Category Archives for "Lifehacks"

3 Day Weekends Create a More Productive Workweek

Tiffany McAdams is a freelance writer and graphic designer for InvestmentZen. She has an obsession with financing – she just got her first investment rental property and is eagerly saving up for a second. She loves the outdoors, especially skiing and kayaking, and has a knack for interior decoration.

Employees today are working more hours and taking less vacation time. In a recent study, only about 50% of full-time employees are working 40 hours a week or less. The other half are consistently working 45, 50 or even 60+ hours a week. On top of the standard workweek, many employees are working after hours trying to build some additional income by either starting a business or find random ways to make some extra cash.

The most noticeable effect from the increased hours worked is employee burnout. Burnout is causing employees to take excessive sick days and ultimately end up looking for employment with another company. While this in itself can be a big enough reason to lower work hours, increased risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, anxiety and depression are also looming risks for overworked employees.

What does an employer gain other than happier employees? Recent experiments have shown that the average employee can only produce five hours of concentrated, productive work. The other hours are often spent checking email, daydreaming, and even sleeping. Several companies participating in the three day weekend are reporting decreased absence, increased productivity, and higher employee loyalty.

Employees granted three day weekends are taking the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends, travel, and even catch up on sleep. Regardless of how they spend their time, they are showing up to work at the beginning of the week focused and happy.

A three day weekend sound good to you? Take some key points away from this infographic to your employer. Show them how they can save on energy bills, improve employee productivity and retention, and have happier employees. They’ll be satisfied with the results while you are enjoying your extended weekend.

Why Every Weekend Should Be A 3 Day Weekend


Make It a Great Day!

Make it a great day

A saying my high school history teacher used to say

Saturday, I went to a memorial service for my high school history teacher, William Batze. Or Mr. Batze, as he was referred to by most of his students.

Outside class, and after we were all out of high school, we just called him Batze.

His first daughter and I had been in the same schools (same grade) for years. His second daughter was a couple years behind.

They put on a great tribute to Mr. Batze's life.

I learned a lot about him that I didn't know.

And got to hear a lot of great stories from former students, fellow teachers, and friends of Batze.

I'm not writing here to tell you the whole story.

What I am here to tell you today is simply: Make it a great day. It's what Batze used to say at the end of class, every day.

It's largely a choice. Sure, sometimes the day just goes haywire and you're fucked no matter what.

You may be driving to the office and get rear-ended in traffic.

Or you could find out your best friend has cancer.

Or maybe your kid's principal called you to tell you that little Johnny got in a fight.

(All those things have happened to me. Shit happens.)

But you can choose to be positive or be negative.

Seize the day or let it seize you. Either way, it's a choice.

I don't like being out of control. I like it when I'm driving. And it doesn't have to be a car. I want to be the guy in charge.

When I feel like stuff just isn't going my way, it bums me out.

I often have to do a “daily reset”: Just STOP. Clear the head. Get into “flow.” Move on.

One thing I often say to myself when things just go south: Make it a great day.

I hope you're making it a great day today!

Why Don’t You Read My Emails?

Really, why don't you read my emails?

Do they suck? Too many? Too often?

Too many other things to do?

What is it?

Now, I know you may read my emails…but this is more a blanket question.

A lot of my subscribers don't read them.

Why not just leave?

Hell, it's what I do…if I don't read an email from someone for like a month, I unsubscribe.

You can always go back and subscribe again.


So what's the motivation to stay?

I know for me it's laziness. But y'all know I'm lazy.

Rather than “deal with” my inbox, I just archive everything when I get to about 700 and start over.

I literally pay for it in the end. I have to rent more gmail space.

Laziness almost always leads to…

D – U – M – B

We make stupid decisions based on procrastination.

Sure, a couple more bucks a month isn't going to break you. (If it does, you have a whole lot more work to do – and I'm not judging. I've “been there, done that.”)

But over time, that shit adds up. Maybe that new BSO (which is funny, because it resembles WSO which is where most of us get our BSO's!) that you had to go into hock for you could have paid for with actual cash.

I dunno.

The point is, we all waste time on “stuff.” We buy crap we don't need. Keep stuff we should get rid of. Don't deal with stuff right under our nose.

Why? LAZY.

It's funny – I have this conversation nearly every week with my near-teenage boy: “You're really smart. Probably the smartest kid I've ever known. You have talents that the vast majority of kids would die for. Yet your attitude stinks, your grades are crummy, and you don't do the work.

“You're lazy.”

I get the same response from him that I bet I'm getting from you: Blank stare.

blank stare

How my kids look at me when I lecture them

That's Rowan, by the way, not the near-teenage Liam I'm talking about.

I am the master at the blank stare, by the way. I developed it in retail and then perfected it when I worked for the phone company. I suppose I passed on the gene to Rowan 🙂

Anyhoo, get crackin'! Take care of business, as Elvis famously said. Pick a day of the week, set aside an hour, and just do the shit that's been gnawing at you.

​​​​​​​You'll feel better.

Thanks for reading. Talk soon.

Want a handy checklist to use with your email marketing campaigns? Get it here!

How to Beat Procrastination

procrastination is real - here's how to beat it

Do you procrastinate? Of course you do. Grab the bull by the damned horns and DO YOUR JOB!

Below, I will lay out why we procrastinate and how you can beat procrastination. It's a long read. Grab a beverage and make yourself comfortable.

And don't procrastinate reading this. You do so at your peril!

We all procrastinate. The reasons vary but it almost always comes down to “I don't feel like it.”

As if you'll one day find the inspiration to actually make a difference in your own life direction.

Won't happen. I mean, you're x years old and you're still unhappy? Or not accomplished? Still don't have that career you dreamed of?

And if it does, it will be fleeting. There will be days–lots of them–where you don't “feel like” doing the thing(s) you need to do to get ahead.

Take a long, hard look in your soul. And tell yourself this story…

John Kenneth Galbraith was one of the great economists of all time.

He spent more than 50 years as a professor at Harvard University.

He wrote 48 books.

He wrote over 1000 essays and reports and research for journals, and he was an absolute superstar.

One day late in his life, a journalist interviewed him about writing.

He said, “What did you learn from your career in writing?”

I learned something very interesting, that the quality of the writing I do on the days I don’t feel like it is just as good as the quality of writing I do on the days I do feel like it.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Just because you don’t feel like it doesn’t mean you’re not going to do it well.

Little known secret about me

loveI met my wife through my roommate. One day, about 17 years ago, we had a house warming party. Myron invited his friend, Patricia, among others. I invited my friend, Valerie.

As the party was winding down, late at night and I was really drunk (no surprises there!), I found Patricia perusing my bookshelf. She'd pulled a few books out, all written by Galbraith.

See, she'd just graduated college with her bachelor's degree in economics. I'd gotten my degree in econ at UC Davis years before.

We had an immediate bond. Geeky as hell, I know. But from that night on, and for 17 years since, we've been almost inseparable. We got married two years later.

And Myron and Valerie got married 6 months after we did.

I owe my existing life to Galbraith and Myron bringing my wife and me together.

beat-procrastination-2Now, I know the title drew you in. We're all looking at how to beat procrastination. Hell, I procrastinate all the time.

For me, it's always “I don't feel like it.” I'd rather Facebook. Or listen to music. Or read a book. Watch a TV show. Melt my eyes with candle wax.

How do you get over that hump?

I tell myself, “Success comes from consistency.”

Whether I “feel like it” or not, I'll do good work.

It's the work. Put in the work.

Yes, some days will be better than others. Some work efforts will be better than others.

But I can 100% attest to what Galbraith said: “I learned something very interesting, that the quality of the writing I do on the days I don’t feel like it is just as good as the quality of writing I do on the days I do feel like it.”

It's so true.

And you know what? Once I get going, I get into the flow. That deep work that I've quoted from Cal Newport. Where your focus is unassailable.

I've gone on “deep work jaunts” where I don't come out of my office for 14 hours, where all I did was begin, work on, and complete a project.

Most times, I put off the task for weeks, even months. Because I didn't feel like doing it.

You know what? Eventually, I got to the point where I just had to do it.

It may have been because of a commitment I made to myself or somebody else. Maybe it was a contractual obligation. Either way, I still didn't feel like doing it, but I did it.

And it turned out great.

In fact, taking action–especially when you don't want to–is what separates amateurs from professionals (as economists like Galbraith like to say, “everything else being equal“)

Take this lesson from a real pro like Galbraith, a real bona fide success.

What do you need to do that you don't feel like doing?

beat-procrastination-3Simple Steps to Beat Procrastination

  1. Know what you need to do. Goes without saying, right? But sometimes, we don't even know what we should be doing so it's kind of hard to get going on it.
  2. Set aside a block of time–every day–to do “the thing.” For me, it's writing. Every day, I have 7-8am set aside just to write.
  3. It MUST be a distraction-free workspace. If you can't make this, you're never going to “feel like” doing the thing you're putting off.
  4. Read the Galbraith story above. Even if–especially if–you “don't feel like it,” do it anyway.
  5. Realize that the worst that can happen is you “waste” an hour of time. You were going to waste it anyway.

When I really need to focus, I use Look it up. It really helps me.

You may surprise yourself at a) your productivity and b) your quality.

Read this book to help you beat procrastination – 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Overcome Your Procrastination

I like Steve's work. He's very productive because he creates habits. Doing what you don't feel like doing is a perfect habit to create, don't you think?

Beat Procrastination

Get Out of Your Way!

self sabotage

Do you get in your own way?

Sometimes, I think we humans are really good at getting in our own way.

Do you ever feel like you self-sabotage?

Like you do meaningless stuff just so you don't have to do the important stuff?

Or maybe you don't even know what's important?

I know the feeling, all too well. I have a pretty good system for eliminating this.

I'm going to share with you a few tips that help me when I start to feel overwhelm due to not getting shit done.

Eliminate Distractions

I work in a “home office.” I'm dying to get a “shedquarters,” but I'm in the process of evaluating a move. So I wait.

That said, I work in a tiny bedroom in a tiny house with 6 people (including me). I have small children who are LOUD.

It's tough. If I have to make a video, I do it late at night.

I use headphones. A lot. And F-O-C-U-S.

Close everything but what you are working on.

Take a Hike

If that doesn't work, go for a walk. No need to beat yourself into bits because you have stuff to do and can't.

This break is just that. It's not quitting. It's giving your mind a little bit of down time.

Often, I find that my subconscious takes over and works out the problem for me.

Write a “Success List” the Night Before

Get a 3×5 index card and write the 3 things you want to get done tomorrow. Getting those 3 things done will determine whether you were successful or not.

Work on only those 3 things.

Cross them off, one by one.

Can you add to the list? Yes.

But only when you finish those 3. Then add whatever you want.

Just beware that the mind is a funny beast and hates unfinished business.

It's better just to finish those 3 things.

Alternatively, once you finish those 3 things, do something else. When you finish that, write it on the 3×5 index card and immediately cross it off.

See how that works?

Hope this helps.

By the way, I have a little pet project. It's a “lifehacks” newsletter where I share stuff like the above plus a whole lot of simple tricks and tips to get more done during your day.

Click below for details.

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