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5 Powerful ‘Brain Hacks’ That Will Rocket Your Daily Productivity & Focus

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brain hacks productivity focus

If you’re like most people, you likely find yourself frequently wishing there were more hours in the day to accomplish all the important things on your To-Do list.  It seems like no matter what you do there’s always more and more in life that calls for your attention, while many of the truly important things get put on the back burner when we run out of time in the day.

Does any of this ring a bell?

If so, then I’d like to offer you a few of the most powerful ‘mind tricks’ I know that can help you dramatically increase your daily productivity and focus so you can get more done in less time.

Read the rest of this article only if you’d love to learn how to sharpen your focus, be more motivated, and blast through your daily tasks so you have more time available to do whatever else you enjoy in life.

 

Brain Hack #1:  Shrink Your Mental Deadlines

If you think something is going to take you an hour, give yourself 40 minutes instead. By shrinking your mental deadlines, you’ll be able to work much faster and with greater focus.

You should also schedule time on your calendar every week for focused, quiet concentrated “Golden Hours” or “Power Time” where you only work on your most important activities for a designated amount of time. To do this effectively, it’s important to close your email, silence your phone, and unplug from social media during these timeframes. That is, unless your most productive task happens to include any one of those mediums.

 

Brain Hack #2:  Create a “Stop Doing” List

A “Stop Doing” list is as important as a “To Do” list. We use a To Do list to help us gets things done, but how many counter-productive habits, rituals and routines are we allowing in our lives to continue robbing us of the results and lifestyle we truly desire?

By creating a “Stop Doing” list, and committing to it, we can systematically purge out negative habits and replace them with better, more productive ones.

An easy way to do this is to get out a piece of paper and make a list of any/all the habits, routines or people in your life that are actually making you less productive and taking you farther away from your intended goals or desired quality of life.

Now, this requires you to be totally honest, truthful and transparent with yourself about what’s in your life that could be holding you back or stealing happiness in some way. But when you’re willing to step back and look at your own life and situation objectively, it becomes much easier to see the reality of our situation and be able to make rational decisions about what needs to be done in light of the bigger picture. Thus progress can be made where it otherwise couldn’t.

 

Brain Hack #3: Review Your Productivity at the End of the Day

Try this: Every night before going to bed, take the time to write down the top 3-5 highest priority items that you resolve to complete the following day. These should be tasks that directly move you or your business closer to your goals.

Then at the end of each day, before you create your new list for the next day, take some time to review your list from the current day and ask yourself what went well and what you could’ve done better. Celebrate in your mind what you did accomplish, but also apply a little constructive criticism to yourself for anything you may have slacked on.  Then just rollover your uncompleted tasks to the next day’s list.

The most difficult aspect of being ultra-productive is you driving your day instead of your day driving you. Start your day by looking through your tasks each morning and making a conscious decision to allocate your time and focus on the most important and highly leveraged tasks before anything else. Then review your progress at the end of the day and make adjustments where necessary.

 

Brain Hack #4:  Avoid Multitasking

Don’t multitask. Multitasking is something we all do these days. The problem though is that our brains just aren’t cut out for it. When you multitask, you’re actually interfering with your brain’s ability to perform at it’s full-capacity.

Yeah sure, we can all walk and chew gum at the same time. We can can fold laundry while talking to a friend on the phone. Clowns can also ride a unicycle while juggling brightly colored balls.

These are all role tasks that don’t demand a lot of brain power. But in most cases where brainpower and creativity are critical, multitasking is really lesstasking. When you make shifts in your activity from one context to another, you risk dropping things from your short-term memory. You also disrupt the mental flow needed to perform at top-efficiency.

Do one thing at a time, minimize context shifts, maximize brain power!

 

Brain Hack #5:  Use “Brainwave Entrainment” Audios To Increase Focus & Productivity

Brainwave entrainment is a 100+ year old science that uses special tones and sounds to influence a person’s brainwave patterns, which have been proven scientifically to help change one’s state of mind, such as how focused they are.

Let’s briefly explore how it works.

Your brainwave patterns show what’s going on inside your head.  Different brainwave frequencies show that you’re in different states of mind. For example, they may show that you are sleeping, or relaxed, or intently focused.

Brainwave entrainment can be used to tap into the frequencies associated with heightened focus and increased productivity, and brings your brain waves into harmony with them.  The result is more clarity, more creativity, enhanced focus, and increased personal output.

You simply put on your headphones and play a special MP3 audio based on what kind of mindset you want to entrain.  You can even do this while you’re working, writing, reading, doing chores, etc

 

Do you have any ‘brain hacks‘ that help you live better?

If so, share them with us in the comments below!

Nash Ryker is an expert productivity coach and online marketing consultant.  He enjoys helping people to get more done is less time by helping them to sharpen their focus, be more motivated, blast through work, and increase daily output through the use of a scientifically-proven audio technology called "brainwave entrainment".  It uses special sounds to increase your brain's focus levels, helping you become ultra-productive in just minutes.  For a free demo visit www.BoostYourProductivity.org

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Corey Hinde

    Apr 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    attack your life with the 80/20 rule, think about it every day, revisit it constantly. Use lists, review them constantly. Develop a 5 year plan

  2. G SCHWEI

    Nov 6, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Wrong attitude prior going to sleep – note your accomplishments, and give credit to those whom helped you.

  3. Claire

    Feb 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Brainsync.com is great for audios also. I also use weekly & monthly planning over daily planning as its less stressful

  4. Casandra

    Feb 15, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Great list. I use journalling to keep me on track. Writing down what I’m working or and struggling with help clarify things and focus my mind. Once something is written down and it doesn’t suck up all my mental power because I stop thinking about it. I try to write in my teamspir.it logbook at the end of every day!

  5. Kamron

    Feb 12, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hey Nash!

    I love the clarity and easy to follow nature of this post 🙂 I’ve actually done up a “Stop doing” list and a “Keep doing” list hahaha. One thing I like to do every single morning is perform a morning ritual which includes a section where I instill beliefs that I will be productive and creative throughout the day. Prominently for school, I enjoy chanting to myself “I am acing school, I am, I am, I am”, it reinforces my brain to actively seek the activities that promote “acing school” and it helps a lot! For example I just received my marks for a PDH assessment task; 100% A +! So yeah hahah

    Number 1 in your list is especially helpful to me because I find if I know I have time to procrastinate – I will. So if I challenge myself to complete homework or a personal project in under 30 minutes or whatever, not only does it make me feel satisfied about completing my work but my brain will become accustomed to these “Mental Deadlines” thus promoting more productivity and a faster brain start.

    Thanks again for an amazingly helpful post!

    Regards, Kamron

  6. Nikola Gjakovski

    Feb 10, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I specially like number four because I do it most of the time! It’s same as “I would rather take 12 bags than taking two trips”. Number 3 I am missing also so I would save this text as a reminder. Thanks Nash

  7. Kosio Angelov

    Feb 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Take short breaks every 40 – 50 minutes.

    Exercise on a regular basis. It really helps with energy and concentration overall. And don’t feel like you need to hit the gym. Take a walk. Take the stairs. Do some jumping jacks for 5 minutes next to your desk. Any physical movement is better than none.

  8. Naomi@businessstart-ups

    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Nash,

    Really good list of tips. Brainwave Entertainment is new to me. I will definitely be looking into it!

    Thanks for the great read.

    Naomi

  9. Bastiaan

    Feb 6, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Some very good tips! I love the one about not multitasking. I now from my personal experience that doing several things at a time is very, very unproductive.

    Doing one thing at a time gives you much more satisfaction and will get you in a flow.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Rudi Middleton

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    My productivity nemesis was ToDo ‘Baggage’ The little jobs you put off that mount up, become a chain you keep dragging around until you’re confidence to achieve anything is at gutter level. All of the hacks above should help you avoid this scenario. Great post.

  11. Daniel

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I agree with the multitasking issue. I think we are all guilty of that. Focus on one thing and tear it up!

  12. Aida

    Feb 5, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Writing down a specific goal and putting it up on my work desk always helps me ^^

  13. Linda

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Concerning Brain Hack #5: Use “Brainwave Entrainment”.. I’ve used Tibetan singing bowl sounds with success when I want to focus on a task.

  14. Anita

    Feb 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Great tips. Especially reviewing what you’ve accomplished. Every time I measure my results, my results improve.

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Success Advice

The One Strategy to Help You Create Meaningful Work

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This past week I had dinner with a friend who had recently returned from Japan. While hearing about her trip, the Japanese concept of Ikigai came up and had stayed on my mind for days. I found it really compelling and couldn’t help but delve into the topic.

Ikigai, pronounced (ee-kee-guy), translates to “One’s Reason for Being.” It is believed that everyone has an Iikigai and discovering it brings satisfaction and meaning to life. The challenge is to find it since it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self.

I invite you to explore whether you have found your meaningful work- your Ikigai- because if you haven’t then you might be working to help someone else achieve theirs.

Not too long ago, I was going through my own career struggle. I was extremely unhappy and disconnected to my work. I only wanted to wake up inspired and enjoy what I do, instead of playing various scenarios in my head telling my manager that I was ready to quit.

I had no clue what would be the best fit for me. I craved a meaningful career, not just a job to get by. I tried testing different options, but as time went by I lost hope that I would ever be able to discover my life’s work.

I was desperate for clarity, but instead, I was getting more and more confused. Later on, it became clear to me I was doing it all wrong. I was influenced by countless opinions and suggestions of others, all showing how work should be, which eventually resulted in a total choice paralysis: Should I start a business? Should I try to establish myself in a company? What was I even interested in? What was I truly good at?

When it finally became clear, I couldn’t believe it took me almost two years to figure it out, because it was so simple.

The one strategy I needed was starting backwards.

I started by unwinding my creative imagination and used a design thinking approach. I knew once I crafted a vision about work which could get me excited, I would be on the right track. In the beginning, I was trying to create my life around a career, instead of doing just the opposite. I had to first design the life I wanted to have and then search for what careers fit that lifestyle.

“The life you want begins by embracing the life you have.” – Rob Bell

I had to start backwards from the bigger vision of what I wanted my life and work to look like. Not many people will implement that approach, but for me, it made all the difference. I took my time to articulate my own perspective on life and work. I figured I should be asking myself different questions which would help me understand what I wanted for my life as a whole, not just my career, family, or social life.

Truth be told, our work consumes a huge amount of our time. Spending it asking the wrong questions won’t get us any further. The key to a happy and fulfilled life is to create a way to integrate all areas of life into a coherent lifestyle. A life that allows us to fully express ourselves and our beliefs in order to be content with how we spend our time. Essentially, all of us want to live a happy and fulfilled life as opposed to a mediocre existence.

I started with the bigger vision in mind and asked myself the following questions:

  • What is the lifestyle I want to have?
  • What do I want my day to day activities to be?
  • Where would I like to work from?
  • What hours and intensity of work do I want to commit to?
  • What is my social and family life going to look like?
  • What are the fields of interest that I would like to develop, learn and grow in?
  • Who and what is supporting my values and interests?
  • What is making me proud to say what I do for a living, and why?
  • What impact do I want to create for the society and for the community I am a part of?
  • How do I want to make money and how much money do I need to feel comfortable supporting myself and my family?

Once I reflected on all of these questions I was able to look at my life from a much more creative angle. I gave way to my imagination and curiosity, because I saw my life as a joyous experience I wanted to intentionally design. I was approaching my career with a whole new perspective, which allowed me to see opportunities I didn’t think existed before.

I have come to realize that our school system is more often preparing us for a scripted life. It isn’t set up to propel asking the important questions. In fact, there isn’t a class which teaches how to discover meaning and fulfillment. Climbing the corporate ladder only to wake up bored every morning isn’t what we signed up for, but somehow most of us end up doing just that.

“Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey

Today, I dare you to create your Ikigai- by getting clear on what you desire your life’s work to be. Start designing your vision with intention and you’ll encounter wonderful serendipities. The right people will come your way, opportunities will align and eventually, you’ll find yourself on the right track.

How will you make sure you achieve your goals? Comment below and share your plan with us!

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Success Advice

I Can’t Always Be Mr Success And Neither Can You.

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Today I stuffed up big time.

I’ve spent the last five years becoming disciplined and learning every self-improvement hack I could.

I’ve tried very hard not to drink too much alcohol, minimise my sugar intake, reframe from swearing, treat people better, give more to those in need and be an all round good human being.

But today I F*#ked that up. Can you believe it?

Well, you better.

As hard as I try to be successful, there are going to be times when I mess up. Today was the day I was put to the test.

So today we had a function for work, and we went to a secluded island to sit back, relax, and let our hair down. We had to board a ferry to the island and there was a long line of people. Our group was at the front because we had waited for the longest.

When we finally got to the front, a young lady attempted to push in. Without thinking, my friend and I prevented the cue-cutting attempt. What happened next shocked me. This lady then began dishing out all sorts of insults.

She made fun of the way I looked, accused me of being such a low life that I must be single, had a crack at my financial position and everything under the sun. I managed to reframe from overreacting until I let one insult slip.

That insult is what surprised me. I’ve tried so much to be well behaved and then in the heat of the moment I broke the promise to myself.

 

It’s normal to mess up.

Okay, so I’ve been well-behaved for quite a while and you probably have to. It’s not the end of the world when you fall back into your old ways for a brief moment. The key is to acknowledge when you’ve returned to an old pattern and stop yourself.

The moment I let out that inappropriate insult, I knew I’d stepped over the line. It didn’t feel good. I felt guilty. I wanted to take it back but couldn’t because the young woman had left.

“If you try and cruise through life, and never break your commitments, you’ll fail and hate yourself”

There needs to be some room for stuff ups. You have to be okay with being imperfect once in a while.

 

The idea is to outweigh the bad.

What I mean by this is that you need to aim for 51% or more of quality habits, conversations, gestures, etc. The more you tip the scales over to the good side, the less you’ll be tempted to fall back to your old ways.

 

Shooting your mouth off like I did is only a temporary blemish.

You can come back from it and it all starts with taking ownership. Being in denial or acting like you did nothing is not okay. Being a leader and admitting the error in your ways takes guts and that will lead you towards success in the long run.

“Don’t let a brief moment of madness ruin all the progress you’ve made”

Make your temporary mishaps parts of the self-improvement process and use them as a lesson. Experience the regret that comes with being out of alignment with your true self.

This personal incongruency is the motivation you need to stand true to your commitments.

 

Sometimes we all need a reminder.

Otherwise, we forget the life we’ve left behind and it becomes far to easy to lose the plot and rack up a scorecard of negative activities. That slap in the face that you get when you go back to the past and reunite with your addictions and temptations is exactly what you need.

Reconnecting with the past gives you perspective. It also shows you how far you’ve come. The moment your personal progress is under threat, you’ll be surprised how quickly your mind puts you back on the path you were on.

 

It always starts with trying to be right.

Falling back to your old ways always starts with trying to be right. It’s because we all secretly hold rules of how life is supposed to be and when someone violates that rule, we risk going back to our former self. You can’t always be right so stop pretending you can be.

Don’t let trying to be right all the time stand in the way of all the progress you have made. I know it sucks when someone does something that violates what you believe but think before you take action. There are times when you should stand up and there are other times (like my recent encounter) when you should just reframe from going down the rabbit hole of rules you wished people would live by.

 

The truth is we all stuff up.

Even your favorite pop star Katy Perry loses her mind once in a while. That’s right I saw when she was interviewed by a therapist and she had a brief moment of huge failure, embarrassment, and dirty laundry aired on TV. It’s okay.

Once you understand that there are times you are going to do the opposite of what your goals say, and that’s cool, you’ll live a much more relaxed life.

 

Try forgiveness.

This is what I tried after the mishap on the ferry. I permitted myself to mess up. I told myself I was sorry and committed to making up for what I’d done. The most difficult person to forgive is yourself a lot of the time and that’s who needs it the most.

Don’t just try and be kind to others; be kind to yourself too. If you forgive yourself more often when things go wrong, you’ll discover what it’s like to take failure and disappointment by the curly ones and own your life.

 

Life is about owning your successes and your mishaps.

The mishaps lead to your success, eventually.

Never forget that. I’m not successful 24/7 and neither are you.

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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The Three Fundamental Principles of Achievement

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I’m all about keeping things simple. The world is much too complex and I find that much like Vince Lombardi, we tend to complicate things. If we just focus on truly mastering the basics, we can achieve whatever we set our hearts and minds to. One of my favorite stories comes from Coach Lombardi’s best-selling book.

“He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before… He began with the most elemental statement of all. “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.”

It is the summer of 1961, and he begins training by introducing a “football” to a bunch of men who had been playing football for years, perhaps well over a decade. Was this Insulting? No, because the players obviously knew what a football was. Nonetheless, from day one Vince Lombardi was teaching them the basics. This was the secret of one of the winningest coaches in the history of football because the basic, fundamental principles never fail.

When you build a wall, the basic element is a single brick. Put enough of them together, in the right pattern and you have your wall. Concert pianists use only eight keys to create the world’s greatest masterpieces. They don’t try to come up with new notes. They work with what they have.

As fortune would have it, there are basic principles of achievement that when mastered, create success. It’s a formula you can count on, which is as predictable as the sunrise. Success doesn’t care how old you are, how much money you have or haven’t earned in the past. It doesn’t give a hoot about your skin color, background or where you grew up. Regardless of who you are, success is achieved when the basics are mastered.

Here are three of the most fundamental principles of achievement:

1. High-achievers take action

With a ready-fire-aim mentality, nothing beats taking action. You could pull out a great book about success and learn from the greats, but there is no better teacher than experience, which comes only from taking action.

The dangerous thing about the internet is the overabundance of information as we’re still a little unsure of how to handle it. Because of all this new information, many entrepreneurs can easily get caught in a comfort zone of learning because it makes them feel like they’re doing something when they’re not sure what else to do or they’re afraid to take action. By reading another book or listening to one more podcast, they delay action and don’t have to feel guilty.

Others spend too much time making a decision. They worry about making the “right” decision. A mentor of mine taught me that it’s far more powerful to “make a decision, and then make it right.” If you find out it’s wrong, make a new decision, pivot quickly and take new action. Whatever you do, avoid getting caught up in analysis paralysis. Action is the cure.

“The path to success is to take massive, determined actions.” – Tony Robbins

2. Consistent action breeds momentum

Momentum is the mitochondria of the cell; the powerhouse. When you have momentum on your side, several benefits kick in. For example, challenges shrink from overwhelming obstacles to small speed bumps and you will tend to make decisions quickly. Small annoyances become meaningless as momentum serendipitously brings with it a cousin named “confidence.”

Think back to the last time you made a lane change while driving. It was easy; you glanced over your shoulder (hopefully) to make sure there was adequate space, put on your blinker and drove into the other lane.

Compare that with your lane getting caught in a standstill. The lane next to you is cruising along, must be an accident up ahead. Naturally, you want to make the same maneuver- a lane change. You look over your shoulder and…wait. You wait for a gap sufficiently large enough to allow you to jump into the lane and speed up without cutting off oncoming traffic.

Granted, some drivers don’t seem to care much about that (ask me how I know), but you get the idea. Momentum is a mindset game changer. When you have it, everything seems easier because everything is “going your way.”

3. Habit takes over and rules it all

Once you are consistently taking action, and you’re having fun because of all this newfound momentum on your side, you’re likely to repeat it and form a habit. Firstly, this happens mentally and then physically. Mentally, a habit is a new way of thinking about things, because your expectations change. Without realizing, you begin “looking” for good things to happen because you just know they will. You become an optimist.

Your habits are the backbone to your success. Once you start the mental habit of thinking like a successful person and you start doing the things successful people do every day, your life changes. Success is inevitable. It’s the law of the harvest- you reap what you sow. Plant good seeds in the spring, water them all summer and fall will produce.

“Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event.” – Brian Tracy

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, take a deeper look and you’ll notice a breakdown somewhere along the way. Be honest in your self-diagnosis and admit when you’re off track. Allow for mistakes, because perfectionism is one of the great plagues prevalent in our society.

So now that you’ve read this blog, stop learning and start earning. Get up and take action- start the cycle and see how it changes your life.

Which one of these principles will help you most this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

My Giant Imaginary Billboard Would Say This: The Stories You Tell Yourself Come True.

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We’ve all played the game where we try to think of a message we’d put on a metaphorical billboard that costs us nothing.

The point of the exercise is to try and find out what one message you would share with the world that could change the game for all of us.

I racked my brain trying to think of mine. There are so many messages I want to share. Finally, I figured out what mine would be.

The message I would put on a giant billboard is:

“The stories you tell yourself come true”

 

The stories you tell yourself.

The reason I chose this powerful message is that it’s the one thing that has changed the course of my life. When I began telling myself a new story, everything around me appeared differently. I genuinely believe that I am going to change the world in a big way and create positivity.

You have a recurring story running through your own brain that you’re probably unaware of. The story might be one like this:

– Life is hard, so I better relax tonight.
– I need to make more money so life will get easier.
– Why do these disasters always happen to me?
– Why is it so hard to make a living?
– Why can’t I find my passion like everyone else?

These stories are all built on a lie. These stories focus on inaction and that will get you nowhere.

 

The stories you tell start with a question.

To improve your story, you first need to start by asking better questions. Questions that limit you will destroy your success. I’ve found the best questions to ask yourself have the following elements:

– They’re big and audacious
– They mention the phrase “Changing the world”
– They’re open-ended
– They assume the best, not the worst
– They’re not of a selfish nature

Write down some questions that will help you create a new story for your life.

 

You’re going to be repeating this story a lot so it might as well be good.

These stories play over and over in our head every day. You might as well have a story that’s interesting and makes you feel good don’t you think?

I don’t want to hear nonsense playing in my head on repeat. There’s enough of that in day-to-day life already.

That’s why my story says the following:

– I will inspire millions of people
– I will be healthy so I can have energy to do what I love
– I will have a life full of challenges and no matter what I’ll find the positive
– I will be fearful and that means I’m excited
– I will help others because that’s the true wisdom of life

 

What you tell yourself over and over becomes your reality.

Your life becomes what you tell yourself over and over. Change that pattern and insert a new story, and if you’re patient enough, you’ll become that new story.

Not overnight. Not in 60 seconds. In a few years probably.

So tell yourself things that are going to inspire you to do the extraordinary. Don’t fill your head with deadbeat ideas like “I’m not enough.”

You are bloody enough and you can be a bloody ripper of a person if you put your mind to it and tell yourself clever things.

The whole “Life Hacking” sport has become everybody’s favorite TV station. The thing is you don’t need to hack anything if you tell yourself the right stories.

 

Translation of “The Stories You Tell Yourself”

This line is a bit hocus pocus when I think about it. If I were to transcribe this phrase, I’d say that the stories you tell yourself stem from one idea: YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

All the stories I just shared with you that I tell myself are stories of believing in what I can achieve. If you don’t believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to take a chance on you? There are so many distractions nowadays so for anyone to give you their attention, they have to believe it’s going to be worth it.

Believing in yourself is centered around one idea: You’re going to back yourself even though you don’t know the outcome or the steps you necessarily need to move forward.

Believing in yourself is a belief in the reality of uncertainty.

Uncertainty takes courage and that means crushing fear. All of these fundamentals of life that I’m sharing are not new things that you’ve never heard. These pillars of life are interconnected.

“When you fall in love with uncertainty, you tell yourself that you’re confident, strong and can deal with obstacles. This creates a fortress around your mind that protects you from outside, negative forces, telling you a different story. It’s how you avoid the opinions of others and back yourself”

 

5 years ago…..

I told myself a story that I was going to crush my ridiculous fears and become somebody who focuses on the “doing” and spreading positivity.

That new story seemed so stupid at the time because of where I was but none the less I believed it. It then took everything I had to make it come true. I never let challenges bring me away from that storyline and I kept it front and center.

People told me I wasn’t good enough, rich enough, smart enough, experienced enough and I decided to tell myself the story that “Yes I am and I won’t be stopped from achieving my goal.”

I’ve told this story so many times since then that now the majority of my network and colleagues believe it. It’s no longer an idea. It’s now a reality.

“The stories you tell yourself do come true and I’m living proof of that”

 

Commit to a new story.

I never write any blog post without insisting on one action from you. The action for you right now is to commit to a new story. Sign up for a new story and put all your poker chips on the line. Throw away that old story that told you that you weren’t good enough.

Create a new story that supports the person you want to become and the goals you want to achieve. The last step is this: Tell that new story to yourself every single day and believe every word.

The stories you tell yourself do come true and that’s what I would put on a giant billboard if I were given access to one. Much respect.

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

The One Strategy to Help You Create Meaningful Work

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creating meaningful work

This past week I had dinner with a friend who had recently returned from Japan. While hearing about her trip, the Japanese concept of Ikigai came up and had stayed on my mind for days. I found it really compelling and couldn’t help but delve into the topic. (more…)

Vanya Lazarova is a certified professional coach, specializing in helping people create their life's work by starting with purpose and authenticity. She loves writing, reading, psychology, philosophy, arts and all forms of self- expression. She co-founded a personal development podcast called "The Coaching Journal", where she offers thought provoking concepts to empower people intentionally design the life they want to have. You can find more about Vanya and the work she does on her website www.LiveAuthentic.net and at her podcast The Coaching Journal.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Corey Hinde

    Apr 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    attack your life with the 80/20 rule, think about it every day, revisit it constantly. Use lists, review them constantly. Develop a 5 year plan

  2. G SCHWEI

    Nov 6, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Wrong attitude prior going to sleep – note your accomplishments, and give credit to those whom helped you.

  3. Claire

    Feb 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Brainsync.com is great for audios also. I also use weekly & monthly planning over daily planning as its less stressful

  4. Casandra

    Feb 15, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Great list. I use journalling to keep me on track. Writing down what I’m working or and struggling with help clarify things and focus my mind. Once something is written down and it doesn’t suck up all my mental power because I stop thinking about it. I try to write in my teamspir.it logbook at the end of every day!

  5. Kamron

    Feb 12, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hey Nash!

    I love the clarity and easy to follow nature of this post 🙂 I’ve actually done up a “Stop doing” list and a “Keep doing” list hahaha. One thing I like to do every single morning is perform a morning ritual which includes a section where I instill beliefs that I will be productive and creative throughout the day. Prominently for school, I enjoy chanting to myself “I am acing school, I am, I am, I am”, it reinforces my brain to actively seek the activities that promote “acing school” and it helps a lot! For example I just received my marks for a PDH assessment task; 100% A +! So yeah hahah

    Number 1 in your list is especially helpful to me because I find if I know I have time to procrastinate – I will. So if I challenge myself to complete homework or a personal project in under 30 minutes or whatever, not only does it make me feel satisfied about completing my work but my brain will become accustomed to these “Mental Deadlines” thus promoting more productivity and a faster brain start.

    Thanks again for an amazingly helpful post!

    Regards, Kamron

  6. Nikola Gjakovski

    Feb 10, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I specially like number four because I do it most of the time! It’s same as “I would rather take 12 bags than taking two trips”. Number 3 I am missing also so I would save this text as a reminder. Thanks Nash

  7. Kosio Angelov

    Feb 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Take short breaks every 40 – 50 minutes.

    Exercise on a regular basis. It really helps with energy and concentration overall. And don’t feel like you need to hit the gym. Take a walk. Take the stairs. Do some jumping jacks for 5 minutes next to your desk. Any physical movement is better than none.

  8. Naomi@businessstart-ups

    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Nash,

    Really good list of tips. Brainwave Entertainment is new to me. I will definitely be looking into it!

    Thanks for the great read.

    Naomi

  9. Bastiaan

    Feb 6, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Some very good tips! I love the one about not multitasking. I now from my personal experience that doing several things at a time is very, very unproductive.

    Doing one thing at a time gives you much more satisfaction and will get you in a flow.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Rudi Middleton

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    My productivity nemesis was ToDo ‘Baggage’ The little jobs you put off that mount up, become a chain you keep dragging around until you’re confidence to achieve anything is at gutter level. All of the hacks above should help you avoid this scenario. Great post.

  11. Daniel

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I agree with the multitasking issue. I think we are all guilty of that. Focus on one thing and tear it up!

  12. Aida

    Feb 5, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Writing down a specific goal and putting it up on my work desk always helps me ^^

  13. Linda

    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Concerning Brain Hack #5: Use “Brainwave Entrainment”.. I’ve used Tibetan singing bowl sounds with success when I want to focus on a task.

  14. Anita

    Feb 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Great tips. Especially reviewing what you’ve accomplished. Every time I measure my results, my results improve.

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Success Advice

The One Strategy to Help You Create Meaningful Work

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creating meaningful work

This past week I had dinner with a friend who had recently returned from Japan. While hearing about her trip, the Japanese concept of Ikigai came up and had stayed on my mind for days. I found it really compelling and couldn’t help but delve into the topic.

Ikigai, pronounced (ee-kee-guy), translates to “One’s Reason for Being.” It is believed that everyone has an Iikigai and discovering it brings satisfaction and meaning to life. The challenge is to find it since it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self.

I invite you to explore whether you have found your meaningful work- your Ikigai- because if you haven’t then you might be working to help someone else achieve theirs.

Not too long ago, I was going through my own career struggle. I was extremely unhappy and disconnected to my work. I only wanted to wake up inspired and enjoy what I do, instead of playing various scenarios in my head telling my manager that I was ready to quit.

I had no clue what would be the best fit for me. I craved a meaningful career, not just a job to get by. I tried testing different options, but as time went by I lost hope that I would ever be able to discover my life’s work.

I was desperate for clarity, but instead, I was getting more and more confused. Later on, it became clear to me I was doing it all wrong. I was influenced by countless opinions and suggestions of others, all showing how work should be, which eventually resulted in a total choice paralysis: Should I start a business? Should I try to establish myself in a company? What was I even interested in? What was I truly good at?

When it finally became clear, I couldn’t believe it took me almost two years to figure it out, because it was so simple.

The one strategy I needed was starting backwards.

I started by unwinding my creative imagination and used a design thinking approach. I knew once I crafted a vision about work which could get me excited, I would be on the right track. In the beginning, I was trying to create my life around a career, instead of doing just the opposite. I had to first design the life I wanted to have and then search for what careers fit that lifestyle.

“The life you want begins by embracing the life you have.” – Rob Bell

I had to start backwards from the bigger vision of what I wanted my life and work to look like. Not many people will implement that approach, but for me, it made all the difference. I took my time to articulate my own perspective on life and work. I figured I should be asking myself different questions which would help me understand what I wanted for my life as a whole, not just my career, family, or social life.

Truth be told, our work consumes a huge amount of our time. Spending it asking the wrong questions won’t get us any further. The key to a happy and fulfilled life is to create a way to integrate all areas of life into a coherent lifestyle. A life that allows us to fully express ourselves and our beliefs in order to be content with how we spend our time. Essentially, all of us want to live a happy and fulfilled life as opposed to a mediocre existence.

I started with the bigger vision in mind and asked myself the following questions:

  • What is the lifestyle I want to have?
  • What do I want my day to day activities to be?
  • Where would I like to work from?
  • What hours and intensity of work do I want to commit to?
  • What is my social and family life going to look like?
  • What are the fields of interest that I would like to develop, learn and grow in?
  • Who and what is supporting my values and interests?
  • What is making me proud to say what I do for a living, and why?
  • What impact do I want to create for the society and for the community I am a part of?
  • How do I want to make money and how much money do I need to feel comfortable supporting myself and my family?

Once I reflected on all of these questions I was able to look at my life from a much more creative angle. I gave way to my imagination and curiosity, because I saw my life as a joyous experience I wanted to intentionally design. I was approaching my career with a whole new perspective, which allowed me to see opportunities I didn’t think existed before.

I have come to realize that our school system is more often preparing us for a scripted life. It isn’t set up to propel asking the important questions. In fact, there isn’t a class which teaches how to discover meaning and fulfillment. Climbing the corporate ladder only to wake up bored every morning isn’t what we signed up for, but somehow most of us end up doing just that.

“Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey

Today, I dare you to create your Ikigai- by getting clear on what you desire your life’s work to be. Start designing your vision with intention and you’ll encounter wonderful serendipities. The right people will come your way, opportunities will align and eventually, you’ll find yourself on the right track.

How will you make sure you achieve your goals? Comment below and share your plan with us!

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Success Advice

I Can’t Always Be Mr Success And Neither Can You.

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Today I stuffed up big time.

I’ve spent the last five years becoming disciplined and learning every self-improvement hack I could.

I’ve tried very hard not to drink too much alcohol, minimise my sugar intake, reframe from swearing, treat people better, give more to those in need and be an all round good human being.

But today I F*#ked that up. Can you believe it?

Well, you better.

As hard as I try to be successful, there are going to be times when I mess up. Today was the day I was put to the test.

So today we had a function for work, and we went to a secluded island to sit back, relax, and let our hair down. We had to board a ferry to the island and there was a long line of people. Our group was at the front because we had waited for the longest.

When we finally got to the front, a young lady attempted to push in. Without thinking, my friend and I prevented the cue-cutting attempt. What happened next shocked me. This lady then began dishing out all sorts of insults.

She made fun of the way I looked, accused me of being such a low life that I must be single, had a crack at my financial position and everything under the sun. I managed to reframe from overreacting until I let one insult slip.

That insult is what surprised me. I’ve tried so much to be well behaved and then in the heat of the moment I broke the promise to myself.

 

It’s normal to mess up.

Okay, so I’ve been well-behaved for quite a while and you probably have to. It’s not the end of the world when you fall back into your old ways for a brief moment. The key is to acknowledge when you’ve returned to an old pattern and stop yourself.

The moment I let out that inappropriate insult, I knew I’d stepped over the line. It didn’t feel good. I felt guilty. I wanted to take it back but couldn’t because the young woman had left.

“If you try and cruise through life, and never break your commitments, you’ll fail and hate yourself”

There needs to be some room for stuff ups. You have to be okay with being imperfect once in a while.

 

The idea is to outweigh the bad.

What I mean by this is that you need to aim for 51% or more of quality habits, conversations, gestures, etc. The more you tip the scales over to the good side, the less you’ll be tempted to fall back to your old ways.

 

Shooting your mouth off like I did is only a temporary blemish.

You can come back from it and it all starts with taking ownership. Being in denial or acting like you did nothing is not okay. Being a leader and admitting the error in your ways takes guts and that will lead you towards success in the long run.

“Don’t let a brief moment of madness ruin all the progress you’ve made”

Make your temporary mishaps parts of the self-improvement process and use them as a lesson. Experience the regret that comes with being out of alignment with your true self.

This personal incongruency is the motivation you need to stand true to your commitments.

 

Sometimes we all need a reminder.

Otherwise, we forget the life we’ve left behind and it becomes far to easy to lose the plot and rack up a scorecard of negative activities. That slap in the face that you get when you go back to the past and reunite with your addictions and temptations is exactly what you need.

Reconnecting with the past gives you perspective. It also shows you how far you’ve come. The moment your personal progress is under threat, you’ll be surprised how quickly your mind puts you back on the path you were on.

 

It always starts with trying to be right.

Falling back to your old ways always starts with trying to be right. It’s because we all secretly hold rules of how life is supposed to be and when someone violates that rule, we risk going back to our former self. You can’t always be right so stop pretending you can be.

Don’t let trying to be right all the time stand in the way of all the progress you have made. I know it sucks when someone does something that violates what you believe but think before you take action. There are times when you should stand up and there are other times (like my recent encounter) when you should just reframe from going down the rabbit hole of rules you wished people would live by.

 

The truth is we all stuff up.

Even your favorite pop star Katy Perry loses her mind once in a while. That’s right I saw when she was interviewed by a therapist and she had a brief moment of huge failure, embarrassment, and dirty laundry aired on TV. It’s okay.

Once you understand that there are times you are going to do the opposite of what your goals say, and that’s cool, you’ll live a much more relaxed life.

 

Try forgiveness.

This is what I tried after the mishap on the ferry. I permitted myself to mess up. I told myself I was sorry and committed to making up for what I’d done. The most difficult person to forgive is yourself a lot of the time and that’s who needs it the most.

Don’t just try and be kind to others; be kind to yourself too. If you forgive yourself more often when things go wrong, you’ll discover what it’s like to take failure and disappointment by the curly ones and own your life.

 

Life is about owning your successes and your mishaps.

The mishaps lead to your success, eventually.

Never forget that. I’m not successful 24/7 and neither are you.

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

The Three Fundamental Principles of Achievement

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I’m all about keeping things simple. The world is much too complex and I find that much like Vince Lombardi, we tend to complicate things. If we just focus on truly mastering the basics, we can achieve whatever we set our hearts and minds to. One of my favorite stories comes from Coach Lombardi’s best-selling book.

“He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before… He began with the most elemental statement of all. “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.”

It is the summer of 1961, and he begins training by introducing a “football” to a bunch of men who had been playing football for years, perhaps well over a decade. Was this Insulting? No, because the players obviously knew what a football was. Nonetheless, from day one Vince Lombardi was teaching them the basics. This was the secret of one of the winningest coaches in the history of football because the basic, fundamental principles never fail.

When you build a wall, the basic element is a single brick. Put enough of them together, in the right pattern and you have your wall. Concert pianists use only eight keys to create the world’s greatest masterpieces. They don’t try to come up with new notes. They work with what they have.

As fortune would have it, there are basic principles of achievement that when mastered, create success. It’s a formula you can count on, which is as predictable as the sunrise. Success doesn’t care how old you are, how much money you have or haven’t earned in the past. It doesn’t give a hoot about your skin color, background or where you grew up. Regardless of who you are, success is achieved when the basics are mastered.

Here are three of the most fundamental principles of achievement:

1. High-achievers take action

With a ready-fire-aim mentality, nothing beats taking action. You could pull out a great book about success and learn from the greats, but there is no better teacher than experience, which comes only from taking action.

The dangerous thing about the internet is the overabundance of information as we’re still a little unsure of how to handle it. Because of all this new information, many entrepreneurs can easily get caught in a comfort zone of learning because it makes them feel like they’re doing something when they’re not sure what else to do or they’re afraid to take action. By reading another book or listening to one more podcast, they delay action and don’t have to feel guilty.

Others spend too much time making a decision. They worry about making the “right” decision. A mentor of mine taught me that it’s far more powerful to “make a decision, and then make it right.” If you find out it’s wrong, make a new decision, pivot quickly and take new action. Whatever you do, avoid getting caught up in analysis paralysis. Action is the cure.

“The path to success is to take massive, determined actions.” – Tony Robbins

2. Consistent action breeds momentum

Momentum is the mitochondria of the cell; the powerhouse. When you have momentum on your side, several benefits kick in. For example, challenges shrink from overwhelming obstacles to small speed bumps and you will tend to make decisions quickly. Small annoyances become meaningless as momentum serendipitously brings with it a cousin named “confidence.”

Think back to the last time you made a lane change while driving. It was easy; you glanced over your shoulder (hopefully) to make sure there was adequate space, put on your blinker and drove into the other lane.

Compare that with your lane getting caught in a standstill. The lane next to you is cruising along, must be an accident up ahead. Naturally, you want to make the same maneuver- a lane change. You look over your shoulder and…wait. You wait for a gap sufficiently large enough to allow you to jump into the lane and speed up without cutting off oncoming traffic.

Granted, some drivers don’t seem to care much about that (ask me how I know), but you get the idea. Momentum is a mindset game changer. When you have it, everything seems easier because everything is “going your way.”

3. Habit takes over and rules it all

Once you are consistently taking action, and you’re having fun because of all this newfound momentum on your side, you’re likely to repeat it and form a habit. Firstly, this happens mentally and then physically. Mentally, a habit is a new way of thinking about things, because your expectations change. Without realizing, you begin “looking” for good things to happen because you just know they will. You become an optimist.

Your habits are the backbone to your success. Once you start the mental habit of thinking like a successful person and you start doing the things successful people do every day, your life changes. Success is inevitable. It’s the law of the harvest- you reap what you sow. Plant good seeds in the spring, water them all summer and fall will produce.

“Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event.” – Brian Tracy

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, take a deeper look and you’ll notice a breakdown somewhere along the way. Be honest in your self-diagnosis and admit when you’re off track. Allow for mistakes, because perfectionism is one of the great plagues prevalent in our society.

So now that you’ve read this blog, stop learning and start earning. Get up and take action- start the cycle and see how it changes your life.

Which one of these principles will help you most this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

My Giant Imaginary Billboard Would Say This: The Stories You Tell Yourself Come True.

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We’ve all played the game where we try to think of a message we’d put on a metaphorical billboard that costs us nothing.

The point of the exercise is to try and find out what one message you would share with the world that could change the game for all of us.

I racked my brain trying to think of mine. There are so many messages I want to share. Finally, I figured out what mine would be.

The message I would put on a giant billboard is:

“The stories you tell yourself come true”

 

The stories you tell yourself.

The reason I chose this powerful message is that it’s the one thing that has changed the course of my life. When I began telling myself a new story, everything around me appeared differently. I genuinely believe that I am going to change the world in a big way and create positivity.

You have a recurring story running through your own brain that you’re probably unaware of. The story might be one like this:

– Life is hard, so I better relax tonight.
– I need to make more money so life will get easier.
– Why do these disasters always happen to me?
– Why is it so hard to make a living?
– Why can’t I find my passion like everyone else?

These stories are all built on a lie. These stories focus on inaction and that will get you nowhere.

 

The stories you tell start with a question.

To improve your story, you first need to start by asking better questions. Questions that limit you will destroy your success. I’ve found the best questions to ask yourself have the following elements:

– They’re big and audacious
– They mention the phrase “Changing the world”
– They’re open-ended
– They assume the best, not the worst
– They’re not of a selfish nature

Write down some questions that will help you create a new story for your life.

 

You’re going to be repeating this story a lot so it might as well be good.

These stories play over and over in our head every day. You might as well have a story that’s interesting and makes you feel good don’t you think?

I don’t want to hear nonsense playing in my head on repeat. There’s enough of that in day-to-day life already.

That’s why my story says the following:

– I will inspire millions of people
– I will be healthy so I can have energy to do what I love
– I will have a life full of challenges and no matter what I’ll find the positive
– I will be fearful and that means I’m excited
– I will help others because that’s the true wisdom of life

 

What you tell yourself over and over becomes your reality.

Your life becomes what you tell yourself over and over. Change that pattern and insert a new story, and if you’re patient enough, you’ll become that new story.

Not overnight. Not in 60 seconds. In a few years probably.

So tell yourself things that are going to inspire you to do the extraordinary. Don’t fill your head with deadbeat ideas like “I’m not enough.”

You are bloody enough and you can be a bloody ripper of a person if you put your mind to it and tell yourself clever things.

The whole “Life Hacking” sport has become everybody’s favorite TV station. The thing is you don’t need to hack anything if you tell yourself the right stories.

 

Translation of “The Stories You Tell Yourself”

This line is a bit hocus pocus when I think about it. If I were to transcribe this phrase, I’d say that the stories you tell yourself stem from one idea: YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

All the stories I just shared with you that I tell myself are stories of believing in what I can achieve. If you don’t believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to take a chance on you? There are so many distractions nowadays so for anyone to give you their attention, they have to believe it’s going to be worth it.

Believing in yourself is centered around one idea: You’re going to back yourself even though you don’t know the outcome or the steps you necessarily need to move forward.

Believing in yourself is a belief in the reality of uncertainty.

Uncertainty takes courage and that means crushing fear. All of these fundamentals of life that I’m sharing are not new things that you’ve never heard. These pillars of life are interconnected.

“When you fall in love with uncertainty, you tell yourself that you’re confident, strong and can deal with obstacles. This creates a fortress around your mind that protects you from outside, negative forces, telling you a different story. It’s how you avoid the opinions of others and back yourself”

 

5 years ago…..

I told myself a story that I was going to crush my ridiculous fears and become somebody who focuses on the “doing” and spreading positivity.

That new story seemed so stupid at the time because of where I was but none the less I believed it. It then took everything I had to make it come true. I never let challenges bring me away from that storyline and I kept it front and center.

People told me I wasn’t good enough, rich enough, smart enough, experienced enough and I decided to tell myself the story that “Yes I am and I won’t be stopped from achieving my goal.”

I’ve told this story so many times since then that now the majority of my network and colleagues believe it. It’s no longer an idea. It’s now a reality.

“The stories you tell yourself do come true and I’m living proof of that”

 

Commit to a new story.

I never write any blog post without insisting on one action from you. The action for you right now is to commit to a new story. Sign up for a new story and put all your poker chips on the line. Throw away that old story that told you that you weren’t good enough.

Create a new story that supports the person you want to become and the goals you want to achieve. The last step is this: Tell that new story to yourself every single day and believe every word.

The stories you tell yourself do come true and that’s what I would put on a giant billboard if I were given access to one. Much respect.

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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