(The 90 Minutes Focus Technique)
By Thomas Oppong
To transform your workday, start by transforming your morning.
You are most productive in the morning, according to research.
Your best work happens within a short time span of the day. And you should be making the most of it.
Your morning should be spent on outputs, not inputs.
Do your best work in the morning whilst your brain and body can deliver the best results.
It pays to protect your morning.
Wake up early and be productive with that time.
The basic principle of the first 90 minutes rule is to start your day by spending the first 90 minutes on your most important task.
The first 90-minute routine can help you start and maintain a more meaningful, successful and productive days.
The human body operates on cycles called “ultradian rhythms.”
According to research, during each of these cycles, there is a peak when we are most energized and a period when we are exhausted.
With the 90 minutes rule, you take full advantage of the energy peaks.
To make the most of your energy for the rest of the day, you can use the 90-minute technique: work in 90 minutes sprints and then rest for 20–30 minutes.
In discussing peak performance in a 1993 study, Anders Ericcson, author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, pointed out that those rest periods between intense work sessions is essential for improvement.
What is the one most important thing you have to do every work day?
A focused work rule is also important.
In the words of Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert, “How you begin your morning often sets the tone and your attitude for the day. It can also derail or direct your focus. If you remain committed to good morning work habits, you won’t fall prey to feeling unproductive and distracted at the end of the day or week.”
“When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble:
… and you will be right more than half the time.”—Henry Eyring
Every person you meet, no matter how happy they appear on the outside, is dealing with serious challenges in their life.
Life is freaking hard.
Some of the people you meet are going through bitter and bone-chilling challenges. And for the most part, you have no clue. You just pass them at work, in the grocery store, or even at family gatherings.
In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey tells the story of being on a train one day. While on the train, there were two very noisy kids causing a disturbance to everyone around them. Covey noticed that the father was doing nothing about it, and after a period of restraint he approached the father. Here’s Covey’s account of the situation:
Living More Compassionately
If you treat every person you meet like they are dealing with a serious challenge, you’ll be right more than half the time. If you entreat people with love, kindness, empathy, and discernment, they will appreciate you so much.
Sharing a few kind words to our loved ones make refreshes them like cool water in the middle of the desert. Small gestures can bring hope and motivation.
Even better, ask people how they are really doing in their life. Tell them that you know they are going through a lot right now, and that it’s probably really tough.
How do you think they’ll respond?
You might just see some tears.
Very few people are compassionate and considerate. For instance, my mom works like an absolute workhorse in her job. She is one of the most caring and loving and hardworking people I know. Yet, day in-and-out, she takes constantly crap from people who don’t appreciate what she does.
It’s crazy how a small and thoughtful compliment can put her in tears. She works so hard.
There are people in your life that haven’t been thanked for all of efforts in far too long.
Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”
You have no idea what the people in your world are currently dealing with. If you treat them like they are going through a crises, you’ll be right more often than not. But even more importantly, you can be a balm of peace and understanding for them.
A few words can be a release-valve for pent-up pain and sadness.
You could change someone’s life today. You could potentially save someone’s life today. You could also indirectly change countless other lives through the ripple effects of making just one person felt heard and seen.
Send the text to a friend.
Make that call to a loved one.
Apologize to a co-worker or employee.
Send a loving note of appreciation to your spouse/lover.
Say “I love you” more.
Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.
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It’s pretty rare to find people who (almost) never procrastinate — in my experience, 95-99% of people procrastinate, at least part of each day. If not most of the day!
That’s not a judgment — I procrastinate too. It’s about understanding our habitual reactions to stress, uncertainty, difficult tasks, being overwhelmed, distractions and more. Most of us procrastinate, based on habits we formed as kids and teenagers.
But some people rarely procrastinate. It’s like finding a unicorn — they are beautiful and a little unbelievable! So when I find one, I interview them.
Here’s what I’ve found two habits of non-procrastinators are (and they’re habits I try to practice most of the time), plus a bonus habit that I’ve found to be useful:
Compassion for Future Self
Make the Steps Easy & Doable
Bonus: Fully Open to the Task
Blake Snow - Guest Writer - www.entrepreneur.com
Generally, high-energy people enjoy a competitive advantage, but if there’s one thing I learned while researching and writing my first book, it was how to get more done in less time.
For my first five years as a self-employed writer, I passionately and excitedly burned the midnight oil, thinking the act would get me ahead. It certainly helped me cut my teeth and quicken my understanding of the craft, but in hindsight I spent much of that time with my head down. I was spinning my wheels in the mud, failing to see bigger ideas and opportunities.
That is until my “Montana Moment,” a life-changing and completely off-the-grid vacation in Big Sky Country that upended my relationship with work and improved it in more ways than one. Since that fateful week, I’ve enjoyed record personal, professional and social growth because I radically changed my underlying approaches to and motivations for work.
You can too. Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Prevent phone distraction
2. Set strict tech boundaries
3. Limit subliminal media commitments
4. Say "no" to morning meetings
5. Put your subconscious to work
I’ve often been described as a “calm” person. I’m not sure if they really mean “boring,” but I’m happy to be calm most of the time.
When others are stressing out, I can help calm them down.
When things aren’t going well, I calmly take appropriate action instead of falling apart.
When things are falling apart, I can hold to the center. I can feel into the difficulty, and find the peace, the unshakable connection to everything around me.
I’m not saying that to brag, but in hopes that it will move others to try it as well.
If you’d like to be calm, to stress out less … I offer you this guide.
A Calm Motto
I recently offered this motto to my 18-year-old daughter, when she was stressing out about a situation she was facing:
“No big deal.”
I told her, “Just remember NBD. No Big Deal.”
Remind yourself of this motto whenever things are going wrong, or someone is frustrating you, or you aren’t getting what you want. No big deal.
Of course, there are some things that are a big deal:
You have a million things to do an not enough time to do it all? Not a big deal: pick the things you can do, and get to work. That’s all you can do anyway, so it’s not worth adding some stress to the already difficult situation.
Have a huge task to do that is going to be very difficult? No big deal. Just take the first step. Just get moving. You’ll deal with the difficulty.
Plans fall apart? No big deal. Figure out a new alternative.
Someone unhappy with you? No big deal. See their pain, give them some compassion, take the appropriate action to help fix things or go on about your business if it can’t be fixed.
There’s another way to look at it, of course: everything is a big deal. What we do matters. And in this way, instead of just letting ourselves be distracted or taking things for granted, we can give the act in front of us our full attention and love.
That doesn’t mean we need to get upset or stressed out about our situation though: while the act in front of us is a big deal, the situation is not a big deal. Life goes on. And it is delightfully beautiful.
When things are falling apart, when things don’t go your way, in addition to reminding yourself that things are No Big Deal … there are some practices you might try out:
We’ve just started the third month of the year, and with the realisation that this year is slipping past us so quickly … I’m issuing a challenge to all of you.
My March Challenge is to pick one small change that will have a big impact on your life. One small change you can do every day. Then do it every single day, at the same time every day.
Small changes can add up to having a huge impact on our lives in a few ways:
Some examples of small changes with big impacts:
So are you up for this challenge? Let me know on Twitter, then tell people you know that you’re doing it (get them to join you!) and update us all every week. Do a final review at the end of the month — how did it go? What did you learn? What got in the way? What success did you create? (Be sure to set a reminder each week and at the end of the month for these check-ins & reviews.)
Support for the Challenge
If you’d like to do the challenge with me and others, join my Sea Change Program … we’re doing it this month, and there are over 20 video courses in Sea Change to support your habit change.
We also have:
Research shows that exercise and sleep are the keys to getting more done. Seriously. Sounds counter-intuitive, but data speaks for itself. Productivity in the U.S. is at an all-time low. Many experts believe it is because we are drained, physically and intellectually, also known as “burnt out."
A 2016 workshop offered at the Harvard Medical School, “Now and Zen: How mindfulness can change your brain and improve your health," points to a variety of methods where nurturing and caring for one's brain can lead to improved health, and by extension, to higher business productivity.
Here are five Zen-inspired methods you can adopt from research, to help you achieve new levels of business productivity and success.
Leo Babauta, author of the Zen Habits blog, believes that small-business owners, as well as people in general, can successfully balance work and life. He says to state the three most important things that you want to get done each day. Drop the long list — you probably won't get it done by the end of the day, anyway. A simple list of three things can be empowering. Pick tasks that will make you feel like you've accomplished something when they're done.
Forget Multi-Tasking; Single-Tasking Is The New Black
A study reported by the BBC claims that workers addicted to e-mail and phone calls suffer an IQ drop worse than marijuana users. In a Harvard Business Review article, “How and Why to Stop Multitasking" author Peter Bregman cites a study where “infomania is worse than marijuana." So, drop the multi-tasking and try what has worked for the most successful: Single Tasking. Stay focused on one important task at a time.
Inbox Zero: Keep Your E-Mail Inbox Empty
Get your email inbox to zero and you will feel better and be able to focus on what truly matters.
This can be a huge challenge if you live in your inbox. If the messages just keep piling up, what should you do? Creating folders, filters and labels might work, but the Getting Things Done (GTD) system regarding email is to clear out your email inbox on a daily basis. The biggest tip is to avoid e-mail first thing in the morning. It is a black hole that will suck you in and consume your most productive time.
Avoid Social Media, Or Better, Any Media
The latest news from Facebook is that they recognize that their platform is addictive. No surprise. Social media can be valuable as a marketing tool, but it is also another these black holes that can suck you into a zone where you get very little valuable work done.
Many health and productivity experts suggest you try a Media Fast where you limit your overall media consumption. The recent documentary movie Screenagers, while focused on screen addiction for teenagers, also comments heavily on how parents (and many small business owners are also parents) are suffering addiction, too.
Work Fewer Hours
By reducing the number of hours in your workday, you will force yourself into high production mode for those limited hours. As an alternative, you can transition to a four-day workweek, but stick with an 8 to 10 hour day to get those 40 hours, if you must have 40, over a shorter duration.
In order to avoid burnout and turn your business into a success, take a Zen approach to get more done. Being mindful is at the core of each of these methods — it can take you to new levels of business productivity and success.
By Marcel Schwantes
Marcel Schwantes is an expert in developing exceptional servant leadership work cultures where employees, managers, executives and their businesses thrive. He is an entrepreneur, executive… Full bio MarcelSchwantes
There are several ways to make a great first impression on someone you just met. Here are five proven strategies to get you started.
1. Be curious.
2. Ask: "What's your story?"
3. Be intentional about learning from the other person.
4. Follow through.
5. Listen before you speak.
BY LEO BABAUTA
It’s a common thing to be frequently annoyed by other people — added to our regular interactions with family, friends and coworkers are the online habits of people on various social media, and they can all irritate the hell out of us.
What can we do when other people are being annoying, frustrating, inconsiderate, irritating, even aggravating?
Well, assuming we’re not in real danger and we don’t need to take action to protect ourselves … often the best practice is an internal shift rather than trying to change the other person’s behavior.
That suggestion in itself can be frustrating for some — why should we have to change our own behavior when it’s the other person who is being aggravating?
That’s because with one simple shift, you can be happy with any person. But if you try to change every other person, you’re just going to be miserable.
This is illustrated by a metaphor from legendary Buddhist teacher Shantideva:
Where would there be leather enough to cover the entire world? With just the leather of my sandals, it is as if the whole world were covered. Likewise, I am unable to restrain external phenomena, but I shall restrain my own mind. What need is there to restrain anything else?
In this metaphor, imagine that the surface of the Earth were covered in shards of glass or some other sharp surface … you could try to find a covering for the whole world, so that you could walk in comfort … but you’d never be able to do it. Instead, just cover your own feet, and you can walk around just fine.
This is the idea of shifting your own mindset, so that you can deal with irritating people.
Let’s look at a practice to work on that shift.
A Simple Practice
Whenever you find yourself irritated by how someone else is behaving … first notice that your mind starts to create a story of resentment about them. It’s about how they always act in this irritating way, or why do they have to be that way, or why are they so inconsiderate, etc.
This story isn’t helpful. It makes you unhappy, it worsens your relationship with others, it makes you a person you probably don’t want to be.
So the practice is to drop that story, and instead try this:
Open up to all of life, without rejecting. Accept the river as it is. See the suffering human being in front of you, and love them fiercely, as they are.
See how it shifts you. And see how it opens you up to connecting to your fellow human beings, and the vast experience of life, just as it is.
You’ll wake up for about 25,000 mornings in your adult life, give or take a few.
According to a report from the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years old. Most people in wealthy nations are hovering around the 80–year mark. Women in Japan are the highest, with an average life expectancy of 86 years.
If we use these average life expectancy numbers and assume that your adult life starts at 18 years old, then you’ve got about 68 years as an adult. (86 – 18 = 68) Perhaps a little less on average. A little more if you’re lucky.
(68 years as an adult) x (365 days each year) = 24,820 days.
That's what you get in your adult life. 25,000 times you get to open your eyes, face the day, and decide what to do next. I don't know about you, but I've let a lot of those mornings slip by.
Once I realized this, I started thinking about how I could develop a better morning routine. I still have a lot to learn, but here are some strategies that you can use to get the most out of your 25,000 mornings.
8 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Morning
Here are the strategies that I've found to be most effective for getting the most out of my morning.
1. Manage your energy, not your time
2. Prepare the night before.
3. Don’t open email until noon.
4. Turn your phone off and leave it in another room.
5. Work in a cool place.
6. Sit up or stand up.
7. Eat as a reward for working hard.
8. Develop a “pre–game routine” to start your day.
25,000 Mornings: The Power of a Morning Routine
Just as it's rare for anyone to experience overnight success, it's also rare for our lives crumble to pieces in an instant. Most unproductive or unhealthy behaviors are the result of slow, gradual choices that add up to bad habits. A wasted morning here. An unproductive morning there.
The good news is that exceptional results are also the result of consistent daily choices. Nowhere is this more true than with your morning routine. The way you start your day is often the way that you finish it.
Take, for example, Jack LaLanne. He woke up each day at 4am and spent the first 90 minutes lifting weights.
Then, he went for a swim or a run for the next 30 minutes. For more than 60 years, he spent each morning doing this routine. In addition to being one of the most influential people in fitness in the last 100 years, LaLanne also lived to the ripe old age of 96.
This is no coincidence. What you do each morning is an indicator of how you approach your entire day. It’s the choices that we repeatedly make that determine the life we live, the health we enjoy, and the work we create.
You’ve got 25,000 mornings. What will you do with each one?