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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

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5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

It’s a bitter reality, isn’t it?

You’re dissatisfied with your job, you feel overworked and overloaded, and you’re struggling to maintain balance between your responsibilities and your passions.

You’re not alone. The majority of workers aren’t happy with their jobs, and the numbers aren’t getting any better. You aren’t suddenly discovering new meaning in your work, nor are you magically producing job satisfaction out of mid-air.

You stay in your meaningless, stress-filled job because you believe you have to. Your pressures and responsibilities don’t allow you the freedom to hit the open road and live a life of blissful nomad-ism. After all, where would you be without your health insurance, 401(k), or sick leave?

A glut of information is out there about the new entrepreneur who leaves the corporate world to start a passion-based business. Whether it’s a retail tee shirt company backing a cause, or a small business consulting firm helping companies improve their social media presence. These are wonderful success stories, and it’s worth paying some attention to the possibility that you, too, can carve your own path.

However, starting a business isn’t for everyone. Some people enjoy, even thrive in a corporate environment where opportunity exists for career growth, skills development, and where they can contribute to large-scale projects and initiatives with global reach. Breaking away from this structure isn’t even on their radar.

So how can you; the dedicated, lifelong employee, gain that same level of passion that the new entrepreneur feels? How can you learn to find meaning in your work amidst the chaos and noise of other peoples’ agendas? How can you become one of the few who are not only satisfied with their job, but also flourish and bloom within it?

I will show you just how to do that with these 5 simple tips.

 

1. Forget about building your resumé

Warren Buffett once said that taking a job only because it will look good on your resumé is like saving up sex for when you’re 70.

Witticism aside, he’s right. Why would you continually do things you don’t enjoy for the sole purpose of someday, maybe doing something you like?

All too often, people think that taking a job for the experience is a rite of passage, just like a musician paying her dues before she gets the big break.

It’s nonsense.

Instead, take an inward-facing approach when assessing a new job opportunity or re-evaluating your current job. Ask these critical questions:

  • Do I believe in this work?
  • Am I motivated to learn more?
  • Does this company’s mission align with my own?

If you’re struggling to find meaning in your job or are dissatisfied with your career direction, start by looking at yourself first. Ask questions that get to the root of why you might feel stuck. Don’t be afraid to make a change, even if that means a less “impressive” resumé.

 

5 Tips On How To Score A Fulfilling Job That Aligns With Your Purpose

2. Hone in on what lights you up

You can, however, use your resumé as a tool to figure out some ways you can break out of the dissatisfaction cycle.

Look back at all of your previous work experiences and note times when you were:

  • Fulfilled
  • Unfulfilled
  • Passionate
  • Bored
  • Challenged
  • Resistant
  • Motivated
  • Distracted

You should be able to identify themes and patterns within this framework that highlight activities that best align with your personal mission and your overarching purpose. You’ll also see which types of work to reduce or eliminate. Put these experiences into two lists: Do more of and Do less of.

Once you have a “Do more of” list that suits you, further refine it by looking at each of those experiences and responsibilities through the following filters:

  • Was I truly happy when I worked on this?
  • Did this work feel meaningful to me?

Some of your experiences might end up in the middle; somewhat happy, marginally meaningful. That’s okay. The point is to enable you to understand the kind of work that lights you up; work you can rally behind and work that feels right.

You may need to look beyond the job description to answer these questions. Intangibles like values alignment and corporate culture also matter, and they may help you determine what kinds of jobs and environments best fit you.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

3. Define what you really want

Sometimes your experiences won’t shed much light on what matters to you the most. You may have followed the well-worn path of taking job after job based on how good they’d look on your resumé, and your list from above is full of experiences that left you unfulfilled, bored, and distracted.

At this point, you’ll need to dig deep to find answers. Play a little “what if” game:

  • What if money weren’t an issue? If I could do anything, what would I choose to do?
  • What if I could find work that fits my unique talents and strengths? Could I create a job description that captures them perfectly?
  • What if someone right now is doing exactly what I want to do? Who are they? Can I find them and talk to them?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a great chance of solidifying what you really want out of your job and your career. You can then take this new found awareness and apply it to your current situation. Whether you’re job hunting, evaluating a job offer, or trying to find ways to inject more meaning into your current role.

 

4. Get used to discomfort

Change happens at the intersection of discomfort and intention. It may be uncomfortable to become an active participant in your own life and make difficult choices that others may not agree with, but what’s the alternative? Do you really want to wait for a chance; a possibility you may find fulfillment somewhere out there?

Take a step back and look objectively at your life. Have you been reacting to what’s placed in front of you, or are you strategically directing the actions you take?

If you’re part of the unfulfilled and dissatisfied majority, think hard about this. Carefully examine how you categorized each of your work experiences, and pay particular attention to the themes and patterns you saw. Have you been living a predominantly passionate and challenged life? Or has yours been more unfulfilled and resistant?

You’re the only one who can change those patterns. So take the first step.

 “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Stephen Covey

5. Take ownership of your choices

It’s easy to get stuck on the career roller coaster. You’re caught between what other people think is best for you and what you really want to accomplish. Often, you choose the path of least resistance because you’re tired of working so hard to defend your beliefs.

Your choices are yours alone, so own them. You have the power to direct the course of your life by figuring out what you truly want and devising a strategy to take you there.

Decide that you no longer wish to settle for meaningless work. Actively design a working life that aligns your purpose with your paycheck. Become someone others look up to as a model of career fulfillment.

Are you ready to be that person or will you keep waiting for your big break? The choice is yours to make.

 

What tips would you add to this list that have helped you find what path was right for you?

Scott L. Sind is on a mission is to help burned-out employees and business owners build a life that enables them to do meaningful, rewarding work they truly love. He's the author of ActivateThought.com, where he writes about leadership, success, creativity, and professional development. Get his free Cheat Sheet for Building a Powerful Support Network for quick tips on expanding your influence.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Liara Covert

    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Love that this article draws attention to the importance of being brutally honest with yourself about values and priorities. For many people, this is unconscious. Many people are out of touch with why they think and feel as they do, and how to link this back to behavior patterns. Living authentically is about having the courage to clarify, explore and act based on what you love and a deeper sense of purpose. This is not obvious for everyone. Raising self – awareness is very useful and can be done in a variety of ways.

  2. Ellie

    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Great process for figuring out what matters. What matters most to me is how much money they pay me.

    I’ve created the ideal situation of independence and corporate for me. I’m a company of one I work on a project basis, which are usually 6 months. If things suck at one gig, I know its only 6 months.

    Getting to this place happened by accident rather than by deliberate thought.

    The bottom line for me though is the money. There is nothing quite like seeing an offer in writing for an insane amount of money that makes you sick. Getting that first pay and seeing it in the bank, yeah, that’s what give me my thrills.

  3. Linda

    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    The corporate world can indeed be incredibly fascinating! It has taught me sooo much and I am forever grateful for that. But you’re right, it’s easy to get a little lost in it all and it’s good advice to stay on your toes and watch out for yourself and your happiness along the way. Good stuff, Scott!

    • Liara Covert

      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:28 am

      Agree with you, Linda. Great article that highlights meaningful stuff. Appreciating something about every experience is what keeps us growing.

  4. Nicki Lee

    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I wish I would have thought about my career choices in this way many years ago, Scott. I’m going to try actually writing a job description that captures my strengths and talents and see where that takes me! 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      That’s a great idea Nicki! I’d love to hear how it turns out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ellen

    May 31, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Great post Scott – I especially agree with number 5 – it wasn’t until I really took ownership of my choices and realised that I had the power myself to change the situation, rather than waiting for others, that I took the leap and left my corporate role for a more portfolio career. Even if it’s between a rock and a hard place, there’s still a choice! Thanks, Ellen

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks Ellen! For me that’s the big one as well. I decided that if I failed, at least it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t try. We all have choices, but it’s the ones we don’t take that haunt us the most.

  6. Helen McCarthy

    May 31, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Great article Scott. Like Cherryl (above) I too wish I’d had this perspective earlier in my career. Do you think there’s a generational shift towards aligning your paycheck with your purpose? That certainly appears to be my observation.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely see a shift, especially with the Millennials. There’s more emphasis these days on portfolio careers rather than single-track careers. And with more and more people staying in jobs on average of 3 years, purpose and passion have become core values for job satisfaction.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Elle

    May 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This is the way to success Scott. Being happy = success. You touched on many areas that people forget about. Kudos for a great read.
    Elle

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Much appreciate Elle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  8. Lawrence Berry

    May 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I think you nailed. Defining what you want and going after it with tenacity are the keys to getting what you want, but you MUST have a clear vision on what you are doing now and what you plan to do. I think it is crazy that people get jobs just so that it can look good on their resume, you must find work that you believe in a can get the most from the experience. When you are motivated in your work, you learn and do more than you ever thought you would. This would shoot you to the top faster. You are right, you have the power to take control of your choices and actions, so align what you love to do with your paycheck.

    • Scott

      May 30, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Lawrence! I completely agree that you must have a clear vision. That’s where it all starts. Unforunately some of us have a difficult time aligning our actions and choices to our vision, which then bogs us down under the consequences of sub-optial decisions.

      I like what you said about finding work that you believe can give you a valuable experience—that’s another part of a great career strategy 🙂

  9. Valerie Leroyer

    May 30, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Hey Scott! Nice post. I like your #5: I hear lot’s of people saying that they don’t have the choice. The truth is, once we realize it, we always have a choice. And taking 100% responsibility for our choices is the first move towards success. You ask us for another tip. Tip #6: Take action NOW. Make a list of your dream jobs and start acting 🙂

    • Scott

      Jun 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Hey Valerie – LOVE IT!! Take action now is probably the simplest yet most effective tip. One can plan forever and never take that first step.

      Thanks for adding your voice!

  10. Ann

    May 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    #4 -I like it- learn to survive in discomforting situations because there is never going to be a perfect timing.

  11. Cherryl Chow

    May 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi, Scott, what a wonderfully written and inspiring article! If only I’d gotten this advice when I just got out of college! How life would’ve turned out differently. I hope that your article gets disseminated widely and as many people as possible can read and benefit from your sage advice!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you Cherryl! I wish I had this advice too way back when! It’s funny how easily we resign ourselves to the “easy” path because we don’t really know how to do anything else. I do hope that this inspires at least one person to jump out of their comfort zone and design a working life they love.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

  12. Lynn

    May 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I love the concept of aligning my paycheck with my purpose! So clearly put, and so compelling.

    Thanks for sharing your advice about how to do that.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Lynn! I wish more people would embrace the concept—we’d all be a bit happier, don’t you think?

  13. Mike Harrington

    May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I’m just going to say this:

    When I graduated from a top MBA program in 2012, the anxiety and fear of the future was palpable on campus.

    Most people had taken on massive debt burdens, to finance their “gamble” of improving their career prospects with another piece of paper. The MBA degree.

    I’d say 95% of them were completely bought in to the idea of having as many “gold stars” on their resumes as humanly possible. They worked themselves to the bone to land the best internships, get the highest grades and pretend to be actively involved in as many on-campus clubs and associations. I saw through the noise, as I knew my path would be different.

    I see it all about skill building, and finding that unique intersection of what turns you on as a person, with what other people value enough to pay for.

    Is it an overnight process? HELL NO. Tons of trial and error, periods of self doubt and wondering if you made the right decision.

    But, when the wins inevitably come, as they have for me, the struggle you’ve gone through makes it that much sweeter.

    And yes, this path is NOT for everyone.

    But it is for me. And it sounds like it is for you, as well. =)

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Mike you nailed it here. I, too, recently got my MBA from a top program, but for very personal reasons, the least of which was the degree itself. Many others in my cohort, though, were there for the piece of paper only, and so they could add the letters to their business cards.

      I gave up prestige a long time ago. Yes, I’ve made bad decisions when it’s come to my work, taken the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons. But you’re absolutely right when you say that when the wins do come, the struggles make them so much sweeter.

      I applaud you on the path you’ve chosen—you have a spirit and fortitude that many don’t, and those will see you a long way 🙂

  14. Sameer

    May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Very nice post Scott. Another major imagined hurdle for not doing it is i feel afraid of the thought “What if i get bored after some days” , what do i do then! Won’t i loose the kind of stability (though boring) ….These are the kind of limiting belief(s) that hold me back.
    it would be great if you can comment about this kind of fears.

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Sameer, thanks for the comment! As to the fear of getting bored, well…usually when we feel bored it’s because we’ve reached a plateau and aren’t challenged anymore by the work. I’d suggest that the best way to beat boredom is to consistently strive for new heights, keep challenging yourself, and do things that are just outside of your comfort zone. That may mean a new job or career, but it could also mean going freelance, starting a business, or if you don’t have the enterpreneurial spirit, moving into an industry you have no experience in and “starting over.”

      Boredom is just a mental state, and we have full control over how we react to it. I hope this helps!

      • Sameer

        May 29, 2015 at 4:57 am

        That indeed helps to understand clearly. Thanks a ton Scott

  15. Scott

    May 28, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    You’re right, it’s much easier for us to stick to the safe, well-worn path even if it’s boring and uninspiring. I’d much rather say “I’m so glad I tried that!” instead of “I wish I could do that.”

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting John!

  16. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    May 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Great article – I so agree with John that we need to do what excites us. Plus, I always add, makes us money.

    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sue – so true!! There is a strong correlation between earning more and enjoying what we do 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. Ashley

    May 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Love #1!! “Look at yourself first…” So true. Wish we could stop focusing so much on resume building, and instead, place more weight on experiences we enjoy, and benefit, from. Great post!

    • Scott

      May 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Ashley! When I interviewed people, I rarely discussed their resume. I wanted to know what made the candidates tick, what lit them up, to get a sense of who they were, their likes and dislikes, etc. Most of the time the candidate with the “strongest” resume (i.e. filled with keywords and fluffy job titles) bombed these conversational moments. Not saying there’s scientific proof of anything, just my observations 😉

  18. John Anderson

    May 28, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It always amazes me that as humans we tend to shy away from what really excites us. Thanks for laying out this plan, it is very helpful.

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Success Advice

5 Ways You Can Utilize Information Properly and Think More Efficiently

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The mind is a complex system of facets, of which some have yet to be discovered. Still, in spite of all this, there has been enough information to help us gain a rudimentary understanding of it. Thinking is what we all do, although what differs is the efficiency and levels at which we do it.

A lot of things influence the way you think, and most of these factors vary from person to person. However, there are some foundations and basic laws that can help you move from just filtering information and utilizing it to think efficiently.

Below are a few ways you can utilize information properly and think more efficiently:

1. Be quiet and listen

We’re constantly bombarded with information, and the nature of this information determines how we respond. Are you the type of person who doesn’t handle bad or even good news well? If so, learn to take a step back, evaluate things, and look for the way forward. It’s something that stock market traders do all the time, and it works like a charm with practice.

2. Never neglect what your emotions tell you

While a lot of people might not know this, it is true that the conscious thoughts we have only represent a small fraction of the events going on in our heads. At any given point in time, you have the unconscious aspect taking in massive amounts of information, most of which we don’t even know are being processed.

Your brain makes conclusions, good or bad, and starts to generate feelings that rule our emotions in the long-run. So, whenever you have a subtle feeling that points you to a certain course of action or thought, don’t ignore it. At the end of the day, that feeling gets its way somehow, and it’s better you come face-to-face with it and understand its nudges better.

“When you react, you let others control you. When you respond, you are in control.” – Bohdi Sanders

3. Never think while under pressure

Pressure can be good, but a lot of the time, it tends to yield counter-productive results. Regardless of what you’re doing, there are times when you feel pressure. What this pressure does is force you to rely less on the part of your unconsciousness that functions like a trained autopilot system (from all of the training and experiences that you’ve had in the past). Essentially, it forces you to overthink things.

You begin to analyze every aspect of what you’re doing, and you end up using parts of your brain that have no business with the specific activity. So, whenever you take the time out to develop a certain skill, make sure you learn to have faith in your instincts as well.

4. Never focus on one viewpoint

Bluffing is something that professional poker players do almost every time. It’s become an art. However, instead of just bluffing on a whim (which also works at times, by the way), most of them employ a simple trick while playing; they think about how the opposing players would act if they weren’t actually bluffing.

In most cases, the brain tends to search the world for filters in order to confirm the beliefs that it holds. However, the problem with this is that it tends to limit you. At the end of the day, you could be dealing with facts that are just not wrong.

“What’s true of the poker game is true of life. Most people are suckers and don’t realise it.” – Michael Faust

5. What do you love doing?

According to studies, a lot of people tend to have moments of insight and solutions to problems when they’re not even aware of the fact that the problem is being analyzed by the brain. These are usually moments when you take a stroll, listen to your favorite track, brew your favorite coffee, take showers, and read blogs; when you feel relaxed and comfortable.

This is because insightful thoughts are usually generated by an influx of neural activities that occur in the right hemisphere of the brain. The best time to plug into the mind is when you’re stress-free, so make sure that you engage in activities that relax you more often.

How do you go about maneuvering around and making decisions in a world constantly bombarding you with information? Let us know your thoughts and advice below!

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Success Advice

10 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Bring Out the Successful YouTuber in You

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YouTube is a social media platform that has turned many a normal person into a celebrity. With over 1.9 billion logged-in users visiting YouTube every month, it is a hugely popular platform that is being actively used by people who are leveraging its reach and popularity for reputation building, increasing visibility, creating and driving brand reach and last but not the least, earning money.

We keep hearing success stories of YouTube influencers who were nobodies when they started out and today run some of the most popular channels on YouTube and are considered reputed influencers in their niche.

There is absolutely no doubt that if done right, a presence on YouTube can be a massive boost for your brand (if you are a business) and ensure visibility of stratospheric proportions (if you are an individual).

But, at the end of it all, most people want to get onboard YouTube for the money. If your channel is popular enough, it can be a regular source of income for you. So, how do you become a successful YouTuber and establish a popular YouTube channel?

Here are ten great tips to help you on your way:

1. Identify your YouTube Goals

What do you want to achieve out of YouTube? Straight off the block, this is the question you must answer. YouTube can help build your brand, both business and personal, if that’s your goal. It will help improve your reputation and differentiate yourself from the competition. It could also become a revenue generation medium for you.

There are many reasons you might want to start a YouTube channel, and you need to zero in on the right one. Identifying your core goal or set of goals will help you plan your YouTube journey effectively.

2. Identify the Right Niche for Your Channel

Making videos is a resource-intensive activity. It also needs a rare degree of passion to make videos because you are going to put a truckload of effort into it. So, make sure to zero in on the right niche for your channel, meaning the kind of video content you are going to post. If you are an individual, the content must align with your interest, preferences, skill sets and knowledge.

If you are a business, it must align with your business’s services or domain. Think very carefully whether you will be able to keep making videos about a specific topic, subject or domain regularly. This will help you choose the right ‘content type’ for your channel.

3. Trust Yourself

There are some YouTubers who give up because they think they are not cut out to be successful YouTubers. There is absolutely no doubt, you will be wracked by self-doubt when you start, especially if your videos aren’t finding enough traction. The key here is to have confidence in your ability and pursuing your end goal indefatigably.

Don’t give up because of setbacks; some of the top YouTubers started off slowly and built their audience steadily. When it comes to YouTube, it is important to understand that success won’t come easily or quickly.

4. Be Prepared for Criticism

As a YouTuber, you have the ability to showcase your knowledge and skillsets to the world, but this also sets you up for criticism. There are people who are going to like your videos and there are those who won’t and will go a step further and criticize it through the comments section.

And very often, this criticism isn’t constructive and its only aim is to make fun of you and your video. Can you handle this criticism? You must if you want to be a successful YouTuber. Try developing a thick skin and don’t allow even the most virulent criticism to affect you.

5. Respond to Comments

Make it a habit to respond to comments, irrespective of whether these appreciate or criticize your video. Your response tells your viewer that you care and are prepared to listen to their views. This helps you build a relationship with your viewers who can then turn into channel subscribers. Don’t think YouTube videos are one-way traffic wherein you make a video, a viewer sees it and forgets about it. A video is a means of driving interaction and engagement.

6. Follow other YouTubers

You might have some great content ideas for your channel, but you must also keep track of what other YouTubers are doing. There is always a chance that you will get some inspiration from their videos as to how to make a video more interesting, get the lowdown on audience engagement tactics and find technical aspects as well including camera work, audio etc.

7. Attend Meetups

There are plenty of YouTube meetups, conventions and conferences happening all over the world; it is imperative that you attend YouTube events happening in your region. This way you will be able to meet fellow YouTubers in the region, and who knows, you might also meet YouTubers, you follow and want to emulate. If you get the opportunity to discuss notes or get tips, do so. This will help refine your channel content

8. Keep Measuring Your Performance

Start measuring your YouTube performance from the word go. You need to keep track of various performance metrics to know how well you have done. A metric like ‘views’ is super important but so is ‘watch time’. ouTube judges the performance of your channel on various metrics and uses these to rank your videos in search results. There are plenty of tools that can help you track and measure YouTube performance based on various parameters.

9. Don’t Judge Yourself Too Harshly

Don’t set impossible standards for yourself. You are going to make mistakes and learn from them. No video is perfect and don’t think you can start making amazingly successful videos from day one. So, judge yourself, but don’t go overboard. Don’t compare your work with people who have many years of YouTube experience behind them; this would be counterproductive and play havoc with your confidence levels.

10. Keep at It

If you want to bring out the successful YouTuber in you, you must keep at it. Plan a video publishing schedule and stick to it, irrespective of whether your videos are doing well or not. Remember, once you set cadence, you will get better at your videos, and this will drive more engagement.

A successful YouTuber is no different from a successful person. You need to work hard, learn from mistakes, and more importantly learn from others. And you must make use of all this learning to create better and more more engaging videos.

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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!

Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.

Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.

Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:

1. Wasting Time

Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.

Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.

“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks

2. Inaccurate Responses

An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.

Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.

3. Constant Back-and-Forth

Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.

Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.

You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.

A Better Approach to Emailing

For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.

Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.

Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:

1. Checking Them Less

I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.

2. Responding Quickly

People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.

“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk

3. The If-Then Technique

The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”

I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.

The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.

If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.

Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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how to be happy and successful
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It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.

Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:

1. Where Are You?

No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.

The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.

There’s this saying:  When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.

Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.

So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?

3. Why Do You Want It?

Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.

You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.

So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins

4. How Are You Going to Get There?

And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.

For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”

To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.

In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to  get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.

Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.

Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.

Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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