Category Archives: Principles

The Big Fat Productivity Curse

Productive Eating- Not!
Being more productive has many advantages including getting more done and feeling empowered. But productivity on its own, can cause your belt to become less productive. You see there is no need for a belt when your stomach gets so big it can hold your pants without assistance. In fact, the more productive you become the more likely it is that you are getting fatter. Here’s five ways productivity can make you get fat and what you can do about it.

Too Efficient

Being productive can make you too efficient at getting the wrong things done. For example your to do list will work perfectly when you’re shopping- even when this means adding a “family size” bag of chips to go with the super-sized chocolate bar. You end up buying all the wrong things because you’re used to it and you’re good at it.

Solution: Take the bad foods off your list. Replace it with healthy (or at least healthier) alternatives. Avoid being in a position to see the “bad” items.

Work Long Hours

A strange phenomenon happens to productive people, they get more responsibility. More responsibility equals more work. Long sedentary hours especially when coupled with the lack of time to exercise leads to more weight.
Solution: Schedule breaks. Delegate: see if others can do some of your tasks(especially the ones you did before you got increased responsibility). Train others to do what you do- it’s worth the investment. Studies have shown that long hours lead to decreased mental function, so limit your work time. Use the extra time to do something fun and active.

Look to fill every second

Productive people don’t want to waste a second. You are always looking to use every minute of their time. So if you have an extra minute that may mean an downing an extra snack or treating yourself to a double moca latte.

Solution: Allow yourself time to soak in your surroundings and think. Thinking can lead to creative solutions. Let yourself unwind, being stressed can make you less productive.

Multitasking

Productive people look to save time – this includes doing two tasks at once aka multitasking. Sometimes people will combine food with another task- thinking they’re saving time. The problem is that they’re so busy doing the other task, like watching TV, they don’t realize they’re eating. Before they know it they have scarfed down a huge meal and they don’t even know what they ate.

Solution: Multitasking has been proven not to work, doing two tasks at once means one or both won’t get done well. Don’t multitask! You can combine tasks if you want though. Combining a task means that you’ll spend the right amount of time on each one- you are just doing them together. For example, you can schedule a meal with a friend- you’ll get your networking/socializing opportunity yet you wont be scarfing down the food. You’ll be eating at a reasonable pace and interacting- the best of both worlds.

Finish Everything

Productive people like to finish everything they start. That means that super-sized meal will be finished in no time even if it isn’t needed.

Solution: Stop yourself, realize food is not a task. Even simpler, take smaller portions.

Of course there’s more you can do to become leaner and healthier but frankly changing your approach is easier than dieting or exercising. Keep your eyes open and see where your habits are bringing you into bad situations. Then use your productivity skills to productively wipe it out.

Photo credit: Melting Mama

Vote For More Success

Change ThisRecently I submitted a proposal to ChangeThis, a site whose mission is to “spread important ideas and change minds” (based on a tip from 2Time). My idea is that we should Stop Being Productive and Start Being Successful.

Are you working harder and harder and becoming more “productive” yet you still feel like there’s much more to do with no end in sight? The problem is that productivity (doing something well) is only one of the three pillars of success. I will explain the other two pillars and show you how you can use a few easy steps to significantly increase your ability to succeed.

They have a voting process (everything is a reality show) and they will distribute the “manifesto”* of the winner. Please go to the site and vote for my idea.

What Will I Write

Readers of this site know the three pillars of success: Think, Do, Enjoy. I plan to expand on these concepts and explain how they can be used to enhance success.

What You Will Get

When my idea is selected (I’m thinking positive), you will be able to download the full document for free.

* Manifesto always reminds me of the unibomber. I promise no people will be harmed in the making my manifesto.

How to Succeed Without Really Trying

No Elevator To SuccessMichael Jordan can beat you at a game of basketball without trying. Donald Trump can find a better real estate deal than you with just a few calls. Jeremy Schoemaker can make money on a web site faster than you with minimal effort (and get other people to promote for him for free). Skellie can get more subscribers for a new site in just 5 days than you can in a year of trying. So how do they do it? Why is it so easy for them? The answer is they built a machine.

In this article I’ll outline how you can build your own machine. The concepts are simple but the results are long reaching. Building the machine may require hard work to create a foundation, but once it’s built you can achieve success without really trying. Follow the four rules below and your machine will give you long term, self-perpetuating success.

Long Term

Is Trump smarter than you? Maybe, maybe not. But his machine is certainly better than yours for making real estate deals. Trump’s machine has many industry contacts to get him the right deals. It has his knowledge in evaluating deals. It has his financial backers allowing him to move on his deals. His machine has many parts to it that allow him to succeed almost automatically.

A machine is different than an experience. It’s built to have long term results. I may have bought a house once and certainly would have some knowledge of buying a house but I’m not setup to do deals consistently. It’s more than just being smart- anyone can take the time to read a book to get the essentials of success. It’s about building a foundation. It’s building the bank relationships. It’s building the industry relationships. It’s building a track record to make people want to invest in you. It’s building a staff that knows what needs to be done. It’s the mind set that this will be done more than once, so I should plan accordingly and not just get it done.

Quality

The Trump example doesn’t mean that you need to be big to build a machine. Being big can actually be detrimental if you don’t have your machine under control. Let’s take Skellie for example. Does she have a big organization behind her? No. Is Skellie a better writer than you? Probably, but not necessarily. She may be a good writer but there are probably a number of blogs that are better written than hers that don’t receive the attention she gets (I don’t have examples because those blogs don’t get attention so I haven’t seen them). So what is it that makes Skellie able to launch a site and instantaneously attract 1000 subscribers? It’s her machine of course. Her machine is her ability to use her creative talents and harness loyal readers. Her machine includes the loyal readers she built up at Skelliewag. It includes her contacts with other bloggers. You get the idea.

Building a machine requires a commitment to quality otherwise your machine will work against you and create problems instead of solutions. Success requires that you solve the problem. That you create a process to ensure quality. That you review your open commitments so items don’t slip. A well built machine does the same thing over and over again.

Skellie didn’t take shortcuts by sacrificing quality in her content. Quality takes constant introspection and improvements. For example, Skellie batches her writing to one day a week (in advance) and has a system to deal with writer’s block. Skellie has found the way to keep creating quality content and her machine helps her achieve success.

Self-Perpetuating

How does Paris Hilton have the resources to continue her escapades? Simple, she’s an heiress to the Hilton fortune. The money in her trust is her machine. The money that built her nest egg just keeps earning more money with little effort. Some people are lucky enough to take advantage of other people’s machines.

A machine simplifies a process and makes success self-perpetuating. It provides a road map to the future and provides the tools to get there faster. This is what makes Success Making Machine special. It’s not merely a few helpful tips, it’s something you can build on.

Enjoy It

Even when I’m old and grey, I won’t be able to play it, but I’ll still love the game.
Michael Jordan

I’ve always told people that to be successful you have to enjoy what you’re doing and right now I really enjoy what I’m doing. I’m having too much fun with my life. Why would I want to do something else? Why would I want to run for governor?
Donald Trump

Enjoy your work and you’ll never work a day in your life. If you asked Trump or Jordan to do what they do for free, they would. With dedication like that it’s no wonder they overcame the obstacles in their way.

You can build your machine to eliminate the tasks you don’t like. Machines can do the heavy lifting. I’m sure Trump isn’t interested in the nitty gritty of making his deal more tax effective, but people in his machine take care of that for him. Always enjoy the journey.

The Right Way to Build a Machine
Building a machine is a conscious decision to create a quality focused, automated system for the long term for something you enjoy. Using these principles helps you realize your efforts today can have huge long term ramifications that can improve your life. Once your machine is built you can just live on the interest- without really trying.

What kind of machine do you want to build?

 

Next step

Think about your goals. How can you make a quality machine that self-perpetuating built for the long term?

Now, look at the principles to building your machine.

Photo by: Coda

Six Reasons You Should Layer Your Projects

Success on a project, in business or in life can’t be achieved until you start. Layering is an approach that increases your chance for success.

The concept is simple:

  1. Break the project into small parts
  2. Launch
  3. Repeat this process with more layers of complexity

The power of layering is easy to see below.

Show results– Layering allows you to see results from your actions quickly. This will help get more buy in and give you the confidence to succeed.

Benefit from the results– You can begin benefiting from work work quickly. You don’t need to wait for the whole project to be completed.

Learn from success and failures– You can learn from the feedback of your launch and it can help set the direction of further phases of your project.

Helps determine priories– After you launch a layer the next need will become more obvious.

Determines the project’s viability– Once you get your feet wet on the project you may find that the project is more complex that originally thought and it may not be worth it to continue. This helps you cut your losses.

Doesn’t get bogged down in details– The longer a project continues the more likely it will get held up for small details. Layering may allow you to launch without the details fully developed and then you address it in a future launch.

As you can see there are huge benefits to layering. Layering is one of the principles of building your success- you can read more about it, including examples how to use it, at the Layering Page .

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.

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?