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3 Controversial Ways to Smash Procrastination & Achieve Your Goals Immediately

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Everybody wants to be successful, but nobody wants to work for it. At least, that’s what you’ve been told. And it’s a comforting thought, because sometimes you don’t want to work for it either. Heck, life would be easier if everything you wanted fell into your lap.

But the brutal truth is that’s never going to happen. Most people work extremely hard to make their dreams come true. And if you aren’t among them – the only person you are failing is yourself. But you already knew that (despite what people told you). Yet you still find creative ways to procrastinate, and you’ve become an expert at rationalizing why that’s okay.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Procrastination is a common problem. But it’s an easy one to solve.

Here are 3 brutally honest ways to smash procrastination:

1. Delete all your productivity apps

You’ve just purchased a sweet new app that’s going to help you crush through your to do list. You’ve waited for it to download, now you’re going to figure out how to use it. It’s the answer to all your productivity problems, right? – Wrong. In fact it’s done just the opposite. This new app has already consumed a large chunk of your valuable time – and you haven’t even started using it yet.

Before too long it will lie unused and abandoned in your app graveyard (along with countless others). It’s not because these apps don’t work (some are actually pretty good). It’s because your lack of tools isn’t the reason you’re procrastinating. The truth is that every time a new app grabs your attention, it distracts you from your big picture. And the more you get distracted, the harder it becomes to achieve your goals.

To be successful you have to work consistently on valuable tasks. To achieve consistency you have to stay focused. And to stay focused you have to eliminate distractions. Delete all your distracting apps immediately so that you can start consistently creating value in your life.

“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.” – L.L Cool J

2. Never structure your day

You’re ambitious, but your days are short. You want to get lots of things done, and to do that you have to organise your time wisely. At least, that’s what people tell you. And there’s a good reason why they think that.

Organisation makes you efficient. And being efficient means you can get more done in less time, and we all want that, don’t we? But while efficiency is an undeniably valuable thing to strive for – pursuing it can have disastrous consequences for your productivity.

Why? Because it’s impossible to structure your day without a plan. And designing an airtight plan takes time. Some people spend more time creating plans than actually following them. There’s always something that can be improved or that needs a slight adjustment. But no matter how much time you invest – your plans will never be perfect.

Ditch your plans and throw yourself at your work – seriously. Just start and hope for the best. If you spend your whole day applying yourself to your most important tasks, you’ll be surprised at how many of them you can get through.

3. Sleep more

The more you work, the more you’ll achieve, right? After all, the longer you spend working on your daily tasks, the more of them you can get through. Unfortunately that’s not how our bodies work. Humans can only spend a finite amount of time working, because we can’t control how much sleep we need. If we could I’m sure the most motivated among us would forfeit sleep altogether.

Studies from the university of Rochester, suggest that a lack of sleep is actually a massive productivity killer (not to mention an extreme health risk). It’s bad for your brain and has disastrous consequences on your ability to solve problems.

So if you think that the late nights and early mornings you’re putting in at work are actually benefiting you, you’re sadly mistaken. You’re exhausting yourself, putting undue stress on your body, and impacting the quality of your work.

Don’t fight your body’s natural impulses. If you’re feeling exhausted – sleep! You’ll thank yourself when you wake up fresh and ready to take on a new day.

“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.” – William Blake

Flip conventional wisdom on it’s head

Nobody want’s to see their dreams slip past them unachieved, because we all have deeply personal reasons why we want to achieve them in the first place. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to imagine yourself being less successful than you could’ve been. Especially if it’s because you procrastinated when it really mattered.

But procrastination isn’t a death sentence. It’s never too late to realise your ambitions. And it’s easy to flip conventional wisdom on its head when it’s what has been holding you back all this time. Apply just one of these controversial productivity hacks right now. You have absolutely nothing to lose. The only way you can fail is if you don’t even try.

What are some tips you would give to kill the procrastination beast? Please share below!

Daniel Marlin is a passionate entrepreneur, marketer & business blogger. Get his cheat sheet, How To Create A Business That’s Impossible To Ignore, if you want to get your business noticed, but have no idea where to begin.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jeanine

    Sep 1, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Daniel

    Great article. I like your thinking!
    1)In my line of work, I constantly have hundreds of tasks and subtasks to navigate though on a daily basis – a never ending / always growing “to do list” is a rather unnerving monster to say the least. My Wunderlist App has been a lifesaver to simply list and order all my tasks, and best of all to get that satisfying feeling of ticking them off when I am done. But yes – find one a App that works for you and delete all the rest – they guzzle up your time and attention. 2) I have tried many techniques to organize my days – but dealing with constant curve balls and clients demands at a drop of a hat – I find it impossible to plan and stick to a plan. I just constantly do do do go go go – ploughing through tasks in order of priority. I get things done and see results. No doubt having a perfectly planned day would be ideal – but reality is less than ideal. Thanks for this advise – I can stop feeling guilty about not fitting in with the “you must plan”model. 3) Aaaagh “sleep” – that wonderful thing that so evades an overactive mind! When I sleep I do so much better all round. Again my Wunderlist App has really helped me to sleep better funnily enough. Subconsciously knowing my hundreds of tasks are neatly tucked away and safely ordered really calms my mind. If I remember something I need to do in the middle of the night I can quickly add it to one of my lists and go back to sleep. Otherwise I would be fretting about forgetting and get no sleep.

    Love your posts – keep them coming

  2. Izuzu Nworgu

    Aug 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Hello Daniel,

    I kind of disagree with the second point: “Never structure your day” and I understand what you point is. It’s true that people spend more time making plans than actually following these plans and the reason behind that is lack of self discipline.
    If you discipline yourself to do something, you’ll do it. Planning my day has helped me a lot to increase my daily productivity.

    I’ve tried some productivity apps and they’ve worked perfectly for me. I still use them actually.

    I totally agree with your third point. Lack of sleep has side effects and it decreases productivity.

  3. Sue Lancaster

    Aug 18, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Brilliant Daniel. Written precisely for me!! I’ve achieved many of my goals and consider myself moderately successful HOWEVER I’m the worlds greatest procrastinator and carry my TO DO list in my head and on my shoulders constantly.
    Definitely going to give your productivity hacks a good go!!
    Thank you
    Look forward to your next post

  4. Bryan Oliver

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Excellent perspective, Daniel. I used to do what you state and sleep less thinking I would produce more. I found myself gaining weight, having brain fog and a host of other issues. Now I balance some days with less sleep and others with more than 8 hrs. This has helped my productivity and mental clarity.

    • Daniel

      Aug 18, 2016 at 4:47 am

      Thanks Brian. I like your approach. If you feel capable of achieving more some days – push yourself. If you feel burned out – rest.

      It’s a good way to promote productivity while ensuring important things like health and happiness remain in check.

      Glad you enjoyed the article.

  5. Niraj

    Aug 17, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Well said. I’ve tried many different productivity apps and tactics, but this is the only way I’m consistently able to be productive.

    • Daniel

      Aug 18, 2016 at 4:52 am

      Agreed, Niraj. Some apps work for some people, but I’ve found the simplest way to get the most out of them – is just to not download them in the first place!

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Success Advice

2 Ways To End Suffering Forever.

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This year I have learned so much. I’ve learned that we all suffer no matter what. No one can avoid it. That’s not what I want to share with you though. What I want to tell you is that you have the power to end suffering.

I have proven it in my own life. We don’t need to suffer. We can end it all and the silly thing is it’s so simple. I do not want you to avoid this advice any longer. I want you to use it even if you think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo.

Here are the two ways I’ve found to end suffering forever:

 

1. Find a way to give to other people.

You only suffer when life is all about you and your success. Once you move from being all about you, into a state of mind that is focused on giving, your problems become insignificant.

I had a couple of situations this year that have nearly knocked me flat on my ass. One was my romantic life falling to pieces and the other was my career collapsing. When both these events occurred, I used giving to other people as the way out of the maze that my mind created.

The moment suffering begun, I went straight to finding ways to serve other people. I helped friends with their businesses, I spoke at events to inspire people, I did some volunteering and I doubled down on my blogging so I could inspire as many people as possible.

Shifting the focus away from what was wrong and using my focus to give to others ended the suffering.

“There wasn’t time to suffer because the purpose of my life during those months was far bigger than me and my stupid life challenges. Giving to others gave me a way to find happiness when I probably would have hidden away and suffered in silence”

Seeing the solutions to other people’s problems and sharing them, gave me a way to put my career and relationships into perspective.

Giving is the example you need when times get tough and things get complicated. You suffer the most when you get stuck in your head and repeat the pattern of telling yourself how wrong your circumstances are.

Suffering can make you depressed, feel lonely, become selfish, go into a downward spiral and take away everything that’s good in your life.

Finding ways to give on the other hand, can cure all of those problems. I know it sounds so cliché what I’m saying but it surprises me how many people never use this strategy. Like I always say: the answers we seek are right in front of our nose.

Next time you feel yourself suffering, get out of your head and try this strategy.

 

 

2. Practice gratitude.

Okay, I thought this strategy was so dumb when I discovered it. It’s so obvious and it sounds way too easy. I mean how can writing down a few things you’re grateful for really end your suffering?

I mean you could lie to yourself and pretend that you’re grateful for something when you’re not. Well, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning. When I was suffering this year, I started writing down three things each day that I was grateful for.

In the first week, I lied about things I was grateful for and found the exercise completely ridiculous. This advice is so common that I decided to persist with this ridiculous self-help hack anyway.

What I found as I kept doing it was that your brain makes a shift subconsciously. Instead of being pissed off and suffering, your brain has to work extra hard to find three things every day to be grateful for.

To make this habit work even better I forced my brain to describe in detail each thing I was grateful for and ideally why. Some days sucked so bad that I thought I would never find three things. Once the challenge became a must, I spent my days working my butt off trying to find things I was grateful for.

While doing various activities during the day, I’d find moments when I was grateful for something and stop. I’d stop and see how I felt at that moment and I would have a mini celebration because I knew I had something for my gratitude list.

Then I tried to aim for five things each day instead of three. This shifted my focus even more. I should have been suffering but because I was forcing myself to see good things that were happening to me, I was distracted.

As I said earlier, this new habit seemed so dumb at the beginning. Once you really do it for a while, you see how it has the power to end suffering. You can’t be pissed off and be grateful at the same time. So, choose gratitude and then your suffering will be sidelined, and in my case, forgotten about.

 

***Life doesn’t need to be full of low points***

The suffering that we all experience is a choice. It probably doesn’t seem like that but these two hacks will demonstrate this to you. Your decision-making power is incredible and all you need to do is select one of these hacks to end suffering.

Don’t let the quality of your life be jeopardized by your default human mode to suffer. You’ll find these two hacks will not only end your suffering; these two hacks will give you purpose.

Here’s what I learned: most people are pissed off and suffer because they have no purpose. Once you find a purpose for your life, you’ll become addicted.

Now that’s a huge win don’t you think? You can end suffering and find purpose, all by using these two hacks. That’s the best gift I can give you.

Don’t just read this advice. Try these two hacks yourself.

It’s time to end suffering forever.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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30 Straightforward Reminders to Help You Supercharge Your Life in 2018

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This time of year it’s easy to be overwhelmed by well-meaning advice. Everyone seems to have a solution to your procrastination or a remedy for your lack of motivation. Unfortunately, most advice is either too general or irrelevant because it doesn’t address your main concerns.

I’ve spent the last year trying to hone in on some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned to stay ahead and maintain a positive mindset.

Here are 30 straightforward reminders and tips to help you supercharge your life in 2018:

1. Get the basics right. Take care of your body, your mind and your soul. Make a list of what you know is good for you and what you know is bad for you in each category. Consider ways to reduce the bad and increase the good.

2. Reduce distractions that sap your energy. When you’re planning big changes, it’s easy to get pulled into many different directions. You get excited about a certain idea which pulls you down the rabbit hole into numerous other directions. Focus on one thing at a time.

3. Make a new friend. Start a conversation with a stranger in the elevator. Compliment someone. Provide some positive reinforcement. Do something without expecting anything in return.

4. Smile more. Smiling takes less effort than frowning. It’s also scientifically proven to make you feel better even if you don’t necessarily feel like smiling.

5. Walk 30 minutes a day. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you stimulate your immune system, increase your metabolism and improve your mood.

6. Do one push-up for every year old you are. Or do twice as many sit-ups for every year old you are. Making sure you work the muscles in different parts of your body stimulates hormone production and helps increase fat burning.

7. Find your intrinsic drivers. Intrinsic drivers are what inspire you based on internal motivation, rather than external motivation. Find something you think of as beautiful, peaceful, relaxing. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Try to understand why you like it

8. Speak to an old friend. Reach out in an email, a text, a phone call. Check in and just let them know you’re thinking about them.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

9. Invest in your health. Join a gym. Buy some type of sports equipment or clothing that is comfortable and that you enjoy being in. Consider joining a pick up sports team.

10. Study something that interests you. Buy a book about someone you admire. Pick a time period that you’re fascinated with. Make a point of becoming an expert on something that matters to you.

11. Teach someone something. Take a topic, any topic, and try to break it down into its component parts so that you can teach someone how to do it. The concentration and the effort it takes to teach someone something is often exactly the kind of effort that is required to truly understand it for yourself.

12. Delegate to someone. Find a task that needs to be done that you could do. Don’t do that task. Instead, look for someone you can ask to help you. Pay them or ask them for a favor. The key is to learn to delegate actions to others.

13. Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation are trending right now, but that’s not the reason you should consider adopting a meditation practice. The real reason is that meditation will help you focus on your key goals while cutting out the noise in the world around you.  

14. Learn to manage your personal finances. One of the biggest causes of stress that we as humans experience is the pressure to make money and control our finances. There are tons of free resources available online to help you learn about finances and help get your money in order.

15. Read more. No, I’m not talking about reading your Facebook News Feed. Read more books. Try to read a book a month, either fiction or nonfiction. At the beginning of the month choose a book and break down the number of pages. See how many you have to read a day to finish… then get started.

16. Cook at home at least 5 days a week. Cooking at home is cheap, easy and fun. You can hone skills in creativity and planning all at once, and it’s a great way to save money.

“My New Year’s resolution is to stick to a good workout plan that will keep me healthy and happy.” – James Lafferty

17. Sell someone. No, not into human bondage. Sell someone on an idea or a product. Learn to market yourself and your skills. Everyone sells as they move through life, but most of us are average salespeople.

18. Hone your principles. What principles define your life? What are your strongly held beliefs? Be honest with yourself and what principles you feel you must uphold.

19. Embrace the power of positive thought. Listen to positive audio tapes, surround yourself with positive people. Look at the positive side of life. Easier said than done, but truth be told one of the best ways to improve your mood is to look for sources of positive mood and inspiration.

20. Practice willpower. Habits are formed over time. Willpower is one of the most important habits you will ever build, so it is integral you continue to practice it through all aspects of your life. Look to the stoic philosophers for a primer on how to tackle this.

21. Write better hooks. A hook is the bit of a song that catches a listener’s attention and repeats your core message in an intriguing way. Similarly, in writing a hook is the quirky or fascinating intro that makes readers want to continue to read. Think about your own hooks and how you can get people interested in what you have to say.

22. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We often become obsessed with daily minutiae and avoid thinking about the big picture. Don’t let yourself worry too much about the small day-to-day struggles. Instead, put your head down and get to work.

23. Don’t overthink the big stuff. Too often we avoid taking leaps of faith because we’re worried about making a mistake on something big. We don’t buy the new house. We avoid marrying the person we love. We put off going to the doctor for that regular scan. Try not to overthink the big decisions (or seemingly small decisions) that may have larger ramifications. If it’s not overly dangerous or illegal, take the plunge and go for it.

24. Learn a new word a day. Increasing your vocabulary helps you see the world in different ways and makes you rethink your core beliefs.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

25. Become a moderate. Extremists are divisive and often at odds with a large portion of the population. Look for ways to bring people together through collaboration and consensus rather than through division.

26. Think big(ger). Many self-help books talk about setting big goals or envisioning massive success in your lifetime. If you want to become a true leader and attain greater fulfillment. Look for ways to think beyond creating success in your lifetime. Think about the legacy you’ll leave for future generations.

27. Learn universal processes. Assess how you work best and find ways to carry standardized processes over into other aspects of your life.

28. Develop support structures. What do you do if things aren’t going according to plan? Do you reach out to friends for support, meditate on the problem alone, or use some mixture of different coping mechanisms? Be aware of what works for you, and what doesn’t.

29. Don’t compare yourself to others. We fall into this trap far too often. We use others as a benchmark for our own progress, but we must remember that it is unhealthy to put too much weight on comparisons, as everyone has their own background and their own perspective.

30. Know when to let go. At the end of the day, you must try your best and let the cards fall as they may. All you can do is put your heart and soul into your effort and learn from the results.

Which one of these things are you going to implement into your life immediately? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

5 Things Generation Z Needs to Know in Order to Succeed

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If you were born from 1995 through 2012, you are part of a special demographic—Generation Z. Congratulations! You are a very important person. First, you make up the largest percentage of the US population at 25.9 percent. Second, you’re an iGeneration kid, which means people like you write product reviews, click web ads, and build online businesses. In short, you run the Internet show.

Finally, you contribute $44 billion to the American economy. You have great potential, but your Internet addiction and reckless behavior are your biggest roadblocks to success. How do you limit the time you spend on Snapchat, focus on building a career, and break through the bars that block your way to success?

Try these five hacks for success:

1. Have a bold vision

Your life is your business. If you’re serious about making it profitable, you’ve got to have a bold vision and work tirelessly to achieve it. Start by redefining yourself. Just because you grew up with Snapchat and YouTube, doesn’t mean you have to use them carelessly. Of course, you can watch the dancing cats on YouTube, but you’ll have to find time for that.

Be a doer, not a chatter, watcher, or browser. Great visionaries are doers, not chatters. If you want success, examine your purpose in life, just like a CEO spends time crafting his company’s mission, then start doing.

Create your vision. Once you make sense of your goal in life, you can set a vision so high that it scares you. Finally, keep working—not chatting—to realize your vision.

2. Never dilute your vision

When I was in high school, I always had the highest grades in my class. However, a new student came to my school, and she began to outshine me in class, answering every question and making me look dumb. One night, I told my mom that I had disappointed her.

I told her that I had new competition, and didn’t have the intellectual capability to face the new girl in the arena. My mom’s response? She laughed out loud before saying anything. She then reminded me, “You told me, remember, that you’ll always be the top student. Why let this girl, a stranger that I believe is no match for you, change your mind?”

Those few words changed my mindset completely. I ended up taking the first position for that year. The moral of the story? Never dilute your vision. It’s scary to face competitors or naysayers who laugh at your idea, but bear in mind that all masters were laughed at before they were revered.

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.” – James Broughton

3. Win big with small tasks

How do you keep winning and moving closer to realizing your vision? You win the small tasks. I get it, you truly want to create your own app making you the next success story in your industry. In addition, you want to start blogging and profit in the gig economy.  

However, accomplishing these things, all of them, is not possible. They are bigger projects that you can’t accomplish all at once. What is possible is to pick only one thing and work fiercely on it. Deconstruct the dream job.

If you have decided to become a successful blogger, break down that blogging job into smaller tasks. Determine your niche, buy a domain name, design your WordPress site, and start writing and publishing your posts. Successful people move from zero to hero by accomplishing the smaller tasks first. So, get each task done, one step at a time.

4. Stay laser focused on one task

Focus is the secret key that will unlock the code for your success. Unfortunately, for post-millennials living in the world of instant notifications, staying focused is hard. How can you stay focused, for one whole hour, on the single most important task of your day?

Well, here are some simple tips that worked for me:

  • Dedicate certain days to your work. These are your creative days. Whether it’s weekdays or weekends, whatever you choose, just make sure that you do nothing but work on those days.
  • Go tech-free on your creative days. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Power off your Smartphone (or leave it in another room on silent). Divorce the Internet before you sit down to work because too much online activity is dangerous for your physical health, mental faculty, and productivity.
  • Pick one task, only one task, and work on it for an hour.

Of course, you can’t get it done flawlessly when you first start. You’ll feel the urge to look at your phone and possibly check your social media feed or play a game. However, you must keep focusing on the task at hand over and over until it becomes a habit. Consider limiting your Internet time on your non-work days, too.

“The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” – Alexa Hirschfeld

5. Stay consistent

One of the most crucial success hacks is consistency. The rule is to show up every day and do the work required if you truly want to succeed.

Learn from the former American tennis champion Andrea Agassi. Before he made a name for himself, Agassi’s father instructed him to hit 5000 balls every day. Just lace some sneakers, show up at the court, hit 5000 balls, and go home to relax.

Show up and do the same tomorrow. This consistent routine was what elevated Agassi to becoming “the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history.” If you want to achieve that level of success, set down your smartphone and get to work. “The doing,” as Arthur Ashe beautifully puts it, “is more important than the outcome.”

Which one of these tasks is more challenging for you? How will you improve on it this year? Let us know so we can help!

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10 “Brick-In-The-Head” Moments You’ll Encounter as an Entrepreneur

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entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurial life is one of the most challenging, stressful and risky avenues to success you could possibly choose. The issue with doing it alone in business ventures is exactly that; you’re alone. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be driven, thick-skinned, and ready for any curve balls. (more…)

Vladimir Yakimenko is a CEO, Investor and Founder of Kanbanchi, a popular project management add-on for G Suite. Kanbanchi is one of the fastest growing add-ons for G Suite and has over 80,000 active users. Our work has been featured on Today.com, Lifehacker, Lifehack and more.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jeanine

    Sep 1, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Daniel

    Great article. I like your thinking!
    1)In my line of work, I constantly have hundreds of tasks and subtasks to navigate though on a daily basis – a never ending / always growing “to do list” is a rather unnerving monster to say the least. My Wunderlist App has been a lifesaver to simply list and order all my tasks, and best of all to get that satisfying feeling of ticking them off when I am done. But yes – find one a App that works for you and delete all the rest – they guzzle up your time and attention. 2) I have tried many techniques to organize my days – but dealing with constant curve balls and clients demands at a drop of a hat – I find it impossible to plan and stick to a plan. I just constantly do do do go go go – ploughing through tasks in order of priority. I get things done and see results. No doubt having a perfectly planned day would be ideal – but reality is less than ideal. Thanks for this advise – I can stop feeling guilty about not fitting in with the “you must plan”model. 3) Aaaagh “sleep” – that wonderful thing that so evades an overactive mind! When I sleep I do so much better all round. Again my Wunderlist App has really helped me to sleep better funnily enough. Subconsciously knowing my hundreds of tasks are neatly tucked away and safely ordered really calms my mind. If I remember something I need to do in the middle of the night I can quickly add it to one of my lists and go back to sleep. Otherwise I would be fretting about forgetting and get no sleep.

    Love your posts – keep them coming

  2. Izuzu Nworgu

    Aug 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Hello Daniel,

    I kind of disagree with the second point: “Never structure your day” and I understand what you point is. It’s true that people spend more time making plans than actually following these plans and the reason behind that is lack of self discipline.
    If you discipline yourself to do something, you’ll do it. Planning my day has helped me a lot to increase my daily productivity.

    I’ve tried some productivity apps and they’ve worked perfectly for me. I still use them actually.

    I totally agree with your third point. Lack of sleep has side effects and it decreases productivity.

  3. Sue Lancaster

    Aug 18, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Brilliant Daniel. Written precisely for me!! I’ve achieved many of my goals and consider myself moderately successful HOWEVER I’m the worlds greatest procrastinator and carry my TO DO list in my head and on my shoulders constantly.
    Definitely going to give your productivity hacks a good go!!
    Thank you
    Look forward to your next post

  4. Bryan Oliver

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Excellent perspective, Daniel. I used to do what you state and sleep less thinking I would produce more. I found myself gaining weight, having brain fog and a host of other issues. Now I balance some days with less sleep and others with more than 8 hrs. This has helped my productivity and mental clarity.

    • Daniel

      Aug 18, 2016 at 4:47 am

      Thanks Brian. I like your approach. If you feel capable of achieving more some days – push yourself. If you feel burned out – rest.

      It’s a good way to promote productivity while ensuring important things like health and happiness remain in check.

      Glad you enjoyed the article.

  5. Niraj

    Aug 17, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Well said. I’ve tried many different productivity apps and tactics, but this is the only way I’m consistently able to be productive.

    • Daniel

      Aug 18, 2016 at 4:52 am

      Agreed, Niraj. Some apps work for some people, but I’ve found the simplest way to get the most out of them – is just to not download them in the first place!

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Success Advice

2 Ways To End Suffering Forever.

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This year I have learned so much. I’ve learned that we all suffer no matter what. No one can avoid it. That’s not what I want to share with you though. What I want to tell you is that you have the power to end suffering.

I have proven it in my own life. We don’t need to suffer. We can end it all and the silly thing is it’s so simple. I do not want you to avoid this advice any longer. I want you to use it even if you think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo.

Here are the two ways I’ve found to end suffering forever:

 

1. Find a way to give to other people.

You only suffer when life is all about you and your success. Once you move from being all about you, into a state of mind that is focused on giving, your problems become insignificant.

I had a couple of situations this year that have nearly knocked me flat on my ass. One was my romantic life falling to pieces and the other was my career collapsing. When both these events occurred, I used giving to other people as the way out of the maze that my mind created.

The moment suffering begun, I went straight to finding ways to serve other people. I helped friends with their businesses, I spoke at events to inspire people, I did some volunteering and I doubled down on my blogging so I could inspire as many people as possible.

Shifting the focus away from what was wrong and using my focus to give to others ended the suffering.

“There wasn’t time to suffer because the purpose of my life during those months was far bigger than me and my stupid life challenges. Giving to others gave me a way to find happiness when I probably would have hidden away and suffered in silence”

Seeing the solutions to other people’s problems and sharing them, gave me a way to put my career and relationships into perspective.

Giving is the example you need when times get tough and things get complicated. You suffer the most when you get stuck in your head and repeat the pattern of telling yourself how wrong your circumstances are.

Suffering can make you depressed, feel lonely, become selfish, go into a downward spiral and take away everything that’s good in your life.

Finding ways to give on the other hand, can cure all of those problems. I know it sounds so cliché what I’m saying but it surprises me how many people never use this strategy. Like I always say: the answers we seek are right in front of our nose.

Next time you feel yourself suffering, get out of your head and try this strategy.

 

 

2. Practice gratitude.

Okay, I thought this strategy was so dumb when I discovered it. It’s so obvious and it sounds way too easy. I mean how can writing down a few things you’re grateful for really end your suffering?

I mean you could lie to yourself and pretend that you’re grateful for something when you’re not. Well, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning. When I was suffering this year, I started writing down three things each day that I was grateful for.

In the first week, I lied about things I was grateful for and found the exercise completely ridiculous. This advice is so common that I decided to persist with this ridiculous self-help hack anyway.

What I found as I kept doing it was that your brain makes a shift subconsciously. Instead of being pissed off and suffering, your brain has to work extra hard to find three things every day to be grateful for.

To make this habit work even better I forced my brain to describe in detail each thing I was grateful for and ideally why. Some days sucked so bad that I thought I would never find three things. Once the challenge became a must, I spent my days working my butt off trying to find things I was grateful for.

While doing various activities during the day, I’d find moments when I was grateful for something and stop. I’d stop and see how I felt at that moment and I would have a mini celebration because I knew I had something for my gratitude list.

Then I tried to aim for five things each day instead of three. This shifted my focus even more. I should have been suffering but because I was forcing myself to see good things that were happening to me, I was distracted.

As I said earlier, this new habit seemed so dumb at the beginning. Once you really do it for a while, you see how it has the power to end suffering. You can’t be pissed off and be grateful at the same time. So, choose gratitude and then your suffering will be sidelined, and in my case, forgotten about.

 

***Life doesn’t need to be full of low points***

The suffering that we all experience is a choice. It probably doesn’t seem like that but these two hacks will demonstrate this to you. Your decision-making power is incredible and all you need to do is select one of these hacks to end suffering.

Don’t let the quality of your life be jeopardized by your default human mode to suffer. You’ll find these two hacks will not only end your suffering; these two hacks will give you purpose.

Here’s what I learned: most people are pissed off and suffer because they have no purpose. Once you find a purpose for your life, you’ll become addicted.

Now that’s a huge win don’t you think? You can end suffering and find purpose, all by using these two hacks. That’s the best gift I can give you.

Don’t just read this advice. Try these two hacks yourself.

It’s time to end suffering forever.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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how to conquer your fears

I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

30 Straightforward Reminders to Help You Supercharge Your Life in 2018

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how to supercharge your life

This time of year it’s easy to be overwhelmed by well-meaning advice. Everyone seems to have a solution to your procrastination or a remedy for your lack of motivation. Unfortunately, most advice is either too general or irrelevant because it doesn’t address your main concerns.

I’ve spent the last year trying to hone in on some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned to stay ahead and maintain a positive mindset.

Here are 30 straightforward reminders and tips to help you supercharge your life in 2018:

1. Get the basics right. Take care of your body, your mind and your soul. Make a list of what you know is good for you and what you know is bad for you in each category. Consider ways to reduce the bad and increase the good.

2. Reduce distractions that sap your energy. When you’re planning big changes, it’s easy to get pulled into many different directions. You get excited about a certain idea which pulls you down the rabbit hole into numerous other directions. Focus on one thing at a time.

3. Make a new friend. Start a conversation with a stranger in the elevator. Compliment someone. Provide some positive reinforcement. Do something without expecting anything in return.

4. Smile more. Smiling takes less effort than frowning. It’s also scientifically proven to make you feel better even if you don’t necessarily feel like smiling.

5. Walk 30 minutes a day. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you stimulate your immune system, increase your metabolism and improve your mood.

6. Do one push-up for every year old you are. Or do twice as many sit-ups for every year old you are. Making sure you work the muscles in different parts of your body stimulates hormone production and helps increase fat burning.

7. Find your intrinsic drivers. Intrinsic drivers are what inspire you based on internal motivation, rather than external motivation. Find something you think of as beautiful, peaceful, relaxing. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Try to understand why you like it

8. Speak to an old friend. Reach out in an email, a text, a phone call. Check in and just let them know you’re thinking about them.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

9. Invest in your health. Join a gym. Buy some type of sports equipment or clothing that is comfortable and that you enjoy being in. Consider joining a pick up sports team.

10. Study something that interests you. Buy a book about someone you admire. Pick a time period that you’re fascinated with. Make a point of becoming an expert on something that matters to you.

11. Teach someone something. Take a topic, any topic, and try to break it down into its component parts so that you can teach someone how to do it. The concentration and the effort it takes to teach someone something is often exactly the kind of effort that is required to truly understand it for yourself.

12. Delegate to someone. Find a task that needs to be done that you could do. Don’t do that task. Instead, look for someone you can ask to help you. Pay them or ask them for a favor. The key is to learn to delegate actions to others.

13. Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation are trending right now, but that’s not the reason you should consider adopting a meditation practice. The real reason is that meditation will help you focus on your key goals while cutting out the noise in the world around you.  

14. Learn to manage your personal finances. One of the biggest causes of stress that we as humans experience is the pressure to make money and control our finances. There are tons of free resources available online to help you learn about finances and help get your money in order.

15. Read more. No, I’m not talking about reading your Facebook News Feed. Read more books. Try to read a book a month, either fiction or nonfiction. At the beginning of the month choose a book and break down the number of pages. See how many you have to read a day to finish… then get started.

16. Cook at home at least 5 days a week. Cooking at home is cheap, easy and fun. You can hone skills in creativity and planning all at once, and it’s a great way to save money.

“My New Year’s resolution is to stick to a good workout plan that will keep me healthy and happy.” – James Lafferty

17. Sell someone. No, not into human bondage. Sell someone on an idea or a product. Learn to market yourself and your skills. Everyone sells as they move through life, but most of us are average salespeople.

18. Hone your principles. What principles define your life? What are your strongly held beliefs? Be honest with yourself and what principles you feel you must uphold.

19. Embrace the power of positive thought. Listen to positive audio tapes, surround yourself with positive people. Look at the positive side of life. Easier said than done, but truth be told one of the best ways to improve your mood is to look for sources of positive mood and inspiration.

20. Practice willpower. Habits are formed over time. Willpower is one of the most important habits you will ever build, so it is integral you continue to practice it through all aspects of your life. Look to the stoic philosophers for a primer on how to tackle this.

21. Write better hooks. A hook is the bit of a song that catches a listener’s attention and repeats your core message in an intriguing way. Similarly, in writing a hook is the quirky or fascinating intro that makes readers want to continue to read. Think about your own hooks and how you can get people interested in what you have to say.

22. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We often become obsessed with daily minutiae and avoid thinking about the big picture. Don’t let yourself worry too much about the small day-to-day struggles. Instead, put your head down and get to work.

23. Don’t overthink the big stuff. Too often we avoid taking leaps of faith because we’re worried about making a mistake on something big. We don’t buy the new house. We avoid marrying the person we love. We put off going to the doctor for that regular scan. Try not to overthink the big decisions (or seemingly small decisions) that may have larger ramifications. If it’s not overly dangerous or illegal, take the plunge and go for it.

24. Learn a new word a day. Increasing your vocabulary helps you see the world in different ways and makes you rethink your core beliefs.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

25. Become a moderate. Extremists are divisive and often at odds with a large portion of the population. Look for ways to bring people together through collaboration and consensus rather than through division.

26. Think big(ger). Many self-help books talk about setting big goals or envisioning massive success in your lifetime. If you want to become a true leader and attain greater fulfillment. Look for ways to think beyond creating success in your lifetime. Think about the legacy you’ll leave for future generations.

27. Learn universal processes. Assess how you work best and find ways to carry standardized processes over into other aspects of your life.

28. Develop support structures. What do you do if things aren’t going according to plan? Do you reach out to friends for support, meditate on the problem alone, or use some mixture of different coping mechanisms? Be aware of what works for you, and what doesn’t.

29. Don’t compare yourself to others. We fall into this trap far too often. We use others as a benchmark for our own progress, but we must remember that it is unhealthy to put too much weight on comparisons, as everyone has their own background and their own perspective.

30. Know when to let go. At the end of the day, you must try your best and let the cards fall as they may. All you can do is put your heart and soul into your effort and learn from the results.

Which one of these things are you going to implement into your life immediately? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

5 Things Generation Z Needs to Know in Order to Succeed

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generation z success tips

If you were born from 1995 through 2012, you are part of a special demographic—Generation Z. Congratulations! You are a very important person. First, you make up the largest percentage of the US population at 25.9 percent. Second, you’re an iGeneration kid, which means people like you write product reviews, click web ads, and build online businesses. In short, you run the Internet show.

Finally, you contribute $44 billion to the American economy. You have great potential, but your Internet addiction and reckless behavior are your biggest roadblocks to success. How do you limit the time you spend on Snapchat, focus on building a career, and break through the bars that block your way to success?

Try these five hacks for success:

1. Have a bold vision

Your life is your business. If you’re serious about making it profitable, you’ve got to have a bold vision and work tirelessly to achieve it. Start by redefining yourself. Just because you grew up with Snapchat and YouTube, doesn’t mean you have to use them carelessly. Of course, you can watch the dancing cats on YouTube, but you’ll have to find time for that.

Be a doer, not a chatter, watcher, or browser. Great visionaries are doers, not chatters. If you want success, examine your purpose in life, just like a CEO spends time crafting his company’s mission, then start doing.

Create your vision. Once you make sense of your goal in life, you can set a vision so high that it scares you. Finally, keep working—not chatting—to realize your vision.

2. Never dilute your vision

When I was in high school, I always had the highest grades in my class. However, a new student came to my school, and she began to outshine me in class, answering every question and making me look dumb. One night, I told my mom that I had disappointed her.

I told her that I had new competition, and didn’t have the intellectual capability to face the new girl in the arena. My mom’s response? She laughed out loud before saying anything. She then reminded me, “You told me, remember, that you’ll always be the top student. Why let this girl, a stranger that I believe is no match for you, change your mind?”

Those few words changed my mindset completely. I ended up taking the first position for that year. The moral of the story? Never dilute your vision. It’s scary to face competitors or naysayers who laugh at your idea, but bear in mind that all masters were laughed at before they were revered.

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.” – James Broughton

3. Win big with small tasks

How do you keep winning and moving closer to realizing your vision? You win the small tasks. I get it, you truly want to create your own app making you the next success story in your industry. In addition, you want to start blogging and profit in the gig economy.  

However, accomplishing these things, all of them, is not possible. They are bigger projects that you can’t accomplish all at once. What is possible is to pick only one thing and work fiercely on it. Deconstruct the dream job.

If you have decided to become a successful blogger, break down that blogging job into smaller tasks. Determine your niche, buy a domain name, design your WordPress site, and start writing and publishing your posts. Successful people move from zero to hero by accomplishing the smaller tasks first. So, get each task done, one step at a time.

4. Stay laser focused on one task

Focus is the secret key that will unlock the code for your success. Unfortunately, for post-millennials living in the world of instant notifications, staying focused is hard. How can you stay focused, for one whole hour, on the single most important task of your day?

Well, here are some simple tips that worked for me:

  • Dedicate certain days to your work. These are your creative days. Whether it’s weekdays or weekends, whatever you choose, just make sure that you do nothing but work on those days.
  • Go tech-free on your creative days. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Power off your Smartphone (or leave it in another room on silent). Divorce the Internet before you sit down to work because too much online activity is dangerous for your physical health, mental faculty, and productivity.
  • Pick one task, only one task, and work on it for an hour.

Of course, you can’t get it done flawlessly when you first start. You’ll feel the urge to look at your phone and possibly check your social media feed or play a game. However, you must keep focusing on the task at hand over and over until it becomes a habit. Consider limiting your Internet time on your non-work days, too.

“The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” – Alexa Hirschfeld

5. Stay consistent

One of the most crucial success hacks is consistency. The rule is to show up every day and do the work required if you truly want to succeed.

Learn from the former American tennis champion Andrea Agassi. Before he made a name for himself, Agassi’s father instructed him to hit 5000 balls every day. Just lace some sneakers, show up at the court, hit 5000 balls, and go home to relax.

Show up and do the same tomorrow. This consistent routine was what elevated Agassi to becoming “the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history.” If you want to achieve that level of success, set down your smartphone and get to work. “The doing,” as Arthur Ashe beautifully puts it, “is more important than the outcome.”

Which one of these tasks is more challenging for you? How will you improve on it this year? Let us know so we can help!

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