How To Manage Time When Nothing Is Going Your Way

You’re already 5 minutes late when the tire bursts and you spill your coffee on your clothes.
 
What do you do? How do you manage time in a situation like this?
 
Simple answer — you don’t. You’re already too late in this case.
 
That’s what would usually happen to me. I would be late, some emergency or another ruining my day, my clothes, and my appointments.
 
It seemed like I attracted trouble everywhere I went.
 
You know that U2 song lyric… ‘like an accident waiting to happen, a piece of glass left there on the beach…’ I was that person.
 
I felt like a lost cause. But the funny part is that I’d tried everything.
 
I put my watch 15 minutes ahead.
 
Set alarms on three different watches.
 
Even had every appointment that I had to get to in my calendar, but still, something or the other would f*ck up.
 
(Pardon my French)
 
‘What changed?’
 
Well, one simple shift that I adopted in my calendar and my life completely changed everything for me.
 
It seemed like a floodlight turned on. Before I was searching around in the dark and now I could see.
 
I was always prepared for any problem that came my way. My car tires stop bursting, and my coffee stopped spilling.
 
But that’s not all. Opportunities seemed to rush to me. If there was a major project at work, I was the first person for it.
 
I was able to keep important things at the front of my mind when I needed them to be. And forget them when they were no longer needed.
 
I could easily avoid distractions at work and at home. Almost like. If I was at work, I was at work, and when I was home, I didn’t have to think about work.
 
Plus, this simple discovery showed me how to schedule my time and my calendar, so I don’t ignore it. Before it would sit in a corner completely ignored.
 
Life seemed to take on a rosy glow. I was able to do the things that I wanted to do. Be where I was going. Attract the kind of people I wanted.
 
Life was good.
 
(And If I were poetic, I would say the sunsets were brighter!!!)
 
All this happened because of one simple shift that I made on my calendar.
 
But before I tell you what that change is — let’s look at
 
How To Manage Time
 
Let’s first look at a mind shift about time.
 
You’ve heard this ‘mind shift’ before, but chances are you haven’t heard it this way… so keep reading.
 
Time is a limited resource, we all know that. If you don’t do anything with it — it will run out. For example — the hours and minutes that have passed today, can’t come back tomorrow.
 
But, tomorrow is still going to be another day. You will get another chance tomorrow.
 
But you can’t take action tomorrow. You can’t change yesterday either.
 
So when can you take action — NOW! Not even a minute ago. Only NOW.
 
‘Riz, I already know that…’
 
Here’s the best part about time — you’re already doing something in time. You’re sitting here reading this. Before you were reading this, you were doing something else.
 
Each minute of the day, you’re doing something — even if it’s sipping coffee and looking out the window.
 
You were doing that. So each minute of each day, you were doing something.
 
The Daily Activities We Don’t Account For
 
But the problem is you don’t account for all the time that you do sit and sip coffee.
 
I know I didn’t — and I drank a lot of coffee.
 
Here — do this quick experiment. Open your calendar and tell me if you have any of the following scheduled in it.
 
Doing your timesheet for the week. No?
 
How about email time? We spoke about this yesterday.
 
What about a weekly review? Nope?
 
How about team updates?
 
Chances are if you’re anything like I used to be — your calendar has two things — meetings/appointments and client work.
 
Nothing else is in it.
 
But there’s a ton of work that you do every day without thinking about it, or scheduling it.
 
Not the least of which is getting ready and driving to work.
 
(It does take time you know)
 
Let’s look at a few more things that are not on your calendar
 
— lunch (not a lunch meeting, but lunch by yourself)
 
— Daily review for tomorrow
 
— Sleep
 
— Hanging out with friends
 
— Superbowl Sunday (you know you’ll watch it. If only for the ads)
 
Hmm — didn’t think so.
 
I’m only scratching the surface here
 
See if you have the following
 
— Daily time with kids/spouse/family
 
— Loading/Unloading the dishes
 
— Meal preparation
 
— Decluttering your house
 
— Personal hygiene
 
— Personal phone calls
 
— Watching mindless TV (Okay not mindless TV, mindless YouTube)
 
— Reading (newspapers, magazines, adult romance fiction)
 
— Facebook / Snapchat / Instagram / Internet Browsing time
 
I hope you’re getting my point, but in case you missed it… here it is.
 
Why You’re Over Committed and Over Worked
 
Most of us do a lot more things in the day than we ‘think’ or account for.
 
Because we don’t consider them as ‘tasks’ to do, we over commit to the things we can do. Then feel bad when we can’t make all our commitments.
 
It’s not because we aren’t doing anything, but because we’re doing so many things which we’re not even thinking about.
 
So what happens, at the end of the day we’re pooped. We don’t know where our time went, and we’re stressed.
 
The to-do list keeps piling, and we can’t get anything done.
 
PLUS whenever we avoid our schedule and don’t take action on the things that we need to take a decision on. We’re already running behind, what’re another few tasks going to do.
 
‘Okay, Riz… I’m overworked, stressed, and overwhelmed — what do I do now?’
 
How To Manage Time Using This Mind Shift
 
Here’s the simple change to help you manage your time without pulling your hair out.
 
First — Figure Out Your Daily Actions
 
Take a piece of paper and draw three lines on it.
 
Each column represents 8 hours of your day. The last column is sleep. The first column is work. The middle column is the rest of your time.
 
Sleep Column
 
You can’t change the sleep column. Most people need at least eight hours of sleep. So fill it out with your pen.
 
Now you’re left with two columns.
 
For each of the other two columns, we’re going to do some quick brainstorming.
 
We’ll write out everything that we do — for each column in 5 minutes. Not a moment longer. Use a time.
 
Things Outside Work Column
 
In the second column, write out all the things that you do outside of work every day. Getting ready for work. Unwinding after work. Groceries. Cleaning. Driving time. Working out. Friends. Beer. Facebook. Everything.
 
Estimate the time that each of those tasks take. You don’t have to use a stopwatch, estimate it.
 
Then add 50% to each task. Chances are it takes you longer than you estimate. Do it. If anything you’ll have more time left after.
 
Work Column
 
If you work full time, write everything you do at work.
 
Include client calls. Monday morning meeting. Phone calls. Travel. Time sheets. Sales reports. Communication. Email. Discussion. Creative. YouTube. Facebook.
 
Everything. Estimate how long each task takes you. Then reduce this time by 25%.
 
For work hours, we overestimate the amount of time it takes us to get the job done. We can do most of it much quicker. Do it, if anything you’ll get more done in less time.
 
If you don’t work full time, write everything that you do during that period.
 
Read. Study. Take care of the family. Personal stuff. Facebook. Don’t be shy; you’re not showing this to anyone. But you do have to write this stuff down.
 
Same deal here, estimate the time that each of those tasks takes. You don’t have to use a stopwatch, estimate it.
 
Then reduce each task time by 50%. Chances you’re spending too much time on each task because of a lack of supervision. Do it. If anything you’ll have more time left after to do other things.
 
Done.
 
(Did you do it? It doesn’t work if you don’t do it.)
 
Second — Throw Out Your Current Calendar
 
‘Riz are you insane…?’
 
(Nope, but you will have to throw your old calendar out, anyway)
 
Here’s how you use the calendar.
 
Put in sleep in your calendar first. Yeap. Do it.
 
Then put in everything that was there on the outside work column. But you have to put those activities outside of your work and sleep hours.
 
Go ahead do that now. I’ll wait.
 
Did you see what happened there. If you did the honest exercise and put the outside work tasks in the calendar, you’ll notice there’s no time left.
 
You see what I was saying earlier. Don’t get too upset. There might be times when you have to do “double tasking.”
 
Double tasking is when you schedule two things together, for example, cooking food and watching the news.
 
Do that now. I’ll wait.
 
Stop rolling your eyes and do it already. It’s important.
 
You did that, right!
 
What you’ve got some time left over — you lucky thing.
 
Block that time off and schedule ‘Lazing’ in that time. I’ll tell you in a minute why we’re doing this. But let’s look at the final part.
 
The work hours.
 
Schedule everything in your calendar. At the end of this exercise. This is what your schedule should look like.
 
The benefit of doing this is simple. You’re spending that time doing something anyway. Now you’re writing it out. So each day, you will know where you spend your time.
 
At the end of the day, you can look at your calendar and see if you did that or you didn’t.
 
Plus it will also show you at the end of each week, the amount of time you’re spending on doing activities.
 
For example, I love watching movies and Toastmasters. So I go to two clubs each week in the evenings. I have to make a choice between whether I will watch a movie or go to Toastmasters.
 
For me — it’s always Toastmasters. I love meeting new people, so that’s a no-brainer.
 
But both of them are scheduled there. So if someone invites me to something new, I have to look at my calendar. I ask myself whether it is going to be more exciting than watching a new episode of ‘Stranger Things’.
 
(Season 2 isn’t out yet, so I will say yes)
 
Third — Print This Calendar
 
Actual printout. Not on your phone. Because your phone has a ton of other distractions. So it can’t be on the phone, and it can’t be on your computer.
 
It has to be a printout. That you can look at, write at, strikeout stuff and add stuff.
 
This also gives you a paper copy that’s sitting on your desk.
 
If you don’t work, scotch-tape it on a wall that you see most. So it’s front of your mind.
 
Fourth — Review Every Day
 
At the end of the day, look at the printout and check off everything that you did do in the day.
 
Don’t worry about doing everything. Your primary job for the next few weeks is to schedule everything. Then review at the end of the day.
 
Before you know it, you will have more time. You’ll get more done, and you’ll have better relationships.
 
Not because you’re doing more. But because you’re reviewing all the things that you are doing in the day.
 
This simple step — of adding everything that I did outside of work completely changed my life.
 
Instead of telling myself how I didn’t get enough work done, I was able to schedule work better. I knew all my commitments outside work and stopped over-committing.
 
By using this technique, you will be able to do the same. You will overcome your schedule.
 
Let’s take a quick look at the action steps that you need to take
 
Action steps
  1. Write down everything you do at work and outside work in separate columns
  2. Schedule everything from outside work on your calendar
  3. Schedule everything you do at work on your calendar
  4. Print the calendar
  5. Review every day for the next few weeks
Your Turn
 
Now it’s your turn. What’s challenge that you face with your calendar?
 
Leave a comment below letting me know what it is. I love to hear from you. So leave a comment below.

How To Manage 1,000+ Emails In Your Inbox

Last month I got over 1,000 emails, most of them were directly sent to me and required a response.

 

‘So how did I manage 1,000+ emails…?’

Without pulling my hair out?

(That was a low-blow — you can do better)

Here’s how I managed 1,000+ emails. Keep reading.

Chances are if you’re anything like me you get waaaay more email than you’d like.

You might not get 1,000+ emails — but it’s still a heck of a lot more than you want.

Like those silly 2-for-1 coupons in your mailbox that you’d trash out.

But the difference with email is that every time you get a new email, it’s right there. On your phone, on your computer — and that ‘red’ icon is pretty hard to ignore.

SO what do you do?

How do you manage 1,000+ emails without breaking a sweat

In this post, you’ll discover the simple tools and tricks you can use to manage 1,000+ emails coming to you in your inbox.

Plus you’ll discover a secret tool to help you schedule your emails, replies, and followups with your clients and customers.

You’ll also learn a simple tool that will help you become more productive without distraction from those 42 unread emails in your inbox.

You will also learn a simple technique I use to read the mountain of email that I get each day. Chances are you’ve done this before, and felt GUILTY doing it. I’ll show you how you can avoid the guilt, and feel good.

Finally, you’ll also learn a simple method I use to stay on top of my communication — even when I don’t answer my emails. You’ve heard of this before, but are using it wrong.

These are pretty simple ideas and a few cheap tools that you can use to manage 1,000+ emails.

I can only share with you what has worked for me. Use them. Test them for yourself. Keep what works, and throw out the rest. But please, use them FIRST — before you call bullsh*t on any of the ideas here.

Give yourself the chance to use them.

So let’s jump right in and look at the tools and techniques I use to manage 1,000+ emails

But before I do — I want to share with you

A New Way To Look At Email

This is going to be a mind shift for you — it was the first time that I thought about this. But this simple mind shift has helped me go from freaking out each morning to having fun with email.

Before, I thought about emails as something like a ‘phone call.’

I learned this from the 90s chick-flick “You’ve got mail!”

I’d wake up in the middle of the night hoping that the ‘ding’ of the email was a hot girl emailing me to ask how my day was.

(This is before I got married to my lovely wife… you pervert! 🙂 )

That’s also the reason why I don’t sleep with my phone anymore… but that’s a story for another day.

Let’s get back to the email thingy. Every time the computer would ‘ding’ I’d check it and see if there was something that I had to do with the email.

The worst part is that most offices expect and encourage that you reply to your email all the time, and keep it open. Treating it like ‘water cooler’ of sorts.

Meaning; if you’re at work, then it is expected that you will have read the email that was sent to you a minute ago. And have a response ready.

I’ve had overzealous colleagues send me an email, then walk into my office and ask me if I read it — two minutes later. To mess with them I’d say, I didn’t get it.

I’d say, “It’s probably still in the internet postal service.”

One guy even believed that there was such a thing and started cursing it like the real postal service.

I never told him the truth. It was too funny.

Anyway, getting back to how we look at email.

It is not a place to communicate, it’s communication itself.

‘Huh?!?’

See most people (myself included) think of email as a place to communicate. Something that you have open. Like you go to an office to work, sit at a desk to write, pick up the phone to make a phone call.

When email first arrived, it was a place to communicate. Some people had email, and others did not. Which meant that if two people had email, they could communicate in that medium.

Like two people can talk if they have a phone, using that medium.

But over time — the phone became available everywhere. Which meant that anyone could reach someone else.

Because this transition of the phone becoming accessible was slow. No one thought of the phone as a ‘place’ but as a medium to communicate.

Before the phone, we could communicate with letters. After the phone, we can talk with voice.

But with email this transition was fast.

It took the landline phone a century to reach a billion people.

The email did that in twenty years. That’s five times faster than the phone.

Or another way to look at it is this. If one billion people represent a ‘family unit’ in the world with each family having four kids and two parents.

It took five generations to adopt the phone. Which means, each generation progressively adopted the phone.

Our parents had a phone.

Our grant-parents might not have had a phone, but they had used it.

Our great grandparents might not have had a phone, or used it, but they had heard about it from a friend.

And so on.

But for email, it only took one generation to adopt the email. Our parents didn’t have an email account. We did. Our grandparents didn’t even know what an email account is, and for some of us, that’s still true.

(And with social media, it was even faster. It took social media five years to reach a billion people. But like I said, that’s for another day. No more social media talk!)

‘So what happened with email?’

Email became popular in one generation, that had not grown up with it, and started using it as a place to hang out.

That’s why we have access to our email clients all the time

Think about it for a second.

What would you call someone who was sitting next to their physical mailbox waiting for the postman, twenty-four-seven?

Or how about the person, who sat next to their landline, checking if the ‘dial-tone’ was still alive?

Hmm… seeing the connection there.

Don’t look at me — I was that guy. I would have my email client open all the time and click on ‘refresh’ every 5 minutes.

Okay enough of the background…let’s look at how I went

From An Email-Addict to Managing 1,000+ Emails

Here are simple tips and tools I used to help me go from an email addict to managing 1,000+ emails without breaking a sweat.

I’ll break this section into two portions, the tools, and the tips.

Both work together, but I’m breaking them apart to make it easier. Let’s look at the tools first; then we’ll look at the tips.

Tools To Manage 1,000+ Emails

1. Gmail

Gmail isn’t just a free email client; it is one of the most powerful email clients.

If you run your business or know some basic setting for your email server, you can connect your email to Gmail. Which means that you can use Gmail as the primary client to access all your emails.

But what do you do if you don’t have Gmail? No worries. The tips I share work with every email client.

Onwards.

2. Boomerang

Boomerang is a neat little Gmail extension that allows you to schedule emails, defer them, or even remind you of the time when you need to reply to an email.

Great little tool. This is an advanced feature that email clients like Microsoft Outlook have built in. Most people don’t know this and don’t use this.

But sometimes the best thing you can do for an email is defer it. So you can get back to it when you have more information. I’ll share with you more about how to use it in a minute.

3. Google Chrome

This is the browser that I use to view my emails. I could use the built-in client that I have on my Mac, or get a third party client.

But Google Chrome is free and does everything that I need it to do. Plus there are some cool third party extensions that I can use with this.

One of my favorite ones is

4. Inbox When Ready Chrome Extension

This hides my Gmail inbox from me. I can view it if I want to — but not during certain times of the day. The benefit of having this is that if I need to send an email in the morning, I can do it.

I don’t get distracted by all the emails that I have received. Since my inbox is hidden.

I can only access my inbox during defined times of the day. Otherwise, I’m locked out.

And the final tool

5. Filters / Folders

Filters and folders in Gmail. I use these like they are going out of style. Everything in my inbox has a filter and a separate folder.

The benefit of doing this is that for most of the email I don’t have to touch it. It gets archived or filtered based on the content.

For example, I love the Banana Republic. They keep sending me a newsletter with discounts now and then. But I only need to access those discounts when I’m actually in the store.

So what do I do? Create a filter that marks the email as ‘read,’ and archives it in a folder. I never see it. I never touch it.

I do the same for every informational ‘top-down’ email. You know the ones that ‘head-office’ keeps sending about ‘new promotions.’ Or ‘policy changes.’ Or ‘updates about upcoming events’ etc.

Mark as read.

Archive.

Most of the stuff that hits my inbox gets this treatment.

Mark as read.

Archive.

“But Riz, I have to read everything…”

I hear ya — and in the ‘tips’ you’ll get a detail about how to read everything.

Stick with me here

What this leaves are emails that I need to reply back to, take action on, answer.

Which is still a lot.

So what do we do about those emails? Here are

Tips On Managing Emails That You MUST Deal With

Here are 6 (because seven is so over-rated) tips on how to manage your emails that you must deal with.

1. Treat Emailing As A Meeting

Treat ’emailing’ as a meeting. And if you think about it, it is a meeting. Between you and another person.

They’ve asked you something. And you’re responding.

But not only that, with email — some might take you two minutes, others might take you 30 minutes.

So we have to check ourselves with a few rules. The first of them is to treat ‘emailing’ as a meeting.

Which means you schedule a specific time when you email. You can send the email at a different time using Boomerang, but you can only write them at a particular time.

For me, twice a day works best — 12 pm and 4 pm. I write my emails and schedule them based on when they would seem right for the recipient to receive.

If you’re just starting, sending them at 12 pm and 4 pm will work for most situations.

Don’t sweat it too much, except to only read and reply to email at this particular time.

So at 12 pm, you open your email inbox with the intention of responding to all email that is there.

Some will take longer, and others will take a shorter amount of time.

Which bring me to tip number two

2. Two-minute replies 

Most of your emails will take two minutes or less to answer. Usually, it’s quick information that people want, a decision, or a question that they need solving.

If it takes two-minutes — answer it immediately with one sentence or less.

Say, “Thank you for that information.” Or

… “I’d love to hear more.” Or

… “Not sure what you mean, could you tell me more.”

If it will take longer than two minutes. Or if you need to research it. Or the email is LONG, and you will require more time to digest it. You have two choices.

1. Defer it
2. Schedule it.

To defer it, look at the sender. If it’s someone you can defer (a colleague, a friend, a client) ask them to repeat their question in one sentence.

If it’s someone you can’t defer (a boss, a client, a friend) then print out the email. Schedule when you can answer it in your calendar.

Using Boomerang (or Outlook) get the email to pop back in your inbox when you’ve planned to work on this.

Keep doing this until you’re at the end of your inbox. At this point, you’ve replied to all the two-minute emails and printed and scheduled all the longer emails.

Don’t answer the longer emails yet. This is imperative. If you do, you lose. We’ll talk more about how to schedule tomorrow, but for now, schedule it and move on.

There will be some emails that will have information for you. The upcoming dinner party, a reminder of an event you want to attend, invite from friends, etc.

Here’s what you do with emails like that

3. Mark as read/skip inbox

These are what I call ‘informational emails from personal contacts.’ They don’t need an answer — and they don’t want an action.

They are informational in nature.

Mark them as read, archive them.

If you use Outlook, move them to a folder other than the inbox.

Other emails that don’t need action are IT sending out an email about

… ‘web server maintenance over the weekend.’ or

… ’database inaccessible from 9 pm to 12 pm.’ Or

… ’the printer is broken, and we’ve asked the APC Computers to fix it.’ Or

… ‘donuts in the kitchen for anyone who wants them…’

(Okay that last one might be substantial and requires immediate action)

What do you do after you’ve read the donut email, replied to the two-minute emails, and have printed a few dozen emails?

4. Archive everything

If a client sent an email, move it to the ‘client’ folder. If a friend sent an email, archive it.

Don’t leave anything in the inbox. Here’s why

Either you’ve replied to the email, in which case archive it. If there are more replies needed you will be asked. So archive it. Or

You’ve asked for a one sentence clarification on that email. In which case you’ll get a reply back. So archive it. Or

You’ve printed it and scheduled it in your calendar. In which case this is something that you will work on later. So archive it.

At the end of this ruthless archiving, you should be left with

5. Inbox Zero

This is a profound concept. It means that there isn’t any email that you haven’t taken action on. There is nothing left sitting in your inbox.

No pending items.

You’ve done the next step on them.

Replied to it.

Asked for clarification.

Scheduled it to work on.

That’s it. At this point, your inbox should be zero. I do this twice a day.

You can do it less if you want. But do it every day. When you leave your work, have your inbox at zero. Nothing in it.

So when you come to work tomorrow, you can DO the work. Before you’re thinking about all the emails from yesterday.

‘Great. But what about all the emails that I never read and archived using filters?’

Excellent question. This is where the next tip comes in

6. End Of Day Review

Before you’re finished with your second email session, use it for an end of day review.

This is a simple review of all the email that you received each day to see if you did take action on all the emails.

To ensure that you’re not missing out the drinks-invite your colleagues sent you. Missing drinks would be a travesty.

For Gmail, it has an ‘All Mail’ folder where all mail is. I usually click on that folder before I close out for the day and review all the emails I received in the day.

This helps me double-check at the end of the day that I didn’t archive an email that I should’ve replied to. Or missed an update that is imperative.

That’s it — you’re done.

At this point, your email inbox is zero. You’ve replied to everything that needed an answer to, and you’ve taken care of business in the inbox.

You didn’t spend all day sitting next to the ‘phone’ checking for the dial tone.

But there are a few things that you must be aware of

What To Look Out For When Handling 1,000+ Emails

First, doing this will take some effort.

I still relapse into a fourteen-year-old teenager waiting for his crush to call and check the dial tone.

I do look at my email on my phone in the evening especially when I’m expecting an urgent response. I’ll sometimes do it at lunch also, or first thing in the morning.

It’s okay.

If you’re expecting an email for your next promotion, or a client sending a contract, it is normal to be anxious. Check your email. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

But realize that it’s only okay if you do it once in a while and not as a compulsion.

Second, you will have the occasional person send you a 5,000-word tome when you’ve asked for a one sentence summary. Those people exist. You and I both know them, and sometimes I am that person.

Forgive me. Schedule this email to reply to, and move on.

Third, there will also be some spastic people. They will call you a few minutes after they’ve emailed you wondering why you haven’t replied to them.

The honest answer, in this case, will be the best — “I haven’t looked at my email yet, can I get back to you when I do.”

Since you’re using the ‘Inbox when you’re ready” you won’t have looked at the inbox, and you will get back to them when you do.

So no worries there. If they need an immediate reply, say “I’d like some time to consider the best options before I reply.”

Which is also true. Most people will let you be at this point. Even your boss will be impressed with your thoughtfulness.

And that’s how you deal with 1,000+ emails without breaking a sweat.

Your Turn

Do you have some suggestions that you use? Am I missing something? Would love to hear what you do in your process.

Leave a comment letting me know what’s worked for you in the past and how you deal with emails.

A Simple Hack To Keep Up With News

Here’s the best way to always be on top of the news while being the guy who makes other people feel important.
 
but truth be told this hack is simple, yet will need immense willpower from you to work.
 
If you don’t have the willpower or the right habits, you will fail. This hack won’t work for you, and you will end up in the same rut that you started from. You will get overwhelmed and will have too much news and information piling up in your inbox.
 
You’ll discover that you will be out of the loop, whether it is with your friends, family or at work.
 
If you install this hack, you will discover the secret of always being in the know. People will flock to you to tell you what’s going on. You will always be the person that they look for when they have important news to share.
 
By following this hack, you will become famous with your friends. Gain love and affection from your family. And the respect and power at work that you deserve.
 
But A Word of Warning!!!
 
The simplicity of this hack will have a tendency to fool you. In fact, most people who discover this hack will discard this, and come up with reasons to say why this will not work.
 
Don’t let them deter you. Most people will poke holes in this hack because of the same reasons that they are unsuccessful in life. They want to keep doing the things that they’ve been doing. And expecting different results.
 
That’s what Einstein called insanity. So don’t let their insanity overpower you.
 
Use this hack to your advantage, while others disregard it. You will overtake them in your career and life, and they will be left wondering how you did this.
 
The Simple Hack To Keep Up With What’s Happening In The World
 
In today’s world of mass media there is news happening every hour… heck sometimes there is breaking news every minute.
 
On top of that now you don’t have the newspaper to read. There’s news on the TV, breaking news on Cable, news alerts on your mobile. And when all is said and done you’ve got a newsfeed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram.
 
So what is a young, ambitious person to do to keep up with all the news that there is out there? What should one do to overcome the ‘news overwhelm.’
 
And an even bigger question that begs to be asked is how do the people who always know what’s going on – do it?
 
If you think about it for a minute. Reading the newspaper takes 30 mins to an hour at least – if you skim it.
 
Usually, that’s how long it takes to read the sports section. Then you have the national news, the international news and on top of that entertainment.
 
Then you’ve got the prime time news on TV, and the daily show, and the late night show. And if that’s not all there are many channels which have shows with experts on that you want to catch up with.
 
Then you go online, and you’ve got the news from the websites for all the media channels. But the news online doesn’t get aired. And to top that all off you’ve got the ‘news feeds’ that you follow.
 
But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
 
If you dig deeper into it, just to follow your friend’s life on one social media channel is a full-time job. Let alone following the lives of all the three hundred and fifty-four friends that you may have. 
 
Don’t despair there is hope for you. So let’s look at
 
The 3-Step Hack To Keep Up With What’s Going On In The World
 
Here is the 3 step hack to keep up with what’s going on in the world.
 
Step 1. Stop Following The News
 
Stop watching the news, reading the newspaper, or reading any news related material. Online, on your phone, or on the computer. This will immediately free up between 2 – 5 hours per day for you.
 
Today’s news are on the 24-hour news cycle. The news channels need to keep coming up with something every 6 to 8 hours to maintain the audience glued to the tube.
 
So even when there isn’t something important, they talk about it like the world is about to end.
 
The President went to the hospital to get a regular checkup – OMG STOP THE PRESSES!!!
 
Clooney is getting married – OMG! Stop the presses.
 
Snookie has a pimple – STOP the presses.
 
The news media invents breaking news to sell advertising.
 
But by stopping to watch the news or read the news you can’t be on top of the world. You can’t know what’s going on in the world. Which is where step two comes in.
 
Step 2. Ask Other People What The News Is
 
Now that you’re not watching the news ask other people what’s going on? If you’re at the grocery store, ask the clerk, “Hey man! Did you read the news today? Can you fill me in?”
 
If you’re at the water cooler at work, ask the person standing there what’s going on. Any interesting thing they saw or watched on the news.
 
Talk to everyone, anywhere that you find them, and ask them what’s going on. What’s on the news.
 
What did they watch yesterday? Anything going on in the world of politics, or foreign affairs.
 
Ask them how the stock market is doing, and whether the housing market is going to crash.
 
But what the point of asking other people when you aren’t reading the news yourself?
 
Here’s where step 3 comes in.
 
Step 3. Let Them Talk & Become Their Best Friend
 
See most people are starving for conversation. They don’t have anyone to talk to even though they have so much to talk about.
 
Like you used to watch the news all the time, everyone else is watching the news.
 
But the problem is they aren’t able to talk to anyone about what they saw. Or what they heard. Or what their opinion is about all the sh*t that’s going on in the world.
 
When you ask them what’s going on – it gives them a way to release all the news that they’ve got pent up in their system. You provide them with an escape. You let them tell you their opinion.
 
By doing this, you’re becoming a close confidante to them. You get the news for free, without overwhelming yourself. Everyone will tell you in detail about the things that are going on in the world.
 
They will tell you about the latest murder trial, or how the president was caught cheating on someone, or how the hottest celebrity had a wardrobe malfunction.
 
But that’s not the coolest thing.
 
Sure, you’ll get to know about the world, but the best thing is that you’ll get to know about the person talking to you. You’re giving someone a chance to speak to you and tell you about what they think.
 
By listening to them, you’re validating them. You’re letting them be themselves. And everyone want’s to be them self.
 
By doing this small act of kindness; asking other people what’s going on you will become their best friend. They will seek you to tell you what’s going on in their life, and in the world of news.
 
Everyone will come to talk to you. Everyone will want to sit next to you and tell you things that you never even knew existed out there.
 
Not only will you get the news for free without actually investing your time sitting in front of the TV or Newspaper… but you’ll also make a few friends along the way, who look up to you.
 
CAUTION! This Is Not For Everyone
 
I have to warn you, though. This is not for everyone. If you have a major “fear-of-missing-out,” then this is not for you.
 
If you feel left out because you didn’t catch the news, then this is not for you.
 
But if you want to become the center of attention wherever you go or make friends everywhere or gain the love and respect of others – then this is for you.
 
When you start doing this, it will be a little weird. You will miss reading the newspaper and will lapse now and then to reading it. You might even turn on the TV to catch what’s going on…
 
But as you practice this you’ll get better and better. Within a few weeks, you won’t even feel the need to read the newspaper or watch TV.
 
You’ll get all your information and news from other people who wily tell you all that’s going on in the world.
 
In your new found time – you can read books, pursue a hobby, or spend time with your family. Knowing that you’re on top of the news, without ever actually following it.

Top Books You Must Read This Year

Growing up, I hated reading. I didn’t hate reading books; I hated reading textbooks.

I would get fiction from the library and read late at night, hiding under the blanket with a flashlight. I read anything I could get my hands on. Even my sisters Sweet Valley High, Mills & Boons & SVU series books.

Usually, I would run through a book in a few days. The only books that I would not finish were my course books. My grades through high school vouch for that.

Here’s the fun thing, though, because I read a lot, I developed the habit of reading a lot. This didn’t help me in my grades in high school but gave me a significant advantage over my peers in life.

I could read email, documents, and office newsletters faster than my colleagues. Giving me a definite edge when talking to my boss. Most of the reading I did at work was boring. It still had to be done, and so I did it.

But by reading all the boring stuff at work, I realized that I had very little time to read other stuff. Which forced me to do one thing.

Read only the stuff that I liked. The rest of the things I just couldn’t read, since I didn’t have the time to read it.

So I developed a strategy for my reading. If I don’t get hooked on a book within the first 30 mins of reading, I stop reading the book. This means that I only read the books that I like, or that are very well written.

I don’t have to read everything, and I don’t have the pressure to know everything anyway.

So if something interests me I’ll read it. If it bores me, I’ll toss it away. That’s why I suggest you also do.

If it interests you – read it. If it doesn’t interest you – throw it out. There are much more books to read.

What Are Some Must-Read Books For This Year

Here’s a list of 10 books you should read regardless of whether you like them or not. If they bore you – think about translating them into stories that would interest you.

Think of these ten books as a mandatory reading list. Then you can develop on that.

1. Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
2. Choose Yourself by James Altucher
3. Learned Optimism by Martin E. Seligman
4. The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
5. Abundance by Peter Diamandis
6. The Psychology of Success/Achievement by Brian Tracy
7. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
8. The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ecker
9. Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins
10. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Read everything by the authors mentioned in this answer.

Bonus:
1. How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
3. In Search Of Excellence by Tom Peters

Now let’s look at a few books which you can read topically.

What Are Some Books You Should Read On Following Topics?

Philosophy
1. The Story Of Philosophy – Will Durant
2. The Golden Sayings of Epictetus
3. Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius
4. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Personal Finance
1. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley
2. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
3. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
4. The Richest Man In Babylon by George Clayson
5. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Economics
1. Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
2. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt et al
3. Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
4. The Snowball by Alice Schroeder
5. The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

Politics
1. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
2. The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
3. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
4. The Worlds Greatest Speeches by Lewis Copeland
5. All the biographies of famous historical people you can find

Health

1. The China Study by Thomas Campbell and Colin Campbell

2. Forks Over Knives by Alona Pulde M.D. and Matthew Lederman M.D.

3. Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman

4. Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

5. 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris

Persuasion & Selling

1. Influence by Robert Cialdini

2. The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier

3. The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino

4. SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

5. Co-Active Coaching by Henry Kimsey-House and Karen Kimsey-House

Working Without Effort

1. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

2. Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Read all the books that these authors have written. Then read the books that these authors have recommended or talk about in their books. You will get a better education than anything else you could ever imagine.

Read as much as you can. The more you do, the more you will realize what you like. You will discover your temperament.

Your Turn

Let me know in the comments below what’s your favorite book — and which book are you reading now?

[Failure Study] The Value Of Fundamental Principles

Fundamental principles, eye on the ball

In sports, there is a fundamental principle, “Keep your eyes on the ball.” Last month I took my eyes off the ball… and I failed.

This post is about that failure. And what I’m doing to fix it.

Keeping Your Eye On The Ball

In most sports the ball is real. As long as you keep your eyes on the ball, you will connect.

Take your eyes off the ball, and it will smack you in the head.

Close your eyes and swing — and you will miss.

Keep your eyes on the ball — and you will connect much better.

The “keeping your eye on the ball” in sports means remaining focused on what’s going on in the field.

Not worrying about anything else. Not thinking about the new shoes. Or the trying to wipe the dirt off the shoulder.
When the ball is thrown — you keep your eyes on it. So you can hit it. You can catch it. You can make a play on the ball.

In this post, I’ll share with you what happened when I tool my eyes off the ball. In our case, the ball being fundamental principles of business.

What needs to happen, and what we need to focus on every day.

What Are The Fundamental Principles Of Business

Business is simple. We like to complicate it. Make it sexier. Make it sound more sophisticated than it is.

I’m guilty of doing that.

But the fundamentals in business (and anything else in life) are simple.

Here’s what business is about in three steps.

  1. Find a market that has a problem
  2. Solve that problem
  3. Collect cash

Here’s what losing weight is about

  1. Stop eating sugar and simple carbs
  2. Exercise more
  3. Track your weight

Here’s what productivity is about

  1. Measure how much time you spend doing things
  2. Stop doing the ones that don’t get results
  3. Do more of the ones that get results

“… Riz that’s an oversimplification?”

Not really.

It is understanding, that to be successful at things you don’t need to do ‘new’ things.

Fundamental principles are simple. We add the complexity after, more on that in a bit…

First, let’s look at

Why You Must Focus On Fundamental Principles

If you don’t concentrate on fundamental principles, you will lose momentum. It will cost you more time to do things. And you will lose money.

If you don’t focus on fundamental principles, you will jump from one shiny object to another. You will lose the power of action. Your efforts will be washed away.

You won’t achieve the things that you want to make. Your goals will be lost in the dust.

By focusing on the fundamental principles, you ensure that you’re taking the right action. That you’re doing the things that will get you the results you’re after.

You will become laser focused. You will start leap-frogging your peers and colleagues. Your goals will seem like they come to you.

You will become the success that you’ve always wanted. Reaching your goals faster than you thought you would. And building things bigger than you imagined.

But

What Is The Theory Behind Fundamental Principles

Fundamental Principles means ‘basic law or truth.’ ‘Principles from which other truths can be derived.

This is the basis of any goal. Any activity. Any action.

By understanding the fundamental principles, you will get to your goals faster.

For example.

The fundamental principle of business is to find a problem a group of people is having. Then solve that problem for them in exchange for money.

The fundamental principle to losing weight is to eat less junk food and exercise more often.

The fundamental principle of having better relationships is to talk more often. And be honest.

Nothing new there.

Now once you understand the fundamental principles, you can get the result that you want. Without adding anything else to it.

It’s like chemistry or physics.

Once you understand the fundamental laws — that’s it. That does not change.

Sometimes we lose sight of what the underlying law is — but that doesn’t mean the law itself changed.

It means that we lost sight of the ball.

How I Lost Sight Of The Ball

Over the last two months, I’ve been relentless. Focusing on building my list.

Then last month, I got cocky. I thought I had enough momentum to stop doing the things that I was doing.

That I could start focusing on something new, something more.

Here’s my list growth in the last month.

Which shows how few people have joined my list in the month that I took my eye off the ball.

This is what it looked like in November

Not good. Not good at all.

I got sucked in the social media, podcast, Facebook group, “something-something” hype. And lost track of what was working for me.

Which caused my list growth to drop.

But to make things worse, I came across a post by Ramit Sethi. (He does over $5 million a week — and I look up to him). You can read the post here – http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/03/04/5-million-week/

To paraphrase — he says that when he started his business, he focused on two things. Until he hit $1 million per month.
Then added a two more. But still only does four things in his business.

Here’s a screenshot he shared of all the things you can do in business and the ones he did.

In fact, he didn’t even start split testing until he got to $3 million per month.

WHAAAT!!!

I’m nowhere close to that — and I was doing split testing.

What was I thinking?

DUMB! DUMB! DUMB!

No wonder he’s doing as well as he’s doing.

I’m copying this guy.

Focusing on doing one thing. Focusing on the fundamentals.

Emails.

Blogging.

That’s it.

Until I get to $1 million a month, I’m not touching anything else. Not even with a 10-foot pole.

You can hold me to that.

If you hear me say any different, remind me of this post — and ask me why I’m doing new stuff?

What’s changed?

What new information that I have? Keep me accountable.

Okay — enough wrist-slapping for one day. Let’s look at action items and how you can use my failure to your advantage.

That way, we can both win.

So let’s look at

How To Install Fundamental Principles In Your Life

Chances are you’ve set some goals for you. This month. This year. Or in your life.

It doesn’t matter when you set those goals — but you’ve set goals.

Now there is a good chance that you haven’t reached your goals yet.

Here’s a three-step process to hit your goals by looking at the Fundamental Principles.

Step 1. Find out what the fundamentals are

No matter what your goal is for 2017 — you can use fundamental principles to figure out how to get to your goal. Faster.

Without wasting time doing things that don’t move the needle.

Want more customers? Find where you’re getting most prospects, then do more of that. Stop doing everything that isn’t working

Want to earn more money? Make yourself more valuable to your company.

Want to launch a business? Ask ten people you know to buy from you.

Want to find your dream job? Sit down and write out what you love to do. Then talk to other people doing that.

Want to lose weight? Eat less. Eat healthy. Exercise more.

Want to find a partner? Put your phone away. Talk to people in a personal setting.

Want to learn a new skill? Practice that skill every day.

Know what the fundamentals are for your goal.

We’ve already looked at the fundamental principles for business — they’re simple. 
We can add all the shiny bits of doing podcasts, webinars, Pinterest… But that’s all activity.

Do it if it moves the needle. Don’t do it if it does not move the needle.

Find out what the fundamentals are for you and your goals.

For me in my business, I’m doing two things, emails, and blogging.

To grow my list, I’m doing the one thing that was working for me. Direct messaging people interested in my topic if they want to join my newsletter.

That’s my focus.

Find out what’s the fundamental principle for you — and your goal.

Step 2. Track your results

If you don’t track your results, you won’t get where you want to go.

That’s it.

No rocket science. No brain surgery.

The simplest way to know if you’re hitting your goals is to track them.

Look at your bank account to find out how much money you’re making.

Stand on the weighing machine to learn what you weigh today.

Talk to five recruiters to find out if you have the skills to get in your dream career.

Ask three people to buy your product to discover whether your product will sell.

Once you’ve done that — track it.

Repeat this every day. Then track the results.

You’ll know in a week if you’re going to hit the target or not.

Sounds repetitive — but this is it. There’s no magic pill. There’s no hidden button.

Step 3. Rinse and repeat

Do more of what’s working. Less of what’s not working.

I got side-tracked by the shiny objects. 
Thought it would be cool to do all these other things.

I should do a webinar…

How about I start a Facebook group…

What about I start a podcast….

How about I start sharing on Instagram…

I saw all these people doing these things online and got sidetracked.

I know it happens.

You might be side-tracked too. That’s okay. It’s not your fault. There are too many people telling you to do too many things.

The best thing to do is shut them off.

Then focus on the things that work. That have worked for you in the past. And that will keep working for you in the future.

Then keep doing those things. Over. And over. And over. And OVER. AND OVER.

I know it sounds boring. Who cares? If the boring thing gets results, sign me up. 
And you should sign up too.

Word Of Warning!!!

As you’re implementing the fundamental principles, you will hit resistance.

There will be two kinds of resistance that you will have to cope with.

Internal Resistance

This is your mind telling you to do other things. To look at other ways. To want to ‘change’ the fundamentals.

Ignore it. And force yourself to focus on the fundamentals.

This happens because our ‘ego’ wants to believe that we can find a better way to do things.

Sometimes we can. Most of the time, it’s better to get to the goal first, then find a better way to do it.

It’s easier to find a solution in hindsight.

Sounds counterintuitive. But you will always be able to come up with a better solution AFTER you’ve solved your problem.

As an example, go to your grocery store and find a scotch tape. Not the supply office store. The grocery store.

Unless you ask someone or have bought it recently from that store — it will take you forever.

The next time, you’ll be able to do it pretty quick.

So that’s what I mean finding a solution in hindsight.

Here’s how to overcome your internal resistance. Telling yourself that you will find a better solution AFTER you get to the goal.

This time you’re going to follow the beaten path, FIRST. Then you’re going to find a better way to do it.

Another thing you will encounter is

External Resistance

This is resistance that other people will show you towards your goals.

Saying things like,

“I could never do that…”

“I don’t know how you can do it…”

“That’s unnatural…”

“You should try this [XYZ method]… I’ve heard it works well…”

Or some other combination of why what you’re doing isn’t the best way of doing it. And how there is a much better, faster, easier way of doing what you want to do.

First — say to them, ‘Thank you — I appreciate your concern.”

Second — look at who is telling you.

If it is someone who has achieved the goal you want, then listen to them.

If it is someone who has not reached the goal you want, then ignore them. They don’t know better.

Third — keep doing what you’re doing.

The hard part isn’t knowing the plan. It is doing the plan.

Taking action is harder than coming up with the plan. 
Following through is tougher than thinking through.

Let’s do a quick recap of all that we learned today — then take some action.

Quick Recap

In this post, we looked at

  • What are fundamental principles
  • How focusing on fundamental principles can get you to your goals faster
  • What happens when you take your eyes off the ball and follow the shiny object syndrome
  • How one person is doing over $5 million a week by laser focusing on what works
  • PLUS tons more

Action steps

Here’s a run down of the action steps we talked about today — and how you can use them to get back on track

  1. Find out what the fundamentals are for your goal
  2. Track your results every day/week
  3. Rinse and repeat the things that are working

These are simple action steps that you can take right now to get back on track with your goals.

By following these three action steps, you will get closer to your goals in the next 90 days.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. What did you think? Did this three-step formula help you?

What’s the goal that you’ve gotten side-tracked from?

Leave a comment below, let me know the target you’ve been struggling with — I’d love to help you get that.