Friday, October 7, 2016

Get Productive: Peak Your Productivity With This Simple Daily Routine That Actually Worths $400,000 Today


This is the only routine that you need to follow in the daily hustle and bustle.

Let’s begin with the story behind this routine…

By 1918, Charles M. Schwab was one of the richest men in the world.

Schwab was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in America at the time. The famous inventor Thomas Edison once referred to Schwab as the “master hustler.” He was constantly seeking an edge over the competition.

One day in 1918, in his quest to increase the efficiency of his team and discover better ways to get things done, Schwab arranged a meeting with a highly-respected productivity consultant named Ivy Lee.

Lee was a successful businessman in his own right and is widely remembered as a pioneer in the field of public relations. As the story goes, Schwab brought Lee into his office and said, “Show me a way to get more things done.”

“Give me 15 minutes with each of your executives,” Lee replied.

“How much will it cost me,” Schwab asked.

“Nothing,” Lee said. “Unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.”

Here’s the routine:

During his 15 minutes with each executive, Lee explained his simple method for achieving peak productivity:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

The strategy sounded simple, but Schwab and his executive team at Bethlehem Steel gave it a try. After three months, Schwab was so delighted with the progress his company had made that he called Lee into his office and wrote him a check for $25,000.

A $25,000 check written in 1918 is the equivalent of a $400,000 check in 2015.

The Ivy Lee Method of prioritizing your to-do list seems stupidly simple. How could something this simple be worth so much? Well, the followings are what make the daily routine so effective.

On Managing Priorities Well

Ivy Lee’s productivity method utilizes a number of important productivity concepts. Here’s what makes it so effective:

It’s simple enough to actually work.

The primary critique of methods like this one is that they are too basic. They don’t account for all of the complexities and nuances of life. What happens if an emergency pops up? What about using the latest technology to our fullest advantage? In my experience, complexity is often a weakness because it makes it harder to get back on track. Yes, emergencies and unexpected distractions will arise. Ignore them as much as possible, deal with them when you must, and get back to your prioritized to-do list as soon as possible. Use simple rules to guide complex behavior.

It forces you to make tough decisions.

I don’t believe there is anything magical about Lee’s number of six important tasks per day. It could just as easily be five tasks per day. However, I do think there is something magical about imposing limits upon yourself. I find that the single best thing to do when you have too many ideas (or when you’re overwhelmed by everything you need to get done) is to prune your ideas and trim away everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Constraints can make you better. Lee’s method is similar to Warren Buffett’s 25-5 Rule, which requires you to focus on just 5 critical tasks and ignore everything else. Basically, if you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything.

It removes the friction of starting.

The biggest hurdle to finishing most tasks is starting them. (Getting off the couch can be tough, but once you actually start running it is much easier to finish your workout.) Lee’s method forces you to decide on your first task the night before you go to work. This strategy has been incredibly useful for me: as a writer, I can waste three or four hours debating what I should write about on a given day. If I decide the night before, however, I can wake up and start writing immediately. It’s simple, but it works. In the beginning, getting started is just as important as succeeding at all.

It requires you to single-task.

Modern society loves multi-tasking. The myth of multi-tasking is that being busy is synonymous with being better. The exact opposite is true. Having fewer priorities leads to better work. Study world-class experts in nearly any field—athletes, artists, scientists, teachers, CEOs—and you’ll discover one characteristic runs through all of them: focus. The reason is simple. You can’t be great at one task if you’re constantly dividing your time ten different ways. Mastery requires focus and consistency.

The Myth of Multitasking


Yes, we are capable of doing two things at the same time. It is possible, for example, to watch TV while cooking dinner or to answer an email while talking on the phone.

What is impossible, however, is concentrating on two tasks at once. Multitasking forces your brain to switch back and forth very quickly from one task to another.

This wouldn’t be a big deal if the human brain could transition seamlessly from one job to the next, but it can’t. Multitasking forces you to pay a mental price each time you interrupt one task and jump to another. In psychology terms, this mental price is called the switching cost.

Switching cost is the disruption in performance that we experience when we switch our attention from one task to another. A 2003 study published in the International Journal of Information Management found that the typical person checks email once every five minutes and that, on average, it takes 64 seconds to resume the previous task after checking your email.

In other words, because of email alone we typically waste one out of every six minutes.

Doing more things does not drive faster or better results. Doing better things drives better results. Even more accurately, doing one thing as best you can drives better results.

The bottom line? Do the most important thing first each day. It’s the only productivity trick you need.

This post is adapted from

The post Get Productive: Peak Your Productivity With This Simple Daily Routine That Actually Worths $400,000 Today appeared first on Lifehack.

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Get Productive: Getting Motivated Is Easier Than You Thought, But Most People Do It Wrong – Here’s How Successful People Do It


“The standard approach seems to be to listen to a motivational speech or read an inspirational book and then feel motivated. It’s true, this type of passive inspiration can work. But this is only one type of inspiration … and I think it’s the weaker type…”

When we feel overwhelmed or get less motivated, we tend to procrastinate. We usually lose motivation when we need it the most unfortunately.

What is Motivation indeed?

What is motivation, exactly? Scientists define motivation as your general willingness to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to take action.

Here’s a more useful definition:

The author Steven Pressfield has a great line in his book, The War of Art, which I think gets at the core of motivation. To paraphrase Pressfield,

At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.

In other words, at some point it is easier to change than to stay the same. It is easier to feel insecure at the gym than to experience self-loathing on the couch. It is easier to feel awkward while making the sales call than to feel disappointed about not taking action. Each choice has a price, but when we are motivated it is easier to take action than to remain still.

This, I think, is the essence of motivation. When we feel motivated, we want to take action. When we don’t feel motivated, we want to remain the same. Somehow we cross a mental threshold—usually after weeks of procrastination and in the face of an impending deadline—and it becomes more painful to not do the work than to actually do it.

Now for the important question: Is there anything we can do to make it more likely that we cross this mental threshold and feel motivated on a consistent basis?

The Myth of Motivation: How to Get Motivated?

One of the most surprising things about motivation is that it often comes after starting a new behavior, not before. We have this common misconception that motivation is something that precedes action. We believe that motivation originates in a passive state and then we follow through with some type of action.

The standard approach seems to be to listen to a motivational speech or read an inspirational book and then feel motivated. It’s true, this type of passive inspiration can work. But this is only one type of inspiration … and I think it’s the weaker type.

What is I think is far more powerful is active inspiration. Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.

You have probably experienced this phenomenon before. For example, going for a 30-minute run may seem overwhelming before you begin, but if you can muster up the energy to take the first steps, you’ll often find that you become more motivated to finish as you go. In many cases, motivation rises as tasks near completion. In other words, it’s easier to finish the run than it was to start it in the first place.


This is basically Newton’s First Law applied to habit formation: objects in motion tend to stay in motion. And that means getting started is the hardest part.

This is also a far more gracious and forgiving way to view your behavior. So often we judge ourselves and assume that if we have the motivation to stick with good habits, then we must lack willpower or have some weakness. Instead, the philosophy of active inspiration reveals that you don’t lack some magical component of willpower, you simply need to take action and let motivation follow accordingly.

So how do we make getting started easier? Let’s talk about that now.

Why Successful People Don’t Wait for Motivation

In his popular book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, author Mason Currey notes that many of the world’s great artists follow a consistent schedule.

  • Maya Angelou rents a local hotel room and goes there to write. She arrives at 6:30 AM, writes until 2 PM, and then goes home to do some editing. She never sleeps at the hotel.
  • Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon writes five nights per week from 10 PM to 3 AM.
  • Haruki Murakami wakes up at 4 AM, writes for five hours, and then goes for a run.

The work of top creatives isn’t dependent upon motivation or inspiration, but rather it follows a consistent pattern and routine. It’s the mastering of daily habits that leads to motivation and creative success, not some mythical spark of genius.

Here’s why…

How to Get Addicted to Taking Action

William James, the famous psychologist, is noted for saying that habits and schedules are important because they “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”

An article in The Guardian agreed by saying, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.” And there are plenty of research studies on willpower and motivation to back up that statement.

Want to know how to be motivated every day? Stop waiting for motivation and inspiration to strike you and simply set a schedule for doing work on a consistent basis.


Daily Routines: The Power of the Schedule

During a conversation about writing, my friend Sarah Peck looked at me and said, “A lot of people never get around to writing because they are always wondering when they are going to write next.”

You could say the same thing about working out, starting a business, creating art, and building most habits. The schedule is the system that makes your goals a reality. If you don’t set a schedule for yourself, then your only option is to rely on motivation.

  • If your workout doesn’t have a time when it usually occurs, then each day you’ll wake up thinking, “I hope I feel motivated to exercise today.”
  • If your business doesn’t have a system for marketing, then you’ll show up at work crossing your fingers that you’ll find a way to get the word out (in addition to everything else you have to do).
  • If you don’t have a time block to write every week, then you’ll find yourself saying things like, “I just need to find the willpower to do it.”

Stop waiting for motivation or inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.

This post is adapted from

The post Get Productive: Getting Motivated Is Easier Than You Thought, But Most People Do It Wrong – Here’s How Successful People Do It appeared first on Lifehack.

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Get Productive: Do This One Thing And You’ll Never Look Back And Wonder Where The Time Went On Your Busy Days


Have you ever made it to the end of the day, looked back and wondered where the day went? You know you were busy but what were you busy with actually?

That’s what happens when we work in a reactive mode, simply responding to the wants and needs of everyone else. When we keep reacting passively to the demand from others, we get out of balance and will never get our most important things done.

If you want to get things done, you have to be intentionally PROACTIVE.

Reactive vs Proactive

The common definition is that a proactive task is a task that you want to do, and reactive task is a task that someone else wants you to do. However, this definition is not very useful.

Better definition would be: Proactive task is a task that is aligned with your long term-goals that has a strong long-term benefit, and reactive task is a task that brings very little long-term benefit. Reactive tasks are usually not results of planning, they are more likely to appear in the heat of the moment.

Reactive tasks make you living, proactive tasks make you successful.

Reactive and proactive tasks usually have these common characteristics. Study this comparison table carefully to fully understand and realise the differences:


Vast majority of urgent and not important tasks are reactive, and vast majority of important and not urgent tasks are proactive.

Another way to put it: Reactive tasks are usually not important, and proactive tasks are very important, especially in the long run.

The Ideal Ratio of Reactive Tasks vs Proactive Tasks

Perhaps that spending time strictly on proactive tasks is the holy grail of personal achievement, but it is not attainable for the most of us.

However, spending 80% time on proactive tasks and just 20% of time on reactive tasks is a realistic goal that everyone can achieve. Once you achieve this balance, your life will be forever different – in the best possible way.

Why? Because you will be moving in the right direction, every day, every week, every month, every year, building your better life step by step. The results will stick. Every day will be better than the last one. Sure, there will be some up and downs, but the general trend will be unquestionable. Sky is the limit. But what is most important: You will slowly become your own boss.

The Link Between Proactive Tasks and Procrastination

Whenever you are doing reactive tasks instead of proactive tasks, you are procrastinating.

You see, what procrastination does is this: It makes you do reactive tasks instead of proactive tasks, because they are easier, safer, and with immediate benefits. For all I know, you could add tasks like “Play PC games” to your to-do list together with other reactive tasks and complete them with great satisfaction and feeling of productivity. That’s how it works.

Procrastination is the one-eyed leader of your brain and body. It’s the last thing you need – what you really need is a commander in a plane that will allow you to see the broader context.

Simple Exercise To Raise Your Awareness

1. Go through your to-do lists and count all reactive tasks and all proactive tasks. (To get more accurate result, do NOT count everyday tasks that must be done regardless of other circumstances. Don’t count tasks like “feed the baby”, “buy groceries”, “get the velociraptor out of my bedroom” etc).

2. Now is the time to do the math and calculate the ratio:

  • Take the total number of reactive + proactive tasks (eg. 43 reactive and 15 proactive is 58 in total)
  • Divide it by 100 (you get 0,58 in this example)
  • Now divide the number of your reactive tasks by that number (eg. 43 / 0,58 = 74%)
  • Divide the number of your proactive tasks too (eg. 15 / 0,58 = 26%)

We just calculated that we are spending 74% of our time on reactive tasks and only 26% of our time on proactive tasks in our example. That’s not very good!

How To Spend More Time On Proactive Tasks

So you would like to spend more time on proactive tasks? Good! It’s not a rocket science. Here are some tips:

  • Can you eliminate some of the reactive tasks? Create new to-do list called “Never To-Do” and just move them there
  • Can you create more proactive tasks? Ideally some tasks that you are passionate about. If you can come up with some tasks that create a burning desire inside you, you are on the right path.
  • Learn to say “No.” Being assertive is crucial. When someone delegates you a task that you don’t want to do, just say it outright. You have more important things to do.
  • Not all tasks from others are reactive – even tasks from others can be proactive, especially when they are aligned with your long-term goals. When you share your goals with your boss or business partner, proactive tasks come naturally. But, if you want something completely different than your boss, perhaps it’s the time to look for a new boss.

This article originally appeared in Dextronet.

The post Get Productive: Do This One Thing And You’ll Never Look Back And Wonder Where The Time Went On Your Busy Days appeared first on Lifehack.

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Facebook Marketplace Goes Very Wrong (4 pics)

Facebook introduced Marketplace on Monday morning. It is a new section on its mobile application that allows users to buy and sell things there. But there’s been already a problem with that. All of the items and services featured there go against the site’s commercial policy. Illegal drugs, sexual services, guns, dogs and even baby hedgehogs were available on Marketplace on Monday.