One of the single most significant changes you can make to your life is to get your cut of the the waffle and make sure you ONLY do what is most significant for your life’s work all before 11am.
This may sound a bit strange, but it’s true. Try it and you will see for yourself. It has totally transformed my life and saved me hours of stressful, pointless work.
Get a pen and paper and write the answers to the following questions. They will change your life. You will be shocked and you will end up with more time, more joy and more money.
Let us begin…
1. Imagine you only had 2 hours a day to work. Literally. You CANNOT do more work than that. What would you do in those 2 work hours to effectively move towards your goals?
2. Imagine you were very sick and had only 2 hours a WEEK to work. What would you do?
3. What are the 3 things you do that bring you the most $ in the least time?
4. What are the 3 things that bring you the most real joy and fulfillment in the least time?
Now you are ready to change your life. Remember the 80/20 principle: 80% of your success comes from only 20% of your input. So give yourself a break. Do the 20% that actually has a powerful result and ditch the other 80%. You will have 80% more time to enjoy life and pursue things you have been putting off.
Every morning, or even the evening before, ask yourself these questions:
1. If I had to stop work at 11am today what would I have to do?
2. If these were the only things I did today, would I be happy and satisfied with myself?
WHAT TO DO?
1. Fold a sheet of paper into about the size of a credit card. Write the things you need to accomplish before 11am on that paper. This is your ‘to do’ list. Do not add to it. Only do these things and do not do anything else until they are done.
2. Try to condense the amount of time you think this will take. Do only what is needed to effectively achieve the task. Don’t waste extra time in frills and expansion. This is the reason so few people have time to do what they really love. They get lost in details and distractions.
3. DO NOT CHECK YOUR EMAILS until 12pm!
Yes, that’s right–not until you have done the things on your list. Also do not engage in meetings or phone calls unless they are honestly essential and part of your ‘to do’ list. And even then, keep it short, sweet and to the point. Do you want to create space in your life or do you want to work all day?
4. After 11am, take a good break. Go do something you have been putting off because you didn’t have time. Relax, treat yourself and enjoy. If you have to do more work, squeeze it into a 2 hour slot and apply the same principles and then retire to other things that bring you joy. The more refreshed and happy you are, the better your life is and the easier it will be to manifest what you want.
This topic deserves a section to itself. Emails have stolen the lives of millions. Learn to claim back yours.
Here are the steps to freedom:
1. The golden rule to email liberation is to NEVER have your email messenger open unless you are actively working on efficiently going through your list. Keep your emails away and out of sight, like a pile of letters, until you come to the time when you are ready to read them.
2. As mentioned, only check your emails AFTER you have achieved your critical tasks, not before. If you have to send an email as part of a critical task, be disciplined. Send just that ONE email, don’t look at any other emails and CLOSE your mail account afterwords. Be careful. You will be tempted to look.
3. After you have successfully and effectively achieved your critical tasks, set yourself a time limit and clear your email box. You can set up ‘rules’ that neatly sort your emails into folders, so it’ll be easy to see what you are looking at. My email box has reduced by about 70% just by doing this. The junk is automatically filtered. Various things I have subscribed to go into their own folder and I am in charge of what I do and what I see.
As for the rest of the emails, if there is a way to add more rules to emails, or add them to spam, do it – this will save you time in the future.
For the rest of the emails, be very clear what is for business and what is for pleasure. Get all of your business emails off your plate with maximum efficiency–short, sweet and concise. Do not continue with open-ended conversations. For example, if you need to make a date for an appointment and the other party is seeming vague, try this tactic: tell them ‘I can do x, y, z, dates. If none of these work for you, please suggest three days that will work and I will get back to you.’ This way you have saved time going back and forth with just a few lines.
4. You don’t need to reply to every email or read every email. Just delete things that you don’t have the time and interest for. If something is genuinely urgent and you have missed it, then chances are you will get another email about it. Remember: people will often find a solution to their own problems in time. Don’t put yourself in a position where you, personally, are accountable to solve everyone’s problems. Empower people. Give them the tools and places to go and find support. Give yourself a break. You can only serve well if you are refreshed.
Re-read this and actually apply these things in your life. You will be amazed how much more work gets done while your spare time to enjoy life increases every week.
Do less, achieve more – and enjoy!