All posts by Heshy

Heshy Shayovitz is an award winning manager, developer and web designer. He received his MBA from New York University.

The Best Productivity System For You Guaranteed

Everyone has their own way of doing what it takes to be successful. Is your system better than mine? Or is mine better than yours? Maybe David’s way is better than both of ours? The answer to all three of these questions is undoubtedly “Yes”.

For you, your way is better. For me, my way is better etc. Lets face it, we all do things differently. We do things different because we are in different situations. You may have a home office and need to set up barriers not to let work into your home life and I may have be overwhelmed with email and dealing with that burden is my primary goal.

No matter how well we do things our system is not perfect. This is why you’re reading and trying to get tips to improve yourself- to be more productive. I’m here to find common ground to see where we agree (or should agree)- there are certain fundamentals for success.

My goal on this site is to identify the fundamentals (roadmap and tools) to achieving success. Then you can choose how you want to implement it. You already perform many of the fundamentals yourself but we need to organize it so that we dont need to think about what’s next. Identifying a roadmap will give you a way to tackle any project. The tools will help you get there faster.

The key to any project is to start with basic building blocks: Think, Do, Enjoy. In short:

  • Think before you do something.
  • Do- Do it the best way you can.
  • Enjoy it- gives motivation and meaning to what needs to be done

There’s much more to each of those phases, but I’ve only introduced you to the basics, which you can already apply. The key is to start small- you can’t make a radical change overnight. Building your success machine will take time. You need to take on one task at a time execute it well and gradually take on more as you integrate this into your life. This process is called layering: you start with one success and build on it. Now you’ve just added a new tool to your success tool box (I’m sure you always had it but it never had a name). Next time you have a large project you’ll take the time to think first- how can I break this down into smaller parts. How can I get something done? Pretty soon you’ll be a pro at layering and your productivity will soar.

Should you use an outlook/palm combination or is it a gmail/remember the milk combination to track your to dos? That’s up to you. If i take you out of your comfort zone you wont listen to even the best system. The key to getting more productive and successful is taking it one step at a time.

The best system for you is the one that works for you. Look around here, read Getting Things Done, read other blogs take the best ideas and implement them in your life. Then you’re guaranteed to increase your chance for success.

Review It Like You Mean It and You’ll Accomplish More

For many people the weekly review is a chore- it gets in the way of doing real stuff and there’s no time- if they do it at all. Below is a way to make you’re weekly review more rewarding and allow you to accomplish more.

First avoid clutter in your review. Just review your next actions and projects. LifeHack recently had an interesting article 12 Ways to Upgrade Your Weekly Review. They mention many important elements but if you’ve turned your dreams into goals and thus actionable plans most of the reviews suggested aren’t necessary. They are on your to do list/ projects: Health, social, financial etc.

On the other hand it is important to do an optimization and productivity review. They will keep you working optimally. That’s where the Accomplishment Review comes in. It will encompass the optimization and productivity review and will be fun to do. It also gives you something solid to base your ideas off- your completed projects.

The Accomplishment Review is when you look over your completed tasks over the last week. Take pride in all you’ve done and see where you can improve by adding efficiencies. This will give you more enjoyment and motivate you in the future.

Next Action: Incorporate the accomplishment review into your review this week. Report back what you learned.

How Layering Helped This Site Launch Quickly and Can Help Your Projects

Completing a large project is difficult. You can go through a phase of requirement gathering, analysis and sign offs and still not anticipate everything that can go wrong. Plus the more time you spend on analysis the more likely the need changes. This is why large projects fail so frequently. The solution is Layering. The concept is simple: break the project into small parts, start small and “launch” frequently. Then add more layers of complexity on it. The advantage of layering is that you can see results quickly and adjust your plan to make your project more successful.

After identifying the desire to start this site I realized it would take months to set up and gather all the required content. That’s a long time. The solution: launch quickly and often. Using the layering technique I did.

1. Identify the Goal
Every project must have a clear goal- if you don’t know where you’re going how do you know when you get there. The goal was to launch a site that conveys the best methodology to achieve success.

2. Start small
I determined the first step is to get a site up, outline the system and start explaining each of the concepts one at a time. If I would have waited to write all the content for all sections to explain the whole system it would have taken a long time. Further, I wouldn’t be getting feedback from my readers along the way on tweaking the content. So this concept will actually make my end product better. I registered the domain and used blogger to get started.

3. Get better
I started adding some more content and filled out categories. But I soon realized that although blogger is good for blogging it’s not good for organizing information. The kind of information information needs a different tool. I evaluated Content Management Systems and decided on Joomla which I had used previously.

4. Tweak it
I tweaked the home page and site organization to make it easier to understand. I’ve added a Get Started page to make it easier to adopt the system. Then I added a game section to house all the fun exercises to teach the system.

5. Keep Layering
I keep adding more blog posts. Then I transform some of the small ideas from a post to the big idea for an article about the principles. I’ve come to a stable stage now, but i know that one day i’ll want to change my look and add logos and branding. But that isn’t important now as I’m building content and a community. So I’ll layer that later.

If you’ve noticed that some items in the blue print and principles aren’t built out yet, now you know why. Come back soon and they will be.

Do You Have The Audacity to Succeed?

Most times when I read a blog post and it has some good ideas I’ll file it
away. But the idea usually isn’t acted on. The problem is there’s just too much information out there and without quick action a newer idea has taken its place in your mind. But there’s one post by Skelliewag that truly inspired me to act and it has already helped me achieve results.

The Problem
First, a little background. I’m interested in being more productive (aren’t we all?). I’ve read the productivity books and the productivity blogs. Some are interesting, some are useful but they’re all flawed. One common flaw is that although they can teach you how to do a task faster they don’t consider that maybe you shouldn’t be doing it at all! But the biggest flaw is that they concentrate so much on “doing” (faster, better) that they neglect to realize that you’re not enjoying what you’re doing. What’s the point in doing something if you don’t enjoy it?!? It’s no wonder there are so many posts on motivation and overcoming procrastination.

Based on my readings and experience I’ve boiled success down to a simple formula: Think, Do. Enjoy. The doing is important but when you think before you do and enjoy the process- it increases the potential for success exponentially.

Using this formula, I took an inventory of what I enjoy: writing and increasing my productivity/success. As a result I launched my site Success Making Machine which shares the details of my system. But a site takes time to grow so I had to think of ways to promote my site.

I can just continue to post quality articles and hope someone notices to make a big splash. But that’s a long process. Then I saw inspiration: Skellie’s post Audacious Blogging. There are many ways to be audacious. The Success Making Machine principles encourages calculated risks. I wouldn’t try to be a guest poster for a New York Times blog, that’s too big of a risk (waste of time). My idea was to be audacious by trying to become a guest blogger on Skelliewag, it’s a warm site in my target and she recommends guest posting (#58),

When you’re doing something do it right. I could have just sent an email inquiry to Skellie asking if she would be interested in a guest post but that would have made it too easy to brush off. So I wrote the entire post in advance. Why spend time writing the full post when an inquiry would have seen if there was interest? Audacity! I needed to prove that the post would be quality.

At every stage of doing and thinking you should enjoy it. I follow a simple Success Making Machine principle: Do more of what you like and less of what you don’t like. Without enjoyment people give up at the first sign of adversity. So why am I up past midnight with an early morning tomorrow writing? I could have put this off for another day. The answer is I enjoy it.


So does Audacity work? This isn’t Hollywood, everything doesn’t have a perfect ending. Skellie “loved the post”, but she’s not accepting guest posts at this time. But there is a happy ending which shows it is worth it to shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. She did offer to link to the story on my blog. So I modified the original for my blog (this makes the original post the best post you never saw). I now have a link from a popular blog and a great story. I think audacity works.

So act now and be audacious.

Update: Skellie linked to this blog at The 5 Barriers to Success Series — Part 3: The Absence of Definition

Don’t Get Things Done!

Go. Do. Act. Do More. Everywhere you turn there are more and more demands on you. The smart people turn to a productivity system like Getting Things Done and gain control of their lives- or do they?

These systems solve can certainly help gain control over tasks but they leave open many problems:

  • Too Complex– You need to read through a 200+ page book to get started. Who has the time and effort to go through it? When you get through the last page do you remember the points from page 10? Then the setup can take days, who has the patients?
  • Don’t focus on Planning– The systems focus almost exclusively on the doing: Get it done faster, better. But they are too quick to act. Many times a little thinking in advance can save much time on the execution or eliminate it completely.
  • Don’t Focus on Enjoyment– You can be perfectly efficient doing tasks you hate but if you don’t enjoy it what’s the point? Then before you know it you’re procrastinating and what good is the system doing for you?
  • Don’t Focus on Your Life– The systems may focus on work. Some even focus on the tasks you perform at home but what about integrating your health, spouse, kids and the rest of your goals into this.

Don’t get me wrong I love Getting Things Done and use many of its principles (You’ll see them in these pages) but it doesn’t address the above problems.

In this site I’m developing (yes developing lots more content to come) a system to take the best of all systems and address the above problems and more. Here are the advantages you’ll experience:

  • Simple It uses simplicity and simple technology to do a lot of the tasks for you. No need to recopy notes and keep 43 million folders for filing.
  • Life Management There’s more to life than work. There’s family, play, community- it’s about balance and doing what you need, when you need to.
  • Get started quickly– I’ve added a Get Started section where you can get started in just a few minutes. Actually if you take away that you should enjoy whatever you do, you’re already ahead of the game.

What are your frustrations with your current system?

The Best Investment You Can Make Today- Guaranteed

The real estate market is in a free fall. The stock market is jittery. Is there anywhere left to invest? There is one place- that is always the best investment you can make- it is in yourself. If your company has layoffs or the stock market tanks you will always have the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired and no one can take it away from you. Here are three ways to improve your chances for success.

1. Get Smarter
The simple way to get smarter everyday is to learn more. Your IQ wont change but your knowledge and perspective on the world will. Put yourself in position to learn more: read daily, be sure to talk to interesting people . So where do you start? I recommend reading the Success Making Machine Blog– it will give you something to think about each day.

2. Learn New Skills
Figure out what you want to be when you grow. Determine next steps that can get you farther. Take a course to improve your skills. Ask a friend to teach you something you want to learn. Practice your skills so that you can master them.

3. Upgrade Your Image
The first two items will help you achieve you be smarter and more competent. Now you need to upgrade your outside to match your inside. It’s time to evaluate the image your projecting. Even though people say “dont judge a book by its cover” they still do. Has the quality of your clothes kept up with your promotions? Are your clothes in good repair? Does your work bag reflect the status you want to attain? This upgrade doesn’t have to cost much. Look at yourself objectively and see if you project the success that you are.

The Easiest Way to Jumpstart Success

Seth Godin, Author/Marketing Guru, writes about Layering. The concept is simple start simple and layer more complexity(better results) on it. This should sound very familiar to Success readers- it corresponds to the “layer” principle. (I’ve standardized on his name.)

Big projects are daunting. Just keep it simple and you’ll succeed.

Start small– identify some quick next actions and get it done. You’ve already succeeded more than most people who are only thinking about it.

Tweak it– Based on feedback tweak your initial outcomes to make it better.

Get better– Keep building on your initial success. What are the most important steps to get to the next goal.

Keep Layering– Identify more wins. What other goals can you achieve quickly?

How to use the rule of Thumb for Success

In Rules of thumb Chris Franklin commented on the Rule of thumb for success:

“In general, this is good advice, but some of the most necessary things in life are hard. I like eating french fries. I don’t like exercise. I like dating whoever I want. I don’t like being committed to just one at a time. I like play. I don’t like work. I don’t like brushing my teeth. I like sugar.”

These are great points and answers point to the power of the enjoyment principle.

Let’s take your points one at a time.

“some of the most necessary things in life are hard.”

They don’t have to be. Let’s go through your list and see how some “hard” items can be eliminated.

“I like eating french fries.”

So eat it. The problem you probably have is that it’s not healthy. I’m not a health professional but french fries never killed anyone- in moderation. If you otherwise eat healthy a few fries shouldn’t hurt you (confirm with your Dr.). But when you eat it make sure you’re eating the best ones. Why waste empty calories and lots of fat on subpar food? Treat yourself to the best.

“I don’t like exercise.”

Welcome to the club- most people don’t. Sara recently complained about the same thing. After discussion the solution was simple- don’t exercise- watch TV. Do you like TV? So go to the gym and watch you favorite show as you run or do another exercise you like better. Last night Sara reported that she worked out for over an hour. I warned her not to overdo it as she’s just starting out. “I didn’t feel it- I just wanted to finish watching my show”.

“I like dating whoever I want. I don’t like being committed to just one at a time.”

These can be worked out with thinking and honesty. Figure out what you want and what you don’t want.

“I like play.”

Have fun (when it’s time to have fun). Now think about a way make money off this fun and then you can play and have fun at the same time.

“I don’t like work.”

Then quit. But before you do figure out what you do like. Put yourself in position to get that job (it may take time- but once you make it you wont work another day in your life). Before you make the leap look at your current job- are there ways you can make it more fun? Work on it.

I don’t like brushing my teeth.

Do you like music? comedy CDs? Play something while brushing and you wont realize it.

;I like sugar.

So eat it. But see my suggestions about french fries above.

These are some ideas off the top of my head. If you apply your brainpower to this and add your knowledge of what you like/don’t like you’ll come up with even better ideas.

Good luck.

Martin Luther King Jr’s Dream on Productivity

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. excelled because of his ability to incite passion. The passion started within and extended to others through his speeches (e.g. I have a dream) and actions. His passion was so broad that it still inspires today.

The lesson continues- whatever we do, no matter how mundane, we should exhibit passion and do it right. Then we’ll have a lasting impact.

The Missing Ingredient To Success

Everywhere people talk about success they focus on the doing- do it faster and better. That is commendable and certainly true but that’s only one aspect of the Success Making Machine and fails to get the most of your actions. Some of the conversations even address the thinking- getting goals and planning for them. This is important because without knowing where you’re going how will you get there. But it misses using broader planning- such as the ATE system- eliminate, delegate automate to achieve success.

The biggest blunder though is missing the enjoyment. Successful people enjoy what they do. They work to make their work more enjoyable. So a goal is to make their day to day life more enjoyable.

Case in point is the
10 Essentials for Success
published on Millionaire Mommy Next Door. It addresses many important aspects of success, it even addresses passion:
Find what you love to do – you will never “work” again.

But it fails to address “Enjoy”.
* DO more of what you like, do less of what you dont like
* Do something you enjoy- refresh/rejuvenate yourself.
* Eliminate stress

More on Enjoy later.

What’s surprising is that it seems the Millionaire Mommy Next Door seems to have figured it out herself but didn’t mention it. She retired early (at 40) by realizing she didn’t need material things to enjoy life (GOAL). So now she can be retired and do what she wants (her blog and raising a family- more goals) rather than being a slave to “things”.