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:
- Their energy. Usually in the form of mental energy.
- 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.
- Appointments? No problem. It can sinc with your calendar.
- To-Do lists? Keep them all on your phone and have it sync with your computer.
- Ideas? Write them down to your hearts desire.
- 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!