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5 Ways to Procrastinate and Be Productive at the Same Time

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Sometimes, you need to give yourself permission to procrastinate. This isn’t going to be your average blog post on productivity hacks. I’m not going to promise you a new way to streamline your life, or give you a secret formula for reducing the stress that comes from avoiding the things you know you have to do.

Instead, I’m going to give you a list of several things you can do when you really can’t avoid procrastinating, but you still want to move forward with your goals. We all procrastinate, and there is very little we can do to avoid it. These few tricks will help you get past periods of procrastination with as little pain as possible.

One of the main reasons most people decide to procrastinate is because of a feeling of uncertainty. Uncertainty comes from not having a clear idea of what your goal is or what the best course of action might be to achieving your goals.

The following five practices help me to tune out the noise around me, quiet my mind, and get past periods of procrastination:

1. Write

Writing (or drawing) is one of the best ways to clear your mind and clarify your goals. Often, I’ll get to a point in my day when productivity lulls and I realize I’m staring mindlessly at the computer screen, unable (or unwilling) to focus on anything. In these instances, I’ll take a step away from my computer and write for 10 or 15 minutes.

Occasionally, there is structure to my writing, but other times there isn’t any. The process is therapeutic and can be quite fun. Authors and entrepreneurs the world over from Tim Ferriss to Richard Branson use this technique to help focus their thoughts and outline their next steps on the road to success.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

2. Exercise

Take a few minutes to get some exercise the next time you’re feeling unproductive. It can be anything from a set of 10 jumping jacks or pushups to an all-out 5-mile run.

The point of this practice is to get the blood pumping and help you clear your mind. It’s hard to work about what to do next on a large project when you’re trying to catch your breath after climbing up 5 flights of stairs. Take the time to reset your brain and you’ll be ready to start work again before you know it.

3. Read

I’m not talking about catching up on recent social media posts or the lastest gossip column. I’m talking about reading some good writing. Whether hard copy or digital, fiction or nonfiction, read something that inspires you and teaches you something.

I happen to be a big fan of nonfiction books related to business, but I’m also really into history and biographies of famous historic figures. Whatever you’re interested in, take 15 to 30 minutes to step away from what you’re doing and absorb something substantial that will influence how you think about and view the world.

4. Talk to strangers

This sounds much creepier than it is. Talking to strangers is one of the best ways to reset your mind and get a new perspective on a problem you might be facing in your work or personal life. Go seek out different perspectives from people you don’t know at work, on LinkedIn, even in the coffee shop or at the bar. Ask what they do, what they’re working on, how they feel about what they do.

Listening to others, and showing compassion by caring about what others say, is a surefire way of resetting your mind and shifting your frame of reference when it comes to solving your next problem or challenge.

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

5. Cook

Cooking can be a very meditative process. The concentration required to plan out your next meal, buy the write ingredients and assemble the meal properly requires concentration and creativity. Stimulating the parts of your brain responsible for planning and concentration will help to rewire your brain and streamline your thinking when you start to procrastinate.

No matter which tool you decide to use next time you get stuck or consider procrastinating, remember that all of these exercises are meant to help you reduce uncertainty in the decision making process by helping you clear your head and clarify your thought process.

To be honest, I find myself using these tricks more often than I might care to admit, and I have found them invaluable as I’ve worked to build my own career and launch multiple side businesses.

What are some ways you spend your free time and propel forward at the same time? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal is the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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Success Advice

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job for Your Creative Ventures

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If you’ve spent anytime online you’ve no doubt come across people like this: “Hi there, I’m Timothy Moneybags and I made a million dollars from my best-selling novel after I quit my job and pursued my dream of becoming a writer!”

While many of these stories are true and can definitely be motivational, this idea that quitting your job is synonymous with finding creative success is just not true. Plenty of people have quit their jobs to become writers and ended up not making a dime, we just don’t hear their stories because they’re probably too embarrassed to share them.

Similarly, stories of people who keep their day jobs, pursue their dreams and find their own personal success don’t seem to be heard as often either for a different reason: It’s not as sexy as someone dropping everything to venture into the unknown.

While it might not sell as well in a Facebook Ad, there are plenty of practical reasons why you should keep your day job if you’re planning on pursuing a creative venture that could replace your income.

Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t quit your day job for your creative ventures:

1. Steady Income Means Less Stress

It can be insanely stressful knowing that your creative venture will be 100% responsible for feeding yourself and your family. In a lot of ways, this stress can drain the enjoyment you normally had with your project due to it having to make you money at all costs. Eventually, you’ll find your motivation to try something new becomes stagnant as your fear of disrupting the stability that you’ve built yourself pulls you back to what’s familiar.

If you keep your day job, then you won’t have to worry if your branching out causes your project to fall flat on its face because your bills are already covered. While it’s obviously possible to build something on the side that does sustain you, the idea that you have to quit your job right away, stress out to the point of losing sleep, and then hopefully find success is silly.

You can still work your day job and work on your creative projects at the same time, and keeping a steady source of income will help free you up to explore your passions even if they don’t make you any money.

“There is no downside to a side hustle. There are only benefits to building more than one source of income. A side hustle is the new job security.” – Forbes

2. You Have More Time Than You Think to Hustle

This notion that there isn’t enough time during the day to work on your side project is just not a great excuse. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk, who systematically has his entire day planned down to the minute. If this man is able to fit an insane amount of time doing what he loves into his schedule every day, you can fit, at minimum, a few minutes in your day to work on your passion.

While, practically speaking, you would have a lot of time in your day if you did quit your job, just look at how you spend the free time that you currently have. Are you pursuing your passion or are you watching Netflix? If you’re like me, you’re probably spending too much time staring at a screen rather than hustling.

If you begin monitoring what you do during your free time, you’ll quickly realize that you do, in fact, have time throughout the week to work on your passion. Over time, you’ll see the time you put into your projects will stack up and you’ll be glad you spent those few hours out of the week working versus watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

3. You Have a Backup if Things Don’t Work Out

Let’s be frank: your creative venture could completely fail to make you a dime. The question is, will you still have a way to pay the bills if this happens? As mentioned already, having a steady source of income means less stress for you and a safety net in case your passion doesn’t “stick” in the marketplace of ideas.

Your day job, no matter how boring it may be, provides you with necessary stability that a creative venture might not have right away. So, don’t give in to the romantic notion of quitting your job to “pursue your dreams” if you don’t have that stability quite yet unless you’re willing to take this unnecessary risk.

Be practical, and ensure that your bills have a way to be paid and your family has a person at the helm of their future that is both prepared and stable.

“Quitting a job doesn’t jump-start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose and progress to succeed. That stuff has to happen before you quit your day job.”

4. You’re Free to Experiment Without Worrying About Monetization

As Hugh MacLeod puts it in his book “Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”, passion projects should be looked at as a separate thing from your 9-to-5 job. The reason being is there isn’t pressure to perform a certain way in order to make money. Instead, the creative person is free to explore different avenues without fear of their project not putting food on the table.

One could argue that this is also why a lot of musical artists come out with songs that sound almost identical to the last song they made. Since the last song sold very well, and they want to continue making a profit off of their art, they’ll take a sort of “conveyor belt” approach to their music and not deviate from the formula that works for them.

While there are definitely fantastic songs produced this way, there’s a kind of commercialism that stains the once hungry and experimental artist before they began profiting off their art, and one could argue that their art suffers because of it.

If one keeps their income generator separate from the creative venture they enjoy, they’ll find the venture to be more satisfying to the soul rather than their bank account.

The best approach, in my mind, is to take a “come what may” approach with your creative ventures when it comes to making money. If you earn anything from it, that’s great! However, don’t let money be the main focus or your artistic expression could be compromised.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

<<<>>>

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

Practice These 4 No’s for Greater Success

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In much of the success literature and in the applied motivational literature that is developed today, the explicit suggestions contained within are to practice certain behaviors for a certain outcome. So, you may see information with titles such as, “Do these four things for greater happiness”, or, “Perform the seven steps every morning for more focus”.

Not only am I a large proponent of these quick and distilled attributes of behavior change to bring about greater levels of whatever the outcome should be, I am also an author of a great many of them. The notion of cause and effect is explicit in applied motivation. If you want to change and affect then do not work on the effect directly, work on the cause that will invariably change the outcome.

So many of us try to psychologically bully our conscious mind into various effects, when all we really need to do is understand the causes. Thoughts drive behavior. If you change the thought the behavior must change. But can you increase your level of overall well-being by NOT doing certain things? And I know the answer is yes. It all begins with a shift in our perception and the thought process.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

Here are four NO’s that you may want to stop practicing. And by virtue of not doing these things you will have more mental room, and idea space between your positive notions for greater levels of contentment and well-being.

1. There are no justified discontentment’s

If the laws of cause and effect, and the law of attraction hold true, then we are where we are right now by virtue of our past behaviors, which are a direct result of our past beginning. So don’t be mad over your current situation, you created it! If you want to be happy, change it! But don’t just sit there and bask in your discontentment; bring about the necessary changes that you require.

In the words of James Ray, “a person of power embraces challenges and complete gratitude. No matter the situation life may bring, discontent is never justified, but rather all is experienced as an opportunity and privilege to adventure and grow.”

2. There are no justified excuses

The present is a doorway that balances past events with future circumstances. When we begin to fully grasp the idea that there is no dress rehearsal, we are on Broadway; that there is no scrimmage, today we are in the Super Bowl, we begin to realize that our life is a series of micro adjustments and that we are in total and complete control over them. Instead of wasting time making excuses for poor decisions, spend that time in fine-tuning future decisions to make up for those poor decisions of the past.

3. There are no justified complaints

We complain about a situation for one of two reasons. One, to elicit pity from another and, two, to transfer the issue we are complaining about to somebody else. Either behavior is destructive to the current personal relationship and will only serve to undermine future transactions with that individual.

Be a person of higher self-esteem; handle your issues in silence then speak to another individual about your successful outcomes. By doing so, you have altered your focus on a positive outcome instead of our negative conditions. By the way, there is always a successful outcome! If you can find it, look deeper, it’s there!

“Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” – John Wooden

4. There are no justified resentments

None, zip, zilch, zero! That person that borrowed $500 off you and never paid you back, forgive them. That significant other that dropped you like a hot coal just when you needed them the most, forgive them. That business partner that screwed you to the wall and caused you to lose a vast amount of money, forgive them. Remember, forgiveness is not about them, it’s about you. By letting go of the resentments that you have toward other people you open yourself up to the endless possibilities of bountiful manifestations that can occur because of your positive attitude and constructive optimism.

Think of these four big No’s! Number them, with number one being the one which you practice and think about the most. Then answer the following questions:

  • What can I do to alter this behavior and/or thought process?
  • What situations do I encounter and lead me in this behavior and/or thought process?
  • Can I avoid those situations?
  • If so, am I willing to avoid those situations?

Then do that with the second the third and the fourth big No’s. What will happen after enough time is that you will no longer be looking for situations to offend you, rather you will begin to open up to the possibilities of what the world and the universe have to offer you in a positive, enthusiastic, and engaging light.

I look forward to your comments, opinions, and suggestions. Please feel free to write them below.

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Success Advice

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job for Your Creative Ventures

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If you’ve spent anytime online you’ve no doubt come across people like this: “Hi there, I’m Timothy Moneybags and I made a million dollars from my best-selling novel after I quit my job and pursued my dream of becoming a writer!” (more…)

An SEO expert, consultant, and musician, Thomas Adams writes on his website ThomasFAdams.com where he teaches wanna-be entrepreneurs how to start and maintain successful online businesses involving everything from web design to eCommerce. He has worked extensively with businesses both big and small to improve their SEO since 2014. On the side, he loves playing piano and writing songs.

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Success Advice

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job for Your Creative Ventures

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building a side business
Image Credit: Unsplash

If you’ve spent anytime online you’ve no doubt come across people like this: “Hi there, I’m Timothy Moneybags and I made a million dollars from my best-selling novel after I quit my job and pursued my dream of becoming a writer!”

While many of these stories are true and can definitely be motivational, this idea that quitting your job is synonymous with finding creative success is just not true. Plenty of people have quit their jobs to become writers and ended up not making a dime, we just don’t hear their stories because they’re probably too embarrassed to share them.

Similarly, stories of people who keep their day jobs, pursue their dreams and find their own personal success don’t seem to be heard as often either for a different reason: It’s not as sexy as someone dropping everything to venture into the unknown.

While it might not sell as well in a Facebook Ad, there are plenty of practical reasons why you should keep your day job if you’re planning on pursuing a creative venture that could replace your income.

Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t quit your day job for your creative ventures:

1. Steady Income Means Less Stress

It can be insanely stressful knowing that your creative venture will be 100% responsible for feeding yourself and your family. In a lot of ways, this stress can drain the enjoyment you normally had with your project due to it having to make you money at all costs. Eventually, you’ll find your motivation to try something new becomes stagnant as your fear of disrupting the stability that you’ve built yourself pulls you back to what’s familiar.

If you keep your day job, then you won’t have to worry if your branching out causes your project to fall flat on its face because your bills are already covered. While it’s obviously possible to build something on the side that does sustain you, the idea that you have to quit your job right away, stress out to the point of losing sleep, and then hopefully find success is silly.

You can still work your day job and work on your creative projects at the same time, and keeping a steady source of income will help free you up to explore your passions even if they don’t make you any money.

“There is no downside to a side hustle. There are only benefits to building more than one source of income. A side hustle is the new job security.” – Forbes

2. You Have More Time Than You Think to Hustle

This notion that there isn’t enough time during the day to work on your side project is just not a great excuse. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk, who systematically has his entire day planned down to the minute. If this man is able to fit an insane amount of time doing what he loves into his schedule every day, you can fit, at minimum, a few minutes in your day to work on your passion.

While, practically speaking, you would have a lot of time in your day if you did quit your job, just look at how you spend the free time that you currently have. Are you pursuing your passion or are you watching Netflix? If you’re like me, you’re probably spending too much time staring at a screen rather than hustling.

If you begin monitoring what you do during your free time, you’ll quickly realize that you do, in fact, have time throughout the week to work on your passion. Over time, you’ll see the time you put into your projects will stack up and you’ll be glad you spent those few hours out of the week working versus watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

3. You Have a Backup if Things Don’t Work Out

Let’s be frank: your creative venture could completely fail to make you a dime. The question is, will you still have a way to pay the bills if this happens? As mentioned already, having a steady source of income means less stress for you and a safety net in case your passion doesn’t “stick” in the marketplace of ideas.

Your day job, no matter how boring it may be, provides you with necessary stability that a creative venture might not have right away. So, don’t give in to the romantic notion of quitting your job to “pursue your dreams” if you don’t have that stability quite yet unless you’re willing to take this unnecessary risk.

Be practical, and ensure that your bills have a way to be paid and your family has a person at the helm of their future that is both prepared and stable.

“Quitting a job doesn’t jump-start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose and progress to succeed. That stuff has to happen before you quit your day job.”

4. You’re Free to Experiment Without Worrying About Monetization

As Hugh MacLeod puts it in his book “Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”, passion projects should be looked at as a separate thing from your 9-to-5 job. The reason being is there isn’t pressure to perform a certain way in order to make money. Instead, the creative person is free to explore different avenues without fear of their project not putting food on the table.

One could argue that this is also why a lot of musical artists come out with songs that sound almost identical to the last song they made. Since the last song sold very well, and they want to continue making a profit off of their art, they’ll take a sort of “conveyor belt” approach to their music and not deviate from the formula that works for them.

While there are definitely fantastic songs produced this way, there’s a kind of commercialism that stains the once hungry and experimental artist before they began profiting off their art, and one could argue that their art suffers because of it.

If one keeps their income generator separate from the creative venture they enjoy, they’ll find the venture to be more satisfying to the soul rather than their bank account.

The best approach, in my mind, is to take a “come what may” approach with your creative ventures when it comes to making money. If you earn anything from it, that’s great! However, don’t let money be the main focus or your artistic expression could be compromised.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

<<<>>>

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

Practice These 4 No’s for Greater Success

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In much of the success literature and in the applied motivational literature that is developed today, the explicit suggestions contained within are to practice certain behaviors for a certain outcome. So, you may see information with titles such as, “Do these four things for greater happiness”, or, “Perform the seven steps every morning for more focus”.

Not only am I a large proponent of these quick and distilled attributes of behavior change to bring about greater levels of whatever the outcome should be, I am also an author of a great many of them. The notion of cause and effect is explicit in applied motivation. If you want to change and affect then do not work on the effect directly, work on the cause that will invariably change the outcome.

So many of us try to psychologically bully our conscious mind into various effects, when all we really need to do is understand the causes. Thoughts drive behavior. If you change the thought the behavior must change. But can you increase your level of overall well-being by NOT doing certain things? And I know the answer is yes. It all begins with a shift in our perception and the thought process.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

Here are four NO’s that you may want to stop practicing. And by virtue of not doing these things you will have more mental room, and idea space between your positive notions for greater levels of contentment and well-being.

1. There are no justified discontentment’s

If the laws of cause and effect, and the law of attraction hold true, then we are where we are right now by virtue of our past behaviors, which are a direct result of our past beginning. So don’t be mad over your current situation, you created it! If you want to be happy, change it! But don’t just sit there and bask in your discontentment; bring about the necessary changes that you require.

In the words of James Ray, “a person of power embraces challenges and complete gratitude. No matter the situation life may bring, discontent is never justified, but rather all is experienced as an opportunity and privilege to adventure and grow.”

2. There are no justified excuses

The present is a doorway that balances past events with future circumstances. When we begin to fully grasp the idea that there is no dress rehearsal, we are on Broadway; that there is no scrimmage, today we are in the Super Bowl, we begin to realize that our life is a series of micro adjustments and that we are in total and complete control over them. Instead of wasting time making excuses for poor decisions, spend that time in fine-tuning future decisions to make up for those poor decisions of the past.

3. There are no justified complaints

We complain about a situation for one of two reasons. One, to elicit pity from another and, two, to transfer the issue we are complaining about to somebody else. Either behavior is destructive to the current personal relationship and will only serve to undermine future transactions with that individual.

Be a person of higher self-esteem; handle your issues in silence then speak to another individual about your successful outcomes. By doing so, you have altered your focus on a positive outcome instead of our negative conditions. By the way, there is always a successful outcome! If you can find it, look deeper, it’s there!

“Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” – John Wooden

4. There are no justified resentments

None, zip, zilch, zero! That person that borrowed $500 off you and never paid you back, forgive them. That significant other that dropped you like a hot coal just when you needed them the most, forgive them. That business partner that screwed you to the wall and caused you to lose a vast amount of money, forgive them. Remember, forgiveness is not about them, it’s about you. By letting go of the resentments that you have toward other people you open yourself up to the endless possibilities of bountiful manifestations that can occur because of your positive attitude and constructive optimism.

Think of these four big No’s! Number them, with number one being the one which you practice and think about the most. Then answer the following questions:

  • What can I do to alter this behavior and/or thought process?
  • What situations do I encounter and lead me in this behavior and/or thought process?
  • Can I avoid those situations?
  • If so, am I willing to avoid those situations?

Then do that with the second the third and the fourth big No’s. What will happen after enough time is that you will no longer be looking for situations to offend you, rather you will begin to open up to the possibilities of what the world and the universe have to offer you in a positive, enthusiastic, and engaging light.

I look forward to your comments, opinions, and suggestions. Please feel free to write them below.

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