Archive for the 'Habits & Behaviours' Category
Written by Craig Jarrow. Posted by Isabelle Mercier
Technology is central to many areas of our lives. Often, it can help us get more done, faster and easier. Yet, it can also be the bane of our existence when it causes issues or doesn’t work. “Technology should be an enabler for your time, not take up your time.”
Today, I want you to fix, or address, one technology issue in your life. So, where is your technology wasting your time? Or where could it help you get things done easier? It could be something that needs repair or replacement. It could be a tech skill that you need to learn. Or it could be a tool/app that will make your life easier. Do something today to make your tech work better for you.
My suggestion, don’t over complicate this task. Think simple.
What technology issue have you been meaning to address?
• Replace that faulty Wi-Fi router or printer that is driving you nuts.
• Install a auto-timer light switch to control your outdoor lights.
• Learn a tech skill that you have been meaning to pick up. Maybe how to edit photos on your computer or how to scan a document with your phone. Ask a friend to show you. Or go to YouTube and search for a tutorial.
• Find a solution to a tech problem you have. Chances are someone else has had the same issue. Google for an answer, tool, or app to solve your dilemma.
Leap of the day:
Pick one tech issue in your life, and resolve to address it today. Me? I am searching for an app to help my family track maintenance, cleaning, and chores for our house.
I read this post recently by Craig Jarrow, The Time Management Ninja and thought I would share it with you as it struck a cord. We’ve just launched The LeapZone Game - an exponential growth mastermind group - and one of the key factors of the game is “accountability” and the importance of sharing goals with a few trusted peeps.
There has been some debate in recent years about whether you should tell others your goals. In fact, there are camps of thought that you will be less inclined to complete your goals if you talk about them. And others that believe that you shouldn’t have goals at all.
I won’t debate that here, but will re-state that I believe that not having goals is a recipe for mediocrity. I am also a firm believer that it’s not only healthy to talk about your goals…it’s vital.
Here are 5 Reasons You Should Tell Others About Your Goals:
1. Clarify Your Goals: Often, we think we know our goals. However, by telling them, by spelling them out, you find out what they really are. You might find that your goals aren’t exactly what you thought they were.
2. Drive Accountabilty: It’s easy to let yourself down. And we are quick to forgive our inner selves. But, it’s not so easy to let others down. Telling others about your goals brings a new level of accountability.
3. Make Them Visible: Telling others about your goals makes them visible. It gets them out of you and into the public realm. Whether you share with just close friends or with the world, you have gotten your goals out of your head.
4. Set a Deadline: Goals without a deadline are just dreams or wishes. They are just thoughts. Tell others about what you intend to accomplish and by when.
5. Empower Yourself: Telling your goals to others gives you a sense of permission. In a way, you are officially giving yourself permission to pursue. Talking about your goals can give you the green light to move forward.
Now, I can’t know if I will successfully achieve all my goals. But, one thing is for sure…I will set myself up for success from the start with:
1. Weekly actions that align with my goals.
2. A daily ritual that allows me to be at my best.
3. A business architecture that does not allow me to drift from what’s important and/or non-negotiable.
And by stating my important goals to others, I feel much more empowered and accountable to do what is needed to reach them.
LEAP OF THE WEEK: I invite you to share at least one of your big juicy goals with someone or better yet, if you want some public encouragement, tweet me @LeapZone. Then the whole world will know your goals. (now, if that’s not accountability…I don’t know what is!)
Cheers to kicking some serious butt together!
Thank you to Craig Jarrow from Time Management Ninja for this great reminder….and for inspiring me on a weekly basis with his valuable content.
“I was planning on going to the gym tonight, but a client called…”
“I was going to go for a run, but I’m too busy today…”
Sound familiar? Given that entrepreneurs usually have incredibly packed schedules, it can be challenging to create room for a fitness routine. I’ve already discussed 4 ways you can sneak exercise into your workday with next to no scheduling adjustments. Here I’ll focus on creating room specifically for fitness. That means getting more work done in less time, so you have more time left over for fitness (and other things you enjoy)!
Here are 4 ways you can get your work done more quickly, creating space for health and fitness. (Remember that a healthy body is an important business investment! Good health means good productivity, creativity, and energy.)
1. Delete distractions.
Getting rid of things that decrease your productivity is just as important as learning skills to increase productivity. Learn to say “no”, don’t multitask, turn off your e-mail when you need to concentrate on other projects, and use a notebook to record ideas so they don’t take up valuable real estate in your head. Try to minimize anything that will distract you from the task at hand.
2. Optimize your mind for ultimate performance.
Your mind is one of the most effective weapons against procrastination, stress, distractions, and time wasting. Hone your mental superpowers and increase productivity by practicing meditation – simply sit comfortably and focus on your breath for 5 minutes. You could also create a vision board to keep yourself on track for achieving longer-term goals.
3. Optimize your workspace for ultimate performance.
Our surroundings affect our mental state, which means a cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind (and thus, lowered productivity). Foster productivity and inspiration at your workspace by letting in lots of natural light and fresh air, having a “home” for all your office supplies and desktop items, creating an effective filing system, and giving your workspace an overhaul clean-up every 2 or 3 weeks.
4. Use your secret weapons: productivity-boosting apps.
Getting more done in less time isn’t about stockpiling as many secret weapons as possible. Rather, it’s about finding a select few that work for you in boosting productivity. Some examples are Evernote (keep all your notes and interesting tidbits in one searchable database), Freedom (block access to the internet when you need to get work done), Menubar Countdown (keep yourself on schedule and on track), and Remember the Milk (To Do list and task management).
Bonus tip: Remember to schedule, schedule, schedule! I’ve mentioned the importance of scheduling before, but it bears repeating. As Isabelle always says, treat yourself as your own best client. Schedule time for your fitness, and treat those times as you would any other business commitment.
LEAP OF THE WEEK:
Choose one of the above tips to implement this week, and use your extra time for a quick walk outdoors, a 20-minute yoga session at home, or any other revitalizing fitness activity you enjoy. Which tip will you start with?
P.S. For more info on getting more done in less time, check out my brand new e-book, Productivity Gems.
I read an update from business guru Verne Harnish a little while back. I love his updates as he always introduces his readers to very neat people. That week, he featured Brad Feld, the famous venture capitalist and co-founder of the TechStar movement. Brad had recently produced an insightful online seminar for Verne on his book Do More Faster…and what caught my eye was another of Brad’s books entitled Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur. I thought, “YES!” we are quite an odd bunch and living with us entrepreneurs (usually Type A people, 100% dedicated to making a difference) can’t be that easy…right?
Let me share with you (Coles notes style) the Top 10 Quick Tips useful for any busy entrepreneur to try:
1. Never Schedule High Priority Activities or Deadlines on Fridays:
Doing so will likely create a scenario that drifts into Friday night, Saturday, and then Sunday. Always be realistic about the ebb and flow of the work cycle.
2. Don’t Bring Up Charged Topics at Bedtime:
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary and a safe haven from the demands of the world. Never start a conflict when you and your partner are in bed and dozing off to sleep.
3. Laugh and Laugh Often:
We believe you can never hug each other enough, say you love each other too much, or laugh too often.
4. Apologize and Forgive:
Practice apologizing when you hurt your partner’s feelings. Offer forgiveness when your partner has been careless with your feelings. Know that you will try to be your best self but that you will often fail and will need to hone your apology skills.
5. Have a Life Dinner Once a Month:
Make a reservation right now at one of your favorite restaurants. Go out–just the two of you. Buy your significant other a gift. Turn off your cell phones and hand them to the other person. Spend a long slow dinner enjoying each other’s company.
6. Set Limits on Technology:
You do not need to do just one more e-mail right before bedtime. You really don’t. You need to sleep well and restore yourself and reset your brain chemistry during a nice night of rest. Those who need to take breaks from technology are often the least likely to do it.
7. Live Where You Want to Live:
Pick the place where you want to live and build your life around it. Contributors to the book, Mark and Pam Solon, say “We believe it’s important for young people embarking on their lives to realize that geography matters in your happiness quotient and that it can even out-weigh the highest-paying job opportunities.”
8. Life Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint:
Another contributor to the book, Dave Jilk, says “If I could send my younger self a message from the future, it would tell me to treat my career more like a marathon than a sprint.”
9. Commit to Each Other’s Dreams:
“Recognizing that one’s partner is pursuing their dream, they are satisfied down to their soul and, in so being satisfied, are that much more alive. That level of aliveness is a gift few partners can ever give, and successful couples recognize this,” says Tim Enwall and Hillary Hall.
10. Always Answer His or Her Calls!
While it might seem like a small gesture, the cumulative impact of doing so on a regular basis shows your partner they matter to you. To this last point, I watched an interview with Brad and during the interview his wife called and he took the call! People don’t really care when it’s your spouse.
LEAP OF THE WEEK:
I for one, need to tone down technology before bed time…what about you? What will be your focus for improvement based on this post? Don’t be shy, post your ideas and thoughts below. I would love to hear them.
As an entrepreneur, you are part visionary genius, part manager, part salesperson, and sometimes, part errand runner. With all these hats to wear, not only are you challenged to keep yourself on track, but in many cases you also need to keep others in line, including your staff, clients and associates. In order to keep your variety of roles from overwhelming you – which renders you less effective and thus less profitable – you need to harness your focus.
Here are 7 tips to help you do just that, based on nearly eight years of teaching yoga and meditating, and more than a decade as a serial entrepreneur.
1) Turn the sound off.
Noise is distracting. That’s partly why many yoga rooms are silent. If you’re in focused work mode, put your phone on silent, and turn off all the little beeps from Facebook, email and their counterparts. This gives you the control to check your messages when it works for you, and allows your mind to get into a rhythm without interruption. Simply calming the bleeps and pings will do wonders to help you focus.
2) If you work from home, set boundaries around work time and other time.
When working, keep your other tasks, such as housework, family time, and social calls separate – as much as possible. By setting up containers of time for focused work, your clients get the attention they deserve, and so do the rest of your duties when you’re done. The timer on your phone is a great tool to set time-specific work goals, as the alarm will usually go off even when the phone is on silent. A simple kitchen timer will also do.
3) Establish rituals.
When I was running my yoga studio, I would start each work day by checking in with my to-do list, prioritizing what needed to get done, and establishing a loose plan for the day based on what meetings and obligations I had. No matter what was going on, this always got done. It grounded me and helped prevent overwhelm. Business and personal coaches often recommend rituals because they are good for your internal rhythm and help you establish good habits. Establishing rituals will also help you optimize your most creative times of the day. When you’re working, be aware of when you feel most inspired, and create a ritual around it to encourage your genius to flow.
4) Eat whole, low glycemic foods.
Some foods are beneficial to eat before yoga, and some will make your class a frazzled mess, resulting in poor balance, irregular breathing, and a thumping heart rate. The same principle applies to work. Sugar, excessive coffee, and processed foods, although convenient and quick in their energy boost, will result in crashes, depression, increased anxiety and overall stunted focus and creativity. Whole foods are a great alternative.
5) Use technology to stay more present.
Teaching and practicing yoga effectively requires presence of mind. This is partly why a yoga studio is usually clutter free and clear of distractions. Work focus also benefits from less clutter. I use ‘full screen’ and ‘mute’ mode on my MacBook to eliminate visual and auditory clutter. I also use the ‘read later’ option in my browser when I come across an article while researching. Smart mailboxes and alphabetized folders will help you organize your email and documents efficiently, and specific junk filters help prevent an overflowing inbox.
In yoga, ‘Savassana’, or ‘dead body pose’ is a posture that requires conscious relaxation. Athletes use this principle to optimize their performance in sports, and you can use it to increase your focus at work. Even the New York Times is buzzing with the benefits of relaxation. In order to be in top form with your business, restoration is key.
7) Come back to your breath.
I know, now I really sound like a yoga teacher. But trust me when I say that yoga and focus go hand in hand. Yoga means ‘union’, the marriage between your body and your mind, and your breath is the connection between the two. If you want to channel the entrepreneurial brilliance from your mind into action, you need to get in the zone, and your breath can help you do that. Next time you’re noticing your anxiety or distraction levels rising, stop. Regardless of your deadline, close your laptop or step outside.
Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. No need to visualize, chant or repeat a mantra. Just feel your breath going in through your nose. Exhale slowly, and bring your full awareness to the act. Repeat five times.
When you can bring your full awareness into your moment by moment reality, the focus that ensues will not only increase your productivity, but will set an example for your staff and clients.
Even your errand-running abilities will improve…I promise you that!
Leap of the Week: This week, take your focus to the next level by using these yoga and meditation inspired tips. They will help you improve communication, productivity and profits…and leave more time for YOU to enjoy!