Comparing the American lifestyle with others in the world, proves our society values high intensity as an ingredient for success; its pervasive in our business, relationships, and athletics at every level.
One very surprising place intensity is missing in general though, is in our personal fitness regimens. That's right, YOU are not using enough intensity, with very few exceptions!
The thing to remember is that every fitness encounter is another opportunity to advance toward premium health. Checking phone messages for three minutes between each set of Ab machine crunches, is not the best use of time and makes your workout much less effective. The great news is that, intensifying workouts is not at all more difficult, from a technique perspective.
So why is your effort insufficient? It's likely not your fault really. Many times gym patrons for example, are people who have valiantly committed to a change in, health, body composition, and or lifestyle. However, going from no workout, and not minding one's nutrition, to three weekly workouts, and a daily nutrition plan, is a big enough deal in itself. Giving more thought to exactly how much effort should go into each encounter is a step beyond many beginners – and your new gym may not risk scaring you (and your money) off anytime soon.
Additionally, the novice doesn't usually suffer from slow progress as a result of lagging intensity. Our physiology tends to allow steady positive results with a new program, leaving out the need for more intensity initially. Veteran fitness enthusiasts however, often get into a rhythm of complacency that allows them to ignore the increased intensity methods below:
Time under tension (TUT) is the first way to add intensity to one's workout. TUT is the duration that a muscle or organ is being contracted or stressed by a workload. Thinking about your cardio activities, long sustained heart rates at 50-60% of your maximum heart rate (mhr) are great for all around health.
However, studies show that high intensity interval training (HIIT), or multiple cycles with short bursts of 30-45 seconds of total maximum effort, are as good, or better for weight loss. TUT also is very effective in resistance training; higher repetitions, or working to failure, is how body-builders create fuller, more developed muscles through longer stimulation of the nervous system, and body part.
Time is also the intensity factor used in rest intervals. I stress again, sitting on a piece of equipment gazing into the mirror for more than 90 seconds, is almost never beneficial (overloaded weight sets may be the exception) Shorter rest intervals is the most underrated, but effective way to add intensity. Going back hard after a 30 - 60 second rest means, the resting heart rate isn't fully restored, or the lactic acid in the muscle hasn't been flushed completely before the next effort, and that feeling defines the word intensity.
A second way to add more intensity is through variety. The concept of "muscle confusion" in resistance training, prevents the nervous system from accommodating "the usual" expected, exertions or movements in a given set of exercises. In turn, preventing the plateau effect we all hear about. Variety in our cardio-vascular regimen prevents boredom, and eventual quitting altogether.
The third method for using more of the intensity needed for our improved performance and health is, effort/resistance. Leveling up effort in our workouts is probably the most common way most people add intensity. Adding more weight to a barbell, increasing a set of push-ups by ten, or adding three additional gear settings to your usual stationary bike ride. These are all effective techniques.
For resistance training, use percentages of your "one rep max" beginning at 60% to gauge your increases by moving up in 5 percentage points regularly.
For cardio, you can add to the speed of execution, the length of exertion, increase effort level settings, inclines over level planed exercises, or mixed exercises, etc.
Remember to honor the goal, and the journey it takes to reach it.
Finding a Starting Point is Frustrating
After two independent years in the business, the ideal No Chaos Productivity client has emerged as the busy person, age 30 - 55. This potential client is, energetic, mature, and idealistic. Also has probably tried, and failed at a few different personal improvement solutions in their lives.
Unfortunately for many people, seeking help can leave us confused about where to start. Women are especially poorly served in the health and fitness industry. They have the paradoxical situation of being wide open to seeking personal improvement solutions, while only a few are easily accessible.
Anyone looking for a personal consultant, coach, or trainer, must slog through endless sources of information like Google hits, and advice from formerly successful friends. No Chaos tries to solve the confusion we know you're suffering under.
How We Work Together
Since healthy weight loss is the number one improvement sought by most clients, let's look at the process. After the first-step, which is a nutritional assessment, you'll get a recommendation for natural eating to reverse common ailments you may have. Many ailments come from the nutritional deficiencies of the standard American Diet. After beginning to address nutritional deficiencies, we further tweak the diet which is 80% of weight loss. Next, I typically recommend supplementation for many people.
Then comes an easy-to-execute, strength training plan. This helps to build a good foundational strength with lean muscle that boosts metabolism. We'll build on that foundation halfway through (at 6-weeks) to begin some body sculpting/building.
The final part of this health plan consists of two self maintenance techniques I teach you. The first is, maintaining a well functioning nervous system. An under, or overactive nervous system, causes unbalanced hormone releases, and can be a major cause for stubborn weight gain, stress, and fatigue. I show you how to turn on the body's balancing mechanism.
Lastly, we'll go shopping together according to your initial nutrition plan. This allows you to see the availability of nutritious foods. I also reinforce the cost/value of high quality food that fuels a healthy lifestyle, while dispelling common myths about nutrition.
Of course, this only covers the goal of being more healthy. No Chaos Productivity also helps you plan goal achievement of any kind.
What is health?
First, it's important to realize that good health is number one. Not only is it the foundation for what we know as "fitness", and "nutrition", but health is also the ultimate goal - the end all, and be all, that makes the other two concepts necessary.
What exactly is health? Dr. Joe Esposito, the world renown Chiropractor, non-invasive Orthopedic practitioner, and retired nutritionist, uses my favorite definition in the whole entire industry. "Health is a properly functioning, nervous system, digestive system, along with proper nutrition", PERIOD! Note that, nutrition is right in the definition of health.
As Dr. Joe often says, our traditional ideal of healthcare is something altogether different than that. For all practical purposes, healthcare has just meant health insurance, which ONLY pays for an, old and sick death, not a "healthy human being PLAN". A true health focused plan, costs pennies compared to traditional current healthcare.
A healthy nervous system, is centered at the spine and is responsible for every function in the body. It covers more than 90,000 miles of "sensation" superhighway. Along that span, there is at least one connection correspond at each joints between our 206 bones.
This means that, bones when out of place, (many often are, in the course of a lifetime) may press on one of those 1.5 Billion nerves, that spans 90,000 miles, causing pain and diminished function. A good chiropractor evaluates, corrects and subsequently teaches you how to recognize symptoms, then apply healthy interventions yourself. My personal favorite is the back roller, which can be purchased at most retail stores for $20 - one-tenth the cost of a doctor's visit after the pain begins.
Why "Fitness" is not the concern in "Health".
Of course fitness is "A" concern, but an over-emphasized one. From a healthy living approach, fitness really only speaks to physical performance, and is separate from the concept of health. However, as discussed in The Fitness Industry Misled Us, But We Can Fix That , the misnomer "fitness" has been overused to help monetize only a small area of the healthy living umbrella. Elite athletes of all kinds, fighter pilots, free divers, etc., all need to be "fit" to perform at competition levels. For the regular person interested in living 110 -140 years, "fitness" is a commercial creation beyond what's necessary.
Nutrition is the 85% Key to Health, Life, And Fat loss
Nutrition on the other hand, or, "the process of eating the right kinds of food so you can grow properly and be healthy"(Merriam Webster's simple definition) is 85% at the foundation of health. Note again, "health" is in the definition. The biochemical processes involved are complicated, but the ideal is simply, finding a way to intake the 13 essential vitamins and 13 minerals that feed and maintain all of our 13 bodily systems for peak health, needed to live 113 years.
The industry today largely focuses on weight loss as the major element of fitness. The fact is, weight loss can be better handled, when viewed through the lens of a healthy living, holistic approach. Body fat is actually a metabolic side effect, created from improper nutrition - a systemic reaction which protects the body from toxins (Glucose largely from fructose).
As a coach, my normal approach with clients is, higher (good) fats/low carbohydrates; at least 60/40 or more. In this approach, a lower carbohydrate intake allows the body to go elsewhere for its necessary macro-nutrient energy source - non-toxic FAT.
Dietary fat seems to be our body's alternate, but much more efficient fuel energy source. Once glucose, which is toxic at significant levels, is depleted in the liver, the body's excess fat is tapped for its greater energy. Studies show, when dietary fats are more available in the absence of glucose, it provides better, longer-lasting energy for the brain and body processes. A more complicated chemical process called ketosis has been studied and found to provide some long-standing health results in participants.
The shortcut basics of nutrition are: no refined sugars; increased intake of fats from vegetable and animal sources - organic and grass-fed respectively. No wheat, corn, or potato products, add more nuts (no peanuts), seeds, raw and cruciferous veggies, coconuts/oil, butter (grass fed), and small oily fish (they live short, low-contaminated lives).
Finally, a very simple plan for healthy fitness.
As discussed, ABSOLUTELY NO GYM IS NEEDED for healthy fitness. Variations of the push-up, sit-up, dip, and squat using body weight and household items are sufficient for healthy muscle tone, which in turn supports the body, and burns more calories. The gym can be convenient, but the intimidation factor for the new user, is totally avoidable, particularly if your goal is healthy living, and not to be an NFL football player, or other world-class performance athlete.
Cardiovascularly speaking, the single best exercise for weight loss is a one-hour walk. Walking provides enough exertion to get your heart rate into the 50-60 percentile of MHR range (safe heart rate by age) This is the spectrum where body fat burns consistently. The higher demand cardio exercises, mostly effect cardio-vascular strength, which is very much needed, but are very different than fat loss exercise. High intensity cardio should be cut back to once, maybe twice per week, when body fat loss is the main goal.
So good health to you.
Yes it is ...mind over matter, health over fitness, diet over exercise. Our way of eating is a set of conditioned, poor practices that can thankfully be unlearned. The Fitness industry has us doing it mostly wrong. Most fitness plans are focused on some type of athletic performance - totally unnecessary! Health as we know it is 80% diet, 10% exercise, and 10% is rest.
At my local fitness center, I get to frequently observe the “personal fitness trainers” taking patrons through the paces of what looks to any half-trained eye, an aerobic, low-impact workout. There will be a few modified jumping jacks or, in place running, shadow boxing, a few burpes, and mountain-climbers - both to make the workout look modern. Mix those with planks, wall sits, a variation of a dip, along with a variation of a squat, and that’s a truly complete workout – right??
Except for the fact that is a maintenance work out for a performance athlete, not a client who has made a life-changing decision to get off the couch once and for all (maybe a last chance), and get fit and healthy.
The typical gym membership purchaser, particularly in my interest as a coach, is someone who has been out of control with their eating, weight, or health. One or a combination of the three.
The problem with the typical program that a personal trainer guides them through (even when personalized) is it doesn’t address their real challenges. If you are fresh to fitness, an overly challenging fitness regimen that makes you way too sore to go again tomorrow is discouraging.
A meal plan that cuts calories in half and stops there is maddening, and just doesn’t work. That ignores how nutrition actually works to fuel your bodies. Eating needs to supply enough energy for the body’s "systems processes", as well as a new (minor) demand on physical performance.
First we are going to evaluate your true needs, aside from losing weight. News flash: fat/weight/obesity is only a side effect of a metabolic loss-of-control. Weight loss is going to be automatic, once we get under control metabolically. We attack the problem, not just symptoms, so weight loss is not primary, just a logical conclusion of healthy living.
Once we see and decide on your specific needs, we USE food (not stop using it) and supplements to attack your deficiencies epigenetically. Ailments, hair loss, malaise, problem skin, etc., can all be corrected by absorbing vitamins and minerals from nutrient dense food sources. Your nutrient dense diet would also most like be 50-60% healthy fats from grass-fed animal and organic vegetable sources. Good fats work much better, longer, and more efficiently in all cells, than do carbohydrates as a source for energy.
Currently the fitness industry bases its workout schedule, eating schedule, duration and type of exercises, as well as rest, all on a carbohydrate fueled diet. The liver can’t store enough glucose for the level of physical performance needed to challenge, then change your body composition, so it becomes, eat six meals, run three miles, and lift 90% of your body weight as a measure of workout effectiveness - again, not necessary.
You and I know better. Will power doesn’t work for dieting – nutrient density is the key. Our very first “diet meal” together, will be the fattest, most delicious tasting, but sugar-free/low carbohydrate meal, we can put together on a budget.
Your first 30 days of workouts will be a daily, hour walk - ONLY. A slightly raised heart rate (50-60% MHR) is where fat burning happens and is singularly more beneficial than the sum total of most any other, whole program. Running burns sugar first, then muscle once glycogen is depleted from the liver. As we know muscle is needed for better calorie burning, so running has never been optimal for health.
The next 30 days we moderate resistance, twice weekly, followed by HIIT training two weeks later. As you adjust to your new fuel sources, and increased exercise level, the last 45 days is where you’ll see explosive results, as you increase intensity of work.
As we continue the series on personal bio-optimization, we’ve already discussed how to hack our personalities (See Understanding Personality Typology: Key To Better Love, Leadership& Productivity) now let’s go the next step, and hack into our consciousness with meditation.
The ultimate goal of meditation, is to eliminate suffering by manipulating one's personal vibrations. Nevermind that more advanced concept and goal for the moment, as meditation is simple. In fact, its simplicity is the most profound feature of meditation. No matter what degree of expertise or lack thereof you attain, you’ll get mass benefits –guaranteed.
The western practice of meditation for most of our history has been linear, which means our benefits list usually stops at: stress relief, calming effects, relaxation, and reenergizing. All those reasons, however compartmental, make meditation well worth the time.
On the other hand, the holistic purpose of mitigating suffering, belies the deeper ideal of looking within to gain a greater perspective of personal suffering juxtaposed to that in the greater human diaspora. The bottom-line is that many, many, high performers in all walks of life, claim some sort of personal ritual that consists of one kind of meditation or another, and often recommend it for the rest of us.
How to meditate? There are number of ways to conduct a personal meditation. Most methods consist of what I call, a readying phase, and the focus phase. My recommendation for any beginner is to begin a meditation in a quiet place, wearing comfortable clothing. An upright or reclined posture works best.
With the subjects eyes closed and pointed slightly up and concentrated on a spot in between the eyes, begin to take inventory of the body starting from the feet upward to each limb and part in order. Then the subject should count down from 100 to zero. At zero, begin again at 20 or 30 back to zero. By now the mind has a better chance of achieving a short period of quiet in which to sit, without thought.
Looking at this exercise in parts, the body inventory is very important to the state of “presence”. Presence can easily be a lifetime study in itself in the context of meditation and has to do with one’s relation to time, body, and spirit. In eastern philosophy, the subject is reminded that, the past is gone, and the future is not yet here, and cannot be controlled, particularly not like the “NOW” or present. After the subject reaches a state of full awareness of the now, he or she is prepared for deeper benefit.
Next, the meditation calls for a countdown which presents the mind with a structured process that the practitioner is in control of. This is already in opposition to the state of our "normal" mental condition full of racing thoughts. Whether we recognize it or not, we have racing thoughts in our normal conscious state. These racing thoughts in many cases are full of negative limiting thoughts, and unhelpful neuropathways that holds one back in life. If meditation never does another thing in one’s journey, it at least offers a short reprieve from the exhausting limiting thoughts we fight with.
Just as a reassuring reminder, the benefits of meditation, in many subjects seem to be retrospective in nature. At times, the benefits almost seem non-existent; until one considers where might the ideals, feelings, and colorful images have originated, regarding the meditative experience? In plain language, meditation will help internally, even if you don’t recognize it initially. Further, the new practitioner should rest assured that the mind will race. The gurus call it the monkey in the cage. The exercise of inventory, counting, and the more advanced practice of breathing, give the mind an activity to refocus upon to bring the mind back from its characteristic wanderings.
Finally, the meditator should never wait to begin – close this article and meditate immediately. There is no optimal time place, comfort level or condition. In time one learns that conditions we normally think of as less than ideal: noise, bright light, wind, temperature, etc., can be used to focus our sense of presence as much as quiet. This is encouraging since it leaves no excuses.
Being productive is a function of being the best people we can possibly be. Human optimization then means, being the best we can be in every single area important in our lives.
You can be better matched romantically, better suited for a given career, and a more effective, &productive leader, with a greater understanding of yourself and those around you. Practically speaking, this isn’t another reference to a haughty, existential subject like “the inner self” (full disclosure - that's later in this series). This is about personally optimizing your daily life. The normal things that save you time, money, and stress in every aspect and action that you necessarily engage in as part of your life – only, better, faster, and doing so stress-free!
Stop and think on the ideal of personal optimization “everywhere” for a moment. Have you ever considered taking a new route to work? What if that route was based on being the most efficient one? Right turns are more efficient than lefts. Right turns minimize your wait at stop lights, increase safety by preventing turning left through potentially dangerous intersections. Right turns might even facilitate avoiding the freeway altogether (statistically more dangerous). A very simple tweak, right?
Now imagine applying the process to everything important in life? At this moment, you may not care to micro-optimize in your life. However, the fact that you are reading this says, you at least see some value in personal productivity as a tool to make life better.
I think the most effective way to achieve significant personal productivity/optimization, is to first, understand your own personal predispositions through the study of personality typology.
In the modern study of personality types, Carl Jung (Psychological Types, 1920) found that an inclination toward introversion/extraversion, coupled with one of four psychological functions, drives our behavior. Thus, thinking, feeling, sensation, intuition, are the four major categories, widely accepted as revealing personality as close as we can calculate today.
According to one school of personal improvement coaching, our behavior can be traced exclusively to our thinking. We might consider that besides environment, our thinking can be formed by our predispositions, or personality. So lets look at the major predispositions a little closer.
For those people who possess the dominant “thinking” psychological tendency, also known as the “Rationals” (Myers NTs)1, temperaments are dominated by reasoning above all else. Logical conclusion, and deduction is foremost in NTs, above what others normally possess. This sometimes makes NTs/Rationals seem terse, or blunt in communicating ideas because they assume others already possess the common understanding obvious to the NT himself. They avoid insulting others by over-communicating those would-be obvious ideals and concepts (obvious to them, not necessarily in the minds of others).
Those who possess the “feeling” temperament, or the “Artisan” (Myers SPs) psychological preference, are marked by flexibility, athleticism, artistic, and life-loving. SPs’ sensory awareness of sight, sound, smell, and tone, as well as situation, is higher than others. SP/Artisans are concrete in their communications. Speaking of the here and now, not the future.
Those who are “sensation”- dominant, or the “Guardians” (Myers SJs), are marked by steadfastness, conservatism, consistency, dependability, hard-work, and non-impulsiveness. Their minds and conversations operate in free association of concrete matters, and facts, making them great relatable conversationalists who remember names dates, etc., that matter to others. However, their conversation can be laced with judgment and warnings.
Those who are predisposed with“intuition” or the “Idealists” psychological preference, (Myers NFs) are adaptable, accepting, adjusted, devoted, idealistic, devoted, modest, and sentimental. Idealist/NFs conceptualize smaller thoughts into "the whole" in their thinking and speech, and therefore are best at reading between the lines of things unseen, or not yet achieved or brought into existence.
This is just a cursory examination of personality, and deserves much more detail to be understood, even for the sake of orientation. These four preferences by topologists are further detailed and separated into 16 total personalities by combining the traits sets in various degrees, with, as stated, the characteristics of introversion or extraversion found in us all.
What can be learned? Like no other system, "typing" provides a self-awareness that can be qualitative in many important aspects of life. In his book, Please Understand Me II”, David Keirsey2 applies these concepts, which have been studied as far back as Plato & Aristotle, up through the Enlightenment, on to the work of Jung then Myers, and ending at his own.
The usefulness of understanding your personality type, helps your interactions with fellow-human beings in every personal or business relationship. Self-knowledge can only improve your leadership, parenting, dating, diplomatic skills, choice of career, and general pursuits of happiness.
Imagine the shortcut involved in understanding how someone you are interacting with, perceives your communication techniques. The abstract or concrete way in which you or others might think and use language and tools. Personality typology can be harnessed to make life increasingly interesting, fulfilling, and more productive.
1) Myers: invented the Myers-Briggs (mbti) type indicator with her mother...., in. For more information
2) Please Understand Me II, by David Keirsey, Prometheus Nemesis Books, 1998
3) Further reading: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp for the test.
The 80-20/”vital few” question often asked, is, “why can’t I accomplish “X”? That age old question has been the ongoing target for todays billion dollar, personal development industry, despite the answer having been around since time immemorial. The ancient African proverb, “Man know thyself”, speaks to the profound concept of Self-awareness, and is the true key to conquering life’s challenges.
So…how do we achieve self-awareness? Well, a three-step process of course; just A, B,& C; not because self-awareness comes easily, but for the sake of providing a road map for successful change. What's step 1?
Assess yourself. An old personal development concept compels us to “become who you are meant to be”, or find oneself, etc. That begs another question and answer of by what tool? I say start with the personality test! Personality testing, temperament inventories, or any number of other labels used to describe the tool, are defined as any tests that consist of standardized tasks designed to determine various aspects of the personality or the emotional status of the individual examined. Unlike the half-serious horoscope used by some, temperament tests are correct more than twice annually– whether we need them to be, or not. The temperament or personality test, captures our habitual daily propensities, thought patterns and reactions to life’s triggers.
There are many personality inventories/typology tests. Myers-Briggs, and Jung are two of the most well-known names for general testing today. There are also specialty inventories which are exclusive to many industries. Our friend and affiliate partner, Cena Block at Sanespaces.com has the industries’ best to determine time and space preferences and propensities (TSSI). Steven Sisler is another big name in behavioral profiling for business success.
Be in the moment. The "present moment" in the world of meditative studies is considered by most as, “all that really exists”. Just as important in the study of, "the Now", is its help in gaining the ultimate life Perspective.
What would you do if you had 5 years to live? It is a sobering question that you not have ever considered. To a great extent, we spend our youth feeling invincible, with no need to ask such a question. It's worth considering however that, some of the world’s most successful people, have asked the question and gone on to greater success because of it. Those who do, find a more meaningful focus, and the key to courage for stepping out toward action.
As you gain courage, and the momentum of action, refocus the question for one year, one month, and one week, then take action on those new goals one step at a time. Get professional help if necessary, but step out. Let’s all ask the question before mortality moves us to do so.
Control your thoughts. Probably the most significant concept of human potential never discussed! Sure, moguls like Oprah, Warren Buffet, and other ridiculously successful people use strategies like, "the law of attraction”, the power of positive thinking, psycho cybernetics, etc. Of course they have unlimited access to abstracts “us regular folk” don’t – they’re rich and successful, Right?!
The happy truth is, there is no real mystical concept at work. Rather an active process of creating one’s own deliberate thoughts. In turn these thoughts create the positive emotion needed to manifest more productive actions – all done within our brains.
That’s right! I am saying deliberately “Think Positive”. It triggers success! We normally leave our brains to random thoughts. Think about that for a moment.....
It is in fact the absolute wrong answer! You are to decide consciously; your spirit decides, your needs & goals decide, exactly the thoughts you need and want to have. The better, happier, more productive emotions follow the new thoughts, then drive your actions. Practice it – the moment is now!
In later posts in this blog, we’ll go into depth on exactly how to achieve this process.
Stay tuned for more posts in this series on Self-Awareness where we’ll discuss personality types, gaining practical calm for success in life and business, controlling emotions, handling negative feelings, acting in the face of fear, and my favorite subject, The Amazing Biological Creature – Woman!
Even before I decided on a Productivity career, I had already begun to consider optimizing strategies for dealing with the growing email phenomenon of the 1990s. Most of us were more fascinated with the personal computer and email, than worried about the coming stress of overstuffed inboxes. As I considered the situation, I stumbled upon early success and became more encouraged to come up with a helpful email management system.
I experimented with various methods, and learned that many things worked, but at least for me, the best success came from applying four principles. Yes, the common tactics like, applying filters to inbounds, and prioritizing by category remain of value. Another approach altogether however, is shifting how we think about email, which in turn shifts our paradigm and allows even the most challenged users to be quick and efficient. Here’s how:
Principle#1 Use email to meet your own priorities first, then when absolutely necessary, the priorities of others. Your inbox is in general, a list of other people’s priorities – flip the script. As much as anything you spend time with, the requirement to do email should be related to achieving short and long-term goals for yourself. The famous futurists, Jamais Cascio (1) said “by ignoring tomorrow we undermine today. Every encounter can be viewed through a lens of how that encounter facilitates reaching your own ends. Your inbox holds potential encounters that shouldn’t be viewed as an overwhelming action list. Consider it as a number of opportunities to help complete the essential tasks that move you along your path in life.
Start by scanning first for messages that fulfill past promises made to you, or answers from others that you have been waiting on. Next look for messages from the people who you may owe. These people in the grand scheme of things help you with your mission also. If you are expected to act upon 100% of your bosses emails for example, your boss has sway over your continued employment, which effects your current bottom-line, and ultimate goal achievement. If the boss is an actual roadblock, talk and ask for an arrangement that allows he or she to set clearer priorities. This will be seen positively since you are asking how to better achieve work related tasks. Employers are trained to understand that workers are mostly concerned with being a better“self”. By asking about how to better prioritize work, it shows a higher than usual concern for the job on par with self.
Principle#2 Use email as a Force Multiplier: Once you have a little practice at processing your inbox, and looking at it as a list of opportunities to achieve your ultimate goals in life, you’ll find that it can also work for you. The industry is full of tools that auto-delegate, advance trigger, and auto-task to outsourcers, etc. Since we are discussing email, optimizing it will make you better at tasking and delegating as you scale your life and work later. Practicing email optimization has definitely helped me with those skills overall. In my daily email scans, I set up some triggers for later actions to happen while I go on with a productive day, and here’s how it works: I process email just twice daily (other time is spent being productive). At the first opening, I send messages that ask questions regarding my open loops (people who owe me). Next, I answer questions from others (people I may owe), etc. At my second, and last opening, mid-afternoon, I get those answers in time to close open loops, by phone if necessary, or a quick face to face meeting. This last email reading also serves to help determine my next-day task list by assigning “to dos” from unfinished business and my master task list. Remember that any information conveyed, and received, helps our personal goal achievement in some small or large way.
Principle#3 Over communicate for maximum clarity: The great Stephen Covey (2) says, “… with people, slow is fast”. Mr. Covey regards here, the consideration for others in our interactions. Extend this idea to your email correspondence, as it relates to taking great care to convey the precise message we intend. In face to face interaction, we make second by second, micro-adjustments to stimuli from those with whom we converse. A raised eyebrow, a smirk, or tensing of the shoulders, gives instant, sometimes imperceptible feedback. Unfortunately, although we imagine the reader is able to perceive our feelings and gestures into the writing in the same way as face to face discussions, they are not. You may already be aware that sarcasm and factitiousness won’t work in writing. In fact 75% of incoming email is perceived as intrusive and negative to the receiver before it’s even read. A very mindful approach should be taken. A little extra time constructing an email to ensure you don’t poison the well (slow is fast with people). Maybe even sitting on important emails for an extra day if you have the luxury. The school of thought that says, "keep it short" not withstanding, our discussion is about longer lasting benefits. The overarching principle of being more thoughtful and clear in your messaging pays dividends on your credibility, believability, approachability, etc.
Principle#4 Don’t run from email, it is here to stay. Approaching this as adults, we realize the world is getting faster, bigger, and more tech-savvy. Email works for as many high-achievers and everyday people as not. That tells us we are going to have it for the foreseeable future. This principle is at the heart of "can do" thinking; it's closest to the actual paradigm shift we should attempt to make. Whatever humans focus upon, we become really good at that thing. Email is no different. We just need to focus on the task by remembering it as: an opportunity to prioritize our goals; a way to expand our efforts through communicating with multiple recipients and awaiting quality feedback; and by taking great care to communicate the intended message. Make it your own tool. I know you can!
1. Opening The Future
2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
3. Master Task list: a running list of tasks to be scheduled
Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler." -Albert Einstein
The above Einstein quote brings to mind the important concept of pricing your goods and services in the business market space. Silly me, it just does. In that vein, no one wants, "Cheap stuff"! Excuse for a moment, my apparent departure from time and space management theory, but there is a direct correlation. If you don't start with the basic concept of compensation for your life's work, what more can be offered? The wise Pope Francis said, "our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God". That indicates a preciousness of value to what we offer to this world in the limited time given us to service others. Yes, service is its own reward - but you have to eat! Besides, the fair market allows you to continue, and spread your message to a wider audience.
The price of an item or service, is tied directly to its value in our minds. True story: While I was an Air Force First Sergeant, our annual Holiday Party committee was always looking for a way to subsidize admission costs for the junior ranking Airmen in the squadron. For a couple years, we did really well in our fund-raising efforts, and were able to provide free admission for the group of the three most junior ranks and their families....None of them came - either year. Junior ranking military members don't make much money at all, and are always really appreciative of the chance to get a night out for a great value - what was the problem? We learned value was the key here. Military members between duty, and deployment have little time to themselves, or with their families. If we weren't going to charge them with fair pricing (rather than free) , they didn't see the party as worth their scarce, valuable time. The third year, we raised the price, and the party was well-attended by all ranks.
As beings intrinsically aware of our own mortality, we appreciate value over most every other characteristic in life, as well as the market place. When it comes to goods and services, many times, we don't even know the "true" value of a given thing. In those instances, it needs to be "sold" as having great value, then in exchange for our precious coin. It might be a hit-miss proposition later based on whether its value is maintained within our minds, or whether we later gained further learning that caused the value to diminish for us.
Many smart experts advise charging (and paying) a premium price for quality goods, services, and expertise. This idea lends itself to the service provider's principle of, creating really great content to serve our customers, then trade it for value commensurate with the love, sweat, and tears poured into our work and service.
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