Why Thought Is Mostly A Waste of Time

Thought Time Waster

What’s your definition of a thought leader?

No, don’t think about it. You know the answer already. It’s not some thinker. Instead it’s someone who does stuff. That’s how you become a thought-leader. You actually do things.

And there’s proof that thought is a waste of time

What’s 5 x 6. Ok, so we know it’s 30. What about walking across the room to get a glass of water? You didn’t think, left step, right step, left step, balance, balance, balance, right? In fact, if you did think, your mind would be so full of thoughts that you’d almost get nothing done.

Yet most of us are trained to think, think and think

We are told to sleep on things and think about things, when in fact nothing much changes with whatever’s in our heads. And that’s because thinking is only very useful at a learning or creation stage. When we’re in the process of writing a book, we have to think of what to do, because we write books so infrequently, that the whole process of writing becomes one big thought exercise.

If on the other hand we wrote every single day, the thought process would be a lot sharper, faster and may I say, better. You know this to be true, because you do something quite creative like driving to the supermarket. You have to dodge all those “bad drivers” on the road, look out for the ditch, make the correct turn, answer your co-passenger and yet you drive without so much as a thought.

The moment it comes to achieving anything slightly more substantial, we start to think

Is this book you’re writing heading in the right direction? Will anyone even bother to read it? You think, think and think. And then paralysis sets in. Too many thoughts start swarming in your head, and soon there’s no space to do anything.

But instead, if you had a kind of plug and play system and simply put those ideas in that system, you’d have to think a lot less. You could actually achieve, then review and refine your book. But no, we choose to think instead.

And this is because thinking is the fallback position

I remember the time I went to pick up my niece from Auckland airport. My niece was just 3 years old. And coming in from India, she’d never used a seat belt in a car before that day. So would she sit in the car with the seatbelt? Would it be too big for her? Would she throw a tantrum? Would she do this and would she do that? Luckily I had someone else do all this thinking for me, because all I did was drive to the airport.

As things turned out, no matter what I thought, a three-year old does what she likes. And as I found, she was not only happy to use the seat belt, but liked the car seat so much that we had to take it out of the car, and into the house, so she could have her own seat—and seat belt.

The brain, your brain and mine doesn’t need a seat belt

And too much thinking takes up too much glucose and gets the brain tired. So the brain uses a shortcut. It learns things so it doesn’t have to think. You learn to walk, swim, drive, use Photoshop or watercolours. You learn how to pick good vegetables, cook a great meal, because the best chefs and artists don’t spend much time in thought. Instead they spend time executing. And the reason they can execute is because they’ve learned and refined a system.

What you need is less thought and more system

Thinking is mostly a waste of time. Yes, there’s no harm in thinking when creating stuff, but to think, think and think is what drives people crazy—and mostly makes them miserable. This is because these needless thoughts rarely go up and away. They tend to spiral downwards in a doom loop until we can no longer think any more. We’re drained and guess who is to blame?

So find yourself a good teacher

Find yourself a system.

Then work that system over and over so you don’t have to think.

That’s when true creativity happens.

That’s when you become a thought leader—and actually do stuff!

 


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Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done

Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages
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The Four Critical Zones Required to Speed Up Your Learning

The Four Critical Zones Required to Speed Up Your Learning

Have you ever seen two pianists play the same music?

It’s the very same score, the very same piano, but one seems to play it better than the other. Not just a little better, but a lot better. So what makes one person’s playing so different from the other?

It’s inborn talent.

That’s what most people will tell you anyway. They’ll jab their fingers at you and tell you: “This is the difference between someone who’s born with the gift vs. someone who was simply playing because he or she had to do so.”

And of course, they would be wrong

What looks like inborn talent, isn’t inborn talent at all. It just looks like that because one person is playing so much better than the other. And to understand why one person does things so much better than the other isn’t easy to nail down. But there are four critical elements that enhance learning. They are:

1) Work

2) Play

3) Downtime

4) Sleep

Zone 1: Work

Let’s start with work. Work is when you’re learning something. You have to carefully follow the instructions, stay in line, and do what is completely outside your comfort zone. This is the part we spend most of our time in, when learning a new skill; a new talent. But of course, we ignore the second zone completely. A zone called play.

Zone 2: So what’s play?

Play is where you don’t stay in line. When you do what’s in your comfort zone. When there are no instructions to follow. Where you do crazy, goofy things that no one can judge you, and not even you can judge yourself. We talk time and time again about how kids learn faster than adults, but you know what’s coming next, don’t you? Yes, adults don’t play.

We put our nose to the grindstone and ignore the play zone completely. And kids play, play, play. All the time, even when learning a new skills, they default quickly to the play zone. And you as an adult, have more fun teaching a kid a skill when playing a game, rather than when making them work. And yes, while work and play is great, it’s not enough. We also have to explore the third zone: downtime.

Zone 3: Downtime

I was recently at a watercolour workshop in Spain. And when the teacher finished showing us how to do a particular painting, he would tell us to pick up our coffee/tea and get started on our own painting right away. See the problem? No, I couldn’t. Because you see, I used to be like that teacher. I thought that if people spent some time getting their coffee/tea, that was enough downtime. But no, that’s not downtime at all.

Downtime is a complete break. A break where the brain decompresses and assimilates the learning. But it’s not trying to assimilate anything. It’s just chilling out, as it were. And in doing so, it lets the brain relax and re-energise itself before implementing the ‘work’ once again. Having downtime is important because the brain gets too tired from learning a new skill. Most of us view downtime as a wasted time.

And it’s not wasted time at all. A tired brain works a lot slower and ineffectively than a rested brain. And yet we ignore downtime. We don’t make it part of the system, any more than we make play part of the system. And yet, it’s vital for the brain. Vital to refresh itself, put the pieces together and take a lot better control of the skill we’re about to learn. Which of course, takes us to the last zone: sleep.

Zone 4: Sleep

Most of us say we get too little sleep. But given a chance, most of us squander opportunities to sleep. At night, for instance, most of us will rather watch some TV, trawl through Facebook or do something that makes us stay awake—than sleep early. And sleep is the play part of downtime. If downtime is when we’re consciously decompressing what we’ve learned, sleep is the chill out version of decompress. It’s when the brain goes into waka-waka mode and has a fiesta processing the learning in a completely different—and playful manner.

And sleep is important by night, but it’s also critical by day. A simple 20-minute sleep at your desk doesn’t make you groggy and yet sharpens your ability to focus. And yet, we don’t sleep much. Either by day, or night.

Notice what kids do instead?

They sleep a lot. They have a ton of downtime. They play a lot. They also learn a lot. Kids make the maximum use of all four zones. We don’t. We think we’re adults. We don’t have time. And yet the opposite is true. If we created a strategy for ourselves to have all four zones going, we could learn faster and more efficiently than any child could ever learn. But we don’t give ourselves the chance. All we ever do is work.

Like Ahmet, for instance

Remember that watercolour class? Well, there was this guy called Ahmet. Ahmet worked relentlessly. He took notes endlessly. He practiced long after the rest of us were gulping down sangrias in jar loads. And Ahmet struggled. He’s been practicing for years and struggling for years. He doesn’t sleep much, has no downtime and definitely no play time. It’s all about work, work, work.

To learn a skill efficiently, you need all four zones to kick in

As a teacher, you’ve got to put at least the first two zones into action: work and play. As a student, you’ve got to make sure you have downtime. Time where you’re doing nothing at all. And yes, you should get more sleep.

When one person plays the piano better than the other, it’s often not because of the sheer work. Look closely at the person’s habits and you’ll find something else as well. So when the next person jabs a finger at you and lectures you on inborn talent, ask them if they get enough downtime, sleep and play.

Because work alone, just doesn’t—work.

P.S. In the cartooning course, we have work and play time. Work time is when you do the assignment and play time is when you do the doodles. In the Article Writing Course, we get students to write about their travels, their hobbies—anything but work. And this is play time. Later, we get them to move to work articles.

In the headline course, attendees write tons of headlines. Some of those headlines are about dinosaurs, monkeys and bananas—playtime. Every course, every learning experience can be designed with work and play in mind.

And yes, downtime can be organised too. Organised breaks (e.g. the weekend) or a week in between a course, coffee breaks and games at live events—all downtime. Of course it’s up to the student to get their sleep. But you as the teacher need to put in a word so they know why they need to switch off their iPad and TVs and just doze away, by day or night.

 

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) How do you make your presentations come alive? Find out more about The Black Belt Presentation Series

2) Are serious about getting your business to the next level in 2013? Have a look at 5000bc.

3) Are you losing tons of potential business because you don’t know how the brain works? Read how The Brain Audit can help you.


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1) Do You Often Hit A Wall Called ‘Writers Block’?
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Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning.

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How Lack of Planning Wastes Chunks of Time

How Lack of Planning Wastes Chunks of Time

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”.

Those lines were apparently stated by Abraham Lincoln.

While Mr. Lincoln probably had a lot of trees to cut, I have a lot of articles to write. And like Lincoln, I’ll almost never write an article without some sort of planning. And there’s a reason why.

I write 300-500 articles a year.

If you write one article, you know how much time it takes. And if you write 300 articles, well, that’s a lot of time. And I know, from experience, that ‘sitting down’ to write is a complete waste of time. Instead I take a sheet of paper. I outline the list of articles I intend to write. I outline the core of the article structure. I determine how the structure will flow.

Then I sit down to write the article.

To most people my methodology may seem like a waste of time

After all, who’s got the time to sit and plan? If a job’s got to be done, wouldn’t it be better to just do the job and then fix things along the way?

Planning is priceless but plans are useless …

And that’s why I keep planning. The plans aren’t just ideas. They’re all the things I want to do during the week. And the reason for the plan is because I need to understand the ‘chaos factor.’ I already know that no matter what the plan, it’s going to go haywire. So I have to look at all the time I have, then allocate at least a third of that time to chaos, and then go to the next stage.

Work out the resources

If I’m going to be writing articles, I need to have a list of articles. Then I need to have the outlines. Then I need to put some ‘flesh’ on the outlines. If I’m going to be learning a new software, I need to download the movie files and have them on my computer.

Then I need to find a quiet place (like the library) where I can’t be disturbed. If I need to go to the movies, then I need to buy the tickets and make sure that I’ve worked out where to put my 44 million sheep – ok, so I’m kidding – but you get the point.

The point of planning isn’t just about the to-do list.

It’s about the resources.
It’s about the chaos that will pop up.
It’s about the location.
It’s about all the logistics that will help me execute the plan.

And it’s not just the plan, but how often you evaluate the plan

I plan on the weekend. Then I evaluate and nudge the plan along mid-week. I spend at least 2-3 hours on planning alone in every week.

Why? Because it’s more productive that’s why. And every time I ignore this advice, I waste minutes, then hours. And feel lousy at the end of it all.

So what’s your next step?
1) Outline what you have to do this week.
2) Outline the resources.
3) Outline the location.
4) Allocate at least a third of the time for Chaos.
5) Re-evaluate the plan mid-week and make changes.
6) Avoid doing anything without at least a sketch of a plan – unless you want to waste time, that is!

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.


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“What do your customers think? What would make them buy?

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In the Brain Audit – Sean teaches 7 steps on how to form killer communication pieces that makes people buy from you. The Brain Audit is a simple psychological system that everyone can use in their communication to increase their profits.”

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Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Don’t Miss! You already know that 80% of a sales letter depends on your headline.
So what’s the remaining 20% that causes customers to buy? Find out more

2) Do You Often Hit A Wall Called ‘Writers Block’?
Learn how the core elements of outlining can save you from the misery of writing your next article.

3) Do you know that visuals immediately improve your sales conversion?
Learn how to create drama and curiosity and help improve your web page conversion with visuals.

4) Do your websites, brochures, presentations, etc… confuse your clients?
Put some sanity into your design, even though you are not a designer?

5) Chaos Planning
Year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s July, and you’ve not really moved ahead as you’d expected.
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning.


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How To Beat Inertia

How To Beat Inertia

 

Imagine you had two loans to pay back. Loan A was $100,000 at 19% interest per annum. Loan B was $200 at 1% interest. Which loan would you pay back first? Loan A or Loan B? If you chose Loan A, then almost every financial consultant on the planet would agree with you.

Except Dave Ramsey

To everyone, but Dave, the logic is clear. Loan A has a much higher rate of interest. Logically you should pay back the higher rate of interest first. But as you’d expect, Dave disagrees.

That’s because Dave understands inertia better than most other financial consultants

So what is inertia? I learned a funny definition in physics class at school. It went like this: A body in the state of rest or motion is inertia.

Hah, that made me laugh. How can you be stuck and moving, and still be in the same state? But apparently that’s how inertia works. And this is Dave’s advice to people who are struggling with debt.

First list all the debts on a piece of paper

All debts need to go down. Student loans, credit card, mortgage, blah, blah. Then you need to rearrange the loans based on the size of the loan. So the smallest loan goes right at the top and the biggest one right at the bottom.

And everything else in between (depending on the size of the loan). And then he instructs you to pay only the minimum payment on every debt–with one exception. After the minimum payments were made, every available dollar needs to be put towards the first debt on the list.

Incredible as it may sound, Dave is telling you to wipe out that tiny, itty-bitty $200 debt with the pathetic interest, instead of taking on the painful big amount/big interest debt.

Logically it makes no sense

But your brain doesn’t always work logically when it comes to inertia. While you’re lounging on the sofa, watching endless and pointless political debates on TV, your logic is telling to get off your butt. It’s telling you that the debates are endless (and did we say, pointless?).

Your logic is also telling you that you should be doing some work or exercise instead of engaging in mindless drivel. So logic doesn’t work. And the same applies to the debt. When Dave’s clients wipe out the first debt it’s not necessarily logical, but it creates a factor of momentum. First the $200 is wiped out. Then the $350. Then the $800. And so on, right up to the ‘monsta’ $100,000.

The motion is what matters

A body in a state of rest or motion is inertia. And going from rest to a state of motion is impossible if you decide to take on the biggest task first.

Logic tells you that you should fix your website right now. Logic tells you that you should write that 300 page book. But Dave would say, “Go brush your teeth first.” That simple act of doing something–anything at all–gets you off your caboose and into another state of inertia: a state of motion.

So if you need to get something done, fool yourself

-Don’t go for a 60 minute walk. Instead put on your shoes and decide to walk for just 7 minutes.

-Don’t try to write a complete article. Just write for 14 minutes. Then stop.

-Avoid trying to clean the entire bathroom. Just attack the sink.

These tiny bits help you get to the bigger bits. Because even as you go for the 7 minute walk, you know very well that you’re not going to turn around in 7 minutes.

You’ll go longer and further. But the goal always needs to be 7 minutes or 14 minutes or the $200 debt. The itty-bitty bits are important, more important in fact, than the bigger goals.

When people say they feel inertia, they mostly refer to a state of laziness

Of not wanting to do anything at all. But as my physics teacher would tell you: “There’s inertia and there’s inertia.” And to get from one stage to another, you need to make the list in descending order of importance. Then attack the list.

And as Dave would say: Start small.

Acknowledgements

Dave Ramsey’s ‘Snowball Debt’ and ‘Switch’ by Chip and Dan Heath. P.S. Yes I know. You’re headed to Google these names, aren’t you? You think you’ll find out more about this book and this method of reducing debt, aren’t you? But you already have the tools.

You have a piece of paper. You have a pencil or pen. And you have the methodology. So don’t muck around. Get to work. You need to change that state of inertia right now.

Did you find this article interesting? Write your comments here. I would love to hear from you.

Product Offers: Links you should visit


“I wasn’t sure Sean would have anything new to say or would offer
advice that would be easy to apply.

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I was also concerned that I would be deluged with a lot of information and sales pitches that I would get overwhelmed and not be able to implement anything.

But after I checked out his site I was impressed by all the free offerings. And it seemed so well organized I didn’t feel overwhelmed or confused. I tried a few ideas out and was so happy with the positive results that I bought the Brain Audit.

After reading (and re-reading!) the Brain Audit I felt like a blindfold had been lifted off my eyes. It made so much sense and I kept thinking how it seems so obvious but no one has ever put all the pieces together like this before.

I am happily communicating with patients much better, and attracting more of my ideal type of patient.

So if you want to break through to get better results and are willing to do a little painless work, then do yourself a favor and get the Brain Audit.

Tyme Gigliotti, Licensed Acupuncturist
Baltimore, MD, USA
Read more at http://www.psychotactics.com/brainaudit


In your small business, how can you get reliable answers to your complex marketing problems?
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Top Selling Products Under $50


1) You already know that 80% of a sales letter depends on your headline.
So what’s the remaining 20% that causes customers to buy? Find out more

2) Do You Often Hit A Wall Called ‘Writers Block’?
Learn how the core elements of outlining can save you from the misery of writing your next article.

3) Do you know that visuals immediately improve your sales conversion?
Learn how to create drama and curiosity and help improve your web page conversion with visuals.

4) Do your websites, brochures, presentations, etc… confuse your clients?
Put some sanity into your design, even though you are not a designer?

5) Chaos Planning
Year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s April, and you’ve not really moved ahead as you’d expected.
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning.


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The Myth of Time (And Why Most People Will Never Have Time)

The Myth of Time (And Why Most People Will Never Have Time)

People often say they have no time.
They shouldn’t say that. The truth is they have no ability.

Let me explain

It used to take me two whole days to write an article. And when the article was complete, I wasn’t sure it was even good enough for publication. I had, as you probably know by now, an article graveyard. But if anyone asked me to do something on those two days of the month, I’d say:  “I have no time.”

What I should have said was: “I have no ability.”

I had no ability to write, to conceptualise and to execute.

No ability with writing, or working with InDesign or creating podcasts or whatever I was supposed to do. And of course when you have no ability, you feel like a doofus if you go around telling the world you’re a doofus.

So I said: “I have no time.”

What I did have was persistence

I wanted to take three months off every year. And if I was to squeeze nine twelve months of work in nine months, I had to sharpen up my abilities. So I wrote. I cursed. But I wrote. I cursed a lot more. But I wrote. And I went from lousy to average. And average to good. And from good to—pleased as punch with myself.

But let me classify why I feel so pleased with myself

When I wrote my first book, it took me a week. That book, if you want to call it a book was 16 pages long. When I sat down to beef up that book it took me three months.

Three months later, I had a book that kinda snuggled into a hundred pages or so. That was then. Last year I wrote a 120 page book, did all the cartoons, did all the layouts, cover design, audio version of the book (including audio cover design and tagging) in one week.

As you can see those lessons in InDesign and the persistence of writing paid off. But so did dozens of failed audio podcasts and crazy layouts. Eventually what happened to me, is what happens to most people who persist relentlessly. They get so freakin’ fast, that to the outside world it looks like talent.

And it’s not talent at all.

You should have heard the cursing.
You should have been there when I was lower than a benthos (that’s a bottom feeder).

But I knew one thing

No one was going to give me any extra time. It was up to me. I had to get faster. But not faster. But faster and better. And the only way to do that, was to stop the excuses (and the cursing).

But what do you do if you really don’t have the time?

Well for one, you waste enormous amounts of time. I’ve seen ‘busy’ people driving around listening to the radio. They say they have no time. What’s on the radio that’s so freakin’ interesting?

Probably some stupid political debate which is pointless to your future anyway. Or some music you’ve heard twenty gazillion times before. What should be on that ‘radio’ is an audio recording where you learn about marketing, or business, or something that enriches your mind.

When you’re waiting in line, you have time.

When you’re out for a walk or exercising, you have time.
When you’re headed back from dropping off the kids, you have time.

But hang on, you’re not an audio kind of person.

You like to read transcripts. Oh, is that so? Did you know that most kids can’t read a darned thing before they’re almost six or seven years old. Yet they learn customs, languages and hundreds of things purely through audio learning.

So let’s say, yes, you have a bias for transcripts or the written word

That I can understand. But so what? Put on the audio anyway. When you listen to the news, you don’t need a transcript. When you listen to music, you don’t have this overwhelming need for lyrics.

So use the same concept for audio learning. Use up the time you have. So what if you don’t remember 98% of what you hear? Listen to it anyway, because it boosts your ability even if you just retain a measly 2%.

Load your bag with a Kindle or some device where you can read on the go.

Yes, yes I can almost hear the other stupid excuse of how you like to read books on paper—but try carrying those books with you wherever you go. Instead of the silly mundane excuses, change the way you do things.

When you’re waiting for your laptop to boot up, read something.

While the waiter brings you your coffee, read something else.

Find every darned moment of the day to improve your ability. Some situations will lend themselves to text. Some won’t and you’ll need audio instead. You should be prepared to squeeze out every possible wasted moment, because they add up pretty quick.

And then when you’re back at your desk, sign up for a course that will kick your butt.

Not some ‘namby pamby’ course that lets you do whatever you feel like doing. But sign up for a course where you feel fear on your credit card—and where the person conducting the course will kick you out for missing so much as a day’s assignment.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t sign up for anything that promises instant success—because you will. Some joker will come along with his surfboard and promise you some instant knowledge, and you’ll do what you’ve done before. You’ll sign up and you’ll be further away from your ability than ever before.

Instant success takes too much time.

It assumes you don’t need ability.
And the truth is quite the opposite, as you’ve figured.

You have time.

You have loads of time.
But you have too many excuses.
And way too little ability.

Ditch the excuses. Top up the ability.

And you get what top performers have—loads of time. It’s as they say: If you want a job done, give to a busy person.

Time you got busy, eh?

Do  you have a story  about wasting time ? Or how you manage your time? Share it here

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I was one amongst a million more service based businesses. But now with the psychological marketing tactics I learned from the Brain Audit, I feel confident.

And I fell especially unique when it comes to advertising and marketing because most of my competitors don’t know the marketing principles taught in the Brain Audit!

I feel like a real professional marketing expert.

Luis Depazos, Entrepreneur, Miami, Fl. USA
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I was wary of signing up and paying for a forum or another membership site.

“Because of previous less than impressive experiences with sites that are all sizzle and no substance run by flaky gurus. Sean’s free advice and articles are so good I didn’t think that he could come up with something even better. He does.

When I joined,  I found a wealth of practical information and advice on all sorts of topics related to small business, marketing (both online and offline), interviews with experts, critiques of members’ websites and their marketing material. Sean is there answering queries and questions, sometimes even turning advice that
into an article.

Mixing with people from all over the world which allows you to get a truly international response to your questions or requests for help is one of the big bonuses of belonging.The 5000bc members are really friendly and there seems to be a complete absence of ego which is often the bane of a lot of online forums.

Free resources available to members which you don’t read or hear about outside 5000bc, not to mention free access to articles which later become paid products are added bonuses of being a member. You also get information about classes and workshops which Sean is planning before the general public is informed.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend 5000bc as a valuable resource to help you with your business and the free coaching.”
Stephen Trevarthen
Melbourne, Australia

Judge for yourself http://www.psychotactics.com/5000bc


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Why Time Management Is Less Powerful Than Efficiency Management

Why Time Management is Less POWERFUL than Efficiency Management

Keira is my niece. My sister in law teaches her daughter Keira the names of every one in the family. She does this by getting Keira to recognise the photos and call out the person’s name. So Keira learned everyone’s name. And now at two, she says 90% of the names (except the really hard ones like ‘Renuka’) with perfect pronunciation.

And the difference between Keira and other kids (at the same age) is efficiency. Day after day, Keira gets the drill. So now she can take a look at a photo of a relative she’s never met and call their name out perfectly.

What she’s getting a lesson in, is efficiency management

And this is what our brain does best. It tries to get really good at mastering a skill, especially if it considers the skill important. So as we grow up, we learn how to walk, talk, and we work very hard to master the skills. And luckily we learn all of this before we’re six years old. Until the age of six, we have almost no concept of time.

Then we turn seven

And suddenly our weeks, days and hours start to get governed by time.
But the truth is that it’s not time that needs structuring as much as efficiency. If you can be woken up from your deep sleep and can do something e.g. brush your teeth efficiently, then you’re good at it. A one year old can’t do that. A five year old does it better. And a ten year old does it even better.

The secret is indeed not time management, but efficiency management.

I draw cartoons fast, or write fast, or use InDesign or Photoshop, not because I’m good at time management. But because I’m relentless with the learning.

I forget stuff like everyone else. In fact I may be a lot worse. So I make laborious attempts to remember.

So while I do learn and read a lot of things, I keep going over and over and over the learning, until it’s second nature. So if I’m reading a book for instance, I’ll first just read it. Then if I find that it’s a good book worth remembering, I’ll get into the drill of mastering it.

1) I’ll buy the Kindle version of it and mark it.
2) I’ll make notes of the same book in my Moleskine (see links below)
3) I’ll buy the audio version and listen to the same book at least thrice (if not more).
4) Every time I read it, I’ll implement at least 2-3 of the concepts.
5) I’ll write an article or two about the concepts in the book.
6) I’ll talk to my wife, Renuka about the concept. I’ll talk to clients about it. I’ll bring up with friends in casual conversation.

In short I am desperate to become efficient. And I have no excuses.

And some people have their excuses

They believe that they learn better through audio. Or by reading. And good on them. I don’t learn well enough to master by reading or audio. So I do both. And I do it again and again. If you want to restrict your learning to one medium, well that’s your call.

I want to see the video. I want to hear the audio. I want to read the book. Heck I’ll even watch the cartoon version of the same information. I want to learn, and I have no excuses. Because when you think about it, people are making excuses.

I have no time for excuses

My goal is to master the concepts, so I will go over and over it. And like Keira, I get efficient. You can then bring up any page of the book, and I’ve really gone over it, over and over. And I understand it. But there’s still a lot to be done. And so the journey goes on.

Time management is really um, an interesting concept for me…

Take today for example. I woke up with this big plan of what I had to do. And guess what? For one, I put in too many things to do in one day. There was no way I could do it. Then suddenly I found myself mysteriously transported to the cafe. Then to the kebab shop. Then to watch a movie in the middle of the day. Then the hours flew. But twenty minutes ago I started writing this article. And now the article is done. It’s over.

Ten years ago, this article would have taken me two days.

I’d have budgeted the time for it. And cursed and ranted through it. Now I don’t. I write so many articles in a year (sometimes over 300 articles or more) that it’s second nature.

You can wake me up at 2am. And I won’t head for my toothbrush.
I’ll write an article.
Or do a layout in InDesign.
Or be able to draw a watercolour cartoon perfectly.

And it’s not because of time management. It’s efficiency management. It’s not that time management doesn’t count.

It does. But in my book, efficiency counts more.

Ask Keira! 

——————–
Would you like to share your story on efficiency management? Share your story here

What do your customers think? What would make them buy?
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In the Brain Audit – Sean teaches 7 steps on how to form killer communication pieces that makes people buy from you. The Brain Audit is a simple psychological system that everyone can use in their communication to increase their profits.”

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Put some sanity into your design, even though you are not a designer?

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Year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s March, and you’ve not really moved ahead as you’d expected.
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How to become really smart in 365 days

I had a revelation a few years ago. You see I was just like anybody else. I read books. I attended seminars. I did stuff. And I trundled along. Made profits and had my day in the sun. Till I decided I wanted to have a lifetime in the sun.

So I studied people.

One of the earliest influences in my metamorphosis was Jim Collins, author of ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great (which you must read by the way).

So there I am soaking in Jim’s amazing knowledge and I stumble on a page that lists out the books he’s going to read. And there are about 100 books on that list. He’s reading about the Dalai Lama, Psychology, Takeovers and God knows what else. (You can see the entire list by going to http://www.jimcollins.com/lib/readingRoom.html)

So there I am sitting and wondering. 100 books. Mmmm. In a year. Mmmm. That’s a lot of books. But if Jim can do it, despite having a crazy schedule, so can I. So I sat down and wrote my goal for the year. 100 books.

That’s 2 a week.

Sure I had to cut out TV. And newspapers. And I started listening to tapes in the car. But heck, I learned. And the more I learned, the more I realised how little I knew.

I’m a certified info junkie now. And you should be too. One year.
One year is all it takes. It can change your life forever, if you have a learning and application goal. I slipped in the application bit there, but it’s important. Possibly even more than the learning.

Learn. Apply. Repeat (I read that somewhere)

And have a learning goal. If you want to go someplace have a map. And get started today.

Summary:

1) You’re not busier than Jim Collins. Drop your excuses.

2) Cut out the crap from your life. TV, Radio, News. They will eat into your life and waste your precious time.

3) You don’t know what you don’t know. And there’s no way you’re going to learn if you don’t read and listen to audio.

4) Read one book a week, if not two. That’s about 40 books more than you’re possibly reading.

5) Apply. There are people I know who are professional students. They learn and don’t apply. Duh!

6) Decide you want to be really smart. If you want a lifetime in the sun, you can’t afford to fluff around. If you have excuses, read Point 1.

7) Notice the headline. It doesn’t say ‘Instant Success.’ It says one year. That’s a loooooooong time away. Start now because today’s almost over.

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How To Reclaim Your Life

I used to love dancing. I used to listen to music all day. I used to really enjoy going to movies and eating popcorn. I used to…I used to…I used to…

What’s happened to us? Why has work taken over our lives? And how can we reclaim it back?

I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about me

Over the years, work took over my life. I stopped listening to music. Hadn’t seen a movie in over a year. Hadn’t gone dancing. And the list went on and on and on.

Till one day, I decided to reclaim my life

Yeah right. Reclaiming your life, is like losing weight. There’s no shortcut. You’ve got to claw back the things that made you happy. Things that excited you and made everyone think you’re a nutter. Somehow, I lost it (as many others have too) and I had to get it back.

Look ma, no instant coffee

Trying to put back in your life all that’s missing is close to impossible. You’ve got to work your way back bit by bit. So I started with the music. I bought myself a set of decent headphones (the ones that cover your ears completely) and listened while I worked.

Tum…dee..dum…Now I was happier

I then decided to factor in the movies. I began to enjoy the popcorn. I went for walks on the beach. I started going for Spanish lessons. Slowly but surely, I’m reclaiming my life.

Hang on, just a minute…but you don’t have time

I understand. And in the first two-three years of your business, you have to put in all your focus. All the time and effort goes into just getting your business off the ground. But even the smallest business starts to get some roots and wings after three years. Clients appear through referrals; Business keeps ticking along with less effort; Life does appear to become less of a hassle.

It’s time to reclaim your life

“We’d never go on vacation,” said my friend Julia, “If I didn’t plan the family vacations in advance.” Julia books the tickets in advance. She knows there will be troubles. That dumb stuff happens. But you can’t stop enjoying yourself, because otherwise there’s little purpose to life.

And a lack of fun starts to wear down your work

Work no longer becomes fun. It’s just another thing to be done.
Another dreary day of deadlines and stress. The only way out is to reclaim your life. Do it this week. Start with one thing. Something small.

Bring a big smile back to your face. You look a lot happier when you’re ‘dancing.’

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How To Get 400 Additional Hours of Learning Every Year

bizcard

Imagine I told you I could give you 400 hours of time. Time you could spend doing nothing but learning. Learning a new skill. Or getting relevant information.

But where could you get 400 hours of undisturbed time?

In your car,that’s where!

Take the time to learn while you’re on the road, rather than just sitting down and listening to the idiotic dribble on radio.

You don’t need to hear the latest news.

You don’t need to hear Chopper Dave as he gives you the traffic report. You don’t need to listen to the blathering of yet another politician. What you need to do is improve your skills, while on the move.

Now you may consider yourself a ‘non-audio’ person

In fact, it’s more than likely that some of you don’t really like to listen to information on audio. You’d prefer to read a PDF, or a book, or watch a video.

You like to take notes while learning. And if you’re driving, you can’t possibly do that, can you?

And here’s my answer to your question

You don’t have to write down a word. You just have to listen. And then play the audio back on the next trip. And the next trip. And as you guessed, the next trip as well.

When I started out in business, I’d listen to the same audio as many as fifty times. Yes, that tape (we had tapes back then, remember?) wouldn’t even flip to Side B. Side A would play on and on endlessly.

And there’s a reason for this endless loop.

You used this concept when you learned a language as a child. You heard the word ‘carbon’ for instance, and you had to hear it several times, and then with reference to several other objects and situations, before you could accurately associate the word ‘carbon’ with its right meaning and usage.

Every time I was listening to the same tape, I wasn’t necessarily hearing the same information. I was creating new associations. I hear things I missed the first time.

I’d hear things I’d misunderstood because I couldn’t take in all the information all at once. And the more I listened the better I got at understanding the concepts of business.

Every person on this planet who drives, or goes for a walk, or spends his/her time huffing and puffing should improve their skills by listening to audio.

But guess what?

All I ever hear are excuses. People tell me why they can’t do this, and can’t do that.

Well, I’ve heard all the excuses. And if you’re driven enough, you can put those excuses in the trash can, and make sure it goes out on garbage day. Because the excuses are costing a lot.

So how much is ‘a lot?’

Consider that a full day live workshop is often no more than six hours long, and most people drive about two hours every day. This means they’re driving about 12 hours a week.

That’s two workshops a week. If you were to work only 35 weeks out of 52 weeks in a year, you’d be doing the equivalent of 70 whole days of workshops.

You see, you do have time.

But your excuses are bigger than your time. And if you can sidestep that mountain of excuses you’ll have more time than ever before, and here’s why!

1) You’ll make use of all that time you’ve been wasting.

2) You’ll learn so much, that you’ll run your business using smarter techniques, thus saving even more time.

Are you ready to turn the channel to expertise?

P.S. I don’t drive much any more. A tank of petrol lasts me well over a month (sometimes two). That’s because my office is less than 7 minutes from my home.

So here’s what I do. I walk.

I am now in the process of learning both Spanish and French at the same time. And I have no time in the day to do it, seeing that I am reasonably busy. So when do I learn the language? Yes, when I’m off for my walk, over the hill, and down to the beach.

I realise that if I miss my walk, I not only miss my exercise, but I also miss the learning.

If you’re serious about becoming an expert, here’s what you need to do. Move to audio. And do some activity while listening to audio.

And watch how you become an expert of sorts while doing something else.

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Why You Lose Focus—And How “Brain Maps” Play Their Role

flying

I remember sitting in a queue at JFK airport in New York waiting to take off.
As I sat in the plane, I could see our plane stuck behind about six or eight other planes.
They were all waiting to take off. And as we waited the weather conditions changed, causing the planes to keep taxiing till they got the right runway for takeoff.

The control tower kept moving the planes to the best possible location—a runway where the weather wasn’t against us. This meant we spent well over 45 minutes on the ground going from runway to runway following that queue of planes.

Then finally we took off. Once we got the right weather conditions, it was easy to take off and we had no problem all the way to sunny Barcelona.

But things aren’t looking so sunny for you, right now are they?
Suddenly you find you’re losing focus, and you’re not sure why.
Let’s just say you’re not a lazy person.

Let’s imagine you’re a reasonably hard worker and have not problem concentrating.
Yet suddenly things aren’t going your way. Suddenly, you’re struggling to focus. Should you fight through the problem? Or should you take a break?

I’ve stalled on many projects before, and part of the problem is chaos.
But part of the problem is just getting away and doing nothing. The only way to fix the problem is to fight through it, or find another way out. I’ve tried to fight through it in the past, but it doesn’t work.

This is more psychological than anything else.
When something occurs on a frequent basis, the brain starts to create what is called a “brain map”. Think about it this way. Hold a cup. You’ll see that your thumb jumps out first, then your forefinger. Then a millisecond later, the three fingers jump out.

It all looks like one action, but in fact it is about half a dozen or more actions in your brain.

If you do that often enough, the brain forms a map. If you try to reach for the cup with your middle finger first, it not only makes rude signs at you, but it’s also almost impossible to pick up the cup quickly.

This brain mapping is what we’d call a “habit” but in fact it’s quite temporary unless we make it permanent.
Again, “permanent” is just a throwaway word, because the brain is highly plastic. Anything learned can be unlearned. However in the short term the way “through” isn’t the way at all. The way out is to take a clean break. To go someplace where the “crazy brain map” is unable to function as it has been doing in the short term. When this happens, the newly formed habit gets “lazy” and of course a new brain map starts to take its place.

This is interesting, most interesting of all: The new brain map taking the old one’s place.
The brain loves to lose what it won’t use, and so as you step away from the behaviour that’s driving you crazy, you allow the brain to now take over that brain real estate with a sense of calm relaxation. And the behaviour that’s been agitating you, slows down and finally stops—given adequate time.

Trying to fight through the system is never productive. You have to create a whole new brain map (this is akin to Albert Einstein’s quote: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”). So “getting away” is the best thing to do.

It reorganises your brain, gives it time to relax and then allows you to come back re-energised.

Which brings us to the topic of getting away
Getting away could be a break away from home. Or away from work. But it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it’s not tiredness that’s wearing you down. What’s wearing you down is the lack of progress. In which case you need to look at the same problem from a different angle. e.g. Learning article writing is like learning a new, difficult language.

Often it’s easy to get stalled in the process of writing. Taking a break under these circumstances rarely helps your brain. On the contrary it puts it under more pressure because once you get back you have to “catch up”. In this case the method of learning has to take a different approach.

You have to have put yourself, or be put in a learning environment where there’s little chance to get “crazy wind”. Where’s there’s as minimal frustration as possible.

Just like a plane taking off.
You can’t fight the weather. You can’t battle the winds. You have to find a different runway. A runway that will enable you to take off without too much drama. And head off to a whole new brain map: your “sunny Barcelona”.
—————–
Next Step: Do you sometimes wonder if planning books are written just for the ‘organised’ people?
chaos_planning004
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning
—————–


The Unknown Secret of Time Management

menace

Imagine a close relative needs to be driven to the hospital and you don’t have time to call an ambulance. You have to drive your relative to the hospital right away. So what do you do? You drive, don’t you? And you get your relative to the hospital.

And obvious as it may sound, you got to the hospital because you could drive.
If you couldn’t drive, you’d have to wait for an ambulance.
Or you’d have to hail a taxi (yeah, right!)
Or you’d have to persuade someone else to drive.

What you’re losing is precious time
Just like business owners do every single day. In their desire to just get the job done, most business owners miss out on the big, unknown secret of time management: namely having considerable skill to do the job. This means that if a business owner has to change stuff on their website, or tweak some graphic, or do something that’s related to their business, they have to wait for the ambulance. Or a taxi. Or someone else.

Or worse, they try to drive the “car” themselves
They aren’t confident about driving the “car”. They know the difference between the clutch and the brake, but with their limited “driving” knowledge, they’re a menace on the roads. They may kill themselves (and their passenger) and take a few other folks on the road with them as well.

I used to be that kind of business owner
I write a lot of books and create reports. And so I learned how to use the page layout program called Adobe InDesign. But because I was so keen to “get on with the job”, I only learned enough to get behind the wheel and play with the accelerator and clutch. This made me a menace on the job. I’d struggle to put a document together. I’d often not know what had gone wrong (and things would often go wrong). I fudge, fumble and grumble my way through it.

Of course I was wasting precious time
I was slow and inept because I refused to get a higher level of competency with the program. And not only was I wasting my own time, but I’d slow up deadlines of several projects. This ensured that I’d be permanently distracted (the more frustrated you are, the more time you spend checking email and Facebook updates) and the jobs would edge towards a “thank goodness that’s over” finish.

Most business owners think they’re saving time by getting the job out of the way
But in fact they’re just wasting time. Your business is rarely restricted to your trade. So let’s say you’re a hairdresser, then you may believe it’s your job to learn how to cut hair in the latest styles. And sure that’s what you have to do. But you also have to learn how to use the technology that’s around you. And you have to understand and control your marketing.

But surely you could outsource a whole bunch of things, couldn’t you?
Sure you could. But there are things that are involved in marketing, technology and your trade that you shouldn’t outsource. That if you simply took the time to learn the skills and keep the skills updated, you’d have remarkable control in a very short time.

Except there’s one big problem: You don’t have time to save time, right?
Who’s got the time to learn this, that and the other? You’re busy enough as it is, right? Right, and so was I. I was busy wasting time for a whole five years. I fumbled my way through InDesign and wasted enormous number of hours by being stubborn and idiotic. Then over three weeks in January, I spent an hour every day learning InDesign.

I probably spent thirty hours in all learning the program
And my productivity skyrocketed. Every time I turn on InDesign (and it’s a reasonably detailed program) it’s like jumping onto the swing at the playground. I’m in control. I know what I’m doing. I’m not getting frustrated. And most importantly, I’m saving enormous time. I’m a bit of an expert now, and I want to learn a whole lot more so I can save even more time.

If you want to save time you have to ask yourself: Am I so busy that I don’t have time to save time?

It’s a sobering question, isn’t it?
And most folks would rather muddle their way through life saying “I don’t have time” than learn how to “drive their car.” Once you learn to drive, you can drive anyone and anywhere. And if you choose, you can outsource what you don’t want to do. But learn the skill. Then outsource.

Believe me. It’s a time saver. Often a lifesaver!

———————–
Next Step: “Before I purchased the Brain Audit, I thought this is just crazy, I’ve got so much marketing material that I still haven’t implemented.

But right from Sean’s first story and metaphor, I could see this was different. I was hooked. The Brain Audit challenged virtually every principle of marketing I’d grown up with. Like selling benefit or never starting with a negative or problem.

And it’s this refreshing, innovative approach that makes the Brain Audit a must buy for anyone who is really serious about challenging the status quo and taking their business to new heights.

Already we’ve applied the principles to one of our workshops and the response has been fantastic. The Brain Audit and our ongoing association with Sean has been one of the best business decisions we’ve every made.

paulm
Paul Mitchell, Managing Director, The Human Enterprise, Australia
Judge for yourself The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy And Why They Don’t

———————
“I actually didn’t join 5000bc a year earlier than I did assuming it would be a lot more expensive than it is. Silly me.”

I found it was far better than I ever imagined, over the years I have been a participant of many different memberships and forums and none of them come close to what 5000bc offers.

I would recommend 5000bc to any entrepreneur or small business owner as a great source of knowledge and information from like minded people who have often already achieved what you may be struggling to do and can help save you loads of time and ultimately expense in getting to where you need to be.

duncan
Duncan MacIntyre, officechairadvice, Derbys UK
Judge for yourself http://www.psychotactics.com/5000bc
———————
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2) Do you sometimes wonder if planning books are written just for the ‘organised’ people?
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning

3) Does your websites, brochures, presentations, etc..confuse your clients? .
Put some sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks.

3) Yes, you needs visuals on your sales page, but how do you use visuals to immediately improve your sales conversion?
———————