All The Time

Pay phones, typewriters, and snail mail are three things that were once extremely popular, but now are seldom used–replaced by smart phones, computers, and e-mail. These changes have changed the way we work. It used to be we worked from 9-5, in an office, on weekdays. Now, the lines are blurred between work days and off days. Life balance is something we once strived for, but now is obsolete.

To pine for pay phones, typewriters, and snail mail are fine, but it doesn’t change the fact they are no longer realistic options for how we now live and work. It’s time to give up the idea of a balanced life and acknowledge that times have changed and we must accept that being constantly connected and beyond busy is a way of life.

Sure, we could go on a digital diet, work from home to save the commute time, and cut back on how much sleep we get, but like any diet, it usually won’t last. Instead, what can do, and should do, is be 100 percent focused on what we are working on, who we are with, and what’s right in front of us at this moment.

Focus is more important than ever–it’s just different than it was several years ago. The ability to be all-in when it matters most means we give our kids our undivided attention when they need us. We focus on the task at hand when at work to be more efficient and effective than starting and stopping over and over again. If we can focus on one thing for as long as we can and not distract ourselves, that may just be what balance is about in today’s world.

Since we can’t focus on everything equally:

1. What needs 100% of your attention right now?

2. What can you get rid of right now to free up time to focus on something that matters more this month? (Since we can’t do it all, what doesn’t need to be done?)

3. If money were no object, what would you focus on? Now, what could / should you focus on because it makes you the most money?

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All The Time

Control What You Can—Effort

We can’t control the outcome, but we can control how hard we try—our effort. 100% effort, 100% of the time is often the difference between success and failure, winning and losing, and could be keeping us from having what we want.

Take this quick quiz:
1. Are you doing all you can?
Most people (myself included) have to honestly answer, “No”.

2. What percent of effort do you give to the following areas?

My Finances _____ 
My Health and Fitness _____
My Relationships _____
My Ideas _____
My Hobbies _____
My Career _____
My Friends _____
My Causes _____
My Kids _____
My Chores _____
My Pets _____
My Goals ____ 
Other ____

3. What is your focus this year? How much effort have you given to this area?

Control What You Can—Effort

Dancing With The Stars

Well, it’s a brand new season of “Dancing With The Stars.” The show that pairs “celebrities” with little or no dancing experience (or talent) with experienced dance professionals. What’s amazing is how much improvement there is in the performances from week to week. How do they do it, and why does it matter to us?

The show proves that if we are singularly focused on something and put in tons of time to train and learn, are extremely motivated to improve (the longer the stars last on the show, the more money they make), are willing to listen and learn from those who have more experience and are trying to help, the faster we will be better.

Many of us dabble. We aren’t as dedicated as we think we are to being the best at what we do. Some of you out there may be the outliers and working on your 10,000 hours at one thing, but most of us have other things that pull us away from training, learning, and doing the things needed to get to the next level.

The truth is, most of us aren’t stars asked to be on a hit television show where we are paid enough to drop everything and do nothing but dance. That said, the key is to be 100 percent engaged in whatever we are doing (creating, parenting, training, working) for as long as we are able to do it. In today’s world, this is balance.

Dancing With The Stars

How To Plan Your Year in Ten Minutes (Really)

Isn’t it true that anything is more interesting than what you are supposed to be working on right now? (You are reading this, so . . . ) Don’t worry, reading this article is not a waste of your time. In fact, it will help you save time and find focus. 
 
Here are ten quick and easy ways to plan your year in under ten minutes. Many of these ideas take advantage of technology that didn’t even exist a few years back. Skim through this list and pick the one tip or technique that works best for you.
 
Set Goals With Social Media. Pin pictures of your goals for the year on Pinterest with captions to match. Announce your intentions on Facebook or Instagram and ask others for their support, encouragement, and help.
 
The Backwards Bucket List. Making a list of the things you want to do before you die seems morbid, but it is motivating. Try doing it with your non-writing hand for ten minutes to see what you come up with by tapping into the other side of your brain. 
 
The Magic of Movies. Type a key word into Google’s image search to find photos of your top goal for the year then drop them into iPhoto and create a slideshow with background music and titles. (You can also make a slideshow with your successes from the past or current accomplishments as you go through the year.)
 
Mark Your Calendar. Create more milestones on your calendar (like your HALF birthday) as targets to complete tasks, and celebrate like crazy when you reach it. Paste green dots on your calendar to indicate a day you did something related to your goal and a red dot when you miss the mark.   
 
Theme Song. In sports, teams use a mantra to rally around before a season. Create your own theme for the year and keep it where you’ll see it. You could use also a song, quote, or poem that captures your vision.   
 
Selfies For Success. Take a picture of yourself living your dream. If you pine for a certain kind of car, boat, or home, find one in your area and take your photo next to, or in front of it—breaking in is illegal, of course.
 
The Power of Post-It Notes. Write your goal on a stack of sticky notes and put them all over your home or office. Make some of them hard to find so you’ll forget and discover them later. Or, write the steps to achieve a goal on stickies and put them on a timeline on the wall and pull them off as you accomplish each one.
 
It’s In The Cards. Make business cards on your computer with your key goal for the year stated on each and print out a stack to pass out to people to ask them to help you keep your promise . . . to yourself. 
 
Take a Multimedia Approach. Interview yourself about your plans for the year and record it using your tablet, phone, camera, or computer. You can post your video clip on YouTube or keep it to yourself.  
 
What Would Jimmy Buffett Do? Whom do you most admire? Find a photo of them and use it as your screen saver or put it on the wall and ask yourself what they would do next. Spend ten minutes researching and reading about how they achieved their goals.
 
CONTACT LEE WITH YOUR COMMENTS leesilber@leesilber.com
How To Plan Your Year in Ten Minutes (Really)