How I Lost Two Hours of My Life

(And how to make sure that doesn't happen to you)

wasting-your-time


I lost two hours of my life yesterday. How did I let this happen? I give presentations on how to Do Less and Achieve More. I’ve read countless books on personal growth, productivity, and time management. I know how to focus on what’s essential in my life and business…and I wasted two hours of my life yesterday.

I work from home in the mornings and I had great plans on important things to do. But, first I decided I needed to merge my domain email with my Gmail account — 40 minutes gone.

Next, I decided I needed to upload the video of my daughter’s theatre performance to YouTube. My phone didn’t sync with my Mac, so I had to download a program – 30 minutes gone.

Then I noticed a few hundred photos on my phone that were taking up space so I decided I needed to upload select photos from my phone to my Mac – another 20 minutes gone.

And so it went:

  • Send YouTube video I created to a contact (and watch some of my old ones) – 30 minutes
  • Check and reply to FB messages and notifications – 10 minutes
  • Check my LinkedIn account and reply to messages – 10 minutes
  • Renew my library books online – 5 minutes

I finally shook myself and realized that although I felt like I was working I had spent almost 2 hours doing absolutely no work on my most important thing. Not good. I felt like the Office Space stapler guy mumbling about stuff no one cares about.

stapler

I hadn’t planned well, and I wasn’t even sticking to my not so great plan. It wasn’t that the things I was doing were bad, it’s just that they were taking me away from the essential things I really wanted to get done.

Focus, Grasshopper, focus.

At the end of the day we’re usually tired. If we’ve run around all day chasing our tail, putting out fires and just doing “work” we will experience an empty, dissatisfied, frustrated kind of tired.

If we focus on what’s essential and make great progress on that, we will experience a job well done, life is good, now I’ve earned some relaxation time kind of tired.

Here’s how to make sure you don’t lose hours from your life every day:

“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?'”
— Marcus Aurelius

Focus on your most important thing:

At the end of your work day plan out what you’re going to do tomorrow. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do today that will have the biggest impact on my life and work?”

Focusing on the most important thing we need to do is the key to a productive, rewarding day.

In the book, The One Thing, Garry Keller talks about setting aside time every day for your most important work. I call it your Concentrated Focus Time.

The best time to do this is first thing in the morning. Even is you’re not a morning person, the best time to get uninterrupted alone time is the morning. Most successful people do their best work in the morning.

Imagine getting up at 5am and having two hours to focus on your most important thing for the day. You don’t even have to feel guilty that you aren’t with you family because they’re still asleep! If that doesn’t work for you, can you get to work a little early and set up the first two hours there to focus on your most important work?

You might think this is nuts, but once you try it and see the results you are going to wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Rules for CF time

Explain to your manager and coworkers why you’re creating this special time. Let them know it’s so you can work more effectivley and efficiently at your most essential work, that it’s only for two hours each morning, that (except for emergencies) you won’t take any calls/emails/meetings during this time, and that you will immediately check in and be available again when the two hours are up.

Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do today that will have the biggest impact on my life and work?”

Do that first.

I know sometimes, “things come up.” But you need to schedule time for your most  important activities or something will always “come up.”

During these 2 hours there are no interruptions.

• Close your door if you have one.
• Put a “Deep in concentrated focus time out at ______ (time)” Post-it note outside your office or cubicle.
• Close all email programs.
• Mute all chimes, ringers, and pings.
• Turn off visual alerts and social media messaging.

Set a timer for one hour.

Do nothing else except your most important thing. When the timer goes off, take a break to stretch, walk around the building (or up and down the stairs),  and just clear your mind and think for 10 minutes.

Then repeat the process. Do it for 2 hours of each morning.

We all work hard and it seems like there’s always more work to be done. Focusing for a limited period of time on our most essential work leads to amazing results. Just give it a try for two weeks and email me how it goes.

Let’s GO!

Questions for comments: How do you stay focused on your plan?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

Why You Should Quit More

Let me explain...

Quitter

Quitters never win and winners never quit, right? WRONG! Greg, you’re freaking me out again. Don’t you preach you  should never give up? Now you’re telling me it’s OK to quit? Did you get a little too much gas at the dentist? Take an early and often trip to Magaritaville? Are you just plain losin’ it?

Slow down, speed racer, let me explain.

I understand the conventional wisdom is that you should never give up once you’ve set your mind to something. I agree with that – to a point.

But there’s a big difference between giving up and deciding to quit something. If you stop working towards what you know is your Passionate Purpose because it’s too hard, or someone talked you out of it, or you got sidetracked on unimportant things, or you had to watch the Game of Thrones marathon so you finally know what everyone’s talking about, that’s giving up. That’s what I hope you won’t do.

If, however, you are trying out new things to see what fits on you, to see what excites you, and what you might want to go deeper on, it’s perfectly OK to stop doing something once you find out you truly don’t enjoy it.

How will you know what you really like if you don’t try it? I don’t want you to feel like once you try something new you can never quit or you’re a failure. That might stop you from trying awesome things. And how can you keep being awesome if you stop trying awesome things?

(Who’s awesome? YOU’RE AWES…ok, sorry, got carried away.)

giphy

What if you discover what you’re struggling with isn’t really your Passionate Purpose after all? What if you realize you’re trying to do what you think you’re supposed to do. What if you’re actually trying to live out the dream your parents had for your life, or you’re trying to please someone else? Wouldn’t it be crazy to keep pursuing someone else’s goals?

How do you know the difference between giving up and quitting? Here’s what I do and what I make my children do. If you want to try something new, like a new project, job, career, sport, instrument, dance lessons, etc. determine a set amount of time that you are going to continue trying it no matter what. (A rule of thumb is six months to a year.) If you decide you don’t like it at the end of your trial period, you can quit without being a “quitter.”

You aren’t quitting because you can’t stick with something. You did stick with it. You did what you set out to do. You learned it wasn’t a good fit for you and now you’re moving on to something else.

If it is a good fit for you, keep doing it! Start going deeper. You’re on your way.

Remember, you can try a new job or business without quitting your old one. You can ease into it. You don’t have to GO BIG right away. You don’t have to take a big leap and risk everything. You can take baby steps to get started. But you must take action and get started. Do it today!

Question for comments: When’s the last time you tried something new to see if it was a good fit? How did you know?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

8 Steps For Dealing With Haters

And we all have haters

haters

‘Cause the players gonna play…And the haters gonna hate…Baby, I’m just gonna shake it off. — Taylor Swift

Man that guy is a jerk! I can’t believe how he talked to me about my work. I wish I’d had a snappy comeback to put him in his place. He got me so upset I’m still mad about it. I wish I could just let it go, but it’s eating me up inside.

Have you ever felt like that? I have more times than I care to admit. Since the dawn of time a few things have been true: The sun will rise in the east, your bread will land butter side down, and haters gonna hate.

We’ve all been there. It’s part of life. But how we react to these situations is up to us.

My daughter Summer came home from school the other day upset. I asked her what happened and she went into a long story about how a girl at school was mean to her, said some awful things, and was generally annoying. After I empathized with her, I started to ask her some questions.

Do you like this girl?
No.

Do you care what she thinks about you?
No. Not really.

When did this happen?
First period.

Do you want to be upset all day long?
No.

Summer, this happened in the morning and got you upset. It’s now 4:40 in the afternoon and your still letting it upset you.

Do you want to let this person you don’t even like – or care what she thinks of you – ruin your entire day?
No.

Do you want to give her that power over you?
No!

I love reframing the haters this way. Haters don’t have the power to do anything to us – unless we give them that power over us.

(Remember, we’re talking about haters who just want to tear us down, not people who are giving us construtive criticism. We should all be willing to listen to people we respect and make changes to get better at what we do.)

The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you. – Tim Ferris

OK, Greg, I’m with you. I don’t want to let this jerk control me, but how do I let it go?

Great question, mi amigo, I love where your heads at. Here’s the plan:

  1. Realize that you are in control of how you react to the hate. You get to decide if you’re going to continue to be angry, sad, hurt, or whatever because of what happened earlier. He can’t make you feel bad unless you let him.
  2. Understand the fact you have a hater means you are probably doing something right and/or significant. People who are just muddling along in mediocrity don’t usually have haters. Use that as fuel to focus on your important work and to remind yourself that you are not going to let anyone stop you from reaching your goals. Quite often haters are jealous of what you’re doing. Or, your success makes them feel bad about themselves, so they try to drag you down in the hopes this will make them feel better. Sometimes it’s even a subconscious thing for the hater.
  3. Decide if you care what he thinks of you. (If it’s a stranger, or someone you don’t care about, it’s a lot easier to let it go.)
  4. Decide if there is any validity to the criticism of you or your work. Every once in a while a hater is on to something.
  5. Decide what role you played in the conflict and if there was anything you could have done differently. Sometimes you’re actually in the wrong. (I’m sure that’s rare, though, right? Ha!)
  6. Write down your thoughts and feelings about the situation. Sometimes it helps to write the person an email telling him exactly how you feel. DON’T SEND IT. This is just to get your feelings down so you can let it go and think about something else.
  7. Review some of the successes you’ve had in similar situations. How many times have you achieved things haters told you that you could never do? Think about all the people who praise you for what you do. Take a minute to be grateful for at least 3 things that are going well today. Write those down. (Trust me, that really helps.)
  8. Tell yourself you are not going to give the hater the power to ruin one more second of your day. Actively decide to let it go. If thoughts about the conflict come up again, simply acknowledge them and let them flow right out of your head.

Let’s GO!

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

I Know This Works

And I keep forgetting to do it. Doh!

forget

My personal experience continually proves to me that goal setting works. Writing my goals down is crucial. Creating a plan and taking daily action to achieve those goals gets me there even faster. Have your experiences led you to the same conclusions?

We also know that most people rarely even begin this process and those of us who do, don’t always follow through.

I’m giving a speech on this next week and while I was writing it, rewriting it, and rehearsing it I realized I’m not practicing what I preach.

  • I’m not reading my top 3 goals every morning and every night.
  • My daily, weekly, and monthly plans aren’t keeping up with my goals.
  • My written goals are out of date.
  • I’m doing a lot of things on the fly and it’s slowing me down.

Has this ever happened to you? We know this stuff works, but we get caught up in everyday living and things start to slide.

How long has it been since you took a few hours, gotten away from all distractions and figured out what you really want? How long since you wrote it down, wrote down your plan to get there, and started taking action every day? It’s worth the time.

I just did this again yesterday. I want to help you do it, too.

I’m continually working on my leadership and employee engagement speaking business so I created this goal:

“I am so thankful that I am serving and helping people by giving 2 speeches a month to organizations and associations for $$$$ each on 10/12/2019, or something even better.”

I made my goal:

  • Grateful
  • Specific and definite
  • Measurable 
  • Stated in the present tense as if you already have it
  • Positive With a deadline
  • Open to something even better that you might not have thought of

Then I created daily, weekly, and montly plans of action. I will continue to tweak them depending on how I’m doing at reaching my goal.

 

I’m recommiting to reading my top 3 goals every morning and every night. It keeps me focused and it keeps my mind thinking of new ways to make my goals become my reality.

Action steps:

1) Schedule four hours and a special place to go where no one will bother you.
2) Download the worksheets in my my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.
3) Decide what you really want
4) Create your top 3 goals – and break those down into easier to achieve mini-goals
5) Create action plans to go with your goals
6) Take one action step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
7) Celebrate each mini-goal achievement.
8) Keep tweaking your goals and action plans to get you to your goals faster.
9) Let’s GO!

Questions for comments: Do you notice a difference in your life when you have written goals and written plans to achieve them? What’s different?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

Unlimited Vacation. No Internal Email. No Annual Review. WHAT?!

Under New Management author interview - podcast

5_UnderNewManagement

How would you like to work for a company that lets you take as much vacation as you want, bans internal email, does away with the annual performance review, and truly puts the employees welfare first?

Those are some of the idea’s in Under New Management, by David Burkus.

I had a chance to interview David about these ideas. He said many of our long standing business practices are counterproductive, wrong and misguided. It’s time to change the way we do things.

Click below to here the interview.

 

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

Go Big or Go Home is Wrong

surfer

Sometimes we aim too high, too fast, and then should all over ourselves. You know, I should have gotten more done. I should have been smarter. I should have achieved my goal already.  I should be reading Greg’s blog every week and getting him to coach me. (OK, that last one was a shameless plug.) None of this is helpful.

When we should on ourselves it just leads to discouragement and it makes it harder to reach our goals. Two things happened to me this week that reminded me how destructive all that is.

First, I heard an interview where a world class, female athlete was asked how she accomplished so much. Her reply was awesome.

“I didn’t really have lofty goals when I started. I just wanted to get good enough and make enough money to feed my dog. Once I did that, I set higher goals. Now I set goals I couldn’t have dreamed of before.”

dogwithbread

Yes! She created a goal, achieved it, and then created momentum. She has so much confidence now that her goals are enormous.

She didn’t live by the t-shirt slogan, Go Big or Go Home. She went small, won, went bigger, won, and now she goes LARGE!

Don’t get me wrong. Setting big goals is an awesome thing to do. Just don’t let the size of them paralyze you from taking action. Don’t become discouraged because you don’t change the world in a day.

The second thing that happened to me was a new friend of mine spoke eloquently to me about Grace. He reminded me that we are all flawed. No matter how much we try, we make mistakes. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

And that’s OK.

Give yourself some Grace.

Give your friends and family some Grace.

Take a breath.

Action Steps:

  1. Take your big goal and break it down.
  2. Create smaller goals to get there and action plans for the next year, six months, one month, one week and one day.
  3. Take action every day.
  4. Watch your small steps turn into something BIG.

If you’ve had a tough time or two, budget some time for a pity party if necessary (not for long, though).

Regroup.

Then, GO!

Question for comments: What small goal led to something you didn’t think you could accomplish?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

What Would You Do If It Was Impossible to Fail?

apollo-13-free-movie

You can’t do it. It’s impossible. Can’t be done. There’s just no way. You’re wasting your time.

When you say that, your brain doesn’t even try to come up with options. It just says, “Well, guess I don’t need to think about how to make that happen. I’ll just move on to trying to figure out the next thing they should stuff in our pizza crust. Did you know they stuffed one with hotdogs?! (OK, maybe that’s just my brain.)

If you believe it can’t be done, you will never do it. You will never even try to do it.

But what if?

What if you assume it is possible? What happens then? (Then I can start putting chicken and waffles in my pizza crust? – Greg, what is this obsession with food today? Hey, I haven’t had lunch yet. )

What happens then is you start to imagine how it could be done. Your brain starts a new kind of innovative, inventive, creative and productive thought process.

Hey, what if you could create a self driving, flying car – with a bed – that massages you – and cooks your favorite food? (Greg, enough with the food ideas already! – Sorry.)

You’ve asked your brain to find a solution so it’s working on it.

Remember the Apollo 13 space mission? After the fire and oxygen problems, imagine if the astronauts and engineers had said, there’s just no way we can fix this. Not good.

Instead, they said, “Failure is not an option.” And they figured out a way.

Is there anything recently that caused you to say it can’t be done?

  • A potential customer you don’t think you can land?
  • A new business venture you really want to try but you don’t see how you can make it work?
  • Creating a lasting relationship with someone you might want to spend the rest of your life with?
  • Buying that new house?
  • Taking on a new project?

What would happen if you assume it’s possible, say failure is not an option, and start some imaginative thinking on how to do it?

If you start asking the right questions, you might be shocked by the answers your brain comes up with.

Let me know.

Let’s GO!

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

STOP Listening!

stop listen

I’ve got some counter culture advice for you. If you want to pursue your Passionate Purpose and create the life of your dreams, it’s time to STOP listening.

Whoa, Greg. That sounds crazy. Everyone I know talks about how important it is to listen. There are seminars, books, videos and courses you can take that will teach you how to be a great listener. Now you’re telling me to stop listening? Have you gone cuckoo for cocoa puffs?

I understand your skepticism (but I think you need to be a bit more politically correct to our friends with mental health special needs). Let me explain.

I’m not saying stop listening to everyone and everything. That WOULD be bozo. I’m saying you need some selective hearing (like when someone asks you to take out the trash compared to when someone calls you to dinner).

Be selective about who and what you listen to. It can support you, encourage you, and build you up, or it can demoralize you and tear you down.

Are you listening to the world or yourself? The world will demand you meet its needs. It will give you all kinds of reasons to do what it tells you. It will result in a never-ending game of When-Then.

The World says when you get enough money, know the right people, earn the right degree, have enough experience – Then you can try and launch your own business/product/service/website

The World says when you get that job, promotion, bonus, or new house – Then you will be happy, respected, and successful.

The World says when you create a real light saber – Then you will become the coolest dad in the universe. (Wait, don’t write that, Greg. Use your inside voice on that one.) Sorry.

When-Then always leaves us wanting more and much less happy than we thought we’d be.

The World will whisper that you’re not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. Your job isn’t prestigious or important enough. You don’t do anything significant. You will fail if you try. You’re a fraud. Why would anyone want to work with you? Why would they buy from you? Who are you to write a book, or start a new business, or become a consultant?

The World will tell you, that you don’t really count and you never will.

Man, The World is kind of a jerk. Yup. So why do we listen to it?

Listen to yourself and follow your Passionate Purpose to be happier, more successful, more significant and a better person for all you love. You get to decide what’s important to you and your family. Don’t give that power to anyone else.

Why are you doing what you’re doing right now? Are you happy with that answer?

When passion and desire meet you have tremendous power. When you put everything into it – you have more enjoyment and success. Don’t murder your dreams by telling yourself you can’t do what you feel you were born to do.

Living an extraordinary life isn’t just for the special or elite. Everyone can do it, but not everyone will do it.

Decide what you want, why you want it, and start today with some baby steps to get there. It doesn’t have to be a huge leap, but you do have to begin.

Questions for comments: What baby steps can you take today to get started?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

How to Outsource What You Don’t Want to Do – For Almost Nothing!

should-you-outsource-510

Are there things you have to do, but you don’t really want to do? Maybe some things you aren’t great at that need to get done? Are there things that you could do, but aren’t the best use of your time?

Um, Greg, is this a trick question? Does a one-legged duck swim in circles? Does the Pope wear a funny hat? Do I always show up on time for dinner?

Sorry.

Here’s the point. You can outsource almost everything you don’t want to do, everything you aren’t great at, and everything that takes your time away from doing what you are great at – and most of it doesn’t cost very much. Why waste your precious time doing things you don’t like and might not be very good at?

How much more could you get done if you focused most of your time on the things you love to do and do well? At work? At home?

Yes, it costs money. But not as much as you might think, and how much more money could you make focusing on your most important things? And how much is your time worth? You’ve heard it said that time is money. Nope. Time is more valuable than money. You can make more money. No one can make more time. So, how much is your time worth?

As I was writing my book (shameless plug – makes a great Christmas gift – especially for your college educated son living in the basement playing video games all day) I realized I didn’t want to spend the time and effort creating the cover, formatting it for print and digital outlets, and doing the final editing. I also knew I couldn’t do those parts of the book as well, and as quickly, as people who do those sorts of things as their main job.

So, I outsourced all of it!

I used a website called Fiverr. Check it out. (No, I don’t get a kickback if you use them. Although, I’d like to! Hey, Fiverr – help a brother out!) The site has tons of people and organizations from America and all around the world to choose from. Each one’s performance is rated by the users and you can reach out to them before you put down your money to get the job done. All the work is based on $5 gigs. Some jobs take multiple “gigs” to get done.

My front cover was $5. My back and side cover were another $5. A digital 3D photo for my website and Amazon was $5. You get the idea.

I had several people in the business tell me it would cost several hundred dollars to get my book cover created. I did it for $15 plus tax. Sweet.

Here are some other websites that can help you outsource your unwanted tasks:

Peopleperhour
Guru
Upwork
Elance
Fiverr
Toptal
Outsource

As I continue to run my business on helping people and businesses find and pursue their Passionate Purpose I plan to spend my time on what only I can do and what I like to do –  and outsource the things I’m not as good at, don’t like to do, or don’t want to spend my valuable time doing.

Think about all the things you could outsource at home and at work:

  • Video editing
  • Grocery delivery
  • Research
  • Web design
  • Research
  • Graphic design for covers, logos, banners, etc.
  • Creating Power Point slides – Great ones
  • Podcast editing
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Cleaning: It doesn’t have to be a weekly maid. How about once or twice a month? How about only the really tough stuff, like the bathrooms, and the windows?

Have you always wanted a personal assistant like CEOs and celebrities have, but you can’t justify spending the money? Here’s an article listing the The 10 Lowest Cost Virtual Assistant Services.

Do what you love, what needs your touch or voice, and what creates the most for you. Outsource the rest.

Question for comments: What have you outsourced? What has worked well and what hasn’t?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

George Costanza Can Help You Find Your Passionate Purpose

george

 

If you want to live an inspired, extraordinary life you’re my kind of people. Finding your Passionate Purpose is the first step on that amazing journey. A couple of posts ago we went over how it helps you in so many ways.

I received an email saying “Greg, I’m on board. I want to find my PP and live the life I was meant to, but I’m having trouble figuring it out.”

I got you.

First, there is no one right way to do this.

But I do have a ton of strategies and techniques to help you find it and I’ll lay them out over the next few posts.

Let’s start with George Costanza. Remember the Seinfeld episode where George figured out that his life was a mess because he always made the wrong choices? He decided he was going to do the opposite of what he would normally do and see how that would work. His life improved greatly!

Of course, it wasn’t hard to improve the life of a bald, middle-aged, unemployed man who still lived with his parents, but you get the idea.

The Costanza Method

Figure out all the things you don’t want in every part of your life.

Describe what your worst job would be, who you would work with, what your hours would be, how much you would earn, and what your vacations would be like.

Then move on to where you would live, who you would be married to, and what your family and friends would be like.

Continue describing what you don’t want for your spiritual life, your physical fitness and every other aspect of your life you can think of. Write this out in as much detail as you can. Make this your nightmare life.

See it, feel it, and make it as real for you as you possibly can.

Pretty brutal.

Now apply the Costanza method. Imagine and write down the exact opposite life and you’ll be on your way to your best life.

And you have a bald, middle-aged, unemployed man who still lives with his parents to thank for it.

george gif

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

Let’s GO!