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Success Advice

7 Common Excuses That Are All In Your Head

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Excuses We Make For Failure

What would you say if I told you that you’re a great actor? Honestly, it’s true.

In fact, you’re so good that you’ll probably be among the nominees at next year’s Oscar’s.

You’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about, so here’s my reasoning…

The best actors are able to fully immerse themselves into their role. They live and breathe their part – adopting the many traits and mannerisms contained within. Some of whom take this so seriously they stay in character, even when the cameras aren’t rolling.

This is you.

You’ve put so much effort into believing the lies you’ve been telling yourself, that you’re now struggling to differentiate between your true self and this imposter that’s infesting your mind.

This character is a deadbeat and a coward. Your performance is legendary, but you were born to play a different role. You were born to play someone courageous; a character who took believed in their own potential for success.

Hey, if Matthew McConaughey can turn his career around – who’s to say you can’t do the same thing?

Trust yourself to make the right decisions. Focus on who you want to be. Accept the good and the bad with equal measure. Follow your instincts and cut out all of the excuses which simply don’t exist, such as;

 

1. I can’t earn a decent income because I have no qualifications

Throughout life we are told that education is the bedrock of success. From an early age we are raised with the belief that we must follow the well-trodden path and that any deviation will result in failure.

So it stands to reason that many of you reading this will believe that an absence of a diploma or a degree will render you at a disadvantage. Yes, it’s possible – in certain situations. But where one door remains locked, several will swing open.

A lack of qualifications will only prevent someone from deciding if you’re worthy. Do you need another person to grant you permission to earn the income you desire?

Many of this planet’s most successful people dropped out of college. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Ted Turner seem to be doing alright – because they chose their own path.

So can you.

 

2. I’m too old to be doing this

Unless you’re trying to embark on an athletic career at the age of 45 this is one excuse that you should never catch yourself using. Age is an arbitrary number which we use way to often as a means to handicap our ambition and creativity.

Brendan Gleeson decided at the age of 34 that being a maths teacher wasn’t the life he envisioned for himself, so what did he do? He quit his job to become actor. Brendan began attending auditions and landed small roles in various TV movies but it wasn’t until Mel Gibson cast him in Braveheart that he would have his major breakthrough. Now he has several Golden Globe nominations and is one of the world’s most respected actors.

Blues musician, Seasick Steve had to wait 57 years before finally achieving chart success with his 2008 album ‘I Started Out with Nothin and I Still Got Most of It Left’. After spending the majority of his life as a struggling session musician and several years spent living as a hobo, he had to watch countless other artists live the dream before getting his shot at the big time.

If you’re worried that time is running out and success hasn’t found you yet – I have a bit of advice; Go and find it yourself.

 

3. I’m worried that everyone will laugh at me

People will always notice that which is different. It’s hardwired into our DNA. We seek out anything that is slightly out of the norm. Do you remember how your new hairstyle was ridiculed at school for no other reason than it was different than the day before?

We carry this fear into our adult lives. Whether it’s something major like a change in career, taking up a new hobby or something as trivial as a trip to the Barber’s – we become so dependent on the approval of our peers that we’re almost paralysed into mediocrity.

You should never feel ashamed for being the person you want to be. You should never walk away from achieving a goal because you’re worried about what other people may think. If something feels right. If your instincts are dragging you towards a future that you deserve then seriously, what the hell has it got to do with anyone else?

If other people choose to laugh because you’re daring to do something different, don’t worry. They are only laughing at themselves.

excuses quote

 

4. My life is hectic right now – I’m too busy

What makes you so special?

If we’re all given the same hours each day, what separates those who make use of their time from those who allow it slip by? That’s right – you’re lazy. I bet you waste several hours a week watching mindless television that could be better spent mastering your craft. I bet that you regularly sleep in late and waste your days off because you lack the discipline required to start your day the right way. I’m also willing to bet that your life is so disorganised that you have no idea how much free time you genuinely have to play around with.

Margaret Thatcher used to free up more time by only allowing herself 4 hours sleep each night.

Award winning author Geoff Thompson wrote his first book whilst sitting on the toilet at the job he hated.

Arnold Schwarzenegger would regularly sneak out of his military camp just so he could find the time to train.

Successful people will always find a way of overcoming their obstacles by stealing time where possible. The truth is that you don’t need more time, it’s already there. You just need to stop dithering and actually make use of it before it eventually runs out.

 

5. I’m waiting for the right time

Help me out here. What’s the right time – next week? Next year? 6.47 pm?

You’re hesitating. Maybe through fear, a lack of confidence or just laziness – you’re definitely hesitating, and it’s about time you did something about it.

You see, there is no tomorrow. The present is the only time that actually exists. Every moment in the past and every possible moment in the future will take place in the present. We are terrible at planning ahead. There are parts of our brain that are stimulated when we think about ourselves, and there are parts of our brain that light up when we think of others.

The interesting part is that when we think of our future selves, the part of our brain that gets used is that for other people. The person that wakes up tomorrow morning isn’t going to be the same person who made that promise today. Why would you trust a stranger with your life?

I admit, not all tasks can be carried out today, but at the very least you should be doing something; putting the wheels in motion and taking that first step.

The only time is now. Make it count.

 

6. I can’t do it, it’s too difficult

What’s too difficult?

Running a marathon is 26.2 miles of screaming lungs and burning quads. Those who finish can barely walk afterwards – and it’s even been known to claim a few lives in the process. But let me ask you this. Can you put on a pair of trainers and run around the block? Every endurance race begins with an easy training session.

Earning that big promotion requires you to successfully hit those sales targets. In a pressure cooker environment, only the most consistent performers will be considered. But let me ask you this. Are you able to treat your next customer with 100% focus and attention? Targets are achieved 1 sale at a time.

Every goal can be broken down into smaller chunks. Don’t try and take on the world today – leave that for another time. But also ask yourself this; if it’s not difficult, is it worth doing?

Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity.

 

7. There is an ‘us’ and ‘them’

If you have ever quit something, or worse, resisted from even trying because you believe that you somehow lack the natural ‘talent’ to succeed then please slap yourself in the face.

Seriously, I’ll wait here…

How did that feel? Did it hurt? Man up.

There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. For the majority of skills, disciplines and career choices, there is no such thing as talent. The only difference between those who reach the top and those who sit around moaning about their lack of success is the ability to get off their ass.

Ordinary people do extraordinary things simply because they put themselves in a situation where the only possible outcome is one of excellence. You cannot pursue a full time dream whilst putting in part time hours. If you want something then you have to live and breathe it. Let it consume your thoughts. Embrace your craft and merge as one.

If you allow yourself to succeed then it’s inevitable.

No more excuses motivation

 

Final thoughts

Stop creating excuses where there are none. With enough effort you can probably come up with a multitude of reasons why you shouldn’t do something, but guess what? You already have one brilliant reason why you should go ahead and pursue your goal – and that’s because you want to.

Isn’t that enough?

Jamie is a guitar teacher, writer and blogger from Bournemouth, England. After choosing to quit the typical 9-5 existence, he created Psycholocrazy to document his thoughts and struggles as he forges his own path in life. Jamie is a firm believer in following your own instincts so go ahead and grab his my free 33 page ebook and find out how to quit your job and live life on your own terms too. You can also find Jamie on facebook and Google+.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Nicole Conner

    Dec 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I sure needed this butt kicking this morning! Mask wearing is easy, taking it off, looking at myself – The real me – is the girl that needed the slap! (ouch!)

    Continue to be awesome….thank you!

  2. Joseph Dabon

    Dec 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    But aren’t all excuses in the head?

  3. Anna

    Dec 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    It’s so easy to be an inspirational speaker/write even YOU can do it. Do you have a family? Do you have kids to take care of, a wife to come home to? No? Oh, well then, you can do ANYTHING! The world is your oyster because you have no obligations to anyone other than yourself! How easy life must be then. Want to quit your job? No problem! Want to move the Hawaii and become a surfer? No problem! You’re just a naive kid spitting out same ol’ free spirit rhetoric that everyone else with no ties preaches on the internet. Bill Gates quit college, SO CAN YOU! Worst crock of horse $#^% I ever heard. Most people are NOT Bill Gates nor are they Zuckerberg. They are AVERAGE. And average people with AVERAGE ambition level NEED to stay in college so that Bill Gates can hire them. I hate it when people talk like you do because it means absolutely NOTHING to the average Joe. Which is pretty much everyone.

  4. Marcin

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Half the listed college drop outs dropped out of Harvard. A Harvard dropout is better off than a community college graduate. There are more holes in your points than in swiss cheese

    In short, as the internet say: Your argument is invalid

  5. declan

    Apr 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Brilliant 🙂
    May get it laminated??

  6. christian

    Apr 12, 2014 at 5:36 am

    yes just do it , tks a lot to help the others to be more brave, i like a lot ur last sentence if u really want it u ll found a way if not u ll found an excuse !! i use to tell something like this often
    in chinese , be brave exactly go on put the gas is ” jayou” then to all ” jayou !! “

  7. Jerly Dolomatan

    Apr 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Hello Jaime…thank you for this article..I agree in what are stated in article…because in myself..a lot of time I’ve wasted..like doing somethings which is less important…i am a student taking a degree which i don’t like..and that is why, I never give my very best..hope you can help me how to in this situation…

  8. Corey Roncoroni

    Apr 11, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Great article. We really are just a result of the stories we tell ourselves in our head.

  9. talya2312

    Apr 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Great advice.

  10. Everyday Power

    Apr 8, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I absolutely loved this! It always important to have the language to combat the thoughts that hold us back! Great work!

  11. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    The rationalizing thoughts people tell themselves to justify their behavior is always bizarre and extremely interesting.

    If you’re in doubt and think you’re trying to convince yourself with excuses – look in the mirror and say it out aloud. Chances are you can’t.

    Problem solved, you’re full of excuses!

    Naomi

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Hey, that’s an interesting way of looking at it. You’re right, of course!

  12. Nik E Nokr

    Apr 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Very inspiring read! Cant wait to share with a select few I have in mind! 🙂

  13. Matt

    Apr 6, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for posting this, it was really good. Very inspiring to get off your butt and do it.

  14. Kash

    Apr 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Very true Jamie.Well written and motivating!

  15. Solomon

    Apr 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Dear Jamie, this article came at the right time. I needed that kick in the back-side, I agree with everything you said, we make far too many excuses and frankly laziness is also a big factor in my case. I`ve got to make some serious changes, Thanks for this informative, kick-ass article. P.S i`m also a fellow Englishman (London) 🙂

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks, Solomon. I had few more excuses that didn’t make the final article. It’s crazy how many we create to appease our ego.

  16. Billy Elliott

    Apr 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Just thought I would take a moment to say it’s great to see positive quality advice online these days…
    I found it encouraging as well as informative.
    Cheers~

    • jamie flexman

      Apr 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Hey, thanks for your kind words – I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

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Success Advice

How YOU Can Create a Powerful 10 Year Life Vision

Ashley Hann

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Where do you desire to be 10 years from now? Joel Brown, founder of the well-known website and podcast Addicted2Success, breaks down exactly how to gain clarity in your life and create a powerful 10-year life vision. The vision process that Joel teaches has transformed the lives of hundreds and thousands of people who use it.

You can listen to the full podcast interview here with Joel Brown or head over to my website AshleyHann.com for more inspirational podcast episodes.

Joel Brown is the real deal. He travels the world coaching thousands and thousands of people to stand in their vision so they can turn their dreams into a reality. He has been featured in the Think and Grow Rich movie, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc., The Huffington Post, Success Magazine and more. He has sat down with well-known thought leaders such as Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Jay Shetty, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, John Assaraf and the list goes on.

This is a MUST LISTEN episode all about gaining clarity, creating harmony in your life and creating a powerful 10-year vision so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted.

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

Joel breaks it down for you step by step. In this episode, we go over:

  • The 3 key questions you must ask yourself in order to live a fulfilled life and master your 10-year vision
  • How to define success for yourself and discover what you really want
  • The 8 areas of life to include in your 10-year vision
  • The top, prevalent patterns successful people share and why you should adopt them too
  • The 3 main limiting beliefs and bullsh*t stories that hold people back from achieving their dreams and goals
  • Why dropping perfectionism is so important and what to do instead
  • …and so much more!

If you’re more of a visual person then you can watch my video interview with Joel Brown here:

This is an episode you won’t want to miss. Joel Brown is the 10-year vision expert and teaches his vision process all over the globe to thousands and thousands of people. You’ll want to make sure to grab a pen and paper so you can take notes and action on the strategies he shares with you.

You can connect with Joel Brown @iamjoelbrown on Instagram and Twitter.  Make sure you also check out his popular motivation account @addicted2success on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

You can listen to the full episode on SoundCloud,Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

OR you can watch it on my YouTube Channel:

RESOURCES:

His event: www.elevatetribe.net

The #1 motivation website he built from scratch: www.addicted2success.com

His Circle of Influence online mastermind: www.iamjoelbrown.com/applynow

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Success Advice

5 Ways You Can Utilize Information Properly and Think More Efficiently

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how to 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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how to create a successful youtube channel
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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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