Posts Tagged ‘bucket list’

How To Accidentally Waste 12 Months of Potential + a must read

06/19/2011

So I’m going through my Dreamline…

A Dreamline is your list of goals, all the things you’d love to have, be and do (see the Four Hour Workweek page 54). Think of it as a 12 month bucket list (see 5 Things You Must Have on Your Bucket List).

Download your own 4HWW Dreamline here for free!

… and I noticed something rather interesting. Since writing my dreamline 12 months ago:

  1. I had completed over 85% of the items on the list! This is a known phenomenon to success, that by merely writing down your dreams and goals you are a major step closer to achieving them! Which brought me to realization number…
  2. My goals were too small! Some goals were as small as “purchase 2TB hard drive” “join a gym”. Now although I went way past these 2 incredibly simple tasks…
  3. I forgot to follow through on my goals. You see, in every aspect of life, from golf to martial arts to design to friendship, it’s all about staying with your intensity as far as it will carry. This is why…
  4. I had never heard of Action Method. Action Method is a productivity app based on the book Making Ideas Happen. You can find the iPhone/iPad app in the iTunes store ($3) or at the website ActionMethod.com (basic is free; premium version $13 a month). Action Method had has a profound impact on my productivity. Where once there was a To-Do list, there is now a series of projects (prioritized by energy levels), tasks (specified by urgency), and focus items (up to 5 per day).

All in all, I can only imagine how much I could have accomplished if I would have caught my mistakes 12 months ago.

Using a Priority Inbox system. Every single email that arrives in your inbox should be either:

  • Actionable – placed into Action Method as an actionable/delegated task).
  • Backburner – things to catch up on at a later time. (I create new folders like “To Read” “To Do” for emails I’d like to come back to) and
  • Reference – information which requires neither action or follow-up. Evernote (another amazing app you can download for free here) works great for this storing 10,000’s of notes stored on cloud that you can access anywhere at anytime.
Get used to sending yourself emails containing action tasks or information to direct into either Actionable, Backburner or Reference. Both Action Method and Evernote offer you email addresses so you can process things directly.

The Importance of Organization

Everyone can juggle things in their heads. Some go even further and think of new and creative ways to keep an unbelievable amount of conscious information in their minds at once.

However, when you are focusing on actionable tasks there must be both fluidity and renewal. Items must be completed, delegated, altered or discarded. Then, if the project is expected to move forward, a new action task must fill its place.

Getting Motivated Inspired!

People don’t need motivation, they need inspiration. And its often the case that we are fully capable of inspiring ourselves. A dream, a goal, a passion, a need — anything that engages and penetrates our emotional essence is a great source of inspiration. Some people make collages of all the things they can buy with a million dollars (you’d be surprised!). Some drive after every hard day’s work and pay a visit to the house they intend to buy some day. Some people photoshop their bodies to what they expect to look like after they hit the gym every day for the next 12 months.

The 3 Keys to Getting Things Done

Here are 3 activities that have enabled me to be my most productive and get the most productive work done in incredibly brief spurts of time:

  1. Focus! It’s not enough to just create powerful goals. There must also be an unwavering commitment to achieving them. If your goals get boring, there’s a good chance that they aren’t powerful or meaningful enough. If you must accomplish one menial task in order to reach a more meaningful one, focus on the passion of the end-result. This will often make the prerequisite task much easier.
  2. Ritualize! What do you do first thing when you wake up? How about after that? How about after work? Before you go to sleep? Everything in your life has a place and for that you need a ritual. Anyone who follows a ritual will immediately begin to see more purpose and productivity to their day.
  3. JFDI! This stands for “Just Do It” with an added acronym. This is the only poster on my wall, and its done wonders. There is no more powerful trait than the ability to make swift and intelligent decisions. If you are going to do it anyway, why not do it right now? Moreover, there’s usually some sort of pain or discomfort with doing it later. So… Just Freakin’ Do It!

Some Tips for Productivity:

  • Get up early! And finish something important before the world awakens! I trained myself to wake up at 7 am every morning and working on getting that closer to 5 am! It also helps to familiarize yourself with the concept of sleep cycles.
  • Set daily ass-kicking! Ask yourself “If I could only accomplish one thing today, what would it be”.
  • Check email only twice a day. And see if the world will still rotate as before. Although this is not possible in all professions, you don’t need to be like a dog on a leash either.
  • Wire-in! You know what this is if you write code or watched “The Social Network”. It’s when you zero in completely at the task at hand, and nothing else matters. In sports this is imperative. Kobe fans will remember this.
  • Batch. The mind takes time from move from one type task to another. Batching similar tasks — such as making phone calls, answering emails, doing interviews, and running errands — can suddenly open up huge windows of time you never knew you had.
  • Automate similar tasks as much as possible. Can it be delegated (to someone competent enough)? Can it be taken care of later (like an old video rental)? Does it have to be done at all?
  • Let small bad things happen. This one fascinates me. We all have just a short window of opportunity each day consisting of approximately 16 hours. Yet some of us do great things, while others waste it all on petty tasks. The key then is to allow small bad things to go wrong, while we focus on larger, more important and meaningful tasks.
  • Eat elephants one bite at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but one day at a time. Divide larger tasks into short smaller actionable ones and you’ll be astounded at your gradual yet forward progress.
  • keep everything stupidly simple
  • Create a NOT to do list. Think of your bottlenecks, things that slow you down or circular jobs you keep doing that end in a downward spiral of unproductive time-wasting. Add them to your NOT TO DO list.
  • Remember the 3 C’s: conceive, comprehend, connect.
  • Clear inbox + clear desk = clear conscience. 
  • Take a day off once a week. No work, no phone, no TV. Just be.
  • Now get back to work! 🙂

Check out Action Method today! (trust me)

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A MUST Read:

I want to just add a sub-note regarding something I came across while I was backpacking through Vietnam a month ago. It’s a book called The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida. Some have labeled it sexist (although all the women I have suggested it to have approved of its almost utopian ideal), and the author himself states the thoughts therein may seem controversial (often with those content with mediocrity and the status quo). Yet, there is little doubt in my mind that many of the problems we face today with regard to personal fulfillment, sense of purpose, a better life – physically emotionally and spiritually – stem from a lack of understanding of the gems hidden in “The Way of the Superior Man”.

The book will teach you about the true dynamics between man and women, libido, creativity, purposeful living and it might just change your life!

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How To Take and Organize Notes

10/14/2009

Dilbert Note Taking

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” – Peter Drucker

“Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit” – William Pollard

Taking Notes

I’m sure that every influential person in the history of the world is an avid note-taker. Warren Buffett has been known to make  huge decisions based on notes he’d taken a decade earlier. My friend, Tim Ferriss, claims to have over 15,000 pages of notes! Needless to say, note-taking is one of the most over-looked properties of effective people.

Why We Take Notes: The human mind is like a sponge. It remembers everything that it ever knew like a super-computer. Yet, because it processes so much information daily, it needs a selection-system for the things that actually make a difference in our lives. So many people let things slip their minds, by falsely convincing themselves “Oh, I’ll remember that!”. Yet, every four years we forget why we voted for that candidate, and every few decades we forget the meaning of debt. The process of note-taking will seem petty and superficial to begin with but will become increasingly valuable overtime.

Here are some points to remember that will help you take notes effectively:

  1. Focus on Content. Don’t write down everything you see and hear. Be selective. Focus on the main message and paraphrase any new and interesting insights you come across. (This also includes any new brainstorms you have, whether it’s a better way to be effective, or a billion dollar business idea).
  2. Write a Topic. It’s very important that you include a general header for each note. This make it much easier for bundling later. It should be simple (no big words) but detailed to provide you with what that note contains.
  3. Keep it Short and Sweet. Don’t start writing an 30 page essay every time you attend a seminar. Simply focus on getting new insights. Forget good grammar, proper spelling and the nitty-gritty details. You can research the topic later.
  4. Go Digital. If you know what you’re doing you’ll be fine and besides, it makes it far easier to organize, add, re-edit and backup. If you write your notes by hand sit down and copy them to text. (It’s not as time-consuming as you think, and if you have decent handwriting you could even hire someone else do it for you).

Organizing Notes

We’re all told at some point in our lives that we’re great organizers. But when it comes to sorting out hundreds of pages of notes, things get tricky. Any system is only as good as its management. They key is to always have immediate access to anything you may have ever jotted down.

  1. Concentrate your holdings. It’s important that you keep all your notes in the same place or folders. Syncing various folders with similar file names gets confusing. (Using a Mac or Google Desktop file-searching comes in handy).
  2. Differentiate the Urgent from the Standard. If you have something that requires attention tomorrow and one that’s just a random interesting tidbit, don’t mix them up. The time-sensitive records will get lost in a sea of practically irrelevant information.
  3. Combine and Group. I’ve created two major documents that contain all my notes: a) “Basics”: This contains all major points, concepts and topics that I’ve taken notes on in the past. Your mind can recover an entire subject with just a few key words – use those words. b) “My Workbook”: This should contain all your notes, in much broader form, divided into subjects (Dreams, Motivation, Work, Family, Travel, etc). Then insert notes based on subject. Create sub-categories and organize accordingly. For ultimate effectiveness: Create a “Table of Contents” in “Basics” and link it to your categories in the “Workbook”.
  4. Backup Your Masterpiece! I cannot stress this more. Please backup your work! I suggest a) sending yourself an email with your notes attached b) copying them to a flash/USB drive and c) Printing them on paper – every time you add/alter any significant data.

The “PUTS” Process

  • Print – Print or read through article you find interesting. Prioritize time-sensitive and most interesting subjects.
  • Underline – Underline or paraphrase anything you find useful or interesting. Focus on key phrases or terms.
  • Type – Write down or type up those things you found most notable. This is great to do over the weekend.
  • Sync – Organize and group your notes into categories. This makes it easier to find when desired.

Use It!

Remember to read through your notes often, (however much, however often). Maintain and update it. Keep adding to it. It will be your wealth of information you’ll cherish in the years to come!

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Here are a few ideas to include in your note categories:

  1. Mindset
  2. Goals and Dreams
  3. Motivation
  4. Meaningful Life
  5. Lifehacks and GTD
  6. Leadership and Personal Development
  7. People You’ve Met
  8. Purchases You’ve Made
  9. Major Goals You’ve Accomplished
  10. Wealth and Investing
  11. Entrepreneur (Getting Started)
  12. Business (Growth and Operations)
  13. Sentiment and Studies
  14. Personal Decisions
  15. Travel and Recreation
  16. Food and Cooking
  17. Family and Relationships
  18. Politics and World
  19. Psychology
  20. Music/Movies/Arts/Entertainment

If anyone has any suggestions of a program that helps you tag notes, your feedback is greatly appreciated, along with any other suggestion you have on effective note-taking.

How to Achieve Your Bucket List

10/08/2009

Two words: Energy and Focus!

goal

Getting Started

  • Start Small. Eat your elephants one bite at a time (weird, I know, but it works). Set micro-goals to achieve larger ones.
  • One Goal. Instead of trying to fulfill everything, focus on ONE with full energy and laser focus.
  • Examine the Motivation. Describe goal and reasons to complete it.
  • Be Passionate! Commit to it publicly. Tell your friends. Write about it in the papers. Promote your need to succeed.
  • Set a Start Date. Don’t just start. Build anticipation. When you do start, you’ll start with even more enthusiasm.
  • Create a Dream Collage. Find pictures that match your set goal. Build a short Mantra. Put it everywhere!

Staying the Course

  • Work Hard! Nothing pays off like great and relentless practice!
  • Visualize your success! Feel the benefits of completion. This should cause a sudden surge of inspiration.
  • Hold yourself back! Pace yourself. Don’t do 100%. This will make you yearn for the next opportunity to practice.
  • Check out the competition. If you’re in a competition, check out how other’s are faring. (This should ignite your rear).
  • Just Start! There’s no motivation like action, works every time. Get dressed and do one set. You’ll take off.
  • Keep your audience informed. Update your fans on the progress of your success.
  • Think only positive! Read books and success stories on it. Make prior conquerors your mentors.
  • Listen to great music. Everyone has their own preference. Create great playlists that match your moods and modes.
  • Speak with believers. Find people with the same goal as you. Call friends and family that support your ambition.
  • Celebrate! Every step is precious. Chart your progress and reward yourself for each milestone.
  • Never miss 2 days in a row! If you’re incapable, improvise. Do something that resembles your practice.

Related articles:

5 Things You Must Have on Your Bucket List

5 More Intense Things to Put on Your Bucket List

5 More Intense Things to Add to Your Bucket List!

08/26/2009

Last Time we brought you5 Things That Should Be on Everyone’s Bucket List. Here are 5 More Intense Things to Add to Your Bucket List! Also don’t miss our recent article How to Achieve Your Bucket List!

(Links included)

Try Wing-suit Base Jumping.
Way intense!

Complete the Navy SEALs Workout. If you thought football practice was hard, wait to till you get a load of this routine. You’ll be running 6 miles a day (5x a week), swimming for 75 minutes solid, and be doing 400 pushups, 500 situps, 160 pullups and 400 dips in less than 30 minutes. Up for the Challenge?

Become James Bond. Discover your inner James Bond at Incredible Adventures 3-day class. Many of the instructors have served in U.S. Special Forces teams. Learn evasive-driving maneuvers, self-defense techniques, weapons tactics. Price Tag: $3,795 from Covert Operations.

Climb to the summit of Everest. Many have fallen in attempt to conquer the highest peak on planet earth. Although it’s been made easier over the decades it still requires immense skill, stamina and endurance. See you at the top!

Travel to Space! It’s been all talk and no show for the number of enterprises scheduled to make space travel the new hotspot destination. But if Virgin Galactic and the others can get their act together, this is the voyage of a lifetime. Price Tag: Starting at $95,000.

5 Things You Must Have on Your Bucket List

08/23/2009

The key to successful living is to keep life exciting. But you can’t always count on others to lighten things up. You have to go out and “make it rain”. The number #1 habit of highly successful people is to be proactive – “carry your own weather” and take charge – and you’re life will never be the same! There are many things you cab start with. Here some suggestions that will differentiate you from the crowd (and impress them at the same time):

  1. Learn a New Language. Venturing into a new vocabulary engages the mind to become more conscious of its own thoughts. (Besides it makes poking fun at English so much more exciting!) Two great places to start: 200 Words and Flash Cards.
  2. Learn a Musical Instrument. Music is often associated with greatness. Einstein played violin, Edison played piano Bob Hope played the saxophone, Charles Dickens played the accordion and billionaire Warren Buffett still plays the ukulele at his shareholder meeting each year!
  3. Go on Vacation! Schedule another honeymoon to Bora Bora, or take your business mobile and travel to Europe for a few weeks. You surely won’t regret it! Here are some famous hot-spots.
  4. Buy an Investment Home. It’s nice to own a home, but how about buying property that provides income and cash flow? Even in tough times there are always opportunities. Robert Kiyosaki says “Go look at 100 homes, make a fair offer on 10 and purchase one that offers you net cash flow” (i.e. that your tenant’s rent exceeds property mortgage and expenses).
  5. Start your Own business. While this seems to be a life-changing decision, it doesn’t have to be. There are many career driven professional who run a part-time business on the side. Those who have read The Four Hour Workweek are familiar with the concept. Every year each of us has a potential million dollar idea, yet we chose to let it pass us by.

Read our follow-up articles

5 More Intense Things to Add to Your Bucket List!

How to Achieve Your Bucket List