Your Not-To-Do-List

At the end of every day I take a look at my list of things I needed to accomplish during the day. If there are any items that couldn’t be completed for some reason, I deal with them. It might be rescheduling them, delegating them or deleting them all together. I then review my list for the following day, which are items I had already scheduled along with new items that surfaced in the mean time. 

The next morning, when I sit down at my desk, the first thing that I’ll do is review this list again.

In the past I’ve had days that this list seems to grow bigger and bigger, regardless of how much I check off of it each day. I’ve found myself feeling great as I’m checking off item after item, feeling like I’m being producing and getting things done. But then I’d get to the end of the day and realize there are still a lot of important items that I haven’t even looked at yet. How can this be? I’ve been working and knocking things off like crazy.

Often, this problem arises not because of the number of items on my to-do-list, but because of what the items are and which ones shouldn’t even be on my list in the first place. 

One of the best exercises you can do to increase your productivity is to create your Not-To-Do-List!

Think about this, there are things you do every day that move the needle the most for you and/or your company. Maybe it’s sales, maybe it’s marketing, maybe it’s coaching your team. It’s whatever you do that creates the biggest results/revenue. These needle movers are the things you should be spending your time on. 

Now look at all the things you do on a daily basis that are not creating these results. That are not the needle movers. If you are putting off the needle-mover items to work on these other things, you need to stop. Stop Now! These are not the things that need your focus and that you need to be spending your time on. 

It’s hard to make changes that free up big blocks of time in our days. We have smaller moments that we need to utilize and take the best advantage of. You need to create your Not-To-Do-List to free up these moments so that you can focus on the needle-movers in your life. 

Let’s do this right now! Don’t put it off, grab a pen and paper and lets get started…

What things do you spend your time on that don’t serve growth, a greater income, empowerment, your God, your family or a bigger future?

  1. Make a list of the non-needle-mover activities that you spend your time on.
  2. For each item mark it as:
    1. Automate,
    2. Delegate, or
    3. Eliminate

Now that you’ve made this list, follow through. Maybe it’s your monthly bills that you can get online and automate the payments. Maybe it’s a daily task that you’ve felt it was just easier if you took care of it yourself. Delegate it! Maybe it’s something that just really doesn’t matter. Eliminate it!

When you clear the clutter from your to-do-list, you clear your mind. Your stress level decreases and your creativity increases. 

As important as a To-Do-List can be, even more important is your Not-To-Do List! 

*Add this exercise to the top of your To-Do-List right now! Actually do it and get it done!

By joining one of our Mastermind Groups, you’ll put into practice more life hacks like this that will help you to become more productive. You would be a part of an elite group of goal-orientated people who want to help each other succeed and get to the next level in life and in business.

If your life and/or your business are not where you thought they would be at this point in your life, hurry over to our Mastermind page and fill out the form. That will allow us to contact you to give you more information and to see if you qualify to be in one of our elite Mastermind Group!

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You Can Do Hard Things

An Excerpt, with some minor edits, from a note I was sending someone hoping to help them in a tough spot. I wanted to share it here as well, just in case someone reads it that could gain something from it.

You have been searching for answers and feel that you are not getting them. I can promise you that there will be a day when you look back on this time and will be able to see blessings that you cannot see now. You will be able to see where His hand was guiding you. You will understand the Why. Why you had to go through this trial. Why it wasn’t easier. And that is how you will make a difference in the world for many, many people. There are people near you that need you now. There are people nowhere close to you now that are going to need you. Everyone is dealing with their own struggles and challenges and they need help. Most can’t be helped by someone that has the book smarts on the struggle. But the person who can make a difference, the person who can change their life, the person who can save them is the one who has been there. The one who has been in their shoes and has conquered that challenge. My friend lost a baby boy and a brother in a short period. Nobody could really help her through those difficult times that hadn’t been through something similar. But now, she can take those tragic experiences and help many others going through their own tragic times. I often recall an old Young Woman’s theme, “I can do hard things.” Every hard thing that you have pushed yourself through, whether it was in a relationship, a sport, in business or something else has prepared you for something you will go through and deal with at some point in the future. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” You’ve been through hard things in the past and it has strengthened you. You are going to go through hard things throughout your life and they will continue to strengthen you. Right now may be the hardest thing that you have had to deal with up to this point of your life. You can do it. You will grow from it. You are amazing. YOU are going to make a difference in the world!

Book Quote of the Week – 105

“The people inside the talent hotbeds are engaged in an activity that seems, on the face of it, strange and surprising. They are seeking out the slippery hills… they are purposely operating at the edges of their ability, so they will screw up. And somehow screwing up is making them better.” – Daniel Coyle

Book Quote of the Week 055

“How do you go about becoming a millionaire? I’m often asked this question and ever since I founded Virgin Atlantic in 1984 my answer has been the same: ‘Start as a billionaire and launch a new airline.'”

Richard Branson

 

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Book Quote of the Week – 050

Peter Diamandis

Peter has a set of rules that guide his life. His 28 Peter’s Laws have been collected over decades. Here are some favorites:

Law 2: When given a choice…take both.

Law 3: Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.

Law 6: When forced to compromise, ask for more.

Law 7: If you can’t win, change the rules.

Law 8: If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.

Law 11: “No” simply means begin again at one level higher.

Law 13: When in doubt: THINK

Law 16: The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

Law 17: The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself. (Adopted from Alan Kay)

Law 19: You get what you incentivize.

Law 22: The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.

Law 26: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

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Book Quote of the Week 044

“Important people have the ability to turn off their phones because the world can wait for them.” — Jason Calacanis

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Book Quote of the Week – 040

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“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”

– Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud High-way: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

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Book Quote of the Week – 039

“My confidence came from my vision… I am a big believer that if you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, then the rest of it is much easier. Because you always know why you are training 5 hours a day, you always know why you are pushing and going through the pain barrier, and why you have to eat more, and why you have to struggle more, and why you have to be more disciplined… I felt that I could win it, and that was what I was there for. I wasn’t there to compete. I was there to win.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Book Quote of the Week 036

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Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise.  Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise.  That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand.  And beware: brands always mean something.  If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.

Richard Branson

 

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Richard Branson: Business Stripped Bare Notes & Quotes

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Notes/Quotes:
Richard Branson is someone who has always fascinated me. I love his story. I love what he’s done, how he’s done it and how he continues to do it. Following are some of the notes I took while reading one of his books, Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur.
There’s a lot of great stuff in this book. Highly recommend reading it and then reading it again. Make your own notes and occasionally refer back to them or come back here and read these notes again. There are a number of great things that you’ll be reminded of and will help spark new ideas to grow yourself and your business.
People
  • Avoid taking on someone else’s legacy
  • If you are in the mood to buy a new business – wait.  It can take a long time to change a business culture.  Are you sure you wouldn’t be better off starting one from scratch?
  • In business, someone who can stay cool and calm under pressure is an asset.
  • There’s no rule book.  the past is the past.  We can’t preserve it
  • small, compact companies are, generally better run
  • Put people together in a way that will have them bouncing ideas off each other, befriending each other, and taking care of each other, and suddenly they are coming to you, not with gripes and problems, but with solutions and great ideas.
  • Given the right conditions, exceptional people will reveal themselves
  • There’s another thing about teams: they don’t last forever
  • When the business lets you, shake things up a little
  • The best manager is someone who cares about people and who is genuinely interested and wants to bring out the best in them
  • A manager should basically be a considerate person who is as interested in the switchboard operator and the person who cleans the lavatories as he or she is in the fellow managers
  • A self-disciplined employee will have the patience to conduct routine business routinely, the talent to respond exceptionally to exceptional circumstances, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two
  • you can’t dictate attitudes from on high.  All you can do is hire the right people and empower them to sort things out as they happen.
  • If someone has paid you for something, and it goes wrong, being cagey or defensive will kill you stone dead
  • If someone has a lousy experience at your hands, they will warn people
  • If you are able to sort out your customers’ problems better than they expected, then they will be your loyal friend for life
Brand
  • Befriending one’s enemy is a good rule for business – and life
  • A brand always means something, and ultimately you can control the meaning of your brand only through what you deliver to customers
  • Turnover can be huge, but it is the profit margin that matters
  • I learned another key fact about running a business: try to have a plan B
  • Publicity is absolutely critical.  You have to get your brand out and about
  • A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a full-page ad, and a damn sight cheaper
  • it is sometimes better to follow a pioneer than be a pioneer
  • Maintaining a consistent tone in the face of rapid growth was a key requirement
  • You can’t restructure culture.  If you’ve burnt people, if you’ve killed their enthusiasm or commitment, then changing office space or putting a few more dollars in their pocket will not unduly affect the culture that exists
  • Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise.  Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise.  That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand.  And beware: brands always mean something.  If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.
Delivery
  • Don’t waste your precious time.  Phone calls and emails can eat your day.  Don’t let them.  No one will think less of you for getting to the point.
  • I advise every owner of a company to keep a notebook and jot down the things that need doing
  • You must never forget that every change ushers in unforeseen consequences
  • Success one day does not give you a free lunch every day thereafter
  • We’ve started, so we’ll finish
  • Never imagine that you are immune from big events.  Make your small decisions in the light of the bigger picture, and you are at least pointing your craft in the right direction to ride out any storm
  • One business mantra remains embedded in my brain – protect the downside
  • Remember to communicate, and pay attention to detail
  • Don’t be afraid of changing your bank if they are unreasonable.  Banks are not for life.  But don’t put it off till the last minute
  • Out of recession, new ideas and new business often grow
  • If you are a late entrant to the market, you need to be radically different to win over customers.
  • If you rip off the customer, then you will destroy the integrity of the brand
  • When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity
  • You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business
  • It’s easy – too easy, in fact – to relinquish your responsibility for your idea to experts.  This is almost always a mistake, because experts are only experts in their field.  They’re not experts in your idea.  At this stage, the only person qualified to assess your idea is you
  • You need to flesh out your own ideas.  You need to do your own research.  You need to take responsibility for how you plan to turn an idea into action
  • Keep a cool head.  You’re in business to deliver change, and if you succeed, the chances that  no one will get hurt are virtually zero.  This is the rough and tumble of business.  Be sportsmanlike, play to win, and stay friends with people wherever possible.  If you do fall out with someone, ring them a year later and take them out to dinner. Befriend your enemies.
  • Being a well funded company puts you at a tremendous advantage
 
Learning from Mistakes and Setbacks
  • Never do anything that means you can’t sleep at night
  • You can’t protect yourself against the unexpected, so you need to keep your house in as good an order as you can.  If disaster strikes, you don’t want to find yourself doing twelve things at once and misprioritising them in public.  It’s vital, therefore, that you take control of your internal business risks – the ones you can influence.
  • I think it is counterproductive to be ruthless.  You’ve got to treat people as you would yourself, or better
  • You definitely should get the best people around you when confronted with a serious problem.  Don’t try to deal with it all by yourself.  Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice.
  • If you drive down the retail price fast enough when you are the dominant player, you never allow anyone else to catch up because they can’t make enough money.  It requires the dominant player to be brave, because it can mean cannibalizing your existing sales by dropping the retail price.  (i.e. Apple and the iPod)
  • Protect your reputation.  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
  • If you’re hurt, lick your wounds and get up again.  If you’ve given it your absolute best, it’s time to move forward.
Innovation
  • The best, most solid way out of a crisis in a changing market is through experiment and adaption.
  • Innovation is what you get wen you capitalize on luck, when you get up from behind your desk and go and see where ideas and people lead you.
Entrepreneurs and Leadership
  • True leadership must include the ability to distinguish between real and apparent danger.
  • You need to understand the challenges to your enterprise and face up to them.  Equally, you have to resist the temptation to overreact at the first sign of trouble.
  • Every business plan should include: “This company will have lots and lots of parties and social get-togethers.”
  • The creator’s job is to find someone with expertise who understands the vision and is prepared to follow the path.
  • If you can keep the business relatively small, people will know each other within the organisation and feel like part of the team.
  • Decent leadership is about explaining clearly and unemotionally why a decision has been taken.
  • Failure is not giving things a go in the first place.
  • Only a fool never changes his mind.
  • DON’T BRING ME YOUR PROBLEMS – BRING ME THE SOLUTIONS
Social Responsibility
  • It is possible to turn a profit while making the world a better place.
  • What can you do to make a difference?
  • One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.  Never run away from anything.  Never! – Sir Winston Churchill
  • Don’t forget to listen
Epilogue
  • It is important to look for one’s strengths – to try to excel at what you’re good at.
  • What you’re bad at actually doesn’t interest people, and it certainly shouldn’t interest you.
  • So don’t let your limits knock your self-confidence
  • Success for me is whether you have created something that you can be really proud of.

Get this book and others from Richard Branson HERE, or Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks and listen to his first two books for free!

Alarm Clock Discipline

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Everyone wants to know:
“How can I be successful?”
“What do I need to do to be the best at what I do?”
“How do I get an edge to beat our my competition?”
What’s the answer? Well, there’s an entire industry built on telling you the answer. There are so many resources available to answer your questions.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Think and Grow Rich

How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

The list is endless. There are many more I’ve included in my Reading List, check them out HERE. Or check out the 2,275 books that come up in Amazon when you search “How to be successful” HERE.
But it doesn’t matter how much you know or how much you’ve read if you don’t act.  There are many things that you need to do and things that need to come together for you to be successful, but I know that one thing you need to be successful is discipline. Today I have been thinking about something I call Alarm Clock Discipline.
The more I read, the more I see thoughts and ideas overlapping with different authors. Recently I’ve had three different resources that have made me think about this topic.
In October I wrote a post about The Slight Edge. In that post I wrote:
Out of all the great things that I have learned from this book, there is one concept that stands out more than the others. “The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But they are also just as easy not to do.” This concept is hit on throughout the book. It’s the simple, little habits that you do every day that lead to success. The simple, little habits that are easy to do, but just as easy not to do. This phrase runs through my head every single morning now if I want it to or not. I set my alarm for 5am. When it goes off I have two choices. I can slide out of bed, put on my running shoes and go for my morning run. Or I can hit the snooze button, curl up in bed and fall back asleep. I’ve really done both quite a few times in my life. I’m pretty disciplined so getting up early to run or workout usually isn’t a big deal. But I’m not as disciplined in going to bed at a good hour. So some mornings when the alarm goes off at 5am and I’ve only been in bed for a few hours it’s pretty easy to justify skipping the workout that morning and usually hitting the snooze two or three more times after that. But now each morning when my alarm goes off, before I have the opportunity to realize how tired I am, the words, “Easy to do. Easy not to do.” are running through my head. That’s motivation enough to get me going.
Jeff talks about the “little things” a lot. If I hit the snooze and skip my run it likely isn’t going to kill me or have a drastic impact on my health. But the compound effect is always working. It’s either working for us or against us. So as I get out of bed for my workout those actions are compounding with all the other times I take those positive actions. That one workout might not have much of an impact on my health, but compounding them all together will. Just like when I hit the snooze, that action compounds with all the other times I take those actions and works against me.
Basketball is a big part of life in our family and Alarm Clock Discipline is a big deal when we are getting teenagers up at 5:00am for a workout. As would be expected with kids, some days are easier than others, but over the past five years I’m proud to say that Tia and Daxon have put hundreds of hours into working on their game before most kids their age would even consider being out of bed.
I recently sent them the following video to watch from PGS Basketball: 5 Ways to Build Mental Toughness.
Number one on the list: Wake Up Early & Get Out of Bed
I love in this video when he says that by “hitting snooze you are giving into your feelings. When you give into your feelings you will never be special at anything.”
I don’t care if you do or don’t like the sport of basketball. Take five minutes to watch this video, it’s worth your time.
The most recent resource that got me thinking about this topic again was a book that I just finished by Jacko Willing and Leif Babin. The book is Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win
In the book they say that discipline starts every day when the alarm clock goes off in the morning. The moment the alarm clock goes off is the first test and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The test is simple. When the alarm clock goes off do you get up out of bed or do you lie there in comfort and fall back asleep.
They go on the explain that if you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win, you pass the test. If you are mentally weak at that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, whichever decision you make will translate into more significant and substantial elements of your life.
My favorite quote in this book is, “Discipline is the difference between being good and being exceptional.”
How do you become successful? There are many answers to that question. But having Alarm Clock Discipline is a good place to start.

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Books You Should Read

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Business Books

 

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a number of people asking me for suggested books to read. There are a lot of great books that I’ve read and there area always new great ones being published.

I refer most people to my Reading List if they are looking for a book to read. My Reading List is the list of all the books I’ve read split up into different sections. It also has my top must read and currently reading lists. If you are interested in any of the books on my list just click on the title and it will take you to the Amazon page where you can learn more about the book and order it for yourself.

But there are two books that I have suggested in the past couple weeks that I’ll point out.  The first one was one that made me think a little more than normal. The reason was because of the person who asked. It was my 14 year old son who came into my office and asked if I had a book he could read. It made me sit back and think about the books that I’ve read that I would really like my son to learn something from. I’ve had him read books such as The Compound Effect and The Richest Man in Babylon. This time I thought the book that would be great for him to learn from at this time in his life was The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure. So if you are looking for a book that will help you to learn how to take massive action to achieve your goals, it’s definitely a book you need to read.

Another book that I suggested to someone yesterday was Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice. This is a true story that will grab your attention and you won’t want to put it down!

A New York Times bestseller: “[Red Notice] does for investing in Russia and the former Soviet Union what Liar’s Poker did for our understanding of Salomon Brothers, Wall Street, and the mortgage-backed securities business in the 1980s. Browder’s business saga meshes well with the story of corruption and murder in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, making Red Notice an early candidate for any list of the year’s best books” (Fortune).

If you are like me and travel a lot, take advantage of your travel time and listen to your books on audio.  For a free trial of Audible and two free audio books, click the link below:

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