Invest in your education: Since college is over, it’s the time to pick up real education. You will not get a degree for this but the world will always test you in coffee shops, bars, conferences, and workplaces.
Learn to ask for help: Dump your ego. Don’t know how to do something? Ask for it. Tim Ferris called up several people (including James Altucher ) to ask for Podcast related advice. Now, he nails it.
Be consistent: Learn to show up. Consistency makes you a winner by default. Read this: air light time space
Learn to say no: Under-rated skill. Sooner you learn this, the better you become at prioritizing things in life.
Entertain wisdom, not authority: Questioning authority will not make you a lot of friends in workplaces but it will always push you toward the right ones.
Take risks: You will hear a lot of people asking you to take risks. Please include me in that.
Travel: Don’t just make a plan. If you can’t find a companion to travel with, travel solo. But travel as much as you can. Travel rewires you in ways little else can. So shut up and book tickets!
Imagine that one of your good friends is sitting by your side at your favorite coffee house. It’s sunny (or rainy?) outside and your friend is excited to speak to you about something. Lately, they have been thinking about [insert topic] and have some questions [your blog title] about it .
What do you do?
You listen attentively to their question and gather as much information as you can. [Research]
You think of ways you can add value. [Idea generation]
You add your thoughts to your ideas. [Draft]
You refine your thoughts a little [Editing]
You speak [Publish]
In all these steps, you are talking with and thinking about just one person — your friend, your colleague or Rachel (an imaginary person with a problem of their own).
Too often, we fail to ship our work because we think too broad. In writing, this is nothing less than a curse. If you want to avoid writer’s block, be sure to focus on one person who you want to write for.
By December 2015, I was averaging close to 2 books/week. I was on a reading marathon and was loving every part of it. Upon 2016’s arrival, I took a resolution of reading 50 books by end of the year. At that point in time, I felt I was underestimating my ability to read given my reading rate was 2x.
50 books? Should be a cake walk at the pace I am going!
By the end of 2016, I have read 3 books. The silver lining? I read tonnes on medium, pocket and feedly.
I have made lots of new year resolutions in the past. Try gym? Check. Read 100 books? Check. Ship 3 blogs every week? Check. Maintain a daily journal? Check. I have also failed at all of them terribly.
The excitement peaks on January 1 and from there’s it’s a straight downhill only to realize what a waste of time this “My new year resolution” exercise has been.
Depending on the calendar to improve your life is stupid at best. If you want to get shit done in 2017, don’t wait for January 1. Improve when it’s the time to improve and the time can be any day you aren’t happy with your current state.
And it starts by understanding two very important things.
Believe it or not, but there are a million things that want your attention right now. From those autoplaying facebook videos to friends to candy crush notifications — all are in need of your attention.
Successful people — or people who can afford it — employ layers of people whose job it is to narrow the attention filter.
That is, corporate heads, political leaders, movie stars, and others whose time and attention are especially valuable have a staff of people around them who are effectively extensions of their own brains, replicating and refining the functions of the pre-frontal cortex’s attention filter.
Your attention is extremely valuable so the first step to start being productive is to manage it wisely. Your attention is a currency. Don’t go around giving it to anyone and everything.
Once you have figured out where you are going to spend your attention on, you need to break the complexities of your work down into smart tasks/goals and then prioritize stuff.
Not everything needs action in your life right away but there are certain things in immediate need of your check. These are your Most Important Tasks or MIT’s.
Understand prioritization with this:
If you have ever put oil in a car then you know what a funnel is. A funnel has a wide opening at the top and as oil runs down it.
The opening becomes smaller and smaller until the oil reaches the engine, which is the ultimate goal.
Now, your funnel has n layers from top to bottom where n are the number of tasks you have.
The top 3 layers of your funnel consist of your 3 MIT’s. Now you can’t move to the bottom of the funnel (which is your goal) until and unless you have cleared the 3 layers.
You have to have to start from the top and move to to the bottom. As they say — eat the frog first so that the rest of your day becomes less chaotic!
If you are with me till here, I am sure you want a better control over your time. Here’s how:
2 Minute Rule
In his popular book “Getting Things Done,” David Allen outlines this technique, which is simply this: When a task arises that you know you can complete in two minutes or less, do it immediately.
“I love it,” said Christian Sutardi, cofounder of Lolabox, “because it’s not a groundbreaking rule. It’s no fancy app or software. It doesn’t even require learning or dedication, and you can start doing it today.”
This technique works like this: You take n number of tasks (let’s say your most important tasks or MIT’s for the day) and assign them n different locations.
These locations can be your usual work desk, your favorite coffee shop, your garden or anywhere else.
The only constraint is this: your chosen spots should be such that during the shift from one task to another, you physically move to the new spot.
You can use this time to practice your zen, take a break from your screen, and get some movement into your day. Keep your phone in your pocket, and move.
Take a break away from work for at least thirty minutes. Whatever you do, don’t go back to the same place you just left!
In the pomodoro technique you choose a task and break it down into tasks of 25 minutes each.
Now that 25 minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato.
This is a really helpful technique if you use it correctly and sincerely.
The idea is this: -You decide on the task to be done. -Set the pomodoro timer (try not using your phone for this because it will distract you) to 25 minutes. -Work on the task until the timer rings; record with an x. -Take a short break of 5 minutes. -After four pomodori, take a longer break (15–30 minutes)
TED-Ed (Highly Recommended): TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within TED-Ed’s growing library of lessons, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform.
Shots of Awe (Highly Recommended) — Jason Silva (the host of Brain Games) will certainly blow your mind!
thenewboston (Recommended): You will learn more by watching Bucky Roberts teach you stuff than by spending time anywhere else. From Photoshop to Python to C++ to Java to Adobe Effects — you name it!
How to start a startup: Everything about how to start a startup, for free, from some of the world experts. The series of lectures offer close to 1,000 minutes of content if you watch it all.
Spirit Science: Everything related to existence, life, spirituality and more.
The Next Web: One of the best sources for technology and business related news. They have quite an active Youtube channel as well which is worth checking out.
Gibbon: Gibbon is an amazing source of curated knowledge from an inspiring community. It offers what they call as “playlists for learning” wherein you get to learn things via articles, videos and more — all in step by step manner.
Oliver Emberton: Oliver is an inspiring writer. He is like those teachers who break a hard to understand concept of life into an example that will stay with you for a long time. I am a regular reader of his blog and I can vouch for the quality and effectiveness of his writing. Bonus: You can also follow him on Quora: Oliver Emberton.
8tracks (Highly Recommended): Go nowhere else for great music on the internet!
Digital Inspiration: Mr. Amit Agarwal authors the hugely popular and award-winning Digital Inspiration blog where he writes how-to guidesaround computer software, consumer gadgets, and web apps. You will be surprised by how much you can learn by just following his blog weekly!
Brain Pickings(Highly recommended)– Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are. It is maintained by Maria Popova who reads over 12–13 books a week to post all the awesomeness that’s in there.
HowStuffWorks (HighlyRecommended) — HowStuffWorks is a wholly owned subsidiary of Discovery Communications and is the award-winning source of credible, unbiased, and easy-to-understand explanations of how the world actually works. Gamut of categories to feed your intellectual hunger.
Goodreads — Learn more about your favorite books, review them, find lists, award winning books, quotes, trivia, join reading groups etc.
Zenpecils — Meet art + inspiration + mind expansion.
MAKE– DIY Projects, how-tos and inspiration from geeks, makers and hackers.
Duolingo(Highly Recommended): Want to learn a new language but can’t find a reliable source? Duolingo is your solution.
The Muse: For some kick-ass career advice and more!
Coffitivity — Did you know that cafes are one of the best places to spark your creativity? Since now you do, check out coffitivity that creates the atmosphere of a coffee shop straight from your laptop/PC.
IFTT: Standing for “if this then that,” IFTTT helps different apps, online programs, and services work together to make your life way easier. Think getting the weather texted to you every morning or having your photos automatically save to Dropbox. 😀
Codeacademy(Highly Recommended): Extremely addictive website that helps you make the most of your time on the internet and teaches you all about the languages that back it and more!
Canva: Love designing? Then here’s Canva for you that makes designing insanely easy for you and the only limitation is your imagination.
Sporcle: Sporcle is still the best place on the internet for testing your knowledge. You can take quizzes on any topic imaginable, which is a pretty fun way to learn new things (and also to challenge your co-workers to see who knows more about obscure TV references or countries of the world).
FACTSlides → Amazing FACTS you didn’t know!: FACTSlides allows you to click through a variety of random facts that not only feed your curiosity, but are also perfect fodder for the break room. For example, did you know that UPS delivery trucks save 10 million gallons of gas every year by making no left turns?
99U : An amazing blog that keeps your brain healthy by stimulating it with beautiful insights into creativity and more!
Fast Company(Highly Recommended): You will never get bored of FastCo if you love business, innovation and everything in between.
zenhabits: One of the most popular blogs out there. Leo’s advice on life and his thoughts about stuff we take for granted is marked by extremely meticulous and perspicuous insights.
Farnam Street: Recently discovered this gem of a blog. From Psychology, to books, to decision making, one can find very interesting reads on the blog.