Creative Time

Ideas aren’t just born out of creative sessions and “whiteboarding” but oftentimes come when the opposite happens.

When our mind is quiet, we can think. When we are free of common distractions, we can focus. When we block out the noise, we get a clearer picture.

It’s harder now than ever to find this time. So we have to plan it. We have to section out precious moments each day to corner ourselves.

Do it in the morning before others wake.
Do it before bed when our phone is put away.
Go for a walk at lunch.

We choose how we spend our time. If we feel stuck and are looking for inspiration then the answer might not be to try and do more. It might be to free ourselves and do less.

It might be wise to clear our minds and silence all the noise around us.

It might be the best idea we’ve had in a while.

Creative Time2022-06-02T20:34:01-04:00

Indistractable

We all have things in the category of “easy to do” but we choose not to do them. It’s not that we don’t want to do them, what it comes down to is the priority assignment we put on that thing to actually do it.

Whether that is to take 10 minutes to go for a walk, read a book, meditate, sit in thought, etc, or other things like; sitting and talking with your spouse in the morning, reading a book to your child before bed, sending a note to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, etc.

It’s not that it isn’t easy. It is extremely easy. What is difficult is putting it ahead of other “time wasters” that are urgent but not important. What is difficult is creating a daily habit. What is difficult is changing who we are now with who we want to become.

Those are the things that are difficult.

If we can put all the things we do up for debate on their priority level we might be able to better filter out the urgent and not important and sprinkle in the more fulfilling and long-lasting.

It might not be easy but we can be damn sure it is worth it.

Indistractable2022-07-31T13:16:03-04:00

Tool Usage

We can have all of the tools in the world but they are only good if we choose to use them.

Constantly, we make excuses or reasons why we can’t get certain things done. “I don’t have the time”, we tend to say.

Here’s a suggestion. Go to your Settings on your phone and check your screen time and usage for apps. (On iPhone go to >> Settings > Screen Time). Let’s bundle the social media apps…How long did you spend the last week?

If you’re struggling to “find time” then help yourself by making time.

Did you know you can set time limits on apps to help you manage overconsumption (I have a 30-minute daily timer on my social media apps)? This is one example of dozens of reminders, notifications, alarms, timers, etc that can help you manage your time, avoid distractions, commit to a project, etc.

If you are looking to become more efficient with your time, start looking at what you can take away versus looking at what you can add.

The tools are out there to help us. The question then becomes, “Are we willing to choose to use them?”

Tool Usage2022-06-28T19:25:15-04:00

Eliminating Roadblocks

In the National Football League, most teams run many of the same plays and they have adapted those plays over the years to work for their specific scheme and personnel. 

That’s a great way to look at where we should spend our time when working on projects.

There is so much content online that other creators have put out freely to be helpful and we can utilize those pieces to eliminate the need to create everything from scratch ourselves.

We first need to determine what is the most important for us to shape and mold ourselves and what isn’t as important and can be adapted slightly using templates and content available.

Too often, we waste hours on something that has already been created, and borrowing it, as the creator intended, is a perfectly viable option. We should be looking to spend the majority of our time on creating the work that makes us come alive and leaving the less important and mundane aspects to adopting things already out in the world. 

Spending a little time researching opportunities to not reinvent the wheel upfront can save us a ton of time and energy on the back-end.

Eliminating Roadblocks2021-11-18T18:19:41-04:00

Calendaring

When it comes to productivity, there isn’t much better than time blocking in order to keep yourself on track and completing the work you know you’d like to get done.

Resistance to these types of activities can help us become distracted or worse yet drop the task altogether for a less meaningful but more urgent one.

We have to be prepared that these things will happen regularly and combat them with specific documentation of when we will get our project done. Whatever it might be chances are it is important to an idea or plan you’ve developed to help at an unforeseen time in the future.

Help that future self out by recognizing the important work we must get done today and schedule it out on the calendar and then hold yourself accountable. Block an hour out and go hard for that hour. Block 25 minutes, take a break, and then go for another 25-minutes. Test out some different things for a week to see how you work best. Break it up another way depending on the tasks you have to complete. The strategy you use is not as important as the consistency of using it.

If we don’t stay consistent, we’ll get down the road and be filled with regret that we put off that thing we really wanted to do and feel like we are further behind. By building a great habit of time blocking you’ll be much more prepared to achieve your goals and feel a sense of accomplishment that you had the foresight to chip away at these projects because you knew what the grander strategy was all along.

Calendaring2022-04-22T20:04:00-04:00

Important Versus Urgent

What is the most important thing on your to-do list that you want to complete today?

Shut everything else down and put some focused effort to get it off your list as soon as you can. The longer you wait into the day the more distractions appear that prevent you from finishing this critical work. Urgent items that tend to not even be important will creep up. Time will be robbed from your day.

Once that critical task is complete you’ll feel energized and that a huge weight was taken off your shoulders. This will improve your attitude and motivate you to tackle other important tasks.

Don’t let “Tomorrow” become your crutch as to why something never got completed today.

Important Versus Urgent2022-04-11T19:17:59-04:00

If It’s Not Scheduled It Won’t Get Done

When it comes to productivity, there isn’t much better than time blocking. This technique can help keep us on track to complete the work we know we’d like to get done. 

Resistance to these types of activities can help us become distracted, or worse yet, drop the task altogether for a less meaningful but more urgent one. 

We have to be prepared that these things will happen regularly and combat them with specific documentation of when we will get our project done. If it’s not scheduled it almost certainly won’t get done on time. Whatever it might be, chances are it is important to an idea or plan we’ve developed to help us at an unforeseen time in the future. 

Help that future self out by recognizing the important work we must get done today and schedule it on the calendar in advance.  

Then, we must hold ourselves accountable. Turn off the phones, limit the noise, and get focused on the task at hand.

If we don’t, we’ll get down the road and be filled with regret for not finishing and low confidence in our ability to get things done that are important to us. 

By building a great habit of time blocking, we’ll be much more prepared for the road ahead. We’ll be grateful that we stuck through the resistance to complete the project, no matter how small, because we had the foresight that this small step was going to lead us to a grander outcome in the long run.

If It’s Not Scheduled It Won’t Get Done2022-04-11T19:17:19-04:00

Plan To Change

Change is inevitable and most of the time we can’t control what changes take place. But, when it comes to us personally, the way we can make sure the changes are more positive is to create repeatable processes or habits.

Habits are either going to be good or bad. It’s that simple.

We choose which ones we let into our lives and which ones we don’t. The more positively beneficial habits we can implant into our daily routines the better chance we have of succeeding toward our goals.

But, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

Choosing the “good” habits requires discipline and focus with a sprinkle of willpower mixed in. That’s why having the proper game plan is necessary.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it starts with today.

Most people are told to write down their 1,3, and 5-year goals. I’m not a big believer in those. That’s way too far out to have much impact in my opinion.

But what about your goals for today? Do you know them? Have you written them down?

Research suggests you are 42% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down every day. They don’t have to be big and audacious to be impactful. Write down 2-4 goals you’d like to get accomplished today. I’d encourage you to write down ones that will move the needle but not overwhelm you to the point that it takes all day just to complete one of them.

Then, cross them out throughout the day as you accomplish them. You’ll feel amazing and you’ll boost your confidence because you are moving forward in the right direction.

If you can start to do this every day you’ll notice how much progress you’ve made in such a short period of time and then the momentum will build rapidly.

Habits are hard to change but if you can add new ones that will help hold you accountable you’ll have done yourself a big service and set in motion a positive wave of energy that’ll carry you to become a changed person, for the better.

Plan To Change2022-04-11T19:07:16-04:00

A 3-Day Work Week

Is a 3-day work week possible? We have no idea until we try it. Of course, the 4-day work week has been discussed recently and has shown promise in several other countries but who to say 4 is better than 3. We don’t know what we don’t know yet.

Like anything else, we can talk in circles about the pros and cons of anything but until we actually try it and see what works we’ll never know if it would benefit us or not. We need to remove our biases from the past and be open to new ideas that could propel us forward.

Why shouldn’t we push past that conventional wisdom and see what productive results can happen? I am not saying 3-days or 4-days is the answer. Maybe there is a better option. Asking the question can start us on a path down a winding road of discussion that may lead us to a better alternative than is currently happening.

Quarantine in 2020 showcased the resilience of individuals as many had to battle personal challenges and adjust to changing work conditions, especially for those that were used to being in the office 5 days a week.

The current 5-day work week would appear outdated and stale and with new technology, global business, and an “online all the time” culture, I think it’s fair to say that we might be able to adapt to a new way of working that is mutually beneficial for the organization and the people that make it go.

A 3-Day Work Week2022-04-04T13:46:44-04:00

Wasted Time

What can be said, but said with less? We sit in meetings, read newsletters, listen to podcasts, etc and the ones that do it best eliminate the filler. They get to the point quickly and articulate the real message that is needed to get across.

How many of us have sat through that hour long scheduled meeting when it really could’ve been completed in 12 minutes? How many times could that meeting have been an email?

We are all aware of the filler around us and complain and scoff when it is wasting our time.

Have we considered how much of that “filler time” we are imposing on ourselves throughout the day without even knowing it?

Staying organized, prioritizing, and eliminating unnecessary tasks can be extremely beneficial to helping us structure a happier and stress free life and remain productive to the things that matter to us most.

When we cut out the filler noise (and tasks) we have all of this extra time to add in so much better stuff to our lives that give us more peace, a sound mind, and a chance to focus on our purpose.

What are you going to cut out of your day today that is filling up your time?

Wasted Time2021-06-25T09:17:22-04:00

Optimization

Optimization the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.

It’s not about using the most gadgets to help us or getting things done as quickly as possible. It’s about the thoroughness and focuses we put into the work.

If we have 30-minutes to complete something, shouldn’t we put 30 good hard minutes in? 

Instead of figuring out how to get as much done as possible, we might consider what things are the most important to get completed and then doing those as best as we are able to. If we get to the others that would be a bonus.

Sometimes the most effective use of our time is not completing a task at all

As we practice, our best can get better, and therefore the craftsmanship we are able to put into a project improves and the rate we can judge whether something is worthy to complete or not will become amplified.

Optimization2021-06-17T08:43:54-04:00

Ticking Time

We get 1440 minutes a day. Every day. It never changes. Well, until we have zero. Time is ticking.

When we feel we have so much left we often take it for granted and squander it away. We make some decisions that are questionable even if from the outside they seem so blatantly obvious.

We’ll sit in line at Chick-Fil-A but won’t find time to call a friend and catch up with them

We’ll thumb through Instagram but won’t start the book we’ve wanted to write

We’ll crank out work after hours but are too busy to read a book to our kids

We have all the time to get busy work done but there’s never enough left for the important stuff.

Making the right decisions with our time and prioritizing the critical stuff ultimately leads us in a direction of lifelong fulfillment. That is for certain.

It’s hard to recognize that we are wasting time when we are in the moment and only after we take a 30,000-foot view of the situation we can realize there are areas that can enhance our lives simply by replacing a one-time commitment with another.

Small wins, each day, lead us to the life we’ve always wanted. It’s just hard to see the trees from the forest initially.

Zoom out and the picture becomes much clearer.

Ticking Time2022-03-21T20:46:36-04:00

How Valuable Is Your Time?

time management

One of the things I’ve pondered recently is how much my time is worth considering the many competing priorities in my life and it always seems to be a balancing act of epic proportions to get everything done I need to get done. However, there are a lot of these items that I either don’t enjoy doing or feel they are repetitive and administrative and it’d be more beneficial to get help to complete them.

As I thought more about this it reminded me of several years ago when I decided to use a lawn care service to cut my yard, trim my hedges, fertilize, etc. I enjoyed doing it every now and then as it was my time to think but as my son was growing older I wanted to spend that 1 ½ hour normally set aside for yard work and spend it with him. So, that’s what prompted me to bring on German and let him do my landscaping.

I am using a similar thought process nowadays in regards to leveraging Virtual Assistants for many of these administrative tasks. I’ve found through sites like Freeeup.com and others like it there are many people looking for work and are offering their services for a fair price. In the past, I wanted to do everything myself as I thought I was “saving” myself money by not freelancing this workout. 

But now I’ve taken a different perspective on the situation and look at the value of my time as it pertains to my work and when the delta between these numbers is in my favor I will often side with the help to get tasks completed.

Here is what I am speaking about.  Let’s use a very simple example and this may be eye-opening if you’ve never done this exercise.

Let’s say, hypothetically, you make $100,000 a year working an average of 40 hours per week. And assuming you take a couple of weeks of vacation, let’s use 2 for easy math, that means you work 50 weeks for the year.

So, 40 hrs/wk x 50 weeks = 2,000 hours of work per year and divided by $100,000 = $50 / hour

That means your time can be equated to being worth $50 an hour. 

So, as an example, you need to get email lists together for a marketing campaign you are doing.  If that would take you 2 hours to complete (or $100 of your time) then you may be better off using a Virtual Assistant at $7-$10 per hour to complete the work while you spend your time using those 2 hours wisely to potentially increase your hourly rate, attract new business, or work on other projects that are important.

Virtual Assistants have become very common nowadays but it’s still something newer I am trying and many people have never even considered it. It’s definitely different handing over control of projects to people you’ve never or barely met but if you look at it as a professional situation and treat it as such you might be surprised at how it turns out.

My advice: 

Find a small project to start with that might take an hour or two and try this out. 

Make sure you give direct and clear details to your VA and I’d put everything in email and have it agreed upon prior to beginning the project.

You might find it works out well for you and frees up all sorts of time that can be valuable both personally and professionally.

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How Valuable Is Your Time?2021-03-19T10:41:51-04:00

When Was The Last Time You Quit?

time management

When was the last time you quit something?

Like realized it wasn’t fitting into your life and just quit it.

We all want to do more. Workout more. Make a few more calls. Spend more time with family. If you’re not doing more its said that you are falling behind or missing out.

But at what cost?

When was the last time we prioritized our day/week and analyzed the things that are distractions versus the things that are actually helping us grow or are important to us?

I believe this is one of the most ultimate struggles we have inside ourselves. We want to do everything and be everywhere. We stretch ourselves too thin.

Whether it’s wasted activities that are “time robbers” or giving our time to others who simply don’t respect it, there are a lot of applications to this question.

Something I’ve continued to ponder when it comes to prioritizing my time and efforts because I was doing so many things at surface level and feeling like I was just treading water. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to go deeper into only a few of them and “quit” the others that I started to gain momentum.

By the way, it wasn’t easy, nothing ever is.

So, Here is how I prioritize some things now…

  1. My son
  2. Sleep
  3. Crossfit/Fitness
  4. Nutrition
  5. Full-Time Job
  6. Podcast/Children’s Books

And the list goes on….

There are a lot of balls to juggle and only so much time available. So let’s take a step back so I can share a bit more of how I found time.

For the longest time, my Sundays were filled with NFL Football all day long. As a huge 49ers fan (still disappointed in our Super Bowl loss!) I never missed a game. And I didn’t miss others, either. I played fantasy football, used to bet on games, and wanted to “enjoy” my Sunday. And that’s fine if you choose to do this. But for me, it wasn’t cutting it.

My son was growing, and it was a priority to be there with him and for him.

I started the Just Get Started Podcast and wanted to spend time editing it for the following week.

I also had business ideas I wanted to work on and test out.

And I was getting into CrossFit and had lofty goals of strength and weight gains.

Oh, and another HUGE priority of mine is sleep. I am a firm believer in all of the sleep research out there that you need a minimum of 7 hours per night of actual sleep, not just laying in bed.

So when I started to add it all up it made sense. Remove as much of the Sports/TV that I could while still allowing myself enough to satisfy those “cravings”. And that’s what I did. I only watched my 49ers and occasionally a game or two here and there if they were on a bye or played the primetime game. I also took out almost all TV watching during the week and spend that time with my son before bed and then work on some projects after.

As I’ve built this habit, it’s been amazing how I’ve trimmed even further without even noticing. I don’t have the NFL Sunday Ticket not so I can only watch my 49ers when they are on Primetime slots. I have taken out almost all weekly TV watching as well besides catching a few shows I like to watch like Shark Tank or Westworld. Since these are streamed, I can watch whenever I want so I am in more control.

Again, you may decide to do something different but it first starts with your priority list. What is most important in your life to focus on. Do those things first and if you are running into trouble with time available then you have to look farther down the list to what you are doing that is causing the problem. Although it may be fun or cool to do, you may have to make the sacrifice because, in order to grow and evolve and be fulfilled, you have to be focusing on the things that are most important.

Figure that out and I am confident you’ll free up a lot of wasted time and be much happier each and every day.

Carpe Diem,

Brian

When Was The Last Time You Quit?2021-03-19T10:42:27-04:00
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