Tag Archive: Goal


Interruptions

Common Misconception: Your productivity is foiled by interruptions.

Harsh Reality: You allow interruptions to feel productive.

When the road ahead is tough terrain, you are easily diverted onto side streets.  Stopping or going in reverse on life’s freeway feels like failure, especially when everyone else appears to be racing by with relative ease.  Thus when struggling to move ahead on the chosen road, you consider every diversion, detour and alternate route.  Any exit ramp that might offer the chance to get moving again, even if it takes you further away from your desired destination.

Two months ago I was struggling to maintain my new exercise regimen, dietary changes, schedule adjustments and blogging activity—the very things that had enabled me to achieve so much during the first six months of the year.  My steady progress had slowed to a crawl.  It was frustrating.

And then my day job presented a very attractive side street.  Two major projects that required my unique combination of skills and talents.  With little hesitation, I changed course and allowed my rigorous pursuit to be interrupted for the benefit of my employer.  The subsequent busy days and nights provided temporary satisfaction, but ultimately kept me from moving closer to my desired goals.  I recognized it about a month ago, but was unable to get back on track.

So I am going to try again.

Quotidian Manifesto

Changing course is easy. Never reverting is hard.

Half way through the year and I find myself teetering on the edge of relapse. Some old habits are creeping back into my daily routine. I’m trying to fight them off. As part of that effort, here is a reminder of what I set forth to quit, start and substitute.

Quit

Being Ignorant – In this information age there is no legitimate defense for prolonged stupidity; you are a Google search away from insight and intelligence. Therefore, immerse yourself in books, online articles and videos focused on the long term effects of diet (good vs. bad) and exercise (regular vs. none). If nothing else, you’ll be smarter and preemptive guilt will help you avoid indulging late night cravings or spending the night in front of the TV.

Excusing Neglect – Tired. Overweight. Dispassionate. Lethargic. These things are not okay and should not be tolerated. Stop rationalizing your current state under the guise of more pressing and important concerns—spouse, kids, work, house, finances, etc. Your performance in all these areas is directly affected by your mental and physical health, so don’t ignore your daily diet and exercise requirements.

Eating Sweets – Most often sugars provide nothing than empty calories and momentary gratification. In exchange for this you incrementally give away your waistline and long-term health. It’s a bad deal. Give them up. Completely. It will be one of the hardest daily changes to maintain, but will pay out big over the long term. To ease your pain, allow one exception each day: a 30 calorie 85%+ cacao chocolate square.

Mindless Snacking – Whenever hungry outside of meal time, force yourself to wait ten minutes before heading to the kitchen; odds are the desire will pass. If it doesn’t, go ahead and snack on fruit. And after dinner, no eating. Period.

Start

Creating Accountability – Establish clear consequences (positive and negative) for your behavior. Whenever possible, make them visual and emotional. Weigh yourself everyday and display it on a Post-It stuck to the bathroom mirror. Use smaller plates and dish at the counter rather than the table so you have to physically get up for more food. Publicly track your exercise activity, books consumed and ideas generated. And don’t leave yourself an easy return to the past—throw out or donate clothes once they become too big or oversized, pay the fee and update your drivers license photo and weight, and blog about your successes and failures.

Thinking Big – Work on building or creating something bigger than yourself. Don’t worry about accomplishing it, just focus on the pursuit and know achievements will follow. Identify others with whom you can partner, collaborate and create. Give away your ideas, especially to those who are more capable of implementing them. Maintain an innovation wall. Practice edge craft. Plan, book and reserve your next vacation at least 9 months in advance. Create a life list.

Exercising – Incorporate at least 30+ minutes of physical activity into your day five times each week. Elliptical is fine, but mix it up; do some running, basketball, swimming and weight lifting as well. In addition, adopt a daily routine that includes stretching, sit ups and push ups.


Substitute

Productive for Busy – Get things done and ship everyday. Identify fixed commitments, tasks that cannot be delayed without rapidly increasing penalty (cooking, exercise, If it can be completed in under two minutes, do it. If not, list it. Don’t browse the internet during lunch. Instead, watch one TED or BigThink video (20 minutes and your out). Limit email checks to three times a day—morning, lunch and 30 minutes before end of business—and advise everyone of this schedule and your cell number. Blog everyday for at least 30 minutes and publish whenever a post is 90% finished; if you work on it for more than three consecutive days, move on to a new idea.

Nutrients for Calories – Mind your portions, but don’t starve yourself. Instead, swap out high fat, high sugar and low nutrition foods for lean, nutrient rich superfoods. Consume more fruits and vegetables. Lots of them. Don’t skip breakfast. Drink unsweetened iced tea in place of soda; cut out red meats and use portobello and shiitake mushrooms in their place; snack on frozen grapes and fruit smoothies rather than ice cream. Be sure to start every morning with a cup of green tea, a hard boiled egg and some fruit with non-fat yogurt and a little granola. And supplement one of your meals with a capsule cocktail that includes multivitamins, fish and flax oil, turmeric and curcumin.

Books for TV – Instead of ending the day falling asleep on the couch in front of the television, conclude by reading a book in bed. Trade out mental sedation for intellectual stimulation. And when you do want to watch something, do it while on exercising.

There are many more things to quit, start and substitute, but this list will do for now.

Personal Investment

An initial meeting with an investment advisor typically begins with a series of questions designed to find out what level of risk you are willing to accept.  Along those lines, consider the following investment scenarios:

A) You invested $50K in college tuition and after three years have received no visibility to how you have performed—no report card, no grades, no professor comments, nothing.  Are you willing to write a check for the fourth year and commit to another $50K for graduate school?

B) Over a five year period you invested $50K in a retirement plan that never provided visibility to its financial performance—no quarterly reports, no growth charts, no portfolio tables, nothing. How willing are you to continue giving them a portion of your paycheck?  Are you in for another $50K?

C) You invested $50K in a new business venture that never reported back to you its revenues or expenses—no cash flow statements, no profit-loss analysis, nothing. Are you interested in investing another $50K in this company?

Odds are none of these investment scenarios are attractive or appealing to you. Understandably, there is an unwillingness to invest in anything that lacks accountability or fails to provide visibility to its performance.

And this seems perfectly reasonable.  We shouldn’t assume simply attending classes will lead to graduation; and we shouldn’t assume blindly contributing to a 401k will yield enough money for retirement; and we shouldn’t assume a business is profitable simply because it keeps its doors open. To fully leverage an investment, we need visibility to its performance so we can continually evaluate its return.  And if that isn’t possible, we should be hesitant to invest more. Right?

So what about you? How much have you invested in yourself over the last few years? Let’s assume you’re working full-time and require another twelve hours each day for sleeping, eating and general health needs. That leaves you with roughly 2,300 discretionary hours each year to invest however you desire. Given the U.S. Census Bureau estimates median annual earnings for men working full-time in 2008 was $46K+, or roughly $22 per hour, means each year you have an opportunity to invest roughly $50K in yourself.

So how is that investment performing? Is it paying dividends? How do you know?

If you don’t, are you assuming showing up, blindly contributing and keeping your doors open will eventually provide you with a solid return? And if you weren’t willing to accept that level of risk in any of the scenarios above, what is different when it comes to your time?

I am no longer comfortable with such an investment strategy. I realize my time is limited, so I must invest wisely.

Unnoticed

As of this post, I have an audience of one—my wife. I have not made anyone else aware of this blog. And I don’t think it is necessary for that to change—yet.

I did not start it to make my voice heard. Nor to spread an idea. Nor to inspire others. Nor to build a following. Nor to make money.

I started it to create accountability. To force structure. To develop habits. To spur creative thought. To motivate personal change.

And so far, it is serving its intended purpose. During the last month I implemented numerous changes in my life: schedule, diet, exercise, routine, etc. There have been some successes (finished three books in three weeks after finishing one in the previous three years) and there have been some setbacks (snacking on rice krispie bars dipped in melted chocolate at 3AM). The goal is simply to take more steps forward than back. And the blog helps push me forward.

But.

To bring 2MinuteGenius to life I need to be heard. I need to spread my ideas. I need build a following. I need to inspire others. I might even need to make some money to cover costs.

And to do that, I need to be noticed.

So the blog will evolve to support this necessary shift in purpose. And as part of that effort, I have invited others to join my audience.

(If you accepted, thanks and welcome!)

Scale

Usually the goal is to get bigger. It provides more leverage. It enables greater output. It helps defend your position.

And most often we work on making ourselves bigger, rather than working to make something bigger than ourselves.

But there are inherent risks with getting big as individuals, such as limited mobility, decreased flexibility, diminished agility and increased vulnerability. And it can complicate things—often turning innocuous situations into serious, crippling, debilitating problems.

So if you want to get bigger without the increased risk, you have to invite others to join you on the scale.

I realized last night I cannot launch 2MinuteGenius by myself.  The time, energy and resources required to launch and support the site are beyond my capacity. And I do not have the financial means to hire or contract the work.  Therefore, I need to recruit volunteers. I need to find others who I can convince 2MinuteGenius is a cause worthy of their donated talent and skill. It’s the only way to achieve significant scale.

Fortunately, I have an idea.

Eminent Domain

The term traditionally refers to a government’s power to take private property for public use without the owner’s consent. But let’s use a tired and lazy blog tactic—word definition—to break it down:

em•i•nent | ˈemənənt | adjective — famous and respected within a particular sphere or profession.

do•main | dōˈmān | noun — an area or territory held in legal possession by a person or persons; a specified area of activity or knowledge

Given above, I contend within the virtual world of the Internet ‘eminent domain’ describes a universal level of recognition achieved by few websites.  For example:

SEARCH: G_____ |  AUCTION: eb__ |  VIDEO: You____ |  SOCIAL: Face____ |  SHOPPING: Ama___

Each of these sites began their presence on the web in total anonymity. Each grew exponentially by providing unique value and utility to its visitors.  And they are all now embedded in our culture.

Earlier this week I secured the domain ‘2MinuteGenius.com.’  Now looking forward to making it eminent.

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