Tag Archives: work

15 Ways to Retire Earlier

AN EARLY START TO YOUR GOLDEN YEARS

The word “retirement” and number “65” are as linked in the North American psyche as “bacon” and “eggs.” Then again, that all depends on how fast you want your eggs, right?

Retiring early — or leaving the work force for the golf course, if you like — might sound like an unattainable goal. But there are many ways to make it, so long as you take numerous approaches into account.

Yes, 65 is the standard — but what’s 21st century life all about if not exceeding standards? Here are 15 major financial and lifestyle moves you can make to achieve this goal.

Are you fantasizing about early retirement. Here’s how to make that dream a reality.

1. LIVE TWO TO THREE TIMES BELOW YOUR MEANS

Sorry, folks: Simply skipping that $4 latte in the morning ain’t gonna cut it. It takes a much more committed approach where “sacrifices” are viewed in a new light. “It’s amazing when I work through the numbers that some people think manicures, landscapers and maids are a need,” said Michael Chadwick, a certified financial planner and CEO of Chadwick Financial Advisors in Unionville, Conn.

2. REDEFINE ‘COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT’

Less spending later constitutes the flip side of less spending now. If you imagine comfy retirement as a vacation home and monthly cruise ship trips, revisit that vision so you don’t have to bleed cash — but can still retire in style. Instead of two homes, for example, why not live in your vacation destination and pocket the principal from selling your primary residence?

3. PAY OFF ALL YOUR DEBT

That’s right, all of it. First: Is it time to pay off your home? You might not have the resources now to plunk down one huge check, but consider savvy alternatives such as switching from a 30-year to 15-year mortgage. Monthly payments aren’t much higher, but the principal payoff is much greater. Second: Do the same with loans and credit cards, as high interest eats up income faster than termites chewing a log. A credit card balance of just $15,000 with an APR of 19.99 percent will take you five years to eradicate at $400 a month — and you’ll dish out a total of $23,764.48, the calculator on timevalue.com shows.

4. CONSIDER OVERLOOKED FINANCIAL RESOURCES

While it’s risky to count on unknowns such as an inheritance, you might have cash streams available outside the traditional retirement realm, said Jennifer E. Acuff, wealth advisor with TrueWealth Management in Atlanta. For example, “Understand your options with respect to any pensions you might be entitled to from current or previous employers.”

5. INVEST EARLY AND AGGRESSIVELY

If you’re in your 20s and start investing now, you’re in luck, said Joseph Jennings Jr., investment director for PNC Wealth Management in Baltimore. “Due to the power of compounding, the first dollar saved is the most important, as it has the most growth potential over time.” As an example, Jennings compares $10,000 saved at age 25 versus 60. “The 25-year-old has 40 years of growth potential at the average retirement age of 65, whereas $10,000 saved at age 60 only has five years of growth potential.”

6. MARRIED COUPLES: PLAY RETIREMENT ACCOUNT MATCHMAKER

The wisdom of taking advantage of a company match on the 401(k) is well established — but think about how that power is accelerated if a working couple does it with two such company matches. “If your employer has a matching contribution inside of your company’s plan, make sure you always contribute at least enough to receive it,” said Kevin J. Meehan, regional president-Chicago with Wealth Enhancement Group. “You are essentially leaving money on the table if you don’t.”

7. PRACTICE SOUND CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT

The methodology is simple, yet the results can be profound: Put money at least monthly into systematic investments during your working years. “There’s no other element of investment planning or portfolio management that’s more essential over the long term,” said Jesse Mackey, chief investment officer of 4Thought Financial Group in Syosset, N.Y.

8. JUMP ON EMPLOYER STOCK PURCHASE PLANS

How about some free money? The ESPP typically works by payroll deduction, with the company converting the money into shares every six months at a 15 percent discount. If you immediately liquidate those shares every time they’re delivered, it’s like get a guaranteed 15 percent rate of return,” said Dave Yeske, managing director at the wealth management firm Yeske Buie and director of the financial planning program at Golden Gate University. “Add the after-tax proceeds to your supplemental retirement savings.”

9. START THAT RETIREMENT ACCOUNT TODAY

That is, the earlier the better. Millennials who kick off retirement accounts early will reap big rewards later. A 25-year-old who socks away $4,000 a year for just 10 years (with a 10 percent annual return rate) will accrue more than $883,000 by the time she turns 60. Now then: Can’t you just taste those pina coladas on the beach?

10. PLAN SMART VACATIONS AND TRAVEL — AND INVEST THE DIFFERENCE

There’s no sense in depriving yourself of every single thing, especially well-deserved time off. But Yeske points out that you can save a ton in 150 countries through a service called HomeExchange.com. “My wife and I have stayed for free in London, Amsterdam, New York and Costa Rica,” he said. “And when you’re staying in someone’s home or apartment, you don’t have to eat out at a restaurant for every meal, so your food costs nothing more than if you were at home.”

11. DON’T LET YOUR MONEY SIT IDLE

To get to an early retirement, you have to periodically revisit your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account to make sure your money doesn’t grow cobwebs. For example, the way your retirement account is diversified shouldn’t put too much emphasis on low-yield investments — such as money market funds and low-yielding bonds. “Dividends can pile up in the money market account, typically earning one one-hundredth of a percent,” Yeske said. “Make sure your cash is invested properly.

12. HOP OFF THE HEDONIC TREADMILL

In this curse of consumerism, you buy something expensive, feel excited and then scout for something else to purchase when the “new car smell” wears off. And it’s a huge trap if you want early retirement, said Pete, a finance blogger who retired in his 30s. Another advantage: “Here in the rich world,” he wrote at MrMoneyMoustache.com, “the only widespread form of slavery is the economic type.”

 

13. LOOK FOR PASSIVE SOURCES OF INCOME

Early retirement doesn’t necessarily mean retiring all of your income, especially if you find ways to bring in money without hard work. Investing in rental properties is one way you can create a cash flow stream — and you can minimize the labor by hiring a property manager. Or: Set up an internet sales business and hire a part-timer to fulfill orders and track stock based on volume

14. ENLIST IN THE ARMED FORCES

Here’s an alternative way to get to “At ease, men.” By serving in the military, you can also serve yourself. Members commonly retire after 20 years, living off generous pensions and health insurance. Even though President Obama in March proposed sweeping changes to military retirement and health benefits, earlier-than-normal retirement should still remain an option for many men and women in uniform.

15. HIT THE ROAD OR GO JUMP IN A LAKE, INDEFINITELY

Some middle agers are selling the bulk of their possessions — including the home — and moving into tricked-out mobile homes and houseboats. These options also open the door to a life of leisure travel and can eliminate major expenses, such as property taxes and mortgage payments.

If you think of retiring early as simply walking away from everyday life — and thus a pipe dream — it’s time to take a step back and look at how others have done it. You might enjoy your job immensely and have friends in the trenches with you. But if work is taking too much away from your family time, community bonds, overall health and peace of mind, you might do well to consider one of the smartest alternative investments of all: yourself.

Do You Have a Job, a Career, or a Calling?

BY

Your answer to this question is crucial.

It can determine whether or not your life’s work is contributing to you living to your full potential. In his book Springboard, Wharton School Professor G. Richard Shell argues that this question is essential to finding personal meaning and satisfaction. And that’s not as simple as most people think.

To illustrate, imagine three people who have been working hard for several years — Alex, Ben, and Catherine.

  • Alex has a job he does for the paycheck. He clocks in for the hours he’s supposed to, and he puts in the minimum effort to get the job done. Sure, he might perform relatively well in his role, or he might go through the motions of socializing with the people he works with, but he can’t help feeling like a cog in a machine. He puts up with it though, as he’s motivated by the security that comes with having a stable job and a steady paycheck. He doesn’t view his job as much more than a chore. ‘Life’ is what happens when he gets home after work and picks up his guitar, or on weekends when he can spend time with his partner. He is always wishing that it’s Friday already, and he dreads Monday mornings.
  • Ben feels dedication and loyalty towards his career, and to an extent, his employer too. He sees himself progressing in his defined role, towards more status and responsibility. His pride in his job is apparent in how he introduces himself to others at parties: he says his name and what he does. He has spent countless hours building up his skills and knowledge within his field. He envisions himself in his manager’s position on a daily basis, and then progressing to his manager’s manager’s position, and so on. He works hard because he wants to be better, and sometimes he does things he doesn’t want to do, like work long hours, so that he can reach the ‘ideal’ future he envisions for himself.
  • Catherine wouldn’t call what she does ‘work.’ She feels lucky to have found her calling, and to get paid for it too. She’s keen to get out of bed every morning, excited about what the day will bring. She genuinely feels that she is making a difference. There’s hardly such a thing as a holiday, because she just works whatever hours she feels like to get the job done, motivated by the knowledge that what she’s doing is worthwhile. She is able to express herself though her work — using that creative spark she’s had since she was a child. She spends every day in alignment with her values, which include serving the community, even in her own little way. Instead of a cog in a machine, she feels like she is the machine.

Who do you identify most with?

Notice that there isn’t any mention of each person’s pay or profession. Research conducted by Yale University Professor Amy Wrzesniewski showed that most randomly selected groups divide themselves up almost exactly into thirds, no matter what they do, or how much they are paid. Indeed, some people from exactly the same workplace felt differently about the same job. It’s not always so clear-cut.

For example, Ben could be a trainee lawyer who feels like he has his whole career ahead of him. He’s only worked for two years, and has shown promise. Maybe he’ll make partner one day, if he just works hard enough. He’s proud of his profession, even though the hours exhaust him. He would say that his career is his priority right now. His best friend in the next cubicle feels differently. He finds the work tedious and pointless.

Catherine could be a doctor working in a ward that is always full of sick children. She works long hours, sometimes with only a few hours of sleep, but it’s worth it if she gets to save lives. She can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s her calling. Yes, she earns a fair amount, but it’s not the money that’s most important to her. Last night, she was bonding with her best friend Karen about how much they love their jobs. Karen is an administrator for the local government.

You might imagine that most people on lower incomes would consider themselves as just having a ‘job,’ but down the hallway from Catherine the doctor, the janitor finishes up cleaning the floor. Nobody really pays attention to him, but if they did, they would hear him humming away happily. Even though his job can be tiring at times, he loves it because the ward needs to stay clean so that the doctors can properly do their jobs, and the janitor gets to do his part in saving lives. It’s his calling too.

In fact, people can feel differently about their work at different times in their lives, and their perceptions can shift over time as their personal lives change and they seek different goals than when they first started in a job. Ben could focus on his law career for 10 years, and then realize that he has sacrificed a lot for the sake of it. He loses sight of why he wanted to be a lawyer in the first place, and over the years his career has become just a job to him. Now he’s just doing it because he doesn’t know anything else, and the money is good, but perhaps there are more important things in life than living hard and fast. He’ll be looking for his calling soon.

It’s not easy to work out whether you have a job, a career, or a calling. Things that matter to you now might not matter as much later, and vice-versa. In the long run, only you will know what is right for you. If you’re lucky enough to find your calling — work that you enjoy and that can support you financially — then you are better than two-thirds of the people in the workforce. And you’re well on your way to finding success and happiness.

How to Become Memorable in a Noisy World The secret to connecting with anyone.

By Daniel Gefen 

The Internet has introduced  powerful tools to connect millions of people with the simple click of a button.

An email, a tweet, a post. Within seconds, you can reach more people than your ancestors did in a lifetime.

The world has become a ‘numbers game,’ but nobody cares about being a number.

The same tools that you have at your disposal are easily accessible to the other seven billion people on this planet, which means that everyone is being bombarded with emails, tweets, messages and ads on a daily basis.

The way people act online reminds me of how people act when driving their cars.

Normal, well mannered people step into their cars and evolve into insensitive masters of metal.

All of a sudden, everyone else becomes ‘objects’ to avoid, ignore, honk at, shout out, cut off, curse at, etc.

The world has become faceless, but humans crave human interaction.

I started to realize the power of human interaction and developing deep relationships when I started my podcast. It’s amazing what 45-minutes talking to someone can actually do for a relationship. I have interviewed over 65 successful entrepreneurs and make an effort to keep in touch with each of them.

They are all busy people and are probably bombarded with messages from fans trying to connect. But here’s the secret:

They are human beings. And human beings crave deep, meaningful relationships. 

How many times has someone tried to get your attention with the same lazy piece of spam?

If it doesn’t work to get your attention, then why try using it to get the attention of others?

The Internet has made people lazy. It’s so easy to mass message or post quick meaningless things in the hope that a percentage of the masses will react.

Lazy people hope for the best. Successful people work hard to make things happen.

Here are some ways you can become memorable:

  • Instead of posting ‘Happy Birthday’ on someones timeline and getting lost in the masses, take 60 seconds and send them a happy birthday video message. They will remember you for it!
  • Instead of posting useless, mindless one liners,  post something deep and interactive
  • Reach out to people one on one and start a personal conversation
  • Dare I say it—pick up the phone and call people
  • Instead of commenting on other people’s posts with the same old one word replies like “cool” or “#Truth,” put some time into sharing how their post impacted you
  • Surprise people by sending them a gift in the mail

Most importantly, keep in touch with people on a regular basis—at least once every 90 days.

Ask yourself, what makes others memorable to you?

Now go and become memorable!

Self-Leadership Secrets of an Extreme Athlete

By Michael Hyatt

What could the sport of running teach us about the secrets of self-leadership and reaching our business finish lines?

I’ve been a fan of Dean Karnazes ever since I read his book Ultramarathon Man several years ago, so I eagerly devoured his newest, The Road to Sparta, which tells the story of history’s first-ever marathon.

Some of us know the popular version of the story, where after the Athenians defeated Persian invaders at the battle of Marathon 490 B.C., a messenger ran 26 miles to share the exciting news.

But Karnazes shares the real story, where the runner, whose name was Pheidippides, actually ran more than 150 miles all the way from Athens to Sparta, then back again, before the battle.

That’s 300 miles.

Why would a person willingly go through something like that?

“Western culture has things a little backwards right now,” Karnazes said. “We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives.”

That observation doesn’t just apply to running. That applies to all of life, including leading our organizations. When it comes to work, comfort equals boredom.

Engagement and even happiness come when we’re gunning toward major goals. I’m talking about the kind of achievements that push us outside our comfort zone.

Maybe it’s launching a new product line, starting a new career, or growing a sales channel by double digits. If staring down the goal makes you feel uneasy, you’re on the right track.

This ‘Discomfort Advantage’ is only one of the lessons running can teach us. Here are three leadership takeaways I discovered when I read The Road to Sparta:

1. Leverage your unique abilities.

When Karnazes was a child, he went to a basketball camp coached by the legendary John Wooden. A small kid, Karnazes struggled to get rebounds like the bigger children. But Wooden could see his spirit and gave him some advice: “Do what you can.” Instead of going for rebounds, he started playing the backcourt. And he dominated.

When we compete head-to-head as if our abilities are the same as others, we sometimes miss playing to our strengths. It’s like we tilt the playing field against ourselves. Instead, we need to focus on what makes us unique. Steve Jobs is one of the best examples of this in recent years. Apple played its own game and rose to dominance.

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2. Let passion outrun balance.

We have to be careful that our jobs don’t dominate our lives, but there’s a natural tension in play if we really love what we do. “People speak of finding balance,” says Karnazes. “To me, that’s a misplaced ambition. If you have balance, you do everything okay. … Balance doesn’t lead to happiness—impassioned dedication to one’s life purpose does.”

What else could lead a person to run 153 miles through Greece? What else could lead an entrepreneur to do what the market believes is impossible? Balance is desirable, but it’s not the endgame. Finding and achieving your life’s purpose is.

3. Celebrate your wins.

When we reach our goals, we need to take the appropriate time to celebrate. That’s a critical way to honor our work. But it’s also a key component of living a full life.

Hosting another run in Greece called the Navarino Challenge, Karnazes was surprised at how the townspeople came out to celebrate the winners. “These people were all willing to put aside what they were doing and join together,” he remembered, “rejoicing in the moment.”

“If we always made decisions with our heads instead of our hearts, we’d probably live much more orderly lives,” he says, “but they would much less joyous. … How many people spend their entire lives striving for something with their nose to the grindstone, only to wake up one day and realize they haven’t really lived at all?”

Trade on your unique abilities, stay fueled by passion for your work, and take time to celebrate your accomplishments.

Those three takeaways might serve an athlete. But I’m confident they’ll serve leaders even more.

Originally published by Michael Hyatt on December 16, 2016

About the Author: Michael Hyatt is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, which is also a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller. He is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and now writes, speaks, and coaches full-time.

How to Beat Procrastination

“The mind is a place unto itself, and can make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven.” – John Milton, Paradise Lost

How to Beat Procrastination

By Craig Ballantyne

It was 4 a.m. Time to get up, pet the dog, clear the cobwebs from my mind, and sit down to write. That’s my Magic Time and I can’t waste a minute of it.

But one morning last month, I struggled to get started. Instead I emptied the garbage. Took out the recycling. Packed my toiletries for my weekend travel. Arranged the books on my desk to sit at perfect 90-degree angles. I even shaved. And on a day when I would be working from home!

Finally, I decided to man-up and sit down. I glued myself to the chair (figuratively, of course), and forced myself to write. The first few minutes were difficult, almost excruciating. But then the mental spigots opened and the words flowed. That Zen-like feeling I get from my morning writing spread through me.

This is how you stop procrastinating.

By doing.

Do or do not do. There is no try, young Skywalker. Start now.

I write because that is what I was born to do. I can’t stop writing. But I’ll admit, sometimes it’s awful tough to get started. Some days I need a little extra push to get going. We all do. But once you get that ball of momentum rolling down the hill, it’s tough to stop.

Even the most hardcore marathon runner often struggles with the first few steps on a cold November morning. However, the same runner knows full and well the Boston Marathon is only a few short months away and so they stop trying and simply do.

All of the inertia disappears once you start.

To start is to win.

To start is magical.

To start is spiritual.

To start is to say, “This is it, world. This is what I’ve come to do and you’re not going to stop me, with your siren songs of petty distractions like social media or reality television.”

To start is to almost finish.

But why is it so hard to start doing and stop procrastinating?

Are You Missing Out on Life Because of This Inner Demon?

Just think of all the amazing accomplishments you could achieve if you could just beat the procrastination monster.

According to an article from Scientific American, almost 20% of the population chronically procrastinates, routinely putting off tasks to tomorrow that could be done today.

Frankly, that number seems awfully low. Our tendency to procrastinate, first developed in college pulling all-nighters to cram for exams or finish a term paper, is made worse in today’s world of constant social media updates, email addiction, multitasking, and 24-hour news channels.

But for every minute you spend procrastinating, you miss out on a minute of effective study, a minute of making an impact, a minute of moving towards your full potential.

If procrastination is an issue for you, then let’s change that starting right now. Don’t wait a minute longer in learning how to tame the beast.

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My Simple One Second Secret to Stop Procrastination Every Time

Marketing guru Eben Pagan warns us about getting sucked into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) loops. An OCD loop might involve checking your email, visiting news websites, checking your website or sales statistics, reading your text messages, and then returning to your inbox to start the loop all over again. That’s how so many of us procrastinate the day away.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

When I was younger and the novelty of seeing a new sale notification hitting my inbox had not yet worn off, I was guilty of giving in to a powerful OCD loop like the one described above. Fortunately I recognized the problem and over time developed a simple, quick and easy solution to snap out of it and get back to work.

I developed a trigger.

A trigger is exactly that. It’s an action item that triggers you to get back to work.

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. It doesn’t need to cost money or require another person to help. It just needs to be an easy, yet effective reminder that triggers you to get back to the task at hand.

For me, it was simply having the smallest amount of discipline to open up the Microsoft Word program on my computer.

That was the trigger that snapped me out of my procrastination.

As soon as I realized I was entering an OCD loop, I fought the urge to continue and opened up the word document. It triggered a break in my bad habit and a return to the right actions.

I still use this trick today.

On that morning when I struggled to sit down and write, it would have been easy to continue finding household chores to occupy my time. But that would have put me far off track of my daily goals.

The only thing that saved me was my trigger. When I conjured up just the smallest modicum of discipline to sit down in front of my computer and open up the word document, everything changed.

It was the trigger I needed to return to my writing. From there, each word typed was a victory. Each sentence a battle won. Each paragraph was a huge step in conquering the procrastination demon. Each victory made it easier to achieve the next. I was on a roll.

That’s the big lesson. Action begets action. And it all starts with a simple trigger.

How to Pull the Trigger on the Tasks You’re Avoiding

In their book, Switch, authors Chip and Dan Heath explore the science of building habits. What they found was in order to make something a habit, we simply need to make it easy – and rewarding – for us to take the action.

Having a trigger reminds you to get back on track. Triggers, like brushing your teeth, can you get you back on track and stop mindless eating at night. Turning on loud, energetic music can be the trigger you need to finally start the exercise session you’ve been delaying all morning. Pulling out your checkbook and putting on a collared-shirt could be the trigger you need to finally sit down and deal with your monthly bills.

These little triggers can go a long way.

It’s what you’ll find with all activities that you are procrastinating on. Scientific research supports it. The only thing that helps you overcome procrastination is to actually do the thing you are procrastinating about. That’s it. You must take action.

And it can all be made easier with a trigger. Pull that trigger and you’ll slip back into your right habits with less willpower required.

So how do you stop procrastination? Just start.

Identify a trigger to get you into action mode. And once you’ve started, don’t stop until you’re done. Keep on pushing, start your day with one positive success step. Don’t do anything else until you make progress on something that is important to you!

Today is your last day to STOP procrastinating on our 90% Off ETR University Ballantyne’s Day Sale.

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About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the founder of EarlyToRise University and the author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision. Click here to learn more from Craig so that you can get more done, make more money, and live the life of your dreams.

Want to Be Taken More Seriously? Start Doing These 5 Things

 

There are a number of contributing factors that make it challenging to be taken seriously in the professional world. It can be something irrational like your age, sex, height, or even voice that cause others to incorrectly assess your worth. Sometimes it can even be certain behaviors you exhibited that were misperceived by others and now you’ve been pigeon-holed and deemed less-professional or adept than you really are. However you’ve been misunderstood, change the attitudes of your work colleagues by committing to a certain way of carrying yourself and living by a clear value system that earns respect.

Inc. recently listed powerful moves you can commit to to influence how you’re seen in the eyes of others and ultimately be taken more seriously. We’ve highlighted our top choices here so you can begin implementing them in your interactions today.

Always be informed. It is better to be silent than to speak when you don’t know what you’re saying. Communicate effectively and knowledgeably on every subject. If you need some brushing up, put in the time to make sure you have all the facts before saying words you can’t take back. Being intelligent is not enough.

Keep your word. If you say you’re going to do something, you better get it done. Never promise something you can’t deliver on 100%. It is always better to be honest than fall short of what you’ve committed to and disappoint your colleagues.

Dress well. You’ve heard about dressing for the job you want, not the job you have. The way you show up to work is an indicator of the respect you have for yourself and the company and the kind of success you’re after.

Be mindful of your tone. In addition to the way you carry yourself, how you speak can communicate beyond the words you’re actually saying. Speak with confidence but also respect, always keeping your ear out for the tone you’re using.

Always be on time. Showing up late is a sign of disrespect and disorganization, two traits that have no place at the office. Practice punctuality and you’re communicating you can be counted on.

10%Better To Win

Influencive

 


Be 10 Percent Better to Win

By Betty Liu @BettyWLiu

 

You’ve read about being 10 percent happier, but what about being 10 percent better?

One entrepreneur, the highly successful and driven Kevin Ryan, founder of Business Insider, Gilt Groupe, MongoDB, and many others, says in order to succeed, you only need to be 10 percent better.

If you doubt his opinion, Ryan told me you need to look no further than Google.

In the latest episode of our Radiate podcast, Ryan notes: “I think one of the mistakes that people make [is] they think their idea is not groundbreaking. And by the way, most ideas are not groundbreaking. Google was a terrible idea when you think about it. It was just a search engine; there already were seven. Theirs was a little bit better. That’s it.

“They had the idea, and the way of doing the search engine was a better way of doing it. And so the results probably 10 percent of the time were fundamentally better. Ninety percent didn’t change, but 10 percent was [better]. And that was enough.”

Hearing this is a relief. You mean I don’t need to build a whole new type of rocket like Elon Musk to become a billionaire? Or invent a whole new electronic device like Steve Jobs?

The more I thought about what Kevin said, the more I realized how absolutely right he was. Most of us think we need to create the next big thing to succeed, and we become frustrated when every single idea seems so inadequate. When I first had my twin boys, my sister and I–ever the budding sister entrepreneurs–thought of a baby gifting business, since both of us were awash in baby drool and diapers all day long.

But when we scanned the internet, there were already dozens of gifting sites just like ours. And they were pretty damn good. Motivation sapped, we hung up the idea after a few sketches and late-night brainstorming sessions. Besides, did we really think we were the only ones with this great idea?

When I think back on it, we were just too inexperienced to understand that precisely because there were so many companies with the same idea out there, ours was actually a good one. And in fact, thinking about it some more, many of the smashing success stories you read about are companies that simply improved on what others were doing:

  • Facebook: Remember Friendster or MySpace? Mark Z just made social networks better.
  • Microsoft: There were half a dozen operating systems already from IBM, Atari, and others. Bill Gates just made his better.
  • Starbucks: Coffee shops were everywhere (that’s why venture capitalist Alan Patricof declined to invest. Oops). Howard Schultz made his spot a little more comfy.
  • Apple: BlackBerry was already making a pretty good phone. Steve Jobs made his iPhone better.

Now that I’m starting a company of my own for real–no diaper ideas this time–I’m taking Kevin’s observation to heart. How do we make our site and network for professionals 10 percent better than what’s already out there? If people are already going to other sites for help with their careers, what can we do that’s different?

That’s exactly what our small team is focused on right now. However, trying to figure that out is not 10 percent harder, it’s 100 percent harder. It seems like an unfair mathematical equation–put in 100 percent of the effort for a 10 percent improvement, but when you’re trying to be the Kevin’s of this world, that’s the kind of math that adds up.

Your Day

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

 MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING

Planning Your Day

 Fiercelybeautifulblog.com

By Craig Ballantyne

Let’s face it. As someone who wants extraordinary results in every area of your life, there are always going to be obstacles in your way. Two of the most common are overcoming procrastination and keeping control of your daily schedule.

The good news is that we conquer both with one solution. And that’s simply by planning your day.

So let’s allay your fears and stresses about the seemingly complex task at hand. Planning makes success simple.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t make success easy, but it makes it simple. There is a big difference between the two.

Easy means little effort. And we both know that success takes hard work. Simple means that the path to success has already been tread, and we just need to follow that path. But, of course, there’s a path that has been tread to the top of Mount Everest, too, and we know that isn’t easy.

All paths to success take planning. In our recent discussions about “Operation 2X,” our plan to help you achieve twice the results over the rest of the year, ETR Publisher Matt Smith said, “You cannot have a 2X day when you don’t plan. That includes planning kids/family activities. 2X happens only when you lead. It only happens when you’re proactive and are actually pushing things forward. 2X only happens when there is intention.”

So what does that mean?

You need to:

  •     Plan your day/schedule
  •     Block out your time for specific tasks
  •     Get ONE big thing done first thing in the morning for momentum
  •     Prioritize your to-do list
  •     Make a commitment to contacting the right people
  •     Eliminate unnecessary communication
  •     Avoid getting sucked into emails
  •     Set daily deadlines
  •     Stick to your schedule (this is where things often go wrong)
  •     Set up your environment for maximum productivity.
  •     Institute a strict sleeping schedule
  •     Surround yourself with competent people who can do some work for you.

Or you can say, “Oh, I don’t want to be that rigid. I want a flexible, spontaneous lifestyle.”

And that’s fine, but the fact is you’ll fail at almost everything you want to do in life. PERIOD.

Your choice.

You must have total control over your working conditions and those that can interrupt it. It must be made known that your work time is do-not-disturb time.

This will disappoint others but it will protect your time and is essential to your success. Make this decision. Separate work from play. Commit. Stay focused.

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Discover The Secrets to Overcome Overwhelm and Win the Work-Life Balance Struggle Once and For All

“It’s not about the hour you wake up, it’s about what you do with the hours that you are up. Whenever you start your day, start it with a powerful morning routine to get your mind right, then focus on your #1 priority for at least 15 minutes and win a victory that the world can’t take away from you no matter how crazy the rest of the day gets. You got this.” -Craig Ballantyne

Get the secrets to success today — for free

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Remember… you get freedom from structure.

You don’t get freedom from a 4-hour work week. That’s false freedom, or as your parents described it, “Laziness.”

So listen…

If you’re struggling with your schedule, go back and do a “time journal.” Then ruthlessly plan your work day.

The more work you can get done during work hours, the less time you’ll have to steal from your family, friends, fitness, and fun hobbies by working when it’s not “work time.”

That’s what is meant by getting more freedom from structure.

You can work hard a good many hours and still have a life. Most people don’t have a balance problem, they have a time-wasting problem.

You must find your Magic Time to get more done in less time.

You must also set an end to your day. Do a brain dump and then shut your working mind down. Go spend time with your family. Don’t answer email at all hours of the day. Set limits. Know what you should be doing at all times, and do it.

The more structure you have in your work day, the more you plan, the more you will accomplish — and the closer you will get to achieving a 2X day — and life.

Remember these words of wisdom from Dave Kekich:

“Cherish time, your most valuable resource. You can never make up the time you lose. It’s the most important value for any productive happy individual and is the only limitation to all accomplishment. To waste time is to waste your life. The most important choices you’ll ever make are how you use your time.”

So always be prepared. Plan ahead. If you do, and if you get focused, you can dominate your days and own your life in 2017.

If you need help, I’m your man.

Click here to discover how to work in-person with me on creating your Perfect Days

About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the founder of EarlyToRise University and the author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision. Click here to learn more from Craig so that you can get more done, make more money, and live the life of your dreams.