“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.” – C.G. Jung

If something has never been done before, there’s a better chance that you are doing something that you were uniquely created, equipped, and called to do.

Amazing quote shared by Kevin Rose’s journal.

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Reflection: ”What is an Essentialist?” And what I can do about it?

This is a blog post where I’m simply taking inventory of my life and brainstorming a plan to improve it. I hope it helps you in your own journey; but the main goal of this is for me to think and write out loud.

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From “The Journal” – a monthly newsletter from tech entrepreneur and investor, Kevin Rose:

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage.

In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”

Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

~ Greg McKeown

This concept and explanation are perfectly-timed. I am doing way too many okay/good/unnecessary/negative/unhelpful/ineffective things, and not giving my meaningful work – the awesome, “hell yeah”, necessary, immensely impactful, and effective activities – a chance to breathe, thrive, and fly.

I don’t want to die by a thousand cuts (a thousand mediocre tasks), but die during a helluva ride (something worth sacrificing your life for) lol!

What are some examples of these unessential tasks in my life?

Emails continue to be an anchor that prevent my ship from sailing. It’s one of those creepers that seem small and harmless – one email that takes only 30 seconds to respond here, one email that takes 60 seconds to read there, etc. – that can suck me in and kill the rest of my day.

I aspire for an empty inbox – which isn’t a bad thing itself – but most of my means to get there are unhealthy.

Not doing the most important task first will consume the rest of my day, and make me reactive, angry, and prone to mistakes and/or poor judgment. It sucks that my passions and my loved ones suffer when this happens.

Not delegating to my team will not allow them to grow their skills and not allow me an open road to take off.

So…how do I set up a good system?

Modify the calendar so that I only can do ONE THING a day (with the exception of my Daily Routine, creativity sessions, and direct revenue-producing activities). Resist the temptation of doing a 2-3 items…and put them in the Momentum Chrome Extension for later if I’m truly done with that one most important task.

Go through my Trello list of tasks and ask myself:
* Does this generate substantial revenue or meaningful results?
* How can I handle this task to where it never bothers me again? I.e. Decline responsibility, make a call, do it right the first time
* Do I need to handle this now or this week?
* Am I the only one who can handle this? Can I delegate or automate this at all?
* What would happen if I didn’t do it?

Reorganize Trello to where it’s easy to reference for anyone. Utilize labels, colors, checklists, attachments, etc.

How do I execute my system consistently?

Every day, start with the Daily Ritual, the calendar, and the Momentum extension. I’ve spent the beginning of the week planning my activities – now I just need to trust the system and execute it with focus. Email is NOT your task management system.

Spend the first part of my day being creative. My version of art is:
* Creating a prospecting plan for Fransmart, SHAFT, and Pareto.
* Brainstorming ideas with someone (my wife, Dean, coach, investors)
* Looking for retail real estate.
* Finding a way to help someone – with my experience or not.
* Experimenting with ideas I’ve read or heard about.
* Building/Writing a newsletter to investors/customers
* Creating a new system/procedure to make life easier.

When checking emails (ONLY once or twice a day) ask myself:
* Does this generate revenue or meaningful results?
* How can I handle this message to where it never bothers me again? I.e. Creating a filter, unsubscribe, decline responsibility, make a call
* Do I need to respond to this now?
* If yes, how can I respond to it so that there is no back and forth on it again? I.e. Be complete in answer, point in other directions, make a call
* Can I delegate or automate this at all?
* What would happen if I didn’t handle it?

Afterward, just focus on executing the ONE most important thing that will help me feel successful for the day, if I do nothing else; something that will render the rest of my tasks either irrelevant, unimportant, or easier to do.

Play the rest of the day. Be present. Spend time with your loved ones. Do nothing.

Flip-flop: My new goal in life…to be lazy

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This is part of a series called “Flip-Flop” – explained here.

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What happens when I get lazy?

My life becomes more enjoyable and productive.

Reading this article helped me to relax, cancel a few meetings and calls, rethink how I do things, and delete a few tasks from my to-do list…and I’m learning to be comfortable with this uncomfortable feeling.

(It’s thanks to Kevin Rose’s monthly email that I found this gem)

This reminds me of my aspiration of “saying ‘no’ to the good, so that I can say ‘yes’ to the great.” It’s so true that when I fill my schedule up with tasks – because I can’t sit still, because free time makes me feel like I’m not being productive, because it’s frowned upon in the workaholics world – I don’t create any white space to do what truly matters.

Taking care of my health. Reading a good book. Writing on my blog. Having a real, in-depth conversation with a loved one. Brainstorming a passion project. Spending time with my family. Helping people in need. Expanding my relationship with God.

I lose “hell yeah” opportunities because I’m so buried with “okay” or “good” opportunities. And the thought of surviving or dying of mediocrity sucks.

I need to change my perception of “laziness.” It should not be a bad word, but a filter for things that matter. It’s actually good for creating processes that make me more effective. The question I try and ask myself moving forward is:

“Because I am lazy and want to do things that truly matter, do I really need to do this? And if I really need to do this, what is the laziest way I can handle this so that I don’t ever have to do it again?”

As Tim Ferriss has taught me, being busy is the true, unhealthy form of laziness – it means you aren’t thinking, you don’t have your priorities straight, and you are avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.

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The picture above is a hammock from the Parker Palm Springs hotel – a favorite spot for my wife and I (where I first asked Christine to be my girlfriend…the rest is history). It was a weekend where we didn’t have the kids, and we did absolutely nothing. And it was the best time of our lives.