Why Most People Will Never Get a “Yes”

                                            Photo by  Brooke Cagle  on  Unsplash

                                           Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Most people have a hard time getting help from people

  • Are you like most people and struggle to get people to say “yes” to you?
  • Are you tired of receiving a “no”?
  • Are you willing to do what it takes to get a “yes”?

Most people have a hard time getting people to say “yes” to them. They ask nicely, they send well-written messages, etc. Some are persistent, some aren’t.

No matter what, they still don’t get a “yes”.

But here’s the truth:

Most people are not willing to do what it truly takes to get a “yes”.

 

How People Do Get a “Yes”

Do not be a beggar, be a giver

That is, in my experience, the best way to get a “yes” from someone.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

In the past year, I’ve got so many people to say “yes” to me. I didn’t immediately understand what change I did to make that happen, but it’s obvious in hindsight.

I simply started giving.

Genuinely giving.

What that means is that you never even aim to ask for anything. You just aim to give value to people.

Then, if/when comes time to ask for something, you will almost always get a “yes”. Of course, you have to be reasonable too.

Getting a “yes” is about having a mutual relationship. It’s not about asking and leaving. It’s about giving and receiving, giving and receiving, etc.

It’s a cycle.

It is, in essence, a friendship.

Now comes the question of how to add value to people. That, in itself, can be harder than actually giving, especially if you don’t know the person personally.

 

3 Ways to Add Value to Someone

1. Do some research

If you’re trying to reach out to someone you don’t know, you may want to try the following:

  • Find their social media accounts and get an idea of what kind of person they are. Don’t be creepy though;
  • If the person is somewhat famous, look up their personal website or their wikipedia page. Beware of false information;
  • Find their most approachable friends and ask them questions. Again, don’t be creepy;
  • If the person has written books, read them;
  • If the person has a blog, read the blog.

Once you have a better idea of who they really are, adding value to them is suddenly much easier. They like to read? Recommend them a book. Be creative. Be authentic. Give them something they want based on your research.

2. Simply ask them how you can help them

You’d be surprised how much information you can get doing that. You’d also be surprised to see how many people don’t even try, by fear of getting rejected.

“Just showing up is half the battle.” — Woody Allen

If you don’t try, you don’t know if it will work or not.

Countless times I’ve asked and received.

When I hear people say that asking would be a guaranteed rejection, I have to put sense into their heads. It’s never a guarantee.

I’m not saying odds are in your favour when you simply ask, but it’s so easy and cheap that it’s worth trying, almost every time.

3. Give and adjust

If you know the person’s interests, you can always find something to give. It may not be spot on, but it’s recognized nonetheless.

If you get a response, you’ve opened up the line of communication. From there, you may get a better idea of what they really need. If not, you can either ask them directly, or keep trying.

 

What to give

Give something that adds value to the person, it’s that simple.

Contrary to most people’s beliefs, something tangible is rarely the solution, with the exception of a good book maybe.

If you contribute to a person’s health, wealth, love or happiness, you are adding value to them. These are what Tai Lopez calls the 4 pillars of life in his 67 Steps program.

Knowing that, you’ve got a limitless amount of options.

There’s no right or wrong.

There’s better, for sure, and it depends on the person, but adding value to their health, wealth, love or happiness is a surefire way to get noticed at least.

 

Conclusion

So,

  • Are you willing to do what it takes to get a “yes”?
  • Are you ready to give before receiving?
  • Are you ready to give with no pretence of ever receiving anything in exchange?

I’ve experienced a radical shift when I became more of a giver. But it’s not only me. Churchill said the same, and so do many other people you and I look up to. You don’t get a “yes” by giving not giving a “yes” yourself. You don’t get to the top without giving more than you receive.

So I challenge you. Dare give more than you take, and you’ll notice how much more willing people will be to help you.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, sharing, and following! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/why-most-people-will-never-get-a-yes-6de336f2bb8f

The Simple Formula For Success According to Ray Dalio

                                               Photo of Ray Dalio on  Ted.com

                                              Photo of Ray Dalio on Ted.com

Dreams + Optimism + Reality + Determination = Successful Life

In Ray Dalio’s book, Principles, he writes that he found the above formula to almost always be true.

Optimism is my own addition to the formula.

I once worked with the most brilliant guy who just seemed to be able to figure out all the problems to a solution. He had this talent of seeing so many steps ahead.

He was the most realistic person I knew.

He would almost always meet his deadline and successfully execute the work methodically.

He had everything from Ray’s formula, yet something was holding him back:

He wasn’t optimistic.

“Success”, the way I see it, is a balance of dreams, optimism, and realism — that, with a lot of determination.

I used to have dreams, was optimistic about them and had a good amount of determination. The problem was, I lacked realism.

I learned that from my colleague. And I like to think he learned his optimism thanks to me. He is now CTO of an important company in Canada.

By becoming more realistic about the things I set out to achieve, I managed to raise money twice for Power Level Studios and managed to make partners for my side businesses. I also found that people started saying “yes” to me a lot more.

But realism is still a big weakness of mine.

After all, I’m running 3 (small) companies, I’ve written two books in 3 months, and I have dreams of other side businesses. All that while learning 3 new skills a month, working out, writing every day, and spending time with my wife.

 

What About You?

  • Out the four parts of the formula above, what are you most lacking? What are you most good at?
  • Why are you lacking in that aspect? What’s holding you back?
  • What can you do about it? Why haven’t you done it yet?
  • Do you believe you can “succeed” if you focus on fixing the missing gap?

I would say in general, things happen in the order of the formula.

It all starts with a dream. Then you are either optimistic or realist about it. When the balance of optimism-realism isn’t right, you usually don’t have “real” determination to carry on.

So I suggest to you:

  1. Allow yourself to dream and be optimistic about those dreams.
  2. Assess feasibility. See 10 steps ahead. See what could work and what couldn’t.
  3. Be realistic.

Once you are optimistic and realistic about your dreams, put all your determination at work and you’ll realize you can indeed achieve your most insane dreams and goals.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/struggle-first-thrive-later/the-simple-formula-for-success-according-to-ray-dalio-6045ef3d1cd6

Thinking About Remote Work? Here are 8 Ways to Overcome Communication and Environment Issues

                                                   Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

                                                  Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Remote Work Is Possible When You Deal With These Issues

If you have tried it before, you know there are many obstacles to making remote work “feasible”: timezone differences, communication issues, spotty wifi, lack of proper schedule, environment distractions and more.

I have been running Power Level Studios “remotely” since it started having collaborators over a year ago. I say remotely in double-quotes because initially, it was all remote within the same city. Everyone worked from their own homes in Toronto.

Then in June of last year, I left Toronto to work from other places around the world, making me completely remote.

During that time, I grew the company from 4 people to 8.

As far as I know, we have not had any problems with me being away and still “running the show”.

So let’s address some of the problems associated with running a company remotely:

 

Communication Issues

This is likely the biggest issue of them all.

It’s already hard to have an effective communication system in place when everyone works from the same office, so of course it even harder when you can’t have face to face conversations.

At Power Level Studios, we have a simple but efficient system that has worked really well for us.

1. Have Everyone Remote

I have worked remotely for a company where pretty much everyone worked from the same office.

I was left out frequently. And it’s not that I wasn’t an important part of the team, it’s just that when everyone else is there, sometimes you just forget the “exception”.

And that sucked. I know I could have been way more productive if I felt like I was really part of the team.

By having everyone remote, everyone is on the same page. There aren’t many different ways to communicate. Everyone uses the same tool.

One of the previous companies I worked for removed their office and started working remotely. That didn’t stop them from making and releasing the successful Halcyon 6 game.

In Power Level Studio’s case, we’re releasing Soul Reaper: Unreap Commander on April 3rd. The game was built from December 2017 to March 2018.

2. Limit The Need To Communicate Verbally

We never communicate verbally at Power Level Studios. I don’t remember the last time it happened.

In fact, we rarely communicate at all. It’s all about our streamlined process.

We use the Kanban approach.

We have a series of steps a task needs to go through. When the person working on the task is done with the step, they move the card to the next step, where the next person in charge of the task will automatically be notified. In review steps, if it passes, the card moves forward, if it fails, it goes backward, where the person responsible for the work will automatically be notified.

It’s all about the automation and having a clear indicator of who needs to do what when.

3. Be Fully Transparent

With the Kanban approach mentioned above, we have different boards depending on the type of work. We have boards for Art, Design, Admin, Programming, etc.

Every board is public to everyone at the company.

I’ve got nothing to hide.

Everyone can see what I’m working on at any point. That is very important. People working with me need to know that I’m not just barking orders from the beach working on my sun-tan.

4. Trust Your Team

I rarely make decisions. I’m not sure if that throws my team off or not, but that’s my management style. I like to have everyone’s input on aspects I trust them on. I would not ask an artists’ opinion on programming, but I will definitely ask them about monster and loot design.

Everyone can submit their design ideas and we collaborate on it. I rarely get the ideas all by myself. We vote on design ideas, names of monsters, etc.

If my artist tells me A is better than B, I rarely argue. They’re the expert.

By trusting everyone, I know they trust and respect me more in return. They know we’re working towards the same goals.

 

Environment Issues

Spotty wifi, distractions, hard to follow schedule, loneliness — we’ve all been there. How do we overcome those things?

It’s all about making your environment productive and removing anything that goes against it.

1. Removing Distractions

I hate working from home. I’m way too distracted. I have games, books, and no one to judge me if I’m not working.

When I was working from home in Toronto, I would put console cables places where it would be so much work for me to get that I wouldn’t do the effort to get it.

In my apartment in Toronto, we didn’t even buy furniture, except for a mattress and the desk to work from. The place really was only good for working and sleeping.

Whatever it is you find distracts you while you work, change your environment so that it’s harder to distract yourself as opposed to doing your productive activities.

If your distraction is in your physical location, hide stuff, or better yet, make someone else hide it.

If your distraction is on your computer, use software that blocks access to apps and websites during certain hours. Have someone you trust lock the schedule behind a password so you can’t easily disable it.

2. Finding Good Wifi

Depending on where you are in the world, wifi can be an issue. Especially public wifi.

I’ll give you my favourite trick straight up: co-working spaces.

I’ve never been to a co-working space (yet) that doesn’t have usable wifi. I’ve seen anywhere from 10 mbps (slow but usable) to 1,000mbps (very fast).

Check using speedtest.net.

Never trust your Airbnb host or hostels to tell you their wifi is fast. It rarely is. Below 5mbps for me is hardly usable. In some countries, they call that fast. My 4G/LTE is 3x faster than that.

3. Fighting Loneliness

Building on the co-working space idea from above, having other hard-working people around you is extremely motivating.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m 10x more productive when I work from a co-working space.

It’s always nice to meet other people who work on their own crazy ideas. Entrepreneurs care so much about what they do that it’s contagious. You want to work harder and share your ideas with the others around.

You build great personal and professional relationships just from being there. I even made myself a business partner by working at The Living Room in Spain.

4. Keeping A Schedule

This is key to build momentum. I’ve written about this extensively in the past.

By working remotely, it’s hard to stick to a schedule because you don’t have office hours.

But to be honest, I don’t like office hours. Not everyone works great from 9–5. In fact, I don’t think anyone at Power Level Studios work from 9–5.

I start my day at 4am, but start my actual work at 9am. I take two naps during the day, usually around 8:30am and 2:30pm. I’m always super tired in the afternoon. I don’t work well unless I do a power nap. I try to reply to my messages only between 1:30 and 2:30, after lunch. I then finish work around 7pm.

I’m much better at sticking to this schedule when I’m at the co-working space. I know no one is monitoring me, but I need to feel like someone could judge me for not following my schedule.

 

Conclusion

Running a company remotely is possible but not easy.

I’ve been doing it long enough now and have found strategies that work for my video game company, but I know could work for other types of businesses.

Having everyone remote and limiting the need to communicate makes project management more efficient. Be transparent and trust your team. Apply these principles and communication will not be an issue.

Remove distractions, find good wifi, fight loneliness and keep a schedule.

Make your environment work for you.

You can do this!

Let me know what you tried that worked or didn’t work for you in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, clapping and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/thinking-about-remote-work-here-are-8-ways-to-overcome-communication-and-environment-issues-2b0e2dddbf6d

Need More Time in a Day? This Just Might Help You Get More!

                                          Photo by  Tristan Gassert  on  Unsplash

                                         Photo by Tristan Gassert on Unsplash

Being Aware — In Anything — Makes All the Difference

Last night I saw one of my brothers for the first time in 6 months. It was really nice catching up with him.

In our family, we’ve always grown up playing video games, so it didn’t take too long before we started talking about the Nintendo Switch, which we both own.

What’s nice about the Switch is that he can play on his big screen TV and I can play in handheld mode, and we get the “same” experience. So even when I travel, I still manage to catch up on my video game time.

He’s had the Switch for about two months and he’s played 50 hours of Mario Odyssey, 135 hours of Mario Kart and 20 hours of Zelda.

He’s got a full-time job, his girlfriend, his nephews next door and he also draws frequently, so it’s not like he’s not doing anything else.

If we do the math, that’s 205 hours of gameplay time in, let’s say, 8 weeks. That’s a little more than 25 hours per week.

If that sounds a lot to you, maybe it would be an interesting exercise to also analyze how you spend your free time.

 

Analyze Your Free Time

I frequently post my detailed and crazy schedule on Medium. I know exactly how I’m spending my time every day. You don’t have to be that structured though when analyzing your free time.

Playing video games is easy since most platforms log the time you spend.

If you watch TV shows on Netflix, it’s simple math to add on all the episodes you’ve watched times the duration of the show.

We all know the duration of each movie, so it’s easy to add those up as well.

Sports and other physical activities are usually easy enough to calculate.

Make sure to count the commute time as free time. This can be one of the biggest time sink. By having close to no commute time, you get more time to spend on things you want to do, not things you have to do.

 

But Why Analyze It?

A lot of people are “busy”. They are stressed by time and refuse to do things because they are busy. Yet when you analyze how they spend their time, they could definitely spare some of their free time doing other things.

I’m obsessed with time. We all have limited time before we’re gone.

I’ve lived that yet again yesterday when I went to the veterinarian with my mother and she told her that would likely have to resort to euthanasia very soon if she doesn’t want her cat to suffer.

Life is short. We all have to go at one point.

I personally like to know I’ve spent my time here doing the best I could.

I very much enjoy learning, so I spend a lot of my free time learning new skills.

Tomorrow I’m seeing my grandparents. They’re old. I’m putting myself in their shoes and I want to think for myself at that point that I’ve got no regrets. At least on how I spent my time. I want to say that I’ve lived the best life I could.

And that starts with knowing how I spend my precious time.

 

Conclusion

We do have a lot of free time. We are not *that* busy.

When we analyze how we spend our time, we realize there are better ways to spend it.

Spend it the way you want to spend it. Don’t be a slave of your bad habits.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)

First published here: https://theascent.pub/need-more-time-in-a-day-this-just-might-help-you-get-more-efe06057a762

Are You An Introvert? Become a Great Storyteller With These 3 Powerful Tips

                                         Photo by  Spencer Backman  on  Unsplash

                                        Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash

Results of months-long research and practice

Almost all the world leaders are great storytellers. It’s one of the most important skills you can ever pick up, and for introverts like me, one of the hardest.

Introverts have a hard time telling epic stories. By nature, introverts don’t like to attract too much attention, therefore lack the practice in telling their story, or any story really.

You’re not sure if you’re an introvert or not? No worries, read these 8 Signs You Are an Introvert article and you’ll know.

I’ve always considered myself to be an introvert. Yet in the past 7 months, the people I met on the road would never believe me. Without knowing it, I had become good at storytelling. Not the best, but good enough that people started listening to what I had to say. Like any skill, it’s something you need to develop over time.

Before we jump into the tips, think about people you met or know who are good at story telling.

  • What do they have in common?
  • How do they behave?
  • What kinds of stories do they tell?
  • How do they tell the story?
  • What is their body language?

In my months of passive-to-active research on the topic, I came to some observations that helped me become more skilled at the art of story telling, and that’s what I want to share with you here.

The following tips should help introverts kick-start their learning of story-telling:

 

1. Do and Observe

Think about a recent (good) story you were told by someone else.

What was it about?

Chances are it was something the storyteller experienced at one point in time.

Was the experience great?

Probably not. In fact, most of the best stories are bad experiences, because they tend to be more eventful. “Event” being the key here. A story is all about unexpected events and how the “actors” react to them.

Now on the point of doing. Have you noticed how when you asked someone who’s doing the same routine every day, they always answers “same old, same old”?

Doesn’t make for great stories now does it?

You don’t have to be doing epic things either. The best stories are not fabricated, they are experienced. The more you do, whatever it is, the more things you experience, and the more likely you are going to encounter unexpected events.

Even, a lot of times, a great story is about something you witnessed. By seeing the event unfold, you have a clearer picture of what happened and can recall it with greater detail and accuracy.

“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” — Leo Tolstoy

In short: do and be inspired by unforeseen events happening around you.

 

2. Write and Visualize

So now that you’ve witnessed or have been part of an interesting event, you have to organize your thoughts clearly.

Being an introvert, my words don’t come out as easily by speaking as they do in writing. In writing, I have time to think about things and do a vivid and interesting recollection.

Start by writing the main events. Then add the details. Make the story as visually appealing as possible.

By writing it down and visualizing it in your mind, you’ll be better equipped to remember the important details of the story.

 

3. Tell and Refine

You can’t be a great storyteller if you don’t practice telling your story. It’s true for everyone, introvert or not.

Have you noticed how people tell really compelling stories that happened in their no-so-recent past? Their stories are awesome. There are no useless details.

The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” — Henry Green

The reason it’s so good is because it’s not their first time telling it.

They told it hundreds of times. They observed people’s interest when telling it and refined the story over the years, cutting things out and adding juicy details here and there.

 

Conclusion

Storytelling is a skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Most of my good stories come from a distant past, simply because I wrote more about them. I told them repeatedly.

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” — Willa Cather

Do more. Write more. Tell more. Rinse and repeat.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)

First published here: https://writingcooperative.com/are-you-an-introvert-become-a-great-storyteller-with-these-3-powerful-tips-77d99fd7a4ec

Thinking of Giving Up? Try This Mindset Change To Keep Going

                                                    Photo by  Sydney Sims  on  Unsplash

                                                   Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison

Recently, I shared a story about how negativity is poison for your brain and some tips on how to clear it. It was a very personal story on how I had “failed” on three of my recent photography assignments and how I could only have negative thoughts as a result.

Digging myself out was not easy for me.

The failure was difficult to swallow and I was trying to come up with a multitude of ways to get out of my contract.

I was close to calling it a “failure”.

As Ray Dalio wrote in his book Principles: “You will think you have failed — but that won’t be true unless you give up”.

  • How many times have you considered failure to be an option?
  • How many times have you considered giving up?
  • How many times have you given up?
  • How did it feel?
  • Was it the right choice?

I’m in the camp that it’s okay to give up sometimes. It’s also okay to not give up. There’s no right or wrong. It’s circumstantial and personal.

The important thing is that you learn from the experience.

In which case, can you really call it a failure? Maybe it’s more of a failed experiment. And failed experiments are great.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison

See Edison’s persistence?

10,000 ways might be a little exaggerated, but the point is there: he never gave up on the things he believed in. Now we all know him for all the great things he did for humanity.

If Thomas Edison, Ray Dalio and all the great people who achieved so much in life tell me to not give up, I won’t give up.

 

Not Giving Up

That was my mentality going into my fourth assignment at the Z.P. Urdu school.

I dug into the “why” the other assignments were failed experiments. Some of the things were out of my control, but some of the things were my fault, and I took ownership of my mistakes.

In the previous assignments, I was using the wrong settings, relying on semi-automatic modes. As a result, a lot of my shots were too blurry.

Also, I was also not being assertive enough to tell people to do things for me. I was paralysed by the fear of telling the wrong things and wasting people’s time. It was my first time directing a photoshoot after all.

I made myself a mental map of all the things I needed to do better for the next assignment.

I was pumped. I wanted to ace that next one.

I was positive and had a clear idea of how I could do better.

And I executed really well. I was so happy.

My photography really improved thanks to my past failed experiments. I wasn’t cocky in my abilities to take photos and approached the assignment with an opened mind.

 

Conclusion

If you really care about something, do yourself a favour and don’t give up on it.

Change your mentality. Don’t view failure as a negative experience, but rather a formative one. One that puts you back to reality, and shows you that there are always lessons to learn.

Life is a series of experiments, most of which will “fail”. Learn from these experiments, grow stronger, prosper.

Remember, it’s not a failure if you don’t give up.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/on-the-rise/thinking-of-giving-up-try-this-mindset-change-to-keep-going-224869cb6db4

3 Alternatives to 10x Your Productivity Almost Instantly

                                                    Photo by  Raw Pixel  on  Unsplash

                                                   Photo by Raw Pixel on Unsplash

Using a Simple, Yet Scientifically Proven Method

Are you like I was and would LOVE to work on side projects or start a business on the side while still working at your current job?

We all know that is a smarter decision than downright quitting. Trust me, I’ve been there.

You come back from work completely exhausted and can’t conjure the energy to make it happen.

I was like that too. And believe it or not, there are millions of people like us too.

Imagine all the wasted potential.

You could be working on your dream project and make an impact in this world, if only you could find it in you to just start, build some momentum and keep at it.

And it’s so freaking hard. Again, I know, I’ve been there.

But things changed when I changed this aspect of my life:

I became ACCOUNTABLE for the things I’m doing.

In the short span of six months, I was able to accomplish the following:

  • I learned 18 new skills, including fiction and non-fiction writing, drawing, NGO photography, storytelling, public speaking, day-to-day Spanish conversations, learning to learn, eComm management, and more;
  • I got involved in more than 7 projects, most of which I’ve started;
  • I met prolific writers and other personalities;
  • I gained 7kg of muscles;
  • I wrote and published 2 books;
  • I released a video game;
  • I opened up the world’s first and only story-driven online store;
  • I diversified my revenue sources, getting paid for 4+ different projects;
  • I got published by top Medium publications like The Startup;
  • I contributed to Entrepreneur Magazine, Thought Catalog, and Thrive Global;
  • I became a top writer in 15 categories on Medium;
  • and more!

Feeling inspired?

What Does Being Accountable Mean?

In its simplest form, it means you owe “something” to “someone”.

The most powerful “something” are:

  1. Money; and
  2. Results.

The most powerful “someone” are:

  1. People you love; and
  2. People you care about.

Think about your previous attempts at starting something. A side project for example.

  • Why did you (want to) do it?
  • Who did you do it for?
  • Was it necessary?
  • What/who forced you to do it?
  • What were the resources associated with doing it (money, people, etc)?

A powerful method to push you to action is what’s called the SUNK COST.

Think of any membership really. An easy example is a gym membership.

  • If you have a gym in your house or building, how frequently do you actually use it?
  • Now, if you spent money on your gym membership, are you going more frequently?

Very likely, right?

Back in January, I was in Málaga, Spain, and looked up the most expensive gym. I couldn’t really afford it. If I went there, it meant I had to cut other places I didn’t really want to.

But I decided to go there anyway. Getting up and going there was easy. I “sacrificed much” to have access to that gym. I HAD TO go, otherwise, I would have wasted precious money and time. After it became a habit to go, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Not working out had actually become harder than working out.

This is KEY: Not doing had become harder than doing!

THAT is the power of being accountable!

 

3 Ways to Become Accountable

1. Involve a Friend in Your Weekly Planning and Reflection

Average Effectiveness Rating: 2-3x

This is probably the cheapest and easiest option but is the least effective in my opinion.

Here’s how it works:

You find a partner/friend to participate with you. Every week, you meet and exchange on:

  • Your goals for the week;
  • What was — and was not — accomplished towards these goals;
  • How you can do better next week;
  • What your goals are for the next week; and
  • How you will accomplish these goals.

This method is less effective because there’s only one other person involved, and therefore you both have to be accountable to even have the meeting.

In day to day craziness, it’s easy to forget to do it or set it aside because of other “priorities”.

If you fail to achieve your goals, you make a fool of yourself to one person only, usually someone who won’t make you feel bad for it anyway.

2. Make Your Goals and Progress Public

Average Effectiveness Rating: 5x+

This is how it all started for me. I did not do it intentionally, but I did it nonetheless.

At the co-working space I was working from in Málaga, everyone knew my goals every month. They were displayed on my screen at all times, I’d talk about them with people, and they’d ask questions about the progress.

But also, I had started writing on Medium back in January. To make my stories more relatable, I often wrote about my goals and how I accomplished them.

By having everything public, I don’t want to look like a fool that’s all talk and no game. I had to show results. Since I was the top #5 writer in Inspiration for a bit, I also had to make sure that my achievements were indeed inspiring.

I strongly encourage you to try this method.

3. Join an Accountability Program

Average Effectiveness Rating: 10x+

An accountability program is a system that puts incentives for you to do things. Some try the gamification approach, some try punishment, some try community, some try the coaching approach, etc.

There’s no right or wrong here. It depends on your personality.

If you’re driven by gratification, the gamification approach may work for you. Some programs give you rewards in the form of digital currencies or goods, discount coupons, or more. You receive them when you accomplish a goal you set for yourself.

If you’re driven by fear of losing something, the punishment method may work for you. Some programs implement it by having you set a goal and putting a “bet” that you’ll accomplish your goal in time. If you don’t, the money is taken from your account and put somewhere else. Basically, it costs you money to not accomplish your goal.

If you’re driven by social recognition, the community method may work for you. Basically, it’s a paid membership to a group where people report weekly goals and activities for every member to see.

The coaching approach is the next level. It’s more similar to the friend/partner approach from above, but is paid and more importantly, gives the person expert feedback, tips and truly pushes the person. Think of it almost like a mentor-mentee relationship.

 

Conclusion

Not all accountability methods yield the same results, but one thing is for sure:

Being accountable for what you do does dramatically increase your productivity and motivation.

I’d suggest trying all three methods from above to see what works best for you. I included my personal effectiveness ratings above based on my own experience, but I think it’s important to try for yourself.

The important part is that you can start being accountable NOW, at no cost, and with minimal effort. I can’t promise you the results I’ve had for myself, because we’re all different, but I can promise you it will help your productivity and motivation.

So think about this now:

  • Who can I be accountable with?
  • Can I make my goals public?
  • Do I want to join a program?
  • Which program is right for me?

I’m hoping this reflection will bring clarity to you will push you to try to become accountable for what you’re doing.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/3-alternatives-to-10x-your-productivity-almost-instantly-c507ca6c4c53

6 Steps To A Highly Effective Morning

                                                   Photo by  Emma Simpson  on  Unsplash

                                                  Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

And why it matters

It’s 5am on a Monday morning. It’s been two weeks since I’ve lost my hard-earned momentum.

I’ve written about momentum before. When you have gained true momentum, you are unstoppable. “Not doing” is harder than “doing”.

Yet I’ve lost it since I’ve been back to Canada, jumping from one group of people to the next almost on a daily basis.

I mean, it’s pretty normal to lose momentum when you can’t follow your schedule/routine.

But now I’m back to Toronto and have a more “stable environment”.

Yet last week I still had the hardest time waking up. I knew my list of things to do had grown over the last few days, but that was not good enough motivation for me to get out of bed at normal times for me.

It’s then that I realized the power of a successful morning routine.

 

How To Get Started

In a previous story I wrote, I shared 3 valuable tips I followed every morning. Even I didn’t realize how great they were until last night. I’ll re-share here:

  1. Prepare your next day the night before.
  2. Start the day with one or two easy tasks.
  3. Work on your hardest tasks when you work best.

When you write down the things you have to do for the next day slightly before going to bed, it puts your mind at ease, and it lets your subconscious work on it overnight so you can execute early in the morning.

When you start the day with one or two easy tasks, you get your much needed “wins” right away. The release of dopamine you get boosts your will to execute for a good portion of the day.

And for me, that sets me up for working on my hardest tasks shortly after.

But I haven’t been able to follow that as of late, until this morning.

 

How To Build A Successful Morning Routine

Warning: this is based on my own personal experience. It may or may not work for everyone, and it’s definitely not backed by any science.

Here’s an example from this month:

                         Screencap of my schedule on Teamweek

                        Screencap of my schedule on Teamweek

 

Step 1: List Down All the Things You Want To Do on a Daily Basis

This month, I wanted to write every day, just like the previous months.

I’m still continuing my practice of learning 3 new skills every month.

I wanted to start doing a simple workout routine every day. I knew I would not have a static home, so I needed a routine I could do with no material. I settled for 100 push-ups, 100 squats, and 100 dips (with variations for each).

I’m setting a block of time to answer messages. That has worked incredibly well for me in the past, so I want to continue doing that. If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot!

 

Step 2: Order Tasks by Ascending Order of Importance to You

It’s important to realize what you think is more important for you. I likely had too many things on my list that I had to cut. By knowing what’s more important, it’s easier to decide later where to put each task on your calendar.

 

Step 3: Write Down How Long It Takes You to Complete the Task

This is important.

You need to be aware of how a long a task is going to take you. Be realistic. Be precise.

The least realistic thing on my list is writing a story in 60 minutes. But I force myself to follow it. Sometimes my stories end up not being as good, but that’s how you learn.

 

Step 4: Place Tasks On A Calendar

Now that you know what’s most important and how long tasks take you, place it in your daily calendar, similar to the image I pasted above.

My own personal go-to tool is Teamweek. I’ve been using it for four months now. I’m better organized and more productive since then. Previously, I was using Google Keep and Google Calendar.

I don’t have the mental capacity to remember everything on my calendar, so I refer to it very often, especially at the beginning of the month.

 

Step 5: Apply the Tips Above On How to Get Started

  1. Prepare your next day the night before.
  2. Start the day with one or two easy tasks.
  3. Work on your hardest tasks when you work best.

These are powerful. Apply them. I’ve built so much momentum before just by doing those.

My one or two easy tasks to get started is usually reviewing comments I’ve received the night before and reading a story from someone I follow. That usually gives me the boost to start writing myself.

And I actually apply this principle to different segments of my day. If you check my schedule, I start work at 9am. I do one or two easy work tasks to start with.

 

Step 6: Be Consistent In the Execution of Your Morning Routine

That is crucial!

Try not to miss a day. I tend to execute it every day, including weekends. I’m a little less strict on Sunday though.

Every missed day “doubles” the effort needed to get started.

Have you noticed how after vacation, going back to executing your routine is so much harder?

That’s why.

 

Conclusion

Do not underestimate the power of your morning routine. It sets you up for a successful day. Consecutive successful days brings momentum. Momentum makes you unstoppable.

It starts with careful planning, and continues with consistent execution.

Take 2 hours every month to plan your next month’s routine.

Follow the principles of planning the night before, doing easy tasks in the morning and executing your hardest tasks when you work best.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/6-steps-to-a-highly-effective-morning-b73c84c9c8af

6 Ways to Be Ready to Come Back From Your Vacation

                                                      Photo by Jakob Owens on  Unsplash

                                                     Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

When’s the last time you were pumped to get back to work after a vacation?

Most of the time, you’re either too comfortable to want to go back or you exhausted yourself by cramming too much into a small vacation.

I’m just back from a small vacation and let me tell you: I was pumped to get back to my productive activities!

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my vacation, because I really did. But like everyone, I know how much it sucks to get back to work after being unproductive for a few days, weeks or months.

But I turned that over. I set myself up for wanting to come back without sacrificing quality time in a city I didn’t know.

Here are a few tips that worked for me to be pumped about going back to work after a vacation:

 

1. Disconnect From Work And Technology

This is obviously not that easy, but if you can pull it off, it will help you want to get back to work. Truly disconnecting means not doing anything work-related during your vacation.

No email checking, no calls, no social media. Nothing.

Don’t bring your work laptop. If it’s the same as your personal one, don’t turn it on unless it’s for researching things to do or book flights and accommodations.

Shut that phone off. Use it for the essentials only, like Google Maps and Translate.

Relax, get back to your hobbies. It’s your time, do things you want to do that don’t work towards your productive activities.

 

2. Plan Your Return On Your Last Day Off

This is critical.

Don’t go back to work not knowing what to expect. It’s the same principle as planning your day the night before. You’ll have clarity on what you need to do and you’ll be pumped to clear off that checklist the day of.

Be precise in your planning and break your tasks into the smallest possible chunks.

I had 18 items to do just yesterday, most of which took between 10 and 30 minutes to do.

Everything was realistic.

Try not to schedule your hardest tasks on the day of your return. Or maybe not even in the first week. Give yourself a chance to be back.

I was pumped to accomplish the tasks on my list.

Now, I realize not everyone is in the same situation as me and have limited control over their work tasks, but if that’s your case, make sure to ask your superior what tasks they’re thinking of assigning you and try to negotiate with them.

Most bosses would be happy to help you get back to it.

 

3. Be Positive About It

“I hate Mondays” — Garfield

That’s the attitude you don’t want to have.

Do not tell yourself that coming back will suck. Even if you know it might. Think about the positive aspects of your work. Think about the things you like about your work.

  • Is it your colleagues?
  • Is it the work itself?
  • Is it the learning?
  • Is it the free snacks or lunches?
  • Is it the salary, or the benefits?

Whatever it is, capitalize on it.

If you struggle to find anything positive, well, maybe it’s worth considering other options? There are almost always other options.

 

4. Be Grateful

Some people don’t have the luxury of taking a vacation.

Too often, we take it for granted.

Be thankful for being granted vacation. Be thankful that your work made your vacation possible.

Some people can’t afford it. Both in terms of money and time.

When you stop taking your vacation time for granted, you start appreciating what made this vacation possible in the end: your work.

I traveled around the world for a year without working. I was in vacation mode for a year. It’s not as nice as it sounds.

Work gives you purpose. Be thankful for the opportunity to do something productive.

 

5. Exhaust Yourself, Just Enough

We’re creatures of comfort. It’s against our nature to do things out of our comfort zone.

When you take a vacation that’s too relaxing, you become too comfortable. It’s hard to break out of it and want to go back to doing productive things.

You definitely should relax on vacation, but make sure to spend some energy too. Spend energy on things you like to do. On things out of your comfort zone. Learn new things. Meet new people. Eat new foods. Let your imagination run wild.

But don’t overdo it!

Have you ever gotten back from vacation more exhausted than you were before?

Yeah, I’m sure you have. And you know it sucks.

Plan your most relaxing activities for the end of your vacation. That way you’ll have spent energy in the beginning, and won’t have time to get too comfortable before going back.

 

6. Change Your Mindset About Work

Everyone talks about work-life balance.

I reject that mindset. Work and life go together. There’s no balance.

Work is life. Take this definition of work for example:

“Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.”

We all want to achieve results. The moment you start seeing work as a way to get things done and not about a paycheque, you’ll start to understand that work gives meaning to life.

When you believe that you’re doing things that work towards your goals, you’ll stop thinking of work as a chore, but as a way to achieve your greatest ambitions in life.

Coming back to “work” then becomes coming back to achieving your goals.

And that is enticing and will get you pumped.

 

Conclusion

Going on vacation is great, no questions there. But coming back from it is not always easy.

Make sure to truly disconnect, be positive and grateful, exhaust yourself enough, change your mindset about work and plan your return before coming up.

That will pump you to be back to your productive activities.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/redoubtable/6-ways-to-be-ready-to-come-back-from-your-vacation-575ea00a280

Stop Convincing Yourself You Can’t Do Something. Now.

                                               Photo by  Jason Rosewell  on  Unsplash

                                              Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” — Henry Ford

How many times have you not done something because you thought it would be too hard to do?

If you’re like most of us, frequently right?

For the longest time I thought there was no way I could draw. I’m a programmer by trade, and perform well with things that relate to logic.

I had tried a few times but always ended stopping before even really giving it a chance.

It was too hard for me to do. I had given up.

Similarly, I’ve always had tiny legs. It had been pointed out to me on many occasions while in high-school. Some might call it bullying, but maybe I was too dumb to realize I was actually getting bullied.

I’m an ectomorph. For me, gaining weight is terribly hard. I know a lot of people would love to have this problem, but they’re wrong. It’s just as bad as being overweight. Especially for men.

I was never able to put weight on. I tried eating ridiculous amounts of calories. Simple workouts. Nothing worked.

It was too hard for me to do. I had given up.

 

The Turning Point

I can now draw, and my legs have started growing in ways I never thought would be possible.

But what changed you ask?

I think it comes down to two things:

1. A Mindset Shift

When you reject the idea that something is not feasible, it becomes feasible.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” — Henry Ford

I know this sounds cliché or too obvious, but it’s not.

Next time you think you can’t do something, stop yourself.

Take time to think.

Can you really not do it?

With careful planning, consistent execution and constant monitoring of results, you can achieve almost anything.

Kyle Maynard is a quadruple amputee. That guy climbed Kilimanjaro! If that doesn’t inspire you to do things you think you can’t, I don’t know what will.

When I started writing a few months ago, I shared a short story about a guy named Phil.

I won’t go into details, but the guy didn’t have a truck or a car to pick up a bookshelf I was selling, so he brought it on two public buses home. Who does that? Anyone would have given up on the bookshelf, but man did he want it!

2. A Simple Habit

Around the same time that mindset shift happened to me, I developed a framework I never knew would set me up for success.

I frequently write about it, so I won’t go into the details here, but basically, every month, I learn 3 new skills. I plan for it every end of month. I execute consistently every day for the whole month. I quantify and qualify the results.

At the end of the month, I’m usually quite good doing the skill.

This is how I learned to draw.

I rejected the idea that a programmer cannot draw.

I planned my learning process. I set deadlines. I set milestones. I drew every day by following tutorials online. By the end of the month, I could sketch, do line art, and colouring.

I won’t make a career out of it, but now I can sketch for my artists as needed and understand when they tell me things related to art.

When I rejected the fact that my legs could never grow bigger, I figured out a path to success. I did the right exercises and the right amount of repetitions. I was consistent in doing them everyday.

When I rejected the idea that an introvert can’t tell a good story, I studied methods that work. I practiced public speaking and writing consistently. I researched what makes a good story good. I learned to be authentic. That’s how I became a top writer on Medium.

 

It’s Actually Easy

It turns out, it wasn’t even hard to learn to draw. It wasn’t even hard to grow the legs. It wasn’t even hard to tell stories.

“Showing up is half the battle.” — Woody Allen

I believe that. I’ve been there.

In the course of 6 months, I learned to draw, I learned some machine learning techniques, I learned a lot of Spanish, I learned to give public speeches, I learned to tell stories, I learned to write, I learned some basic Norwegian, I learned to Meditate, I learned to Journal. And more.

I’ve since become a top writer on Medium, started two new businesses, got my third professional photography gig, built my own personal brand, hired 5 people, wrote two books, released a video game, and more.

And I’m not saying that to brag.

I just want you to realize that things are not always as hard as they seem.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping, and sharing ! :)

First published here: https://theascent.pub/stop-convincing-yourself-you-cant-do-something-now-5704d48fd149