in a previous blog post on setting up your future self. Over to Doug:
Harness high motivation in three key ways
High motivation is temporary. It can disappear in a matter of days, hours, or minutes. So, seize the precious opportunity that high motivation presents.
According to BJ, the most valuable things that you can do when highly motivated are:
1. Structure your future behavior. Structured behaviors are presets â default options. For example: If you want to reduce your spending, then cut up your credit cards. If you want to stop eating junk food, then remove all that stuff from your kitchen and throw it away. If you want to exercise regularly, then schedule a personal trainer. This strategy is powerful because reversing your earlier commitment forces you to exert extra effort, such as calling the trainer to cancel.
2. Reduce barriers to future behavior. For instance, go to the grocery store and buy a lot of vegetables. Then go home, wash them, cut them, and put all that good food into serving size containers. This reduces a barrier to making healthy meals when your motivation to cook sags and you feel the urge to do something easier â like going out to eat.
3. Increase capacity. When your motivation to cook a healthy meal is high, for example, then take that opportunity to learn a new recipe. This is harder than going out to eat or chopping vegetables. But as you practice making the meal over the coming weeks, youâll find this behavior easier to do â even when you donât feel like cooking.
Note that Iâve numbered these options in the order that BJ recommends. So when motivation peaks, start with #1 before trying #2. And opt for #3 after experimenting with #2.
Read the whole article here
The twelve-week year. A 90-day challenge. It seems like even the algorithms of the internet reward you for consistency for 3 months.
Even before I heard of these, when I was busy in my day job, I found that I could cope with long hours and working weekends as long as it was in three-month bursts. I knew that during those three months I had to find a way of making all the things I was currently doing fit into a sustainable timeframe to give me a "break" by being able to work "normal" working hours for the subsequent three months. At the end of the three-month burst, I would be able to take a holiday, get back into a more moderate pace for three months before taking more one on and having a mother three-month burst.
After doing this a couple of times, it no longer took three months to sort out the next big workload. The same techniques can be implemented much quicker once you have practiced them and you start to get into a groove of your own system: cut out these meetings, replace with reports; find out who is reading the reports and cut out the ones not needed; find some areas of the business driving noise and move them to self-serve with a bit of training.
The thing that takes longer than three months is working on yourself. And that is okay. Once you have taken the time to boil things down to habits you can do every day no matter what - then do them every day, no matter what - why stop doing them? Build upon them instead. You might have identified one habit in order to get fitter. Great, well don not stop when you have done this for 90 days, just build on top of it. Find a way of making it sustainable.
Thinking of a 90-day challenge of content creation, I think this is where Gary Vee's document versus create comes from: do not give yourself the excuse of not having ideas for content, just document your day - that is the content.
Where else can you find excuses and turn them on their head? Find a way of keeping going longer than 90 days. Use the common three methods eliminate (other busy work), automate (non-important things taking your time), delegate (the tough bits or get help).
The second of this weekends link posts is from The Wall Street Journal Article on the most productive hour of the day - 4am. Some highlights below:
One of the most common challenges to productivity, Dr. Davis says, is that people booby trap their offices with distractions: Desk clutter, email pop-ups, cellphone, Facebook , news feeds. "By waking up at 4 a.m., they've essentially wiped a lot of those distractions off their plate. No one is expecting you to email or answer the phone at 4 a.m. No one will be posting on Facebook. You've removed the internal temptation and the external temptation."
Read the whole article here
It is the start of a new month as I write this. If you were waiting for an arbitrary time to start something, then today is the day. Or are you going to wait until Monday? The start of a new week might be the time you find more motivation than now. We have the weekend in-between then and now of course. It is difficult to start something at the weekend. Or maybe wait until next year?
It is March and New Year's resolutions are all out of the window. No point starting something big mid-year is there? Better to wait and avoid starting until next year's New Year's resolution, right?
If this sounds like you, I hope reading it has already solidified how absurd this thinking is. What are we delaying things for? Our future selves will be no different than our current selves unless we make different habits. To make different habits we have to start and then keep on consistently. We might fail. That is okay. We just need to start again as quickly as possible.
What about if you have no time right now? Well, why would you have more time in the future? You squander much time now, so why will tomorrow be any different. Or any other expanse of future time? Do today what you want to be doing in the future and the future will come to you. If you do today what you have always done on a day like today, then your future is easy to see - it will look a lot like your past.
What are you going to do today that you have been putting off? What sacrifices are you prepared to make in order to do it? Put first things first and see what drops off the list.
The second of this weekend's link posts. Today's excerpt is from Zdravko Cvijetic writing about productivity techniques. Here is our favourite:
5. Block Time
The last sentence is worth reading three times. You must block time to do actual work or else you will get run over by busywork. Get out of meetings early and work on your top 3 goals. MeeTime can help
Read the original article here