“Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
-Timothy Ferriss, Author
Timothy Ferris is an American author, entrepreneur, and public speaker, best known for his 2007 best-selling book, The 4-Hour Work Week.
Assuming the average worker puts in 40 hours each week, we would see that Ferris is suggesting we work only 10% of those hours.
To achieve such a breakthrough would clearly cause us to do far less and in many cases stop the majority of our daily tasks.
How would decreasing the time you spend in meaningless work and focusing on your most important priorities improve the quality of your personal and professional worlds?
Begin today by ruthlessly cutting out at least one hour of busywork that is adding no real value to your world.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
-Tim Ferris, author & Entrepreneur
Over the past few weeks I learned about a new book by Cal Newport titled Deep Work—Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
In this timely book, Cal shares his formula for high productivity:
High quality work produced = (time spent X intensity of focus)
Take a moment to examine your typical work day with regard to this equation.
Where does your time go?
How much intensity do you focus on each of your important and unimportant tasks?
How and in what ways would blocking out larger chunks of quality time when you are operating at optimal intensity increase your productivity today?
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not in fighting the old, but on building the new.”
—Socrates, Classic Greek Philosopher
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When I consider the idea of fighting the old ways of doing things, I think of the phrase, whatever we resist persists. Notice how some of your own less-than-desirable habits or behaviors seem to stick around no matter how much you try to fight them off. The act of building things is much like a replacement strategy where we insert what we desire into our lives instead.
What would be the biggest difference in your personal or professional life if you stopped fighting the old and started building the new?
Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS)
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One of my favorite quotes related to the FOCUS acronym is “If you try to chase two rabbits they both get away.”
In our “faster, faster” world, multi-tasking is a fairly common practice. Although this strategy seems to work in many circumstances, it often has drawbacks, particularly when we are faced with a very important priority. In such cases, even a small bit of distraction or taking our eye off the ball can have considerable undesirable consequences.
Identify one or two areas in your life where a lack of focus is having a less than desirable impact. Where would following one course until successful produce the greatest value for you today and in the future?
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
-Stephen Covey, Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
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Stephen Covey was a wise man. Few individuals have had a more lasting impact in the development of individuals as life-long learners. Part of his brilliance was his ability to break complicated principles into their simplest form, resulting in his brilliant Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Apply today’s quote to Covey’s Seven Habits to discover your main things for the day:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- First things first
- Think Win-Win
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
- Sharpen the saw
How will greater focus and far fewer “main things” help you realize more of your potential now, and in the future?
“Convert your marketing strategy from a shotgun to a laser.”
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Many marketing professionals would agree that if we try to be all things to all people, we almost always miss the mark and become nothing to no one.
Many year ago, when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, we used an exercise called, “walk the patient across the doctor’s desk,” in order to position our medication in the minds of each physician.
The more specific we were in describing how our medications managed the patient’s symptoms, the clearer the physician was in its utility and application.
How can and will you focus your marketing and sales efforts to hit the bulls-eye and better support the customers you wish to serve?
“You can either throw in the towel, or use it to wipe your sweat.”
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When was the last time you had a really rigorous workout? You know, the kind that makes your muscles burn, makes you gasp for air, and drenches you in sweat?
Where do you, or have you, demonstrated similar efforts in your personal or professional life?
How often do you give things your all? With what frequency do you merely put in enough effort just to get by? How often do you throw in the towel and give up completely?
What are the key tasks or priorities in which you could dig deeper, make a stronger commitment, or break more of a sweat?
With whom can you partner to coach, encourage, and challenge you to give these goals your very best?
“Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.”
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One thing I know for sure is that quality relationships result when our focus is on others rather than ourselves.
Being interested rather than interesting will channel your listening and speaking skills, to help you successfully navigate your professional and personal worlds.
Choose your words today, so that they resonate at the frequency others hear and appreciate. How can you tune into the messages and signals of those around you, so that you fully honor and show how important they are to you?
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
—W.B. Yeats, Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature
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Take a moment to examine your current ability to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.
Did you know that:
- A Silvertip Grizzly Bear can smell you from 18 miles away?
- Jumping spiders can see four primary colors versus the three that humans see?
- Some birds have an internal GPS that acts as a compass, to help them find their way home?
- The bat uses echolocation to navigate and catch its supper?
- Catfish have 10 times more taste buds than humans (100,000 versus 10,000)?
How can you capture more of the magic life has to offer by sharpening and focusing your senses? One way to develop these capacities is to focus on each sense separately, whenever possible.
“My brain has too many tabs open.”
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Have you ever noticed what happens to your computer when you have a number of applications open at once? For most of us, the system either slows down considerably, or locks up completely.
In much the same way, our brains work most optimally when they can focus on a single task at any given time. Unfortunately, society and life in general wants everything at once, which often generates considerable stress and other difficulties.
Reduce the number of open tabs in your brain by blocking out 15, 30, or 60 minute segments of your day for the most important and value-creating priorities. If possible, utilize the open brain tabs of those around you to accomplish even more by coaching them to use this technique.