I’m loving the Post-It war going on in NYC this month (twitter #canalnotes). Having put up Post-It Art in many hotel rooms and offices I’ve been working in (hey, it passes the time during business travel), I’m a huge fan when more people get involved.
Thought I would pass along this little file I’ve been building on how to easily map out a Post-It Art project – enjoy the Post-It Artwork Instructions (excel file).
Today marks the 76th day in a row that I’ve meditated since deciding to start shortly after the new year. What’s most interesting to me about that fact is that in order for that to be true, that means that I’ve been able to find at least 15 minutes a day to practice.
I’ve often used the excuse “I don’t have enough time” for whatever it was that I was hoping to accomplish and/or complained about trying to find time for something each and every day. I’ve again proved to myself that those excuses were all just crap. Of course, I ‘knew’ that before – but having something as tangible as seeing the 76 day streak is incredibly motivating and energizing.
Mechanically, the Headspace app has been the method that I’ve been utilizing and what started at 15 minutes continues to expand and refine. I don’t try to point at specific things to say ‘oh, I see this is a result of doing it’ but I know it’s made a difference.
I think back to the 2 days where I ‘forgot’ and got out of bed at 11:30pm to ensure I did it that day, I think back to moments across the previous two years when starting was ‘on my list’ and I never got around to it. I now see, know, feel and am again reminded that it was always possible and can’t wait to harness that to add even more amazing routines and practices to my life.
So what will you do with your 15 minutes?
Activities like reading books and learning new skills are usually some of the first things to fall off someone’s to-do list. Unfortunately, they are also the very things that can change our lives. In relation to that, I often hear and have previously given the excuse of ‘I don’t have enough time.’ The trick then is finding some time that you’re already spending and making it more productive and efficient.
For instance, when I do go into our office, I have a long commute in the car. Well, luckily years ago I decided that I would use this, as Tony Robbins calls it, NET (No Extra Time) to do something productive.
Through books on tape, CD and now iPhone I have ‘read’ hundreds of personal development and other books while I’m driving to work. I’ve learned Portuguese and refreshed my German language skills while driving the NJ Turnpike. I’ve picked up skills on how to do DIY projects around the house while driving to the shore. The possibilities are endless.
The newer world of podcasts has opened up an entire new content universe of learning where I get to spend my commute listening to knowledge that is unparalleled. Podcasts have been the biggest change in my personal development commute in the last ten years. Check them out.
Next time you think to yourself, I don’t have time to learn X,Y,Z pull over your car, open some video on youtube and listen to it through your car as you travel.
Last week, on two separate occasions and for two different reasons, I was asked to thoroughly explain how the tasks different people were being asked to do were connected to a bigger picture or master plan. While on many occasions this makes total sense, I believe in these two situations the people were really just using this as a way to escape from actually doing the work.
Sometimes you just have to start the task or project and get work done.
Finding new and more creative ways to try and stop yourself from getting work done, by making it seem like you’re just trying to be strategic, is only hurting your progress. In certain cases, you just have to believe that the person asking for the work understands the higher purpose, sometimes you just have to remember what was talked about for the higher purpose at the beginning of the journey, and sometimes you have to just call bulls&^t on yourself and realize if it’s a hiding tactic.
Climbing the tree and ensuring you know you’re headed in the right direction is important, but being on the ground and chopping through the woods efficiently and effectively is also important. Know which role you play on the team and when you just want a break from chopping, that’s when the real magic happens if you can push through.
A surefire method I know I can break myself out of a productivity rut is to find some way to get third party pressure or reinforcement. Having someone or something help prod me along or complete a portion of the work is sometimes exactly what’s needed.
Some of the examples of third party pressure or reinforcement I’ve used include public deadlines, working directly with someone else, hiring someone else to work with me on a project, working in a more open environment where people see what I’m working on, and telling people I really respect about what I’m doing. I love this example too of hiring someone to really watch how the person was working.
Using a third party has also been incredibly impactful in areas where I need to get something done that might not be exactly what I love doing or am best at. I’ve used sites like upwork and fiverr to find people who love doing the part of the work I might not. Sure, I do plenty of things that I’d love to smarter source, but having the knowledge of how to and following through on getting at least some things done in alternate ways really helps maximize my productivity.
When I set out to work on something I try to think through how it can most successfully get done. Many times that involves finding ways to incorporate various forms of third party help. What’s the thing you’re working on right now that could use the help of someone else?
Over the last decade I have been a crew member at Tony Robbins events around the US volunteering in various positions and helping out with whatever was needed. One of the most favorite parts of what I get to do as crew is be a member of the fire team that is in charge of logistically creating the fire walk experience for participants.
Creating the physical part of a fire walk involves an enormous amount of hard labor that takes place over two days outside in whatever weather is happening at the moment. I have put together wheelbarrows in the snow, carried water soaked mats of grass in the rain, and swept parking lots for hours in the sun.
No matter where or when I’ve been a part of fire team over the last decade, I’ve never heard anyone complain or criticize about the amount of work. In fact, there are always more people wanting to be on the team to do that work than there are spots available.
During one particularly great reflection session with the team after we were done cleaning up we started to uncover why. Why are people so fulfilled, so happy, and so energized by whatever is being asked of them?
Yes, there is a sense of mission that happens being a part of such a great overall experience for thousands of participants, but it’s much simpler than that. People feel immersed and elated in their work because they’re singularly focused, and not multi-tasking.
When you’re putting together a wheelbarrow, that’s all you’re thinking about in that moment. Later, when you’re unrolling mats of grass to form a part of a fire walk line, you’re immersed in that grass on that lane. When you’re in charge of ensuring there’s no debris that can get on someone’s foot in a parking lot, you’re sweeping and not worried about doing anything else. Being single focused and accomplishing that thing gives you a sense of joy. Going on and only focusing on the next one allows you to become happily lost in the sensation of being focused.
Single-tasking is not only more efficient, more effective and more productive, it’s also more fun and fulfilling.
Last night I was trying to rent a specific tool from a big box hardware store. I had called ahead to ensure it was in stock, borrowed a truck to pick the tool and the supporting materials up and checked out at the cashier in the store with the supporting materials I needed the tool rental for. After all that, just as I’m going to wheel everything out of the store, the person behind the desk finally told me that I couldn’t rent the tool because they only do that during specific day time hours.
How many times have you wanted to do something and found out that it’s only done during specific hours. How often have you found that those hours are exactly when you need it.
Now, in this instance I’m not looking for 24 hour tool rental, although judging by the three times I could have used a 24 hour tool rental (floods, emergencies) I think there is possibly an opportunity there, I was just hoping that all parts of a store would be available while the store was open.
In the end, I waited around the store an extra 75 minutes while, after a lot of prodding, an amazing customer service person tried to figure it out. By the time it was over she had figured out how to do the transaction that only this mythical person at a certain desk could do during those certain hours and I had the tool. Of course, had the store spent 15 minutes to train her on that transaction previously she could have had me out of the store an hour earlier and helped even more customers who have come in ‘off hours.’
The internet has made this a non-factor for many things. However, there’s still plenty of times, and plenty of audiences, where things just can’t be done or aren’t currently being done on the internet.
When’s the last time you asked yourself, what do people want from me at certain times that I’m not giving them? What else could you train someone else on to cover for you during those times?