As I sit here writing this I am laying in the sun on Maehama beach in Miakojima, Japan. The picture above is the location just after getting out of the car. Am I sending you this from my vacation? No. Technically, I’m working.
For those who have been following this blog for a while know that I gave up my job in Tokyo, got rid of all my stuff, and moved to the beautiful island of Miyakojima to do Internet marketing. For those interested in doing something similar, check out the 4 hour work week.
Today, I actually want to talk about how important it is to get out of the office and especially, away from the computer.
Regardless of the job, it seems that most of us spend a lot of time punching away at a keyboard. It has become so common we don’t even consider working somewhere there isn’t a computer. Unfortunately, working on the computer isn’t always efficient or creative. It can also be quite distracting.
If you are using a computer, then there are a lot of distractions. It can be difficult to focus on work, when a failblog video is just a couple of clicks away. This of course is after you read through the endless unimportant email. And even when you do get to work, you switch between several tabs and projects. What is it that computers actually help us do again.
So what can you do? Get away from the computer. Turn it off. Remember what you did before you had a computer? A lot of projects we do on the computer can be done ( better and more creative) another way. This works especially well for projects that have several parts. Most projects have a part you need to think about and create. If you do that away from the computer and in a place you like it doesn’t feel like work.
Lastly, consider substitutes. Today’s smart phones can do quite a bit. If you have to be in front of a “computer” take it with you. I say this as i am typing on my Iphone. Work doesn’t seem like work if you are sitting on a beach.
And with that I think it is time to end this post. The sun is getting kind of bright.
How many of us have done this. I have done it so many times I can’t even count. I come up with a new plan, a new workout schedule, study schedule, and get all excited about it. I run through all the details and actions in my head and plan it all out. I can’t wait to get started. And yet, I never do. Even though I am so excited to start whatever it is I am thinking about, I never do.
If you also have this problem, then I have a simple trick that might work for you. Take the first step now! The first step doesn’t have to be huge. It just has to be enough to get your feet moving in the right direction. If you want to join a new club, it may be the first phone call just to get information. A new workout program could start with you doing your first 5 minute walk right now. It can even be something as simple as writing down the thing you are thinking about and how you will accomplish it. I often do this if I am thinking about something before I go to sleep. If I write it down there is a good chance I will start and finish it. If I don’t I will usually forget by morning.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Just taking that first step sets the wheels turning and the steps after that just seem to fall into place.
Get started now!
Think of that one thing you have wanted to start or need to get done and write it down how to get started.
I would love to hear how this method works for you and what methods you use that you have found helpful.
In the last few posts I have been talking a lot about starting new things and being successful at them. I discussed how important it is to limit your focus so you can spend more time at each thing you attempt. Something that is just as important, is to clearly understand your purpose and goals with whatever activity your try.
This idea may seem may seem a little weird at first. You are starting something because it looks fun or maybe because it will help your career right? Those are certainly good reasons to start something new. Unfortunately, they are too vague to push you up the steep learning curve of starting something you have never done before.
I believe there are really two distinct points you should consider when starting something new.
Motivation: Why are you pursuing this activity? What’s driving you to learn? The stronger and more clear your reason(s), the more likely you will be to to get over the learning curve and enjoy the benefits of the activity.
What is your goal: What level of mastery do you plan to get in this new activity. The better you understand this, the easier it is to plan out your method of learning and know how much work is ahead of you.
Saying, “I want to learn Spanish” gives you a basic understanding of some of the activities and studying you will need to do. However, it doesn’t set a goal line. Saying, “I want to learn conversational Spanish” gives you a idea of the amount of words you will need to know and also what those words might be. It also let’s you know where your goal line is. You have learned enough Spanish once you can communicate comfortably in basic Spanish conversations.
As you can see, the larger your goal, the stronger your motivation will need to be. Should your goal be to learn to speak fluently in Spanish, you would need to spend a lot more time learning.
Clearly understanding the amount of work it will take to learn something isn’t designed to stop you from trying something new, but it should help you choose and achieve the things that matter most to you.
What is really important to you? What matters the most in your life? This is a question we often hear, and most people tend to have very similar answers. My family, my friends, and my health are probably the three answers I hear the most. And I truly believe this is what’s important to most people. Unfortunately, a lot of the time our actions often don’t reflect this. We get too caught up in work, the pursuit of money, houses, toys, etc, and forget about what really matters. So how do we make sure we are working towards the things that are really important? Keep it simple.
I have realized that I can’t do everything. But I can do a few things very well if I focus all my energy on them. Limiting my focus to only a few things also keeps my life very simple and clear. I know what my goals are and that makes them easier to achieve. It also makes it very easy to break up my day into allotted time spots.
Since there are only a few things I need to do each day I have very few distractions. I can work towards the things that are important to me more efficiently. I don’t have to remember a large number of tasks and I don’t have to worry about not finishing everything.
Now I know a lot of people think this is impossible for there lifestyle. And if you are unwilling to change and give up things that are less important to you for ones that are more important, then they are probably right. But give it a try for just a week. Choose four things that are the most important to you and only allow time for those 4 things. Cut everything else out. Try it for just one week and see what happens!
A few days ago a wrote an article titled Learning Something New about pursuing the things you want to do and not being put off by the fact that they might take a long time to learn. To get good at something you will need to put in quite a bit of time, and I am guessing that your schedule is probably already pretty full. So to try something new you are going to need to “find” some more time or better yet, “make” some time.
The big difference between “finding the time” and “making the time” is basically a mindset. I have a number of friends who have goals and things they want to do, but those things always seem to be off in the near future somewhere because they are still trying to “find the time”. If you are serious about doing something, then you should decide to do it and then make the time.
Two Simple Ways to Make Time in Your Schedule
Efficiency and Effectiveness
This method doesn’t require that you give up any of your activities in your time schedule. Only that you do them more effective and efficiently. Maybe you are spending an hour at a gym three times a week to keep in shape. However, by changing your workout routine to a more effective one you can get the same results in only 30 minutes. You have just created an extra hour and 30 minutes a week in your schedule.
Remove Wasted Time
This method is really more a part of becoming more efficient and effective. The essential point is to stop doing things that don’t give you the benefit or result you are seeking. This can be anything from cutting down the number of times you read your e-mail at work, cutting down your TV watching and internet viewing, or quitting activities you are no longer interested in. If you are not sure which activities to get rid of, simply start considering any activity you do because you are bored or because you are avoiding something else.
Some ideas for making more time in your schedule
- Plan further in advance to reduce the amount of time/number of times you go shopping
- Group errands by location to minimize your driving time
- Reduce/remove TV/Internet time
- Group like tasks
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Stop doing things you no longer enjoy
This is just a shor t list of ideas. Please feel free to add more.
Over the last few days I have been working on a few projects that I can’t complete without doing some learning. The main one has been making changes and adding a few things to the website. This was a task I had on my list for a while, but usually never got around to. Not because I didn’t have time. I set aside time, but simply filled it up with something else so I didn’t have to do that day. The real reason was that I didn’t know exactly what I was doing and didn’t want to make any mistakes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think that striving for perfection is a good thing. I think that we should always be pushing ourselves to better at everything thing we do. The problem is that I often try to do things perfect the first time around. Since many projects consist of a number of parts, making sure each one is perfect when I am still learning makes projects seem much more complex and difficult than they really are.
Like the saying goes “practice makes perfect”, and part of learning is failing. In many cases, and definitely true for myself, I tend to learn much more when I fail than when I succeed. When I fail, I am not just learning how to do it, but how not do it. In the long run this helps me to do it better and quicker the next time.
How to Stop Procrastinating
- Write down your goals or agenda and put whatever you have been procrastinating to do at the top of your list (if your putting it off, it’s probably important)
- Set a due date
- Break the project down into smaller smaller tasks. This will help you get started and make the project look sizable
- Don’t try to make it perfect the first time. Sometimes it is easier to make changes afterwords.
- Know it’s not only okay, but beneficial to fail. If you are doing something for the first time then failing will only make it easier to do the next time
So as I mentioned I have been making a few changes to the site. In the next couple of days, I will also be offering some free e-books for to subscribe by e-mail. I am a huge fan of the books, so I hope you enjoy them also.
I will also be starting the Getting Fit in 30 Day’s Challenge on February 1. To get all of the details as I work towards this goal, please follow me on Twitter.
As always, I would love to hear your comments on the subject.