I can’t think of anything we assign more attention and anxiety to on a daily basis than email.
As you can tell from the previous content on this blog I’ve experimented with literally dozens of plans to increase productivity, improve flow, and lower work-related stress.
But over the holidays I re-read parts of The 4-Hour Workweek and discovered that implementing #3 below radically improved my ability to focus and lowered work anxiety.
Simply put, Tim was right about this one – it’s a game-changer.
If you are like everyone else on the internet, you probably suffer long periods of distraction.
And if you’re distracted there’s a good chance you’re procrastinating. (You’re not the only one.)
Let go for too long, these many small procrastinations morph into one mammoth stressor. This is the kind of stress that makes you talk to yourself, rewrite incessant but unstruck to-do lists, and, eventually, keeps you awake at night.
I recently crossed the threshold into affiliate marketing fossildom; namely, turning 30 years old. For an industry as young as internet marketing is proving to be, it feels two ticks to the right of ancient.
But I digress.
Allow me 60 seconds of your time to distill a myth that I bought into, hard and heavy, for most of my twenties. It is a complete waste of time.
You don’t need permission to ________________. (Insert whatever it is you want here).
Seriously. Read it again.
I am a list builder.
I break projects down into their most granular tasks and write them down in a to-do list on an old school scrap of notebook paper. If you look around my desk, folded and tucked neatly reused as bookmarks into books on my shelf, and in my round file cabinet (aka the trash), you’ll find them everywhere.
Using to-do lists is reinforced everywhere on the web. The tech industry, in particular, is obsessed with the cult of productivity and to-do lists. There are posts on the 5 best to-do list managers, not-to-do lists, and there are apps for that.
The Problem With To-Do Lists
In Case You Missed It
Below you can find the Slideshare of my presentation with Adhustler (if you are interested in Local Lead Gen and aren’t following his blog, you’re missing out) from Affiliate Summit West 2011.
(Sadly the slideshare deck was removed in 2014)
A Few Quick Notes
- This was my first presentation at an industry conference and (I believe) also for Ad Hustler. I felt slow at the start but as we became more comfortable with the audience and each other ideas started flowing better and I hope we were able to give the audience some good BTDT tips on local lead generation and clients. If you took any home and implemented them, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to contact me anytime.
- Check out my Local SEO Resources post if you haven’t seen it yet.
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If you don’t see the obvious advantages to bringing less to conferences like Affiliate Summit West, let me give you…
8 Good Reasons to Pack Light
- Avoid the long line to check bags and get your boarding pass.
- No need to worry about your bags being delayed or lost.
While rummaging through some old papers early this morning I stumbled on a quote I kept on the cork board above my desk in college.
I thought it practicable when I was 19, but in rereading I find so much more truth to it today, ten years worth of life experiences later.
“The longer I live, the more important I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me , is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than successes, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.
In the last 632 days of working for myself I’ve adopted a pattern that feels increasingly stagnant. So, in an effort to change things up I took a morning to sit down and candidly evaluated my situation.
Specifically, I asked four questions:
- What was expected to happen?
- What actually happened?
- What went well, and why?
- What can be improved, and how?
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde
I quit my nine-to-five 1 year, 8 months and 21 days ago. There are a few things I wish I had known before setting out and quite a few I have to keep reminding myself along the way. So rather then scrawl it into yet another notebook I thought I’d publish it.
If you haven’t left your job yet
- Now is the time to become an expert at time and project management; as well as how to balance your work and real lives. You’d think working full-time and developing your own business in the late night hours would be worse but I’m here to tell you- it’s not. When you work for yourself it becomes that much harder to leave “work” at “work”.
- Save three times as much money as you think you’ll need. Campaigns will die, you’ll need a new water heater- whatever, something will happen.