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The 7 Keys To Incredible Life Success

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The 7 Keys To Incredible Life Success

There was a time in my life, the majority of my youth, when I was a slacker whose primary skill was to find new ways to avoid anything worthwhile. I vividly remember one semester in school that summed up those years: I took only 9 credit hours and played Halo 3 for the whole semester. Literally, I did little else besides play that game. It was just a terrible waste to devote that much time to a video game. I justified it because I was “making progress” by being in college.

I’ve changed so much since then, and my internal change has created a very different set of results in business and in my personal life.

I’m relatively young at 29 years old and I’ve written two books, one of which has become an international bestseller. My book, Mini Habits, has been the #1 selling self help book in the United States and South Korea, and it’s being translated into a dozen languages.

This bit of success means so much to me because of where I came from. And if the guy who lived to play Halo 3 for several months straight can actually contribute something useful to the world, I believe everyone can improve!

These 7 things are the specific changes I made that created more success in my life:

 

1. Don’t ask what you feel like doing, plan to do things and do them

We naturally like to do what we are motivated to do, but when our motivation is lacking, it requires willpower to overcome that and do it anyway.

Everyone loves and prefers motivation. If you could have an unlimited amount of one or the other, motivation would be the choice. Wanting to scrub the toilet? Wanting to organize your tax papers? Wanting to go to the gym? Wanting to do grueling research for a project? Fantastic! …but it’s not going to happen every time or even very often. You can never count on feeling like doing challenging things. I’ve seen that successful people are those who do their work even on “down” days.

The way in which you “self-talk” reveals deep-seated beliefs. Do you find yourself thinking of what to do based on what you feel like doing? If you come into some free time, do you “float” into what’s most appealing? If so, you’re relying on motivation. If, however, you think about what tasks you plan to do without much thought given to how “ready” you feel to do them, you’re relying on willpower.

Motivation is a fantastic thing, but you shouldn’t require it of yourself to do things that matter. Do things that matter for their own sake!

The best part about relying on willpower is that it’s like a muscle. Psychologist Roy Baumeister has observed this in multiple studies. Use your willpower more, and it will get stronger. With practice, you’ll develop humanity’s most important skill: being able to do what you really want to do.

 

The rock quotes
 

2. Trust in proven processes; ignore circumstances and results

What has happened (results) and where you are now (circumstances) are irrelevant. What you do next matters. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of submitting to your environment and letting it push you around, or the self-fulfilling trap of assuming that the past will repeat itself. Thankfully, it’s also somewhat easy to not do this and follow proven processes instead.

My best personal example of this was when I started doing one push-up a day (my first mini habit). Circumstantially, I was out of shape, lazy, and felt defeated. I had poor results from prior efforts to change. I was stuck in every way. But the process of doing one push-up a day was powerful beyond its appearance—it changed my brain as it became habitual. It pulled me out of my lazy funk and gave me a foundation for exercising that enabled me to go to the gym consistently. Today, two years later, I exercise almost every day.

This is the power of process: I’m still getting results more than two years after those one push-up days! Processes, when repeated to become habitual, can last you a lifetime. So trust in the good ones like mini habits! Don’t listen to thoughts like “one minute of piano practice every day won’t accomplish much,” because it WILL.

 

3. Take smart risks with low downside and high upside

When you’re young, take risks. When you’re old, still take risks. We’re on this planet for a very limited time, and not taking risks means you’re living a boring life if nothing else. Not all risks are equal, however, so it’s important to distinguish between playing roulette and investing in a winner.

It’s simple: choose risks with high upside and low downside. This is also the basis for smart stock investments. If you choose a strong company with a stock that appears undervalued, its apparent upside seems greater than its apparent downside because the market has already undervalued it. It’s like a compressed spring: it could be pushed down further, but it’s more likely to go higher.

Here are examples of high upside and low downside risks:

  • Ask for something: Will you go to dinner with me? Will you publish my book? May I have a free foot massage? Hearing “no” is nothing to fear, and hearing yes will have you and your just-massaged feet smiling. Yes, feet can smile, but only after being massaged.
  • Bootstrap a business: We have the internet! Starting a business no longer requires massive amounts of starting capital. You can “bootstrap” your business, which means you find inexpensive ways to accomplish your business goals. Marketing is a key example; it’s “free” for me to write this post… other than the blood I sweat in the writing process. I spent less than $1,500 to create my first book, which has earned me well over 100 times that amount (one wouldn’t expect this kind of return, but this is the high upside potential I’m talking about). If you don’t want to quit your job to risk entrepreneurship, why not bootstrap a business on the side and see what happens? Wouldn’t that be exciting? If it fails, you still have a job! The “I quit my job, started a business, and it took off” story is romanticized. For most people with families to feed, that’s an example of unacceptable risk.
  • Talk to people: Much of life involves networking with others for personal and business relationships. We may avoid speaking to others if we think they won’t like us. But hey, some people might not like you if you keep to yourself. I remember in high school I was told a particular person whom I had never spoken to thought I was “stuck up,” but I was just shy. You’ll be surprised at the friends and business connections you can make by just being a bit more outgoing.
  • Create things: I’m a writer, so I love to create books and blog posts. It only costs my time, so the downside (if the world hates it) is minimal. Actually, the downside is zero, because I enjoy writing and it’s beneficial for me to practice it. The upside has changed my life! For you, maybe it’s attempting to create furniture, music, or new clothing styles. When you create something, you only pay with your time and the cost of materials for a potentially high reward; one of the best parts of creating something is the feeling of accomplishment, a reward you’ll get every time!
  • Try something new: I get it. You already know watching Seinfeld reruns and eating ice cream is fun. But what if you explored the maze that is Venice? What if you ate crocodile meat? What if you spent a whole day complimenting people? What if you tried pilates or archery or a combination of the two? We all have dormant passions that are waiting for us to find them!

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.” – George S. Patton

4. Be consistent, and good things will happen

I used to aim for the most impressive goals, and I was below average. Everything changed when I started my unimpressive mini habits of doing one push-up a day, writing 50 words per day, and reading two pages per day. Practicing these small behaviors allowed me to be remarkably consistent. No single day was mind-blowing, but every day was a success that built upon the last.

Anyone and everyone can write 50 words a day, which is about a paragraph. If you do that for 2 years, you’d have a short book of 36,500 words! And that’s only if you never decide to do more than that. This goes along with showing up on the “down” days. Successful people always show up, even if they know they’re not at their best.

 

5. Know when to bunt and when to swing for the home run

Learn to bunt before you try to hit home runs. In other words, mastering the basics first can fuel grander efforts later.

I started a blog and practiced writing over 200 articles before I wrote a book to sell. Now that I have more followers and improved writing skills, I’m better equipped to swing for home runs, which in this case means investing more money (taking more risk) and making products. Don’t be afraid to bunt while you’re learning and then when you’ve honed your craft, swing for the fences!

 

6. Accept that your success isn’t 100% up to you

I love people, but I have been as much as a lone wolf as you can be when it comes to my career. That is to say, I’m terrible at networking! I’ve been fortunate enough that some people have networked with me, and have greatly helped me. And without people to read my blog posts and books, I would have nothing. It’s humbling.

This goes for every person alive. What if nobody cared to watch Michael Jordan play basketball? What would happen to Chipotle if people didn’t need to eat anymore? I’d probably still eat there, but that’s beside the point. Success is impossible without the assistance or interest of other people.

I find this perspective is helpful in two ways. First, it points to the importance of seeking help when you need it (useful for business and personal life). Second, it keeps you grounded in good times and bad times. Back when I was an unemployed college graduate and nobody would hire me, I realized that it wasn’t completely my fault that nobody would give me a chance, which helped me feel like less of a failure in what was a difficult time. Now that times are better, I understand that I had help getting here and will need more if I am to continue to ascend.

So whether you’re at the bottom, the middle, or the top of the mountain, knowing that you need others to reach or stay at the top can help you in all phases of your journey.

 

7. Build up your self-efficacy

As one of the most underrated self-improvement concepts, developing a healthy sense of self-efficacy can change your life. If you don’t already know, self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to influence outcomes. It’s a combination of self-confidence and trusting in the process: it means you believe in yourself and that your efforts will be the difference between winning or losing.

Self-efficacy can be explained in a mindset:

  • Low self-efficacy -“Going to go to the gym today won’t make much of a difference.”
  • High self-efficacy – “If I consistently go to the gym, I will improve my health and physique!”

High self-efficacy means you trust yourself. You trust what you’re doing will matter. Without it, life is hopeless. With it, you can do amazing things. The old me playing Halo? He didn’t really think his behavior mattered. He just existed and tried to enjoy it. The new me has learned that my decisions, especially the small ones, create vastly different results.

If you’ve been a serial goal quitter, you will struggle to have self-efficacy. Every time you fail to reach a goal, your self-efficacy naturally drops. Why? A failed goal pursuit is a piece of evidence that you do not influence outcomes in your life. You tried to do something and not much happened. It’s hard to argue with that when it happens repeatedly. Successfully completing a goal shows that you do influence outcomes.

What is the best way to build self-efficacy, then? Rather than setting goals that you might not reach, try setting goals that you can absolutely crush. Repeat this often! It’s smarter to attempt two push-ups 50 times than to attempt 100 push-ups one time because it’s a high chance at 50 wins versus a much lower chance at one win. At first, your self-efficacy might be like this: “I can meet this requirement every day with just a bit of effort.” Later, it will grow into something more significant: “I actually feel a bit stronger from doing these push-ups every day. This is working!” And from that point, it can snowball further into even better things.

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This doesn’t mean to dream small. I aim to redefine entertainment, but I employ these small steps as my productivity weapon of choice.

These 7 factors have been the difference between “Halo 3 Stephen” and “Bestselling Author Stephen.” I hope you found something useful in this to apply to your life and I wish you great success in your pursuits.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below! What is the one thing that is stopping you from being successful?

Check out my book "Mini Habits" to discover the life-changing strategy of taking small, daily actions. Mini Habits has sold 80,000+ copies worldwide. I'm Stephen Guise, the founder of Deep Existence, a blog about focusing, habits, and the power of small steps. Join Deep Existence to gain access to more than 50 exclusive articles, download 40 "focus wallpapers," and read my stress management book for free!

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Ryan Jones

    Jun 16, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Been in the internet marketing business for a while myself and there is definitely a learning curve for new marketers online. Will have to share these tips with my readers too.

  2. Ahmed Ali

    May 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you Stephen! This article is exactly what I need to hear at this chapter of my life.

  3. Sachin

    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Very well said. I will apply this in my life too. 🙂

  4. Jay Sifford

    Dec 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This is a great read. Thanks so much. I realized that I’m already doing these things and, believe me, my life is great… not perfect, but great. I enjoyed the reinforcement. While reading this, I thought back to conversations between my brother and my mother. She told me that he would ask “Where did Jay come from? He’s not like us.” I took that as a compliment.
    After several “false starts” in careers, by doing the things you’ve outlined here, I’m successful and happy with my landscape design profession. I’ve also been writing for several years now. I always wanted to, but just didn’t know how to start. I wouldn’t trade those painful “false starts” for anything, because, even though they appeared to be dead ends, they provided lessons and building blocks for me that I use today.
    I could go on, but won’t. Again, thank you.

  5. aspecialist

    Nov 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    This is really interesting to read. Hitting goals and achieving success depend on our course of actions and thinking. You will not know what you can achieve unless you give a shot and really work for it. There are lot of meaningful things that we can do and goals that we can achieve, and we were given the power to choose our path .

  6. Samantha Driscoll

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I found your article really interesting, from the perspective I am embarking on a new journey setting up my own business which has been a learning curve. Thank you

  7. Deepanshu

    Sep 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

    One of the best post I have ever read. I have read huge no of self help post. But this one is my favorite post.
    Thanks

  8. Stephen Guise

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:44 am

    You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

  9. Matt

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:11 am

    The description for #6 actually contradicts the headline. You are in fact responsible for your success or failure by making the effort to network. So while the people you network with will help you get to where you want to go, YOU are still responsible for going out and meeting those people.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

      There is no contradiction.

      Understanding that your success isn’t 100% in your hands gives you a superior perspective: it makes you more resilient and more willing to network or ask for help. If you believed success was 100% up to you, you’d be far more likely to get discouraged (such as when your best effort fails) and less likely to ask for help when you need it most.

  10. Linda Salloum

    Sep 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Hi stephen ,
    Thank you for a great article . I really do hear you and like yourself I was that young person who was lazy and shy and every day make plans to do something productive but never got round to it. I will try your mini habits because I am desperate to change my life before its too late. Lilly

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:29 am

      Mini habits turned my life around. Most of the 7 keys I listed are in line with the mini habit strategy. My big turnaround started with one push-up per day! Good luck, Lilly!

  11. Lonell M. Holliday

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Great article! Steve.. Very great artical.
    I had to read it twice and take down notes. 50 Words a day! self-efficacy. Man I got it..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. Give it a try!

  12. Ernie A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Beautiful! You have an awesome story man and these are great pearls of wisdom. I’m in the process of writing my first book and your advice has been key in making progress.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:31 am

      I appreciate that, Ernie! I’ve written two books, and I wrote them both by aiming for 50 words a day. It’s more powerful than it seems. 🙂

  13. A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    This is a very interesting article.

    At the moment I am trying to establish a business which I know there is a lot of potential and have put some good hours into it. Had some knock backs but not gave up on it

    However I also have something else that I would like to do. That are not related .

    If my business does kick on then I can in some capacity do what I really desire in some aspect. If it doesn’t then I have to walk away from one.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Best of luck with your business. If this one doesn’t work out, you can always try again. I had a failed business before I started writing books.

  14. Roxanne

    Sep 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Wow Stephen, I’m so grateful I read your article. I am the queen of the non “Follow Through”. I fail repeatedly to finish anything I start. Or I have great plans in my mind but never start them. after reading and rereading your article, it makes complete sense to me, my behavior that is.. I also love words, I love to write, I have started the same idea for a book several times, I get 2 pages written and I’m so critical of my writing that I quit..writing is only one example of many things I have quit, a lot do to being so critical about myself and the feeling that “it should have been better”, so if I can’t get it perfect what’s the point of continuing,this kind of self defeat talk going on in my head… but you have really opened up my mind to my real issue’s of what I call the “Failure of Follow Through. ” Thanks so much for getting it and putting yourself out there to help others….I’m going to read your book Mini- Habits asap…. thanks

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:37 am

      Roxanne, you might actually benefit more from my second book! It’s called, “How to Be an Imperfectionist” and it directly addresses the issue you’re describing. The solutions I suggest in the book are in Mini Habit form. If you’re interested to read both books, it works best to read Mini Habits first.

      Mini Habits works as a general solution for perfectionism, and How to Be an Imperfectionist has direct solutions for the different aspects of it, such as unrealistic expectations, need for approval, concern over mistakes, and so on.

  15. Psimatupang

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Wow.. This is so wonderful. Thank you.

    Well, what stopping me from success (reaching my dreams) is something that happening inside me. I am a student, when others talk about something i have no idea what or something i haven’t learnt it kinda makes me feel small..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:41 am

      There’s nothing wrong with ignorance. We’re all ignorant of certain things. I used to be afraid to ask questions because it would expose my ignorance, but I realized the more I asked questions when I didn’t know things, the less ignorant I’d be. The slight potential embarrassment is definitely worth bearing, and people are usually happy to teach you what they know.

  16. Steve Jordan

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Excellent article, thank you.

  17. Ankur Agarwal

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Hi Stephen, its a good article and its nice to read your thoughts.
    Just to share, I have been going through the low self efficacy phase. I tried few things but didn’t work out.
    so going by your words, I will start on doing mini habits of writing 50 words a day because I also like to write.
    Will surely share my thoughts with you.

  18. Nikolai Westall

    Sep 8, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Thank you! Awesome stuff 🙂

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Success Advice

5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work.

What do you do when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or frustrated? Do you lash out or disengage from those around you? If you’re like me, you struggle to hold back your strong reactions when you experience a setback or a challenge.

Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to help slow down your reactive brain and assess your current situation so that you can respond more effectively to challenging situations:

1. Why do I feel triggered by this situation?

Start by asking yourself a broad question to assess the current situation. Why do you feel the way you do about this situation? This question allows you to take a brief pause to examine why you feel the way you do about a specific situation. Asking why is powerful because it forces you to consider your own feelings and emotions more closely. Sometimes, you may not even be fully aware that you are feeling stressed, angry, or threatened by a particular situation. Take the time to recognise those feelings and ask yourself why you are feeling them.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

2. What would I be thinking if I was in the other person’s shoes right now?

Often times, emotional stress or strain comes from an interaction with someone else – be it a work colleague, a client, or a loved one. Most of our lives we live in a bubble of “me”. We constantly think about our situation as it relates to ourselves, rather than those around us. Ask yourself what the other person is thinking in this situation, and why they might be acting the way they are. Maybe they aren’t lashing out at you because they’re rude, rather, they may be worried about their own job or career.

3. How would an outsider look at what is going on right now?

Take one more step back and look at the situation from the perspective of an outsider. If the situation is too close to your heart, chances are that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes may prove impossible. Instead, consider how an outsider would react to this situation if they were in the room with you. The outsider’s point of view will be more well rounded, and you will have the opportunity to judge whether your reactions are being influenced by the situation itself or by unconscious biases, thoughts, worries or concerns.

4. If I wasn’t tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, how would I react to this same experience?

Chances are, if you still feel the need to react or lash out in a forceful way, you may be experiencing a weakened mental state brought on by being tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, etc. By asking yourself how you might react if you were well rested and clear headed, you will give yourself a few much needed seconds to slow down and cool off before reacting emotionally. Just by realising that your mental state may be compromised, you will give yourself valuable insight before overreacting to a situation.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

5. In a week’s time, what would your best self think about this situation?

By thinking about how your “best self” would react to a certain situation in a week’s time, you are doing two things. First, you are shifting your perspective to think about the problem through the lens of your “best self”. This means understanding that you are coming to this situation from a state that is less than perfect, and you must adjust your expectations. Second, you are distancing yourself from the situation by forcing your mind to consider what things would look like in a week’s time. By doing both of these things, you are ensuring you react in a balanced way.

The more you practice asking yourself these questions in times of stress, the better you will be at reacting to any challenges that come your way.

Are there any questions you ask yourself to frame problems or challenges differently?

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Success Advice

3 Ways to Uncover Your Blind Spots and Live Life on Your Terms

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Do you ever start to say something you know you shouldn’t, but cannot help to say it anyway? How about a specific relationship breaking down again, despite employing an array of differing strategies? I’m talking about the times where it seems no matter what you do, history has no choice but to repeat itself.

This, ladies and gentlemen, can be attributed to our blind spots. The areas where our ways of thinking hide the key to unlocking our full potential. We assert we’ve looked everywhere, but we cannot look where we cannot see. These barriers to awareness cannot be distinguished with the same thinking that got us there. A new mind and a new heart must be fashioned to break old, embedded patterns. For a life we truly love, we must take to the hills for a new vantage point.

Here are three essentials to uncovering your blind spots and living life on your terms:

1. Deal With Your Ego

Your ego, more than anything, is a protective device. Fashioned from the most primitive parts of your brain, such as the amygdala, your ego puts up a wall as you make mistakes or fall victim to your weaknesses. This component of your psyche, essentially your false self, makes it increasingly difficult for you to address your shortcomings logically and riddle them with emotion.

Because your survival and safety is paramount, responsibility is dodged and allocated elsewhere. Worse off, these areas of the brain are not accessible to our conscious awareness.

The saving grace however, is the part of the brain responsible for logic and reason. This higher-level, non-reactive consciousness can guide you in the right direction if you allow it. Understanding you have a war going on in your mind is the first step — with the second being, who you allow to win.

Your ego is insecure, underdeveloped, irrational, and painfully selfish. Calling it out when it attempts to run wild is up to you. Ironically, because it will stop at nothing to ensure your superficial needs — attention, love, praise, connection, etc. — are met, it typically jeopardizes them by being too attached. It’s a question of what you want the most versus what you want right now. You’ve got Jekyll and Hyde at odds in your head — who are you going to give the hammer to?

“Check your ego at the door. The ego can be the great success inhibitor. It can kill opportunities, and it can kill success.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Question Everything

Success is not final. What works in producing results may not work for as long as we want to believe. With certain approaches having produced results for us in the past, we’re naturally inclined to lean into a sunk-cost bias and ride them out ignorantly. No one wants to give up their beliefs. Where we are in our lives right now is because of a sum of the choices we’ve made based on those beliefs.

Of the same token, what got you here won’t get you there. This is where many people struggle to stay in the game and begin to suffer — helplessness sets in when it appears all you know won’t make any difference. The only way to keep the door open to possibility is through inquiry.

By constantly questioning the approach, the mindset, the attitude and the focus on which you employ, you sift through the options objectively until you land on what you choose to try. Even if you’re wrong the first time, you simply go back to the drawing board and try something else. It gets messy when we over-identify with what we think. You can have strong opinions, but go easy on the Kung Fu grip.

3. Seek Feedback From Thoughtful People

This step is listed last for obvious reasons — it’s the most difficult. Putting yourself out there in the open for potential harm is no easy feat. When you realize the reward far outweighs the risk however, you’ll act every time.

Find a few close confidants whose opinions you value. Maybe they’ve accomplished some success in their lives or maybe they just know how to strike a chord with you. Set up regular conversations with them to provide feedback on what you’re up to in life, assuring them your feelings are suspended throughout the sit-down. Create a safe space for them to provide honest, thoughtful feedback for you to look at from a third person perspective and make a decision on whether or not you’re going to add it to your arsenal. Remember, they can see what you cannot.

This isn’t an open forum for someone to trash you. It’s simply a training ground for you to be with the perceptions that you’ve created for yourself through your attitudes and actions. By honoring and valuing others’ opinions, you’ll be one step closer to getting in the minds and hearts of the people you wish to influence most — as well as one step further away from your ego.

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” John C. Maxwell

People can’t appreciate what they don’t know is there. There’s more than one lens in life and you just happen to possess one of the billions. Life isn’t the way you see it, but merely the way it is. Staying grounded in situations and seeing your emotions for what they are (i.e. a cry for help) will allow you to continue to heighten your perspective and gain a panoramic view.

You don’t access your peripherals without stretching your sight. Try these three techniques today to take a break from informational learning and discover for yourself what’s been in your way this whole time.

How do you discover what’s holding you back from achieving success in your life? Do you have any techniques? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

7 of the Best Time Management Tips From the Master of Success, Jim Rohn

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Becoming a master at time management will allow you to design and improve every aspect of your life. Jim Rohn was one of the most influential speakers when it came to this. His tips and tricks are very actionable and revive a sense of motivation in millions of people to date. Managing your time meticulously is easier said than done but just like anything great you will ever accomplish, the hardest step is to begin. Try not to just read through these steps but to put them into action.

Here are 7 time management tips from Jim Rohn:

1. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan

Designing your life is a nice way of saying ‘don’t let life happen to you, make your life happen’. A ship that leaves its dock without a planned destination will wonder the seas aimlessly and guess what, it will never get to where it was meant to be. Every day is an accumulation of time, therefore, managing your time is managing your day. This will lead to having your life planned out, day by day until you realize you have achieved most, if not all, of your goals.

2. Think on paper

Write down your goals and dreams. This might be a document, app, or the old-fashioned pen to paper, but this is not an option. There is something special that happens when we jot down our goals, because the mind begins to see them as actionable steps not just dreams.

Most people say they want to be successful and dream about being great, but have never written it out the steps to get there. Meticulously plan and schedule your life in real time on paper. This will lead to the next step which is planning out how you will achieve your goals.

3. When you don’t control your time, your time will control you

Have you ever experienced a day in which you did not plan out your time and before you knew it, you had gotten nothing done? This is how most people’s lives go by. They have no specific plan for their time and therefore for their lives. Your choices determine the person you end up being. See every moment as an opportunity to savor the time and make the most of it.. If you control how you spend your time, you can control your successes and failures.

Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.” – Jim Rohn

4. If it’s easy to do, it’s easy to NOT do

We kid ourselves, ‘Ah, that’s simple, why should I plan it out, I’ll just do it!’ This has proven not to work time and time again. Simply because if it’s easy to do, it is easy not to do. We are a product of the things we continuously do.

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is structured around a simple principle. Every single action, no matter how small, if done over and over again will compound to a much larger product. The small things we ignore and don’t do because we never plan for them will eventually accumulate to some big action we now have to take which will be much harder.

5. Without a sense of urgency, desire loses value

If you don’t plan out your time you are not putting a timeline on your goals. Having deadlines creates a sense of urgency. This is why we start to work on a month-long project around the last week to the deadline. The pressure makes it seem dire and will act as a type of motivator to completing and accomplishing our goals. Put a deadline on your dreams, otherwise they are just that, dreams.

6. Study the art of setting goals

Every day, write your goals fresh without focusing on yesterday. This is a good way to weed out non-priorities and refocus on your true goals. Focus is something lacking in today’s society. Don’t fall ‘victim’ to this, so review your goals on a daily basis to reinforce them and make realizing them practical. Derek Mills suggests a Daily Standards system where we don’t necessarily work towards a long time goal but focus on daily goals which eventually turn into long-term successes.

Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

7. We all have the same amount of time in a day  

Start where you are, it doesn’t matter where you are now. 90% of millionaires started out broke. The key to success is taking a lot of action on a great idea and the only way to do this is to manage your time. Plan around every single action, no matter how simple. You can turn your life around at any given moment. The best way to do this is by time management.

Start simple by having a notebook where you write down how you spend every hour of your time. If you surf the web for 2 hours, write it down. If it takes you 30 minutes to stalk your favourite celebrity, write it down. Everything you do, for one week, write it down. In the end, you will see where most of your time goes.

You will also start to resent having to write down that you spent one hour looking at pictures of a car you could only afford if you actually used that time wisely. This is a great place to start, from there you can follow the many time management tips available to you and see what works best for you.

How do you manage your time to get the best results? Let us know in the comments below!

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8 Ways to Help You Stay Productive Even When You Think You Can’t

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To succeed big, you must work your butt off. I just read a book about the routines of billionaires and some of history]s most successful figures, and every single one of them were super productive…and you should be too. If you want better things in your life, then you must stay productive regardless of how lazy you feel or how hard a task seems to you.  

Here are 8 ways to help you stay productive even when you think you can’t:

1. Calm the HALT down

HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These four moments are when you`re emotionally at your lowest, and all you can think of is bad food and a bed. Ever notice that you eat more on the days you feel tired or lonely? A great productivity tip is to take notice of when you’re at the HALT, and take some time to cool down before getting back to work. Take some time off, call a friend, take a nap, see a movie or eat something refreshing. The key is to realize that what you’re feeling is normal and to be okay with it. Once you feel better, you can get back to work.

2. Take tasks to their simplest form

“Open Gmail + type client’s email address.” This is a task I scheduled on my calendar yesterday. I was negotiating new rates with a client and because asking for a raise will always be intimidating, no matter how often you do it, I chose only to schedule the first step (Open my Gmail, then type in the client`s email), and let the ball roll from there.

I’ve been using this anti-procrastination trick for a decade, and it has never failed me. And in case you`re wondering, I wrote the email and scheduled a Zoom meeting. He said no, and we broke off. But I’m overbooked and happy.

Whenever I’m intimidated by a task, I look for the easiest thing I can do about it, and I do it. Then I look for the new “easiest” thing to do, and again I do it. Then again and again until I`m invested in the task that I no longer want to quit until I finish it.

“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” – Margaret Bonnano

3. Put everything on a calendar

I couldn`t believe how much working with a calendar was awesome until I tried it. The best thing about using a calendar is that it puts time constraints on everything you do. Each task has its start and end time which makes you feel like a player before a scheduled game; you can`t reschedule the game or delay it, so you`d better pull your things together and get back to work.

4. Take no emails when you feel bad

Avoid taking emails early in the morning or when you feel bad. It`s part of the anti-HALT process discussed shortly. Emails usually come with an unexpected change in plans and sometimes worse —take an angry customer for example. So, it makes sense that you schedule emails two or three hours after you wake up to stay in a perfect mood for productivity. It`s what many productivity experts do, including Tim Ferris.

5. Eat your frog first

Eat the frog is a term made by Brian Tracy, the Steph Curry of productivity. The frog is the most significant, most difficult and the most important task on your calendar and to Tracy, that should be the first thing you do every morning. Guess what? Eating the frog does work, and if you make a habit of it, you`ll be extraordinarily productive because of the amount of motivation it will give you. It`s like passing the first exam of the semester, which happens to be the toughest. All the following will be pieces of cake to you.

6. Try the power pose

Anytime you feel unproductive, stand up, breathe deeply and take the power pose or do some stretches. Changing your physiology can improve your mood, that`s what science discovered many years ago. If your time allows, you can hit the gym or go for a run. The pump you feel, and the accomplishment will regulate your mood and motivate you to take more action.

“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

7. Work from the most boring place you can find

A tiny mean room with just a bed, a bible and a deck of cards – that`s where Maya Angelou, the great poet, did her daily writing. “I can’t work in a pretty surrounding. It throws me,” she said in an interview. Maybe this can work for you too. My first ever writing coach gave this tip in my quest to make writing a daily habit. He told me the reason why most writers, including Angelou, love to write in dull environments is that it rushes them to get things done. It makes sense because if you can`t stand the place, then you`d do anything to get out.

8. Every now and then, Work only when you feel like working

When it comes to productivity, Georges Simenon is the man. He lived 86 years and wrote over 425 novels while only working two weeks every other month. As Mason Currey wrote about him in his book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, “The Belgian-French novelist worked in intense bursts of literary activity, each lasting two or three weeks, separated by weeks or months of no writing at all. Even during his productive weeks, Simenon didn’t write for very long each day” writes Currey.

Realizing that all you need is three hours of hard work before calling it a day may motivate you.  It`s bizarre, uncommon, and may not work for you, but maybe it does. So, why not give it a try? Pick a day this week, or the next, and set to work for only three, undistracted, hours then try to squeeze out every ounce of creativity and work in those hours. Once the clock ticks, take the rest of the day off.

How do you stay productive? Comment below!

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5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work. (more…)

McVal Osborne is the author of 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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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Ryan Jones

    Jun 16, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Been in the internet marketing business for a while myself and there is definitely a learning curve for new marketers online. Will have to share these tips with my readers too.

  2. Ahmed Ali

    May 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you Stephen! This article is exactly what I need to hear at this chapter of my life.

  3. Sachin

    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Very well said. I will apply this in my life too. 🙂

  4. Jay Sifford

    Dec 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This is a great read. Thanks so much. I realized that I’m already doing these things and, believe me, my life is great… not perfect, but great. I enjoyed the reinforcement. While reading this, I thought back to conversations between my brother and my mother. She told me that he would ask “Where did Jay come from? He’s not like us.” I took that as a compliment.
    After several “false starts” in careers, by doing the things you’ve outlined here, I’m successful and happy with my landscape design profession. I’ve also been writing for several years now. I always wanted to, but just didn’t know how to start. I wouldn’t trade those painful “false starts” for anything, because, even though they appeared to be dead ends, they provided lessons and building blocks for me that I use today.
    I could go on, but won’t. Again, thank you.

  5. aspecialist

    Nov 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    This is really interesting to read. Hitting goals and achieving success depend on our course of actions and thinking. You will not know what you can achieve unless you give a shot and really work for it. There are lot of meaningful things that we can do and goals that we can achieve, and we were given the power to choose our path .

  6. Samantha Driscoll

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I found your article really interesting, from the perspective I am embarking on a new journey setting up my own business which has been a learning curve. Thank you

  7. Deepanshu

    Sep 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

    One of the best post I have ever read. I have read huge no of self help post. But this one is my favorite post.
    Thanks

  8. Stephen Guise

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:44 am

    You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

  9. Matt

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:11 am

    The description for #6 actually contradicts the headline. You are in fact responsible for your success or failure by making the effort to network. So while the people you network with will help you get to where you want to go, YOU are still responsible for going out and meeting those people.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

      There is no contradiction.

      Understanding that your success isn’t 100% in your hands gives you a superior perspective: it makes you more resilient and more willing to network or ask for help. If you believed success was 100% up to you, you’d be far more likely to get discouraged (such as when your best effort fails) and less likely to ask for help when you need it most.

  10. Linda Salloum

    Sep 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Hi stephen ,
    Thank you for a great article . I really do hear you and like yourself I was that young person who was lazy and shy and every day make plans to do something productive but never got round to it. I will try your mini habits because I am desperate to change my life before its too late. Lilly

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:29 am

      Mini habits turned my life around. Most of the 7 keys I listed are in line with the mini habit strategy. My big turnaround started with one push-up per day! Good luck, Lilly!

  11. Lonell M. Holliday

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Great article! Steve.. Very great artical.
    I had to read it twice and take down notes. 50 Words a day! self-efficacy. Man I got it..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. Give it a try!

  12. Ernie A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Beautiful! You have an awesome story man and these are great pearls of wisdom. I’m in the process of writing my first book and your advice has been key in making progress.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:31 am

      I appreciate that, Ernie! I’ve written two books, and I wrote them both by aiming for 50 words a day. It’s more powerful than it seems. 🙂

  13. A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    This is a very interesting article.

    At the moment I am trying to establish a business which I know there is a lot of potential and have put some good hours into it. Had some knock backs but not gave up on it

    However I also have something else that I would like to do. That are not related .

    If my business does kick on then I can in some capacity do what I really desire in some aspect. If it doesn’t then I have to walk away from one.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Best of luck with your business. If this one doesn’t work out, you can always try again. I had a failed business before I started writing books.

  14. Roxanne

    Sep 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Wow Stephen, I’m so grateful I read your article. I am the queen of the non “Follow Through”. I fail repeatedly to finish anything I start. Or I have great plans in my mind but never start them. after reading and rereading your article, it makes complete sense to me, my behavior that is.. I also love words, I love to write, I have started the same idea for a book several times, I get 2 pages written and I’m so critical of my writing that I quit..writing is only one example of many things I have quit, a lot do to being so critical about myself and the feeling that “it should have been better”, so if I can’t get it perfect what’s the point of continuing,this kind of self defeat talk going on in my head… but you have really opened up my mind to my real issue’s of what I call the “Failure of Follow Through. ” Thanks so much for getting it and putting yourself out there to help others….I’m going to read your book Mini- Habits asap…. thanks

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:37 am

      Roxanne, you might actually benefit more from my second book! It’s called, “How to Be an Imperfectionist” and it directly addresses the issue you’re describing. The solutions I suggest in the book are in Mini Habit form. If you’re interested to read both books, it works best to read Mini Habits first.

      Mini Habits works as a general solution for perfectionism, and How to Be an Imperfectionist has direct solutions for the different aspects of it, such as unrealistic expectations, need for approval, concern over mistakes, and so on.

  15. Psimatupang

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Wow.. This is so wonderful. Thank you.

    Well, what stopping me from success (reaching my dreams) is something that happening inside me. I am a student, when others talk about something i have no idea what or something i haven’t learnt it kinda makes me feel small..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:41 am

      There’s nothing wrong with ignorance. We’re all ignorant of certain things. I used to be afraid to ask questions because it would expose my ignorance, but I realized the more I asked questions when I didn’t know things, the less ignorant I’d be. The slight potential embarrassment is definitely worth bearing, and people are usually happy to teach you what they know.

  16. Steve Jordan

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Excellent article, thank you.

  17. Ankur Agarwal

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Hi Stephen, its a good article and its nice to read your thoughts.
    Just to share, I have been going through the low self efficacy phase. I tried few things but didn’t work out.
    so going by your words, I will start on doing mini habits of writing 50 words a day because I also like to write.
    Will surely share my thoughts with you.

  18. Nikolai Westall

    Sep 8, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Thank you! Awesome stuff 🙂

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Success Advice

5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work.

What do you do when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or frustrated? Do you lash out or disengage from those around you? If you’re like me, you struggle to hold back your strong reactions when you experience a setback or a challenge.

Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to help slow down your reactive brain and assess your current situation so that you can respond more effectively to challenging situations:

1. Why do I feel triggered by this situation?

Start by asking yourself a broad question to assess the current situation. Why do you feel the way you do about this situation? This question allows you to take a brief pause to examine why you feel the way you do about a specific situation. Asking why is powerful because it forces you to consider your own feelings and emotions more closely. Sometimes, you may not even be fully aware that you are feeling stressed, angry, or threatened by a particular situation. Take the time to recognise those feelings and ask yourself why you are feeling them.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

2. What would I be thinking if I was in the other person’s shoes right now?

Often times, emotional stress or strain comes from an interaction with someone else – be it a work colleague, a client, or a loved one. Most of our lives we live in a bubble of “me”. We constantly think about our situation as it relates to ourselves, rather than those around us. Ask yourself what the other person is thinking in this situation, and why they might be acting the way they are. Maybe they aren’t lashing out at you because they’re rude, rather, they may be worried about their own job or career.

3. How would an outsider look at what is going on right now?

Take one more step back and look at the situation from the perspective of an outsider. If the situation is too close to your heart, chances are that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes may prove impossible. Instead, consider how an outsider would react to this situation if they were in the room with you. The outsider’s point of view will be more well rounded, and you will have the opportunity to judge whether your reactions are being influenced by the situation itself or by unconscious biases, thoughts, worries or concerns.

4. If I wasn’t tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, how would I react to this same experience?

Chances are, if you still feel the need to react or lash out in a forceful way, you may be experiencing a weakened mental state brought on by being tired, hungry, grumpy, sad, etc. By asking yourself how you might react if you were well rested and clear headed, you will give yourself a few much needed seconds to slow down and cool off before reacting emotionally. Just by realising that your mental state may be compromised, you will give yourself valuable insight before overreacting to a situation.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

5. In a week’s time, what would your best self think about this situation?

By thinking about how your “best self” would react to a certain situation in a week’s time, you are doing two things. First, you are shifting your perspective to think about the problem through the lens of your “best self”. This means understanding that you are coming to this situation from a state that is less than perfect, and you must adjust your expectations. Second, you are distancing yourself from the situation by forcing your mind to consider what things would look like in a week’s time. By doing both of these things, you are ensuring you react in a balanced way.

The more you practice asking yourself these questions in times of stress, the better you will be at reacting to any challenges that come your way.

Are there any questions you ask yourself to frame problems or challenges differently?

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3 Ways to Uncover Your Blind Spots and Live Life on Your Terms

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Do you ever start to say something you know you shouldn’t, but cannot help to say it anyway? How about a specific relationship breaking down again, despite employing an array of differing strategies? I’m talking about the times where it seems no matter what you do, history has no choice but to repeat itself.

This, ladies and gentlemen, can be attributed to our blind spots. The areas where our ways of thinking hide the key to unlocking our full potential. We assert we’ve looked everywhere, but we cannot look where we cannot see. These barriers to awareness cannot be distinguished with the same thinking that got us there. A new mind and a new heart must be fashioned to break old, embedded patterns. For a life we truly love, we must take to the hills for a new vantage point.

Here are three essentials to uncovering your blind spots and living life on your terms:

1. Deal With Your Ego

Your ego, more than anything, is a protective device. Fashioned from the most primitive parts of your brain, such as the amygdala, your ego puts up a wall as you make mistakes or fall victim to your weaknesses. This component of your psyche, essentially your false self, makes it increasingly difficult for you to address your shortcomings logically and riddle them with emotion.

Because your survival and safety is paramount, responsibility is dodged and allocated elsewhere. Worse off, these areas of the brain are not accessible to our conscious awareness.

The saving grace however, is the part of the brain responsible for logic and reason. This higher-level, non-reactive consciousness can guide you in the right direction if you allow it. Understanding you have a war going on in your mind is the first step — with the second being, who you allow to win.

Your ego is insecure, underdeveloped, irrational, and painfully selfish. Calling it out when it attempts to run wild is up to you. Ironically, because it will stop at nothing to ensure your superficial needs — attention, love, praise, connection, etc. — are met, it typically jeopardizes them by being too attached. It’s a question of what you want the most versus what you want right now. You’ve got Jekyll and Hyde at odds in your head — who are you going to give the hammer to?

“Check your ego at the door. The ego can be the great success inhibitor. It can kill opportunities, and it can kill success.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Question Everything

Success is not final. What works in producing results may not work for as long as we want to believe. With certain approaches having produced results for us in the past, we’re naturally inclined to lean into a sunk-cost bias and ride them out ignorantly. No one wants to give up their beliefs. Where we are in our lives right now is because of a sum of the choices we’ve made based on those beliefs.

Of the same token, what got you here won’t get you there. This is where many people struggle to stay in the game and begin to suffer — helplessness sets in when it appears all you know won’t make any difference. The only way to keep the door open to possibility is through inquiry.

By constantly questioning the approach, the mindset, the attitude and the focus on which you employ, you sift through the options objectively until you land on what you choose to try. Even if you’re wrong the first time, you simply go back to the drawing board and try something else. It gets messy when we over-identify with what we think. You can have strong opinions, but go easy on the Kung Fu grip.

3. Seek Feedback From Thoughtful People

This step is listed last for obvious reasons — it’s the most difficult. Putting yourself out there in the open for potential harm is no easy feat. When you realize the reward far outweighs the risk however, you’ll act every time.

Find a few close confidants whose opinions you value. Maybe they’ve accomplished some success in their lives or maybe they just know how to strike a chord with you. Set up regular conversations with them to provide feedback on what you’re up to in life, assuring them your feelings are suspended throughout the sit-down. Create a safe space for them to provide honest, thoughtful feedback for you to look at from a third person perspective and make a decision on whether or not you’re going to add it to your arsenal. Remember, they can see what you cannot.

This isn’t an open forum for someone to trash you. It’s simply a training ground for you to be with the perceptions that you’ve created for yourself through your attitudes and actions. By honoring and valuing others’ opinions, you’ll be one step closer to getting in the minds and hearts of the people you wish to influence most — as well as one step further away from your ego.

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” John C. Maxwell

People can’t appreciate what they don’t know is there. There’s more than one lens in life and you just happen to possess one of the billions. Life isn’t the way you see it, but merely the way it is. Staying grounded in situations and seeing your emotions for what they are (i.e. a cry for help) will allow you to continue to heighten your perspective and gain a panoramic view.

You don’t access your peripherals without stretching your sight. Try these three techniques today to take a break from informational learning and discover for yourself what’s been in your way this whole time.

How do you discover what’s holding you back from achieving success in your life? Do you have any techniques? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

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7 of the Best Time Management Tips From the Master of Success, Jim Rohn

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Becoming a master at time management will allow you to design and improve every aspect of your life. Jim Rohn was one of the most influential speakers when it came to this. His tips and tricks are very actionable and revive a sense of motivation in millions of people to date. Managing your time meticulously is easier said than done but just like anything great you will ever accomplish, the hardest step is to begin. Try not to just read through these steps but to put them into action.

Here are 7 time management tips from Jim Rohn:

1. If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan

Designing your life is a nice way of saying ‘don’t let life happen to you, make your life happen’. A ship that leaves its dock without a planned destination will wonder the seas aimlessly and guess what, it will never get to where it was meant to be. Every day is an accumulation of time, therefore, managing your time is managing your day. This will lead to having your life planned out, day by day until you realize you have achieved most, if not all, of your goals.

2. Think on paper

Write down your goals and dreams. This might be a document, app, or the old-fashioned pen to paper, but this is not an option. There is something special that happens when we jot down our goals, because the mind begins to see them as actionable steps not just dreams.

Most people say they want to be successful and dream about being great, but have never written it out the steps to get there. Meticulously plan and schedule your life in real time on paper. This will lead to the next step which is planning out how you will achieve your goals.

3. When you don’t control your time, your time will control you

Have you ever experienced a day in which you did not plan out your time and before you knew it, you had gotten nothing done? This is how most people’s lives go by. They have no specific plan for their time and therefore for their lives. Your choices determine the person you end up being. See every moment as an opportunity to savor the time and make the most of it.. If you control how you spend your time, you can control your successes and failures.

Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.” – Jim Rohn

4. If it’s easy to do, it’s easy to NOT do

We kid ourselves, ‘Ah, that’s simple, why should I plan it out, I’ll just do it!’ This has proven not to work time and time again. Simply because if it’s easy to do, it is easy not to do. We are a product of the things we continuously do.

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is structured around a simple principle. Every single action, no matter how small, if done over and over again will compound to a much larger product. The small things we ignore and don’t do because we never plan for them will eventually accumulate to some big action we now have to take which will be much harder.

5. Without a sense of urgency, desire loses value

If you don’t plan out your time you are not putting a timeline on your goals. Having deadlines creates a sense of urgency. This is why we start to work on a month-long project around the last week to the deadline. The pressure makes it seem dire and will act as a type of motivator to completing and accomplishing our goals. Put a deadline on your dreams, otherwise they are just that, dreams.

6. Study the art of setting goals

Every day, write your goals fresh without focusing on yesterday. This is a good way to weed out non-priorities and refocus on your true goals. Focus is something lacking in today’s society. Don’t fall ‘victim’ to this, so review your goals on a daily basis to reinforce them and make realizing them practical. Derek Mills suggests a Daily Standards system where we don’t necessarily work towards a long time goal but focus on daily goals which eventually turn into long-term successes.

Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

7. We all have the same amount of time in a day  

Start where you are, it doesn’t matter where you are now. 90% of millionaires started out broke. The key to success is taking a lot of action on a great idea and the only way to do this is to manage your time. Plan around every single action, no matter how simple. You can turn your life around at any given moment. The best way to do this is by time management.

Start simple by having a notebook where you write down how you spend every hour of your time. If you surf the web for 2 hours, write it down. If it takes you 30 minutes to stalk your favourite celebrity, write it down. Everything you do, for one week, write it down. In the end, you will see where most of your time goes.

You will also start to resent having to write down that you spent one hour looking at pictures of a car you could only afford if you actually used that time wisely. This is a great place to start, from there you can follow the many time management tips available to you and see what works best for you.

How do you manage your time to get the best results? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

8 Ways to Help You Stay Productive Even When You Think You Can’t

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how to stay productive
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To succeed big, you must work your butt off. I just read a book about the routines of billionaires and some of history]s most successful figures, and every single one of them were super productive…and you should be too. If you want better things in your life, then you must stay productive regardless of how lazy you feel or how hard a task seems to you.  

Here are 8 ways to help you stay productive even when you think you can’t:

1. Calm the HALT down

HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These four moments are when you`re emotionally at your lowest, and all you can think of is bad food and a bed. Ever notice that you eat more on the days you feel tired or lonely? A great productivity tip is to take notice of when you’re at the HALT, and take some time to cool down before getting back to work. Take some time off, call a friend, take a nap, see a movie or eat something refreshing. The key is to realize that what you’re feeling is normal and to be okay with it. Once you feel better, you can get back to work.

2. Take tasks to their simplest form

“Open Gmail + type client’s email address.” This is a task I scheduled on my calendar yesterday. I was negotiating new rates with a client and because asking for a raise will always be intimidating, no matter how often you do it, I chose only to schedule the first step (Open my Gmail, then type in the client`s email), and let the ball roll from there.

I’ve been using this anti-procrastination trick for a decade, and it has never failed me. And in case you`re wondering, I wrote the email and scheduled a Zoom meeting. He said no, and we broke off. But I’m overbooked and happy.

Whenever I’m intimidated by a task, I look for the easiest thing I can do about it, and I do it. Then I look for the new “easiest” thing to do, and again I do it. Then again and again until I`m invested in the task that I no longer want to quit until I finish it.

“Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” – Margaret Bonnano

3. Put everything on a calendar

I couldn`t believe how much working with a calendar was awesome until I tried it. The best thing about using a calendar is that it puts time constraints on everything you do. Each task has its start and end time which makes you feel like a player before a scheduled game; you can`t reschedule the game or delay it, so you`d better pull your things together and get back to work.

4. Take no emails when you feel bad

Avoid taking emails early in the morning or when you feel bad. It`s part of the anti-HALT process discussed shortly. Emails usually come with an unexpected change in plans and sometimes worse —take an angry customer for example. So, it makes sense that you schedule emails two or three hours after you wake up to stay in a perfect mood for productivity. It`s what many productivity experts do, including Tim Ferris.

5. Eat your frog first

Eat the frog is a term made by Brian Tracy, the Steph Curry of productivity. The frog is the most significant, most difficult and the most important task on your calendar and to Tracy, that should be the first thing you do every morning. Guess what? Eating the frog does work, and if you make a habit of it, you`ll be extraordinarily productive because of the amount of motivation it will give you. It`s like passing the first exam of the semester, which happens to be the toughest. All the following will be pieces of cake to you.

6. Try the power pose

Anytime you feel unproductive, stand up, breathe deeply and take the power pose or do some stretches. Changing your physiology can improve your mood, that`s what science discovered many years ago. If your time allows, you can hit the gym or go for a run. The pump you feel, and the accomplishment will regulate your mood and motivate you to take more action.

“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

7. Work from the most boring place you can find

A tiny mean room with just a bed, a bible and a deck of cards – that`s where Maya Angelou, the great poet, did her daily writing. “I can’t work in a pretty surrounding. It throws me,” she said in an interview. Maybe this can work for you too. My first ever writing coach gave this tip in my quest to make writing a daily habit. He told me the reason why most writers, including Angelou, love to write in dull environments is that it rushes them to get things done. It makes sense because if you can`t stand the place, then you`d do anything to get out.

8. Every now and then, Work only when you feel like working

When it comes to productivity, Georges Simenon is the man. He lived 86 years and wrote over 425 novels while only working two weeks every other month. As Mason Currey wrote about him in his book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, “The Belgian-French novelist worked in intense bursts of literary activity, each lasting two or three weeks, separated by weeks or months of no writing at all. Even during his productive weeks, Simenon didn’t write for very long each day” writes Currey.

Realizing that all you need is three hours of hard work before calling it a day may motivate you.  It`s bizarre, uncommon, and may not work for you, but maybe it does. So, why not give it a try? Pick a day this week, or the next, and set to work for only three, undistracted, hours then try to squeeze out every ounce of creativity and work in those hours. Once the clock ticks, take the rest of the day off.

How do you stay productive? Comment below!

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