Tue, 14 July 2015
I don’t know who first came up with this concept, but I saw as part of list of way to get more done, on the LifeHacker website.
Later this month, I’m going to be flying to Ft. Worth Texas to give a quick presentation at Podcast Movement.
As much as I need to get my notes together and get myself prepped, I honestly was thinking “I can always do that on the plane.”
It’s amazing. When I think about what i have coming up over the next few weeks, the most focused time I can see is the time I’ll have while stuck in that tiny metal tube flying for 3-4 hours.
But, why can’t I have that same experience without spending hundreds of dollars and being squished up against the big guy next to me and having the kid behind me yanking on my chair?
Sounds so great… Haha
But I can.
The Strangers Around You
When you’re inside that giant tube, you’re surrounded… even pressed up against all sorts of people. Probably more people than you have in your office.
But you’re not being pestered like you are at work.
People leave you alone… you may get a hello, or an excuse me, but there’s no long conversation about how your weekend went… for the most part.
This is why it’s sometimes more productive to head over to a Starbucks or another public place with Wi-Fi.
I recently had to get my iPhone camera fixed and since they said it would only take a couple of hours, I didn’t really have time to go home and then return. So I went and got an iced tea and sat at the local Starbucks.
A couple of hours of free wi-fi and great passion fruit iced tea and I had a couple of show outlines written. It was great.
Just like in the plane, I was surrounded by people but I wasn’t wasting my productivity time talking with them about nothing of any real importance. It was great.
This is a wonderful way to simulate that airplane isolation in a public place.
Disconnected From Down There
Of course, today, for a few dollars you can still have all the distractions you normally have, but not long ago, being on a plane meant no internet, no email, no phone calls even. Nothing.
As soon as that cabin door closes, you put your phone in “airplane mode” and pull out the in flight magazine.
I’m more a SkyMall kind of guy. But, even that, doesn’t leave much in the way of distractions.
Obviously, it’s incredibly easy to simulate this situation down here as well. Just put that phone on Airplane mode and you will NOT be distracted.
Turn off your wi-fi on your laptop too.
If you need help doing this, you can always install a tool called Anti-Social.
It doesn’t block the entire internet, just the sites that distract you the most. Probably social media sites.
Anti-Social was originally created for Mac but it’s available on Windows machines now too. It’s $15 but it could mean a HUGE boost in income if you used it to be more productive.
You could always just grab an old computer that doesn’t have a built in wifi card and use it only for writing. You don’t need a lot of power to use a text editor. It’s just there to get the words from your head to the screen in front of you.
The World Went On
The weird thing about flying is, when we land and turn on our phone, by and large, the world went on without us.
You may have some “urgent” emails that came in but strangely, some of them have already been addressed before you had a chance to come in and “save the day."
Even when we’re not in the air, we need to remind ourselves.. people can and WILL survive without you. Your adult kids will figure out how to get the tire fixed. Your spouse will figure out how to find where you put the giant frying pan. They can survive. They’ll do ok.
If you dare put your phone into airplane mode, you’ll force this. But you can also just let them know… “Listen, for the next 3 hours, pretend I’m on a plane and you can’t reach me.”
That way, if there’s a REAL emergency, you’re available, but for 99% of the stuff going on, you’re not being interupted.
TRY IT TODAY
Go for an Airplane Day.
Tue, 30 June 2015
We’ve discussed the importance of staying in the moment and focusing on what needs to be done right now rather than consternating checking your progress or comparing yourself to others. It’s true, it’s important. but…
As with so many other apparently “non-productive” things like play-time, we make them a vital part of our progress when we’re intentional about them. Down time or play time can be a hurdle for us if we’re not in control of when it happens. But when we do control it, it’s incredibly beneficial, actually helping us get more done during our non-downtime.
Look Up From The Road in Front of You
You may know some people who drive with their eyes only looking about 10 to 20 feed in front of them. That’s not the safest way to drive, but sometimes in life, that’s the best way to get a lot of work done. Just focus on what’s NEXT
To continue the metaphor, this is fine when you know had a break, gotten some rest and your tank is full. You have no reason to stop for several miles.
But, you can’t do this indefinitely.
When you do that, you miss the exit sign, or the rest area, or even the “last service station for the next 50 miles” sign.
That’s why you have to be intentional about pulling over and checking the tire pressure, coolant level, stretch your legs and even take a little potty break.
Ok… enough of the metaphor.
As this episode is released, it’s the last day of June 2015. We’re heading into July and we’re even at a the mid point in the year, so you may want to make extra use of this place to look at how your annual goals are doing.
Review Your Progress
One of the best ways to get more done is to have less to do. That’s a little odd, but just like a cluttered desk, a cluttered to-do list can be overwhelming and distracting, keeping you from focusing on the items that are most important in your day, or in this case, your month.
Is there something on your to do list that’s been there most of if not all of the past month?
Maybe that’s something that really isn’t as important
Estimate what you can do this next month by using last month as your standard - and eventually several “last months” - evaluate what you were honestly able to get done.
Metaphor time… hahaha… I can’t help it. When my family relocated from Washington State to South Florida, we had a great time driving about 3,000 miles across the country. It’s one of my favorite memories as a family. In fact, it’s a driving factor in my desire to someday buy an motor coach and head out across the country again.
When I mapped out our trip, the first day I planned for us to go about 900 miles. In fact, I booked a hotel room for us before we even left. Well, at about 1 am, with blurry eyes I could barely keep open, we finally pulled into the hotel parking lot. Wow… That was a LONG day.
The next day, I planned on going about 750 miles. Still, this was a LONG day. By the 5th and final day, I was planning on doing about 500 (nearly half of my first day) miles.
I had to adjust based on my previous performance. Otherwise, I was setting unrealistic expectations feeling overwhelmed by what lies ahead of me.
So look back at what you did or didn’t get done in the past month. Look at the effort it took and be honest with ourself about how much more or less you should be doing.
Keeping in mind what you didn’t get done from last month, evaluate what you need to do this next month.
Look for items that can be delayed or even eliminated. This isn’t about procrastination, it’s about planning your schedule so you don’t overestimate what you can do. It’s about making sure fully focused on a few very high priority items rather than being mentally scattered.
Are there any new projects starting up this month which require you to be finishing up previous items?
Will those new items be more important in the grand scheme of things?
What can be delegated to someone assisting you so it’s still getting done but you’re free to do what needs your specific attention?
Looking at everything that’s on your schedule or to do list for next month, break them down into weekly tasks.
Your month may look manageable until you realize 90% of your tasks have a deadline at the end of the second week. So manage week by week and look for items which can be shifted without compromising your overall goals.
Keep in mind, even though your to do list looks manageable, you may have family or friends visiting from out of town. Or possibly some travel requirements for yourself which will take over part of a few days at least.
In June I had Father’s Day, my birthday and wedding anniversary all within a one week period. I missed this collision and that’s why I’m publishing Tuesday’s episode on Tuesday evening instead of Tuesday morning. It’s catch up time now. That’s bad planning.
My workload didn’t change, but capacity did. Don’t overlook it. What big events are happening next month?
Make sure you’re investing the time in this process. I realize it can SEEM like wasted time, but it’s not… it’s just like the metaphor about sharpening your saw or ax before heading out to cut down a tree. What seems like a waste of time really turns into a huge investment. The work is done more rapidly and the time invested pays a huge dividend.
Also make sure you’re doing your weekly and even daily reviews. Each one should take less time then the other. Your annual planning may take a full day or even a weekend, monthly planning may be a few hours, weekly planning could be just an hour and your daily could just be 10 minutes.
If you put off any of the items in that sequence, you’re going to compound the problem further down the line.
Take the time and do that monthly review. I hope you had a great June and you’re looking forward to an amazing July. At the end of July, I’ll be heading to Fort Worth for Podcast Movement and even doing a quick 10 minute presentation on Friday. If you’re going, please reach out and let me know. There are few things I want to do there more than meeting you, a listener to this show. Let’s grab lunch, coffee or even a drink. I would love to say hello.
Tue, 23 June 2015
Today, the 22nd, as I record this, is my birthday. Along with birthdays comes… birthday … cake.
Wow, I can NOT focus after that piece of birthday cake.
I’m telling you, I’m distracted and unable to finish what I’ve started. It’s a struggle to do the outline for this show.
Let’s talk about why this happens and what we can do to not only avoid it, but reverse the scenario, and it doesn't just come from cake.
Glucose is Our Fuel
Glucose is what most of our food turns into and it’s what we need for energy. Without it, we crash and burn. We have zero energy.
Research indicates the optimum level of glucose in our blood stream is 25 grams. That’s about what you’ll get from one banana but keep in mind, that glucose is consumed over time. So you have to work at keeping your levels balanced.
Too high and you suffer, too low and you suffer.
You can do that by regulating your intake through grazing or by eating foods that are low on the Glycemic Index, which means they release glucose more slowly…
Tyrosine is an amino acid that makes you feel energized and alert. It is one of the ones that can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Tryptophan is another one, which has a calming effect.
Foods that are high in Tyrosine and are Low GI foods:
High Glycemic foods (AVOID):
Think about what most kids are eating today in the West. Is it any wonder we think they all have ADHD?
I would love to know if you have a snack you enjoy which doesn't cause you to crash and burn in the afternoons.
Mon, 15 June 2015
If you're anything like me, you do your best work when you're facing a very real deadline with serious consequences or when you're part of group who you need to keep up with cause the entire group to fall behind.
In this episode, we look at ways we can capitalize on this for increasing our daily productivity. Give these a try in your day and let me know what worked best for you.
Hire an employee who runs faster than you. Someone you have to work at to keep up with.
Someone who is nipping at your heels and ready to do your job.
This will make you feel like you’re falling behind every step of the way. Talk about last minute… talk about forcing you to do more.
Join a Group Who Are Doing More Than You.
I experienced this lesson myself this past year, with this podcast.
I went with a friend of mine, Jeff Brown, the host of the Read to Lead Podcast, which I highly recommend you listen to regularly, to New Media Expo in Las Vegas. Jeff, my friend, was a superstar at this event.
People were walking up to Jeff, excited to meet him and talk to him about how he does his show.
Even people who were incredibly successful with their business were thrilled to say high to Jeff.
AND THEY SHOULD BE.. he’s an incredible talent and does a great job.
But, Jeff and I have very similar backgrounds in broadcasting. We have been coached by the same people and even done national radio shows on the same exact network. He ran one station on our network while I ran another one… a bigger one… with a bigger audience. Not because I’m better, it’s just because there’s a larger potential audience.
This was my peer and he had jumped WAY ahead of me… I had fallen behind.
What was his secret? What was the magic ingredient that put him further ahead?
Jeff consistently, without fanfare put out a very high quality show every week. Nearly without fail.
This motivated me to make that a priority for me. Consistently put out a great show, for me, every day. That was going to be my one singular focus. That is what comes first for me each day in my business. Do that show and then when that’s done, do whatever else fits in.
SO… Surround Yourself With People Ahead of You.
Create Deadlines with CONSEQUENCES
Another way to do give yourself the sense that you’re falling behind is to actually have deadlines which you risk missing.
Have you created deadlines for your tasks or just dates when you hope they’ll be done?
This is especially important when you’re self-employed. You set the deadlines.
Of course, clients can do that for you too, but what about when your clients quietly disappear when you miss a deadline? IF you’re a blogger or podcaster, or maybe you have a YouTube channel? What about when you can say “Well, that’s ok, I’ll just skip this week…. “ ?
You have to create deadlines with consequences.
A great way to do this is with an accountability partner or group. A mastermind...
This is one of the huge benefits of a mastermind group. When you say to your peers “I’ll have X done by next weeks meeting.” You then have to put your character on the line. You have to put your ego on the line.
If you’re mastermind group or accountability partners aren’t challenging you to keep your bond, you have to find another group. You need people who aren’t afraid to call you out in a very serious way when you repeatedly fail.
You have to create a false boss who you fear failing as much as you would a real boss.
This is why a personal trainer will help people get into shape -
If you work out five days a week and meet with a trainer one day, you will put more into those other 4 days because you don’t want to have to face them and say “I didn’t do what I told you I would do.”
There are some apps available that will help with this as well. They create very real consequences for failing to hit your goals.
I’m going to save these for this Friday’s episode. Each Friday I like to share a tool or resource which you can try out over the weekend. This last week, I shared the Hours and Jiffy apps for tracking your time during the day so you can find out what’s causing so much of it to seemingly disappear.
I’m still using Hours even as I write these notes. It’s helped tremendously.
This Friday I’ll share a few apps for keeping yourself accountable for what you promise you’re going to do.
Call to Action
Force yourself to fall behind today. Not by doing nothing… fall behind by surrounding yourself with people who are just ahead.
Create or join a mastermind or accountability group. Do something to help you feel like you have very read deadlines.
Create task deadlines and tell someone about them so you have to fess up if you don’t achieve them.
Wed, 10 June 2015
Have you ever seen one of those time-lapse video’s in a bus station or maybe in a big city intersection? Everybody is flying all over the place in this jumbled mess of massive activity. They all have somewhere to go or something to do, but when you look at it from that level, it looks like something that borders on chaos.
This is how our day can look when we glance back at it and wonder were all our time went and why we didn’t get all of our stuff done. We see a mass busy-ness with what seems like a lot of productive activity.
When you slow it down, zoom in and see what actually happened, you notice, there’s one person in the train station who walked up to the newsstand and stayed there for about 30 minutes, just flipping through magazines. You notice another person who ran into a friend and 40 minutes later, said farewell and continued on.
This is what happens in our day. From a distance, it’s a mass of activity, but when we really look closer, we see the Devil in the details.
Start An Activity (or Productivity) Journal
If you ever want to know why you can’t lose weight, even though it seems like you’re trying, start a food journal.
Write down every single thing you eat and what time you ate it. Make sure you record the quantity as well. There are apps that can do this for you, including one I like called MyFitnessPal. You can use it to see if you’re staying within your calorie goals and if your macro nutrients (Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates) are in alignment with your desired diet plan (I won’t get into what I think is best… too controversial).
The same thing is often recommended when someone starts a household budget … and certainly with every business, they need to be tracking where every dollar goes and comparing it to their budget.
In households, you start by writing down EVERY penny you spend. Do it for a given period of time so you can capture as many of the infrequent items as possible. Today, we have apps like MINT which will do this automatically. Just make sure you’re assigning everything to a category and you’re including your cash expenses.
If this works for food and for money, it will work for time as well. But I’ve only met a handful of people who take the time to do this. Most people believe their too busy to spend the time it would take to write down everything they do all day long, for a few days.
BUT, I DON’T HAVE TIME
Honestly, you don’t have time because you don’t take the time to figure out where your time is going.
I was reading about someone who broke their day up into 6 minute blocks and wrote it all out on a sheet of paper and then started filling out where each 6 minutes went. 10 blocks per hour.
You can even set a reminder on your smartphone to ask “what have you been doing the last 6 minutes.
Maybe 6 minutes is too detailed… don’t let that stop you. Begin by looking at every 15 minutes just four times per hour. If it’s really tough, do 30 minute increments.
I think anything bigger than that wouldn’t give you a clear idea of what happens with your time.
You only have to do this for a few days.. a week at the MOST and it will give you SO much insight, you’ll instantly know where your time is going and you’ll be able to adjust what you expect from yourself each day.
Categorize The Results
Break down your results into several different categories.
I would definitely include something called “LOST TIME.” This is down time that wasn’t intentional. You just saw someone in the hallway and you started to chat about the NBA finals or something. Next thing you know, 20 minutes are gone.
Some other suggested categories are:
You may have a few others that work for you.
Tools to Use
There are some great tools you can use to keep track of this, but honestly, I’m going to keep those for Friday’s episode.
Call to Action
Do this today… even if it’s just during your work hours, write down what you’re doing every 6, 10, 15, 20, or even 30 minutes. Take action
Also, go back to episode 66. I talk about creating a Time Budget. It’s really the next step after doing today’s project.
Wed, 3 June 2015
What is the Pereto Principle?
You may not have heard of the Pereto Principle, but just about everyone has heard of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the failures in a project are caused by the top 20% of the errors.
Focus on the 20% and you’ll take care of almost all of the failures.
It’s something I used all the time when I worked as an engineer in electronic materials.
Originally, the principle came of out wealth distribution among a given population.
Most businesses will find that 80% of their sales come from just 20% of their customers. They focus on super serving this 20%.
Basically, 80% of the effect in anything is brought on by 20% of the cause.
Vilfredo Pereto showed that about 80% of the land in Italy, at the time, was owned by 20% of the population. Pareto went on to note that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pods.
How Pereto Came to Productivity
I have to give credit, once again, to Jay Papasan, the co-author, along with Gary Keller, of The One Thing. I’ve been listening to it this past week and when I heard this technique, I knew I had to put it into practice and share it with you.
I suggest you pick up The One Thing so you get the full grasp of what Jay is teaching, but I’ll give you the summary of it all.
You can also get it for free with the Audible App
How to Pereto Your Productivity
You probably have a very large to-do list associated with a specific project.
So, what should you work on first? This is where the Pereto principle comes into effect.
Determine what is your ultimate desired outcome. Maybe you’re building a website
Brainstorm and list everything that needs to be done to get that website launched. Everything
Now go through and start to sort the items based on how much they’ll impact the final outcome.
You’ll eventually notice that about 20% of the items will impact 80% of the final result.
You’ll now know exactly what you need to focus on first.
You can use this with just about any project
Drive the Pereto Deep by "Peretoing" your results
So, that gives you the biggest items, but what do you work on NOW?
Simply take that 20% and sort it again, so you can determine the 20% of the 20% which will give you the TOP 4% of your tasks which will produce the absolute biggest impact to the final desired outcome.
If 4% is still too broad of a focus, simply Pereto it out again, until you have a very clear idea of what needs to be done right now.
Pereto on Many Levels
If you’re like me, you have numerous projects on your desk at any given time. Obviously, if you focus on the top 20% or even top 4% of each project, you’ll never complete them. Sure, you’ll be 90+% of the way there, but you’ll never really finish.
So, you may have to Pereto your project.
Given your overall business goals, which projects are the most important?
Find the top 20% of the projects and you’ll probably have 80% of your business goals taken care of.
Use the Pereto Principle to sort the tasks of that project and then finish it. Focus on it until it’s DONE.
Then move to the next project and Pereto out the steps to know what is going to get you 80% of the way to completion on that one.
Nothing is perfect. Let this flex.
I think you can see how this work. Nothing is perfect and you may have to flex this.
But, the point of it all for Jay Papasan is to help you discover The One Thing you should be focused on right now.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you, why it’s so important for us to discover that one thing.
Again, it’s a great book. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes at PDesmondAdams.com. Highly recommended. I started reading it after numerous people said the same thing. They were right. Check it out.
Call to Action
Pareto out today’s tasks … just as an experiment and then focus ONLY on those top items… with the highest one first. JUST THAT ONE THING
Tue, 26 May 2015
I heard Jay Papasan, the author of The One Thing, share an old Russian Proverb that says, "If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one."
This is what so many of us, myself included, do each and every day. We spend our saying chasing after two, three, four, or even more rabbits. At the end of the day, we feel exhausted and demoralized having not accomplished our goal.
Define and focus on achieving The One Thing you need to do each day.
Make it a habit for yourself or your entire team (if you have one), to define and celebrate the accomplishment of The One Thing you need to do today.
Too often, we feel like we're losing and not accomplishing much because we focus too far down the road. Paint a finish line just a few steps down the street and celebrate crossing it. Then paint another one and celebrate again.
Have your finish lines clearly marked. Celebrate when you cross them.
CALL TO ACTION:
Define today's ONE THING.
Celebrate it's accomplishment.
Find out what fear is holding you back from achieving your goals:
Tue, 19 May 2015
I explain the top 5 items which seem to have nothing to do with productivity, but they're making us less productive.
You'll have to listen to the episode to really understand these items, so I'm not going to list them here. Not trying to force you to list, but I think you'd read the list and just not realize why each one is so incredibly important.
This episode, as with all of them, is less than 20 minutes long. You can invest 20 minutes to find out what's slowing down your productivity.
I also share how you can get a free copy of my one page report on the five fears which are stopping most of us from finishing what we've started. Get it at http://PDesmondAdams.com/5fears
** if you're in the U.S. you can also send a text to 33444 with the words MYFREEGIFT in the body, to 33444.
Tue, 12 May 2015
You’ll do more by having less to do.
Estimate Time for Tasks
Schedule Unexpected Interruptions.
Just because it's on your to do list, doesn't mean it will get done.
Look for those items you keep pushing out.
Brain dump your tasks and ideas but then sort them
Mon, 4 May 2015
You've seen those people (hopefully you're not one of them) who get in the fast lane and drive the same speed as everyone else in the slower lanes.
Everyone gets in line behind them hoping they'll go faster just because they're in the fast lane, but that isn't all it takes.
The same thing happens in life, business, relationships, and careers. So, how do you deal with it? What should you do to make sure you're reaching your goals as quickly as possible?
FIND OUT WHY YOU'RE NOT FINISHING WHAT YOU'VE STARTED
I've put together a free one page report to help you discover the fears which are keeping you from finishing what you've started.
Get your copy right now by sending a text to 33444 with the words MYFREEGIFT in the text.
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