Category: Productivity

Best Books For Entrepreneurs 2017

Are you scouring the internet looking for the best entrepreneurial books of 2017? Below I’ve outlined what I feel are the top entrepreneur books that are must reads right now.

These aren’t books that are here to waste your time either. I’ve included books that have had a personal impact on myself as well as my business.

Persuasion

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini

My favorite quote from the book:

The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. – Robert Cialdini

Pre-Susasion: Channeling Attention for Change – Robert Cialdini

My favorite quote from the book:

There’s a critical insight in all this for those of us who want to learn to be more influential. The best persuaders become the best through pre-suasion – the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. To persuade optimally, then, it’s necessary to pre-suade optimally. But how?

In part, the answer involves an essential but poorly appreciated tenet of all communication: what we present first changes the way people experience what we present to them next. – Robert Cialdini

You can’t try to learn persuasion without coming across Robert Cialdini. His two books on influence and persuasion have taken me to the next level without a doubt which is why they’re at the top of my list.

These two are without a doubt some of the two best books you can read. The author has taken a science based approach on the science of social psychology to amazing heights.

Not only does he give you the facts you need to know, but he presents his ideas in a way that you’ll remember and be able to implement immediately in your communication.

You can think of both of these books together like a masterclass of persuasion brilliance. He distills down why we as humans are influenced by the same things over and over.

You’ll start to notice these persuasion tactics everywhere once you’ve read these books.

Without spoiling any more, be sure to pick up these books on Amazon. You won’t regret it.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions – Dan Ariely

My favorite quote from the book:

Tom had discovered a great law of human action, namely, that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. – Dan Ariely

In this book you’re going to discover how we as people are wired to make decisions that don’t always make sense or benefit us.

Not only is this book enjoyable to get through, but the experiments the author presents go into perfect detail without getting stale after a while.

Just like Cialdini’s books above, this is perfect to add to the collection as you’ll see how people make decisions, especially buying decisions, and how you can use that to your advantage.

Decision Making

Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition – Charlie Munger

My favorite quote from the book:

I never allow myself to hold an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do. – Charlie Munger

Put simply, you can’t afford not to read this book. This book will influence the way you think for the better.

Not sure who Charlie Munger is? He’s Warren Buffett’s business partner and he’s one of the most brilliant people who’ve walked the planet.

This book will teach you how to look at problems differently and will give you the tools to work towards solutions.

No matter what field of work you’re in, you will benefit from one of the most influential and original thinkers of our time.

There is a speech at the University of South Carolina that you won’t want to miss. It’s been said that this speech alone has put Munger into the realm of a legend.

Be sure to grab this book now.

Productivity

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich – Tim Ferriss

My favorite quote from the book:

It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box. – Tim Ferriss

The book sounds like a pipe dream and the likelihood of you being able to get to a 4 hour workweek is slim, but this book is a game changer.

The beauty of this book is that it opens your mind to many possibilities. It gives you ways of making your life easier and ultimately, happier.

This book will challenge you to re-evaluate how you’re spending your weekly hours and what systems and processes you can put into place to reduce your workload.

Not only is this a fast read, and even entertaining, it has actionable advice to reduce the clutter in your life giving you back more time.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

My favorite quote from the book:

As people strengthened their willpower muscles in one part of their lives—in the gym, or a money management program—that strength spilled over into what they ate or how hard they worked. Once willpower became stronger, it touched everything. – Charles Duhigg

If you’ve ever wondered how to get habits to stick for your life, then you need to read this book.

Want to know what drives our habits? You’ll find it here. You’ll also learn what drives your old habits and how not to reverse your progress by going back to them.

Usually people are trying to change too many things at once in their life causing them to get overwhelmed and inevitably returning to the poor habits they once had to begin with.

Small changes are the keys to keeping your progress and how you’re going to transform your life by implement the habits you know you need.

You’ll need to work hard at it, but this book is without a doubt the best one on habits and getting them to stick.

Networking and People

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

My favorite quote from the book:

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, for your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. – Dale Carnegie

This is one that you’re going to be reading with a highlighter for sure. If you haven’t heard of this book or haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, then you’re in for a real treat.

Your outlook on life and how you interact with people will be changed for the better.

The simple advice offered in this book will cause you to think at a much deeper level about how people you’ve admired could always attract and keep friends.

The biggest idea you’ll come across in this book is that people are creatures of emotion and not logic. You’ll learn how to tend to these traits making you a more likeable person.

There’s a reason why this book has been a best seller year after year after year. It’s because you can instantly apply the knowledge in the book making you magnetic.

Who doesn’t want that?

These books will give you a great jump start and really take you on a journey inside some of the most brilliant minds of our time.

If you have some you’d like to recommend, be sure to comment below!

Triple Your Performance By Reducing These Simple Things

I was listening to one of my favorite books again, the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss that made me ponder a specific quote I’d like to share with you.

It’s a quote that you should ponder yourself. Not because I’m telling you to, but because it can have a profound effect on how you live your life from this point forward.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

Looking at successful people, a lot of them have very specific characteristics about them.

They don’t add. They subtract.

Let me explain.

Instead of taking on another business, a successful business owner has one thing on their mind. They think long and hard about how can they be more effective in their current business while working less.

In other words, they look to simplify rather than make something more complex. They don’t look to add, they look to subtract.

They know that addition in most cases leads to the subtraction of two things:

  1. Their energy. Usually in the form of mental energy.
  2. Their time. There’s only so many hours in the day to devote to things while still having a balanced life.

They don’t want to give more time, they want to take their time back.

Successful people reduce the number of decisions they have to make because they know that they only have a certain amount of willpower each day to get important tasks done.

I’ve decided that I’d like to take this approach for myself and see how it works.

I started taking more and more things away from my life and was able to 3x my productivity in no time at all.

First, let’s think through some real world examples:

  • To get healthier, eat more healthier food. No. you want to eat less than your maintenance calories a day. As long as you stay under maintenance calories, you’ll lose weight.
  • To get stronger, lift for 3 hours a day. Nope, less is more in the weight room. Currently I do heavy weight training 3 times a week on alternate days and I’ve never been leaner and stronger in my life.
  • To get more done, wake up at 5am. No way. Besides the fact that I love my sleep, anything less than 8 hours a night and you run the risk of being a mindless zombie the next day.

Even though I do recommend waking up earlier, you still need the right amount of hours of sleep.

There was a study done on a test group where they were asked to only sleep 6 hours a night compared to the other group who slept 8.

The 6 hour a night group was less productive to the point that after 2 full weeks of sleeping that way, their productivity was as if they were sleep deprived for 48 hours.

Countless mistakes were made and cognitive functions dropped dramatically. Don’t let this happen to you.

In these cases you want to take what works for you and omit the rest. Here’s what I did that really put my productivity on fire.

What Did I Get Rid Of

1. I’m standing up more.

Thanks to my standing desk, I’m getting more done in record time.

Did you know that sitting all day is considered the new smoking? Each hour you’re sitting on your butt you’re reducing life by 22 mins.

I don’t have to add up all those hours for you, do I?

Not to mention, I’m burning a ton of extra calories in combination with my intermittent fasting and I sleep so much better at night now. The one thing that affected me in the beginning was that it hurt my hips to stand all day.

I know, I know, even though I’m only 30, I’m still getting older. If this happens to you, just know it does go away within a week or so. It’s just your body getting used to being up.

You can alternate sitting and standing so that you’re constantly moving your body and getting your blood flowing if you don’t want to stand the entire working day.

The standing desk I use is the Veridesk and I can’t recommend it more.

Stand up to Get Shit Done.

2. I got rid of all the crap in my closets.

Steve Jobs was known for wearing the same pieces of clothing over and over. They weren’t actually the same articles of clothing, it was just the same style of jeans and shirts.

The reason he did this was to reduce his decisions.

Now, I didn’t go that far, but getting rid of all the stuff in my closets that I knew I wasn’t going to wear anymore was not just cleaning out my closets. I felt my mind get lighter as well.

It’s almost like it’s one less thing that’s been nagging me and it’s a great feeling.

I didn’t just chuck these clothes either. I gave them away to people that needed them way more than me. Not to mention, they were more likely to actually use them too.

Selling them on ebay or other auction sites can be an option for you too for some extra quick cash. Like they say, another man’s junk is another man’s treasure, right?

3. I reduced the amount of sugar I consume.

Starting with my coffee, (which I now drink black) I decided to get healthier, I really needed to reduce the amount of sugar that I was putting in my body.

I never considered myself overweight in my life, but you can really notice the difference really quickly just by cutting out sugar.

Plus you get the added benefit of not having to worry about all the deadly diseases that are linked to sugar.

You’ll also be surprised at how your body will react to this if you try it. You might start to think clearer and that’s always a nice bonus.

4. I reduced time sucking people.

Who are you spending your time with?

Another thing I’ve learned through reading is that you are the average of the people you spend time with most.

I’ve made some of my closest friends audiobooks and authors recently. I don’t know many of them personally, but I make sure that I’m always listening or reading something that will propel me forward rather than hold me back.

You’ll find a lot of the time that our family and friends, even though they say they have our best interests at heart, are counterproductive when trying to hit our goals.

They do things like:

  • Give their unwanted opinion.
  • Always tell you how what you want to do wont work.
  • Tell you how they would do it.

It’s not their fault though.

Did you know that when you throw a bunch of crabs in a bucket and one tries to get out the others pull it back inside with them?

People are uncomfortable with the unknown, but to reach your full potential you need to get comfortable being outside of your comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to limit your interactions with the people who are going to hold you back in life. It’s too short.

5. Consolidate your notes, to-do lists, reminders, etc.

I’m late to the party, but my new favorite app is EverNote. I can keep all the things that used to clutter my desk with paper all on one app.

  1. Appointments? No problem. It can sinc with your calendar.
  2. To-Do lists? Keep them all on your phone and have it sync with your computer.
  3. Ideas? Write them down to your hearts desire.
  4. Need to remember something important? Log it and be done with it.

Oh, and all of it is searchable. Even pictures!

If you haven’t heard of EverNote or given it a try, then I suggest you check it out. You’ll be a lover of it soon enough.

Here we have it. Simplicity at it’s finest. Check out these hacks for yourself and see if it doesn’t give you more productive hours than ever before.

If you have your own, be sure to comment below!

How To Get Up Early And Win – (My Routine)

“Win the morning and win the day.”

I know there will be a lot of you night owls who will be reading this, so if you’re one of those people that really get your best work done at night, (definitely not me) then keep doing what you’re doing. It’s clearly working.

If you think about it, the main idea behind this principle is that you can get time working while the rest of the world is quiet. Whether that’s in the morning, (how I like it) or late at night, it doesn’t matter. What matters is progress and increasing productivity.

The reason why I like waking up early and getting work done rather than staying up late is because when I would stay up past a certain time my mornings would be really rough. I couldn’t get my mind going no matter how many cups of coffee I had.

Sleep is important and science has proven that you need to get at least 7 hours of rest a night, but that’s a topic for another post.

When I can’t get going in the morning because of staying up late working, I really don’t get much work done at all the next day. I’ve found that the early mornings for me are my sweet spot and that’s what I’ve stuck with for ultimate success.

Develop A Morning Routine

When I developed a rock solid morning routine, it was a game changer for me. The greatest thing about developing your own morning routine is that it’s yours and you can adapt and change it how you see fit.

Do you want to get your workout in? Great! Write that blog post you’ve been meaning to do? Awesome! Scare the crap out of your kids when it’s time to wake them up for school? Not cool, man.

Here’s some of the things I like to get done in the morning.

  • Drink 8oz of water immediately upon waking
  • Meditate – (The headspace app is great for this. Just 10 minutes!)
  • Getting my most important tasks done if the time permits
  • Listen to my favorite podcasts – Tim Ferris’s podcast is currently on pause on my iPhone
  • Read or listen to audiobooks
  • Use my inversion table – it’s great to loosen you up before the day begins

The morning is your time to do whatever you want. This is just some of the things I do to give my day a fresh start.

Here are some things that you should keep in mind when putting together your own early morning routine:

1) Making drastic changes too soon isn’t good for the long term

We want to make sure that these positive habits stick so don’t go hard core right off the bat. Ease into your routine.

Start by just waking up fifteen to thirty minutes earlier than you normally would. See how that feels and get used to it. Then push it another fifteen minutes when your body tells you it’s ready. Keep this up gradually until you get to the time you want to wake up at.

2) Get to bed earlier

Most people are used to staying up a little later and winding down from a long day. I get it, but it will make you miserable if you keep it up.

I guarantee if you don’t get to sleep earlier, you won’t be doing this routine for very long. Your body and mind need sleep. Make sure you give it what it needs.

If you’re one of those people who can’t shut off your mind before going to bed, try reading something that wont stimulate your mind. That usually does the trick for me.

3) Make it so that you have to get up to shut off your alarm

If your alarm on your phone or whatever you’re using to wake up is right next to you, then you’re far more likely to hit that snooze button. I know you, come on!

If you have your alarm far enough where you have to get out of bed to shut it off, you’re now up and you can stay up. Caution, this one might annoy the significant other so be forewarned.

4) Get out of your bedroom fast

Your brain can play some crazy tricks on you at this point. Don’t let it try and rationalize why you need to go back to sleep.

That’s it. You’ve shut off your alarm, now go out of your bedroom before you talk yourself back into that comfy, amazing, oh-so-soft pillow.

Go into the bathroom, do your business, flush, wash your hands and use that water to wash your face a little bit. It helps big time.

Do not make going back to bed an option for you.

Now that you’re out of bed and up at an early time, you deserve a treat. Reward yourself.

If you make doing this pleasurable for you, you’ll continue this good habit for the rest of your life. The benefits far outweigh the initial annoyance of doing this each day.

Eventually, like anything, your body just gets used to it and your internal clock starts to get you up at this time naturally.

It’s really easy to go down a rabbit hole with reading blogs and watching YouTube videos, but don’t let that happen to you. Make use of all this new time you have access to and get things done.

Taking Your Mornings To The Next Level

Here’s a few extra tips for you over achievers. These next few have really helped bring me an extra boost of productivity each day, and not to mention peace and well being. These next few tips are small, but are incredibly powerful.

1. Make your bed

There’s a reason the military makes their soldiers make their bed when they wake up.

The reason you should make your bed is that it’s such an easy task to complete in the morning and it takes no time at all. Just don’t make the bed with your significant other still in it!

If you start off the day with an easy task and finish it, not only will you have a small sense of pride, BUT you’ll also get the desire to accomplish more tasks in the day. The little things in life matter and build on one another until the snowball gets really big.

It also gives you the ability to control what you can control. Not only is it something that you get done in the morning, but it’s something you come back to once the day is through.

You can visually see something you’ve accomplished and it’s a great way to end the day.

Small, but powerful. Try it.

2. Meditate

I know I mentioned this earlier, but the benefits are incredible and this topic definitely deserves it’s own post.

For some quick tips, I just focus on my breath for the most of the exercise. Each breath in and out gets counted from 1 to 10 then I start over. I do this for 10 minutes and it quiets the mind.

During this time I also check in with my body. I take notice if anything is tight or bothering me and make a mental note to address it.

If you take the 10 or 20 minutes to do this each day your productivity will go up 10x with less stress.

3. Write or Journal

In the morning I like to either write or jot down thoughts in my journal. It’s pretty rare that I don’t do both at some point in the day, though.

When I’m writing, it’s usually for this blog. When I’m journaling, I’m either writing down ideas I’m learning/pondering or I’m writing down things I’m grateful for. Man is this a game changer.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the FEW things that go wrong during the day, but when you have a gratitude journal, you have the ability to see (and be thankful for) the HUNDREDS of things that go right in the day which you wouldn’t normally notice otherwise.

It’s helpful medicine.

I hope you enjoyed this post and put some of these steps and habits into your morning routine. I’d love to hear if any of these tips have helped you in any way so drop me a comment!

10 Productivity Hacks That Will Help You GSD

There are always deadlines and things we need to do where we can certainly use a boost of productivity.

Whether it’s for personal reasons or just a project that really needs to get done at work, if we can get things done efficiently AND at a quicker pace, we’ll simply have more time to do other tasks.

I’ve come across a lot of productivity hacks over the years and this list is boiled down to what I feel really will get you the most bang for your buck.

1) Get out of bed earlier

If you have a set lists of tasks to do each day, when you wake up earlier it will give you more time to get to that list.

By getting up a little earlier each day, you tend to not have a lot of noise around you. It’s peaceful and a great way to knock out things on your to-do list.

It’s been proven scientifically that we have a limited amount of willpower that we can use each day. If you can get up earlier, you’ll be able to use that willpower to get done whatever the day calls for.

That brings me to my next point.

2) Get the biggest tasks or the most important things done first thing

You have tasks each day that take precedence over everything else. You know exactly what you need to accomplish. Whether it’s in your head or listed out, you definitely have a list of things to do.

By getting up early and taking care of the most important things first, you’ll not only have a greater sense of accomplishment, but your days tend to go much easier.

We all know how hectic it can be when the rest of the world wakes up. We get interrupted a million times a day and everything is urgent.

Chances are, if you procrastinate to get these important tasks done, your stress levels will be higher and your willpower may be depleted by that point. When that happens, you’re probably pushing those tasks to the next day.

Just get started. Get your highest priority projects done first thing. Your future self will thank you.

3) Declutter EVERYTHING

When my workspace is cluttered with papers and just junk that’s accumulated over time it stresses me out. It’s incredibly distracting and it takes up space in your mind, trust me.

If you have a clean space where you can get work done, your mind has the ability to focus on just one thing until it’s completed without the crap around you taking up mental space unconsciously.

I’m sure a lot of that stuff you can throw away too, trust me. Go through it once, store it somewhere else or chuck it in the trash. You wont miss it.

4) Start getting control over the information streams you consume daily

There are a lot of things that we consume daily that just take a lot of time to get through. Go through them and see if it’s things you really need to read. Do you REALLY need to check out that block? How about that newspaper? What about that magazine?

By reducing the time you spend reading unnecessary items daily, you open up times of productivity where you can accomplish so much more.

I have drastically reduced what my mind consumes on a daily basis to scheduled times of reading and catching up in industry news.

Notice I said industry news and not the news in general. I don’t even watch the news. Some people call it crazy, but I don’t like filling my mind with negativity. Plus, I get to hear what’s going on in the world from everyone around me. I like it better that way.

5) Get to your job earlier than the rest

Some of the best and most productive days are when I get into work during the quiet hours of the morning. Before you hear all the phones ringing and people chatting, there’s nothing around you that can break your focus.

It’s extremely peaceful and you’ll be surprised with how much you can get done in such a short amount of time.

Not to mention, not dealing with morning traffic is great. You might be able to work out a schedule with your boss to so you can leave earlier. Win/win. More productive and less stressful.

6) Make meetings highly productive or find a way to get out of them completely

While we would all love to just say “no” to most meetings, that’s probably not practical. You can give excuses though if you feel the meeting will be unproductive.

The right excuse can go a long way especially if you’re wrapped up in other projects and busy being productive. 🙂

In almost all circumstances, meetings aren’t necessary and can be completed much quicker than they usually are. There are ways of making meetings effective, though.

7) Stop giving yourself work that you don’t need to do

Do you find yourself cranking out tasks, but not getting anywhere in the process? If you’re not getting closer to a goal, then you’re just doing busy work.

It’s very possible that you get work and tasks from people that are non essential for you to do. If that’s the case, and you notice it, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask why it needs to be done.

If it is, can you pawn it off? If you can’t give it to someone else, make sure that it’s known you’re already overloaded with projects that have a higher urgency to get completed.

Don’t take on those tasks that are unnecessary and bog you down. Your productivity will thank you for it.

8) Make a to-do list

Do you know what the important tasks are each day? Write them down. It’s easy to forget things that you need to do.

Believe it or not, it gives your brain a rest. Instead of making lists in your sleep at night, write down what you need to accomplish the next day and get it all out.

It’ll give your brain a much needed break and I guarantee you’ll sleep better because of it.

9) Schedule time off from the internet

Tim Ferris popularised this in his book the 4 Hour Workweek and he says that you should have set times where you’re checking your email. Some of the wealthiest people in the world have adopted this way before Ferris made it popular and swear by it.

They’re not attached to their emails and aren’t easily available. They make sure of that and it’s something to ponder.

You don’t need to be attached to your email. The world will not come to an end and people will just have to wait until their turn comes and you get back to them. You’ll see how non urgent 99% of the emails you get really are.

10) Work on things you care about

This one might seem like a stretch at first glance, but if you think about it, it’ll make all of the sense in the world.

If you care about something or really want to achieve a goal, you will do whatever it takes to get it done.

You’ll work extra time, you’ll cancel other engagements and your excuses suddenly disappear.

Find something you truly care about. If you can’t get behind the vision of your company, the work you’re doing on a daily basis, or the team you surround yourself with, find a new one. You’ll be a much happier and more productive person because of it.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. I struggle with these at times, but when I put them into practice they make a world of difference.

11 – Bonus Tip) Work in scheduled chunks.

A friend of mine introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique where you work in 25 minute laser-focused blocks of time and then take 5 minutes of rest before starting another.

It’s seriously a game changer and I urge you to try it out for yourself. Previously tasks that took me 2-4 hours to complete can now only take 1-2 Pomodoros to get done.

I’m incredibly more productive because of it and it feels absolutely amazing to knock out important tasks each day with ease.

Try it and let me know how it works out for you!