Productivity

The Power of a Simple Routine by Tyson Pop

 

Exercising for one day is easy. Doing it daily for one year is hard.  

That’s true for all habits.  

That's why programs that promise immediate results are so popular. Why commit to building something great over a year if we can get attention for something good that we created today? 

We're taught that we no longer need to commit to the long game. That if we can make enough noise about our product people will hear us. As a result, we have millions of people yelling about average products who could make them great if they focused more of their attention to their product than the marketing of it. It's easier to scream for attention than it is to build something great.

It takes time and commitment to the simple things to build something great.

Take best-selling author Haruki Murakami for example. His work influences millions of readers world-wide, yet he has a relatively simple and quiet routine that allows him to produce work worth sharing:
 

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerise myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.

He commits to creating great work, and lets those who love it, share it.

We can learn from his approach.

While it's nice to get attention for what we're doing today, let's not trade quality for attention. 

It will take a little longer. 

But you'll have something worth sharing.

Morning Routines and Mini-Habits by Tyson Pop

A lot of people are interested in how to start their day right. 

They study the morning routines of elite performers in the hope they can learn how to do mornings from the best. It doesn't take long however, to realise that there's no one size fits all on this subject. 

One elite performer may start by writing, taking a walk and meditating, while another prefers to read, make a coffee and do some stretching. How can such different routines both seem to produce such positive results? 

The secret is in understanding mini-habits. 

A mini-habit is one of four or five actions we commit to completing each day. It's a task that gets done, regardless of what else comes up. It's a small action that over time, takes us towards the greater goals we hold. 

Here's my thoughts on morning routines:

Before you start thinking about how early to start or how long you should work for, figure out what you're actually working towards. Plan your mini-habits around that goal and commit to getting one done before you go to work. 

That's a great way to start your day.

A Lesson from Warren Buffett's Twitter Habits by Tyson Pop

 

Warren Buffet has posted on Twitter nine times and has 1.2 million followers.

That’s a huge audience for a man who rarely tweets.

The way he uses the platform is very different to how most people with a business are taught to use it. They're told to post more and follow more people in the hope they will follow back and keep doing that consistently until they have an audience. 

We act like if we make enough noise people will care more about what we're saying. We've become more obsessed with how we appear than we are with our product, service or idea. 

Buffet has played the game very differently to most of us. 

He's played the long game. 

He’s become such an expert in his field over the last sixty years that he's now someone people want to hear from. 

While social media is a great platform to share your work, its shouldn't take priority over your work. 

Before we start shouting on social media in the hope that more people will hear us, let's take the time to learn something worth shouting about. 

It will take us a little longer, but it's a far better contribution. 

 

NETFLIX, TINDER & MAKING A DECISION by Tyson Pop

Do you ever feel paralysed looking at the Netflix home screen?

With all of the shows to choose from, the process of selecting something to watch feels almost impossible. Like Tinder of the television world, we’re constantly questioning whether what we’ve chosen was the best option or whether we should go back and have one more look.

My life sometimes feels like the Netflix home screen.

With all the options available on where to direct my attention, it can be hard to know what to do next. Like a Labrador on cocaine (an interesting image which still looks super cute in my mind) we jump from one thing to another without ever pausing to consider what the best use of our time might be.   

It’s no wonder we’re stressed.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with options, I recommend these steps:

  • Clarify your top five What are the five most important things in your life? When you’re clear about these things, it becomes far easier to notice what is the excess and what is the essential. There's power in clarity. 
     
  • Write your own eulogy This will help you realise that when you’re gone, you’re not going to wish you spent more time at the office. How would you like to be remembered? Invest in those areas.
     
  • Play this game Clear up hours of your day to invest in the areas you value most by playing my 30-Day Internet Game.  

It's not the options before us that's the problem. It's a lack of clarity on what we value most. When our values are in place, deciding what to do becomes a lot easier. 

Mini-Habits Are Massive by Tyson Pop

I was recently at a school where I was asked to run a fitness session for eight year-ten kids. They were pretty upset with the fact they had to work out, but I told them that if they did what I was showing them every day until they were 25 that they would look this: 

Obviously they were excited. 

Who doesn't want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club? It's incredible. Honestly, how does he get so shiny? No one is that shiny naturally are they? It's amazing.

Anyway, ten minutes into the session, one little fat kid waddled up to me, lifted his shirt and with complete sincerity asked me if I could see his abs yet.

I definitely couldn't. 

The truth was, all I could see was his little fat guts hanging over his shorts and I didn’t know how to tell him he looked like he'd been living off doughnuts and cake since he was four years old. When he saw my face, he had a moment where he realised he had a bit more work to do than what he originally thought. 

He said to me "It's bad isn't it"?.

It was. 

He said, "How do I fix it"?

I told him he needed a little more exercise and some natural food and to repeat that every day. 

He said "Is that all"?

It really was. One small change done consistently was all he needed. 

We often overestimate what we can achieve in one day, while completely underestimating what we can accomplish in a year. A mini-habit is a small step you commit to taking each day for a long period of time to move you closer towards you'd like to be. 

What's a small change you could make that over time would bring you closer to where you wish you were?

The First Step...Then The Second by Tyson Pop

When I reflect on the day I ran 100km, I often think about how insignificant the first steps of that journey felt. I remember leaving my house, and thinking that each step was one of hundreds of thousands I needed to take to complete the journey. 

It was a difficult mindset to begin with. 

The truth was that without step one there could be no step two and without step two there could be no step three. 

I simply needed to begin. 

Too many of us hesitate when it comes to taking action.

Each step seems insignificant.

But single steps repeated is the fastest way to make progress. 

What have you been holding out on starting because it seems to big?

Don't underestimate the power of a single step.

Clarify, Commit, Continue. by Tyson Pop

Yesterday was my blog's first birthday. 

Though it’s true that the older you get the faster time seems to go, I still can’t believe it’s been a year since that first post. Since that day, tens of thousands of people from all around the world have visited my blog, many of whom have opted out of a life of busy to focus more on what they're busy about. A lot has changed around the world in the past year, but the purpose of this blog remains the same: helping you create space for the things you really love. 

It's been a year of change for me. 

As a result of living a life in line with my message, I've reduced the hours I work for others and now work more for myself. I've travelled to 10 different countries and moved to London with my wife and invested a lot of time into my health, my marriage and building relationships with others.

Since working more for myself, and seeing how many ways different people go about creating their work, I've had to adapt a working structure and a set of rules that more effectively allowed me to complete my work, without worrying so much what someone else might be doing. 

Though I've trialled various techniques to help me stay true to what I'm about, and not get caught up on what everybody else is doing, I've found three strategies that have enabled me to do that. 

Create personal rules: As an athlete, I used to thrive on routine and discipline. I knew that too much wasn't good, but neither was too little. Rather than constantly second-guessing my next move, I gauged what worked, and stuck to that whilst it was working. This allowed me to finish each session with confidence in what I was doing.  The same is now true for work. These few rules allow me to work hard and recover hard. 

-    6-weeks holiday annually - completely off
-    Write 1000 words six days each week
-    Sunday off
-    3 posts weekly – Monday, Tuesday & Thursday
-    No work after 5.30pm each night – no matter what. 
-    Facebook & Twitter is for sharing new content

Weekly Schedule: Structure helps me allocate my time effectively. I find it so easy to jump from one task to another if I don't have a plan, so this is a general outline of the major focus for each day. 

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Post Podcast 
  • Tuesday: Post Blog
  • Wednesday: Marketing - (guest post submissions, media emails, networking)
  • Thursday: Post Blog
  • Friday: Interview podcast guest
  • Saturday: Essentials

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Is Being Busy Bad? by Tyson Pop

No.

I don’t think being busy is bad.    

But we must be careful what we’re busy about.     

Too many of us fill our days with activities that we wish we were no longer involved in: The extra commitment we took on because we felt bad saying no. The thing we volunteered for that we’re no longer interested in. The things we said yes to that we should never have agreed to.

We’ve wrongly assumed that if we could add a few extra hours into our day, then we could finally commit to the things that are really important to us, but deep down we know that’s not true. We don’t need more hours. We need to use the hours we have more effectively. But to do that, we need to be aware of how we’re using the hours we actually have.

So...

What are you currently committed to that you should no longer be doing? What could you eliminate from your schedule to open some space for the things you really value? How could your life be better with a little more time?

Success Leaves Clues by Tyson Pop

People have done what you dream of doing. 

Mountains have been climbed, books have been written, money has been saved, weight has been lost, successful businesses have been started and medals have been won. 

It's an advantage for us to find out how those who have done the things we dream of doing, went about doing them. Today, with so much information at our fingertips it's become easier than ever to learn from these people. A simple Google search of their names is a step in the right direction. 

So, who has done what you dream of doing?

Watch their interviews. Learn their lessons. Seek their guidance. 

It will save you precious time in your pursuit. 

You don't need to guess your way towards your dream. 

Success leaves clues.

It's Time To Stop Planning by Tyson Pop

You will never be completely ready to launch your product. 

So many of us get trapped continually planning because it’s more comfortable than the unknown territory that the launch takes us.

The launch is scary.

It’s the place where all your hard work will be critiqued and criticised. It's the place  you will realise how much you can still improve.

Comedians understand this better than most. It’s the reason that after months of writing their jokes, they trial their new material on small audiences. They have to trial it to see what to refine before they take it to the masses. 

Fear about the launch is normal. 

Maybe you know what I mean?

Maybe you been planning something that you know you should launch, but you haven’t because you’re afraid your idea will be criticised?

It will be.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not brilliant.

Let’s not get caught in the false sense of security that planning provides to avoid the fear of what the launch will bring.

At some stage, you need to pull the trigger.

Make adjustments as you go. 

There’s no other way around it.

Ready. Fire. Aim.

The Ultimate Motivation Hack by Tyson Pop

I made a big change recently. 

For quite some time, I'd been letting my emotions dictate the way I spoke to my wife.

I know, I'm sorry.

I wasn't annoyed at herI was just venting to her.

The problem was that I felt comfortable venting to her about everything that was on my mind, and I was doing it too much. It was quite easy for me to get stuck in a rant for ten minutes about something that had upset me, making myself and her stressed out in the process. 

It was a bad habit.

I knew I should stop, but honestly, it felt easier not to. 

Have you ever experienced something like that?

Where you know you should do or change something, but you don't.

  • I should lose weight
     
  • I should exercise
     
  • I should save money
     
  • I should study
     
  • I should eat better
     
  • I should quit smoking
     

I'm sure you know what I mean. We've all find ourselves here from time to time. 

But why, when we know what we should be doing, don't we always do it?

The best answer I've heard to that question is from Tony Robbins. He says that every human decision is made with the desire to experience pleasure and avoid pain. 

In other words, we like the easy option. 

Even though we know we should go outside for a run because it will benefit our health, we choose to stay inside for a movie and the ice cream because in that moment, that option seems far more enjoyable. Though avoiding the short term pain of doing what we don't feel like doing seems inviting initially, making decisions like this on a regular basis has a negative impact on our health, energy and well-being. 

So I made a deal with Jessie.

The deal was, that the next time I started ranting about something, I had one minute to deal with the emotion that was upsetting me and change my state to a more positive one. If I was ranting for one second longer than the minute I'd allowed myself, I had to eat a can of dog food. 

It fixed me. 

As a vegetarian and a person who has never loved eating dog food, I learnt to immediately snap out of my negative state.

I had discovered a nice little hack. 

I had to switch my should into a must. 

The only way to make our should a must is to make the conditions of not following through with the goal more painful than sticking to our goal. It looks a little like this:
 

  1. Decide what you want to change Get clarity on exactly what you want to change. When you know exactly what you you're trying to achieve, the action you need to take to get it done becomes more clear. 
     
  2. State the benefits of achieving the goal Let yourself know what you will gain from making the change. If you are trying to lose weight; you're not just losing weight, you're changing the way you feel, improving your health, having more energy for the things you love. 
     
  3. Set a time frame What date will you know if you've reached your goal? Don't be vague about when you want to see the results. Decide a date that you can say that you have either done it or haven't. 
     
  4. Find an accountability partner: Tell someone you trust to keep you accountable what you're going to do. Make a deal with them that if you don't get it done you will pay a price. E.g. Give them $500, eat a can of dog food, get punched in the face, shave your head. The options are endless. 
     
  5. Suffer consequences or enjoy rewards On the date that you have set to have the results you set out to achieved, you will speak to your accountability partner. if you have don't what you set out to do, congratulations. If not, you need to go through with your end of the deal. 
     

This is the perfect way to get the results you have been dreaming about. But it will only work if you follow through on the consequence you set yourself. There are only so many cans of dog food you will eat before you decide that the pain from eating that food is worse than not following through with what you set for yourself. 

It's the ultimate motivation hack if you do it right. 

Give it a go. 

10 Life Changing Tools by Tyson Pop

I love hearing about the things that have added great value into the lives of those around me.

I also love to share the things that are adding great value into my own life. 

With that said, here are 10 tools that have added incredible value in my life over the last twelve months. 

 

  1. Aeropress The Aeropress has changed the way I do coffee. Small, simple and easy to clean, this little champion comes everywhere with me. Clear your bench space by getting rid of your coffee machine, and enjoy the quality that Aeropress offers. 
     
  2. Day One App A simple way to journal. Day One is a dream come true for the OCD. I've used this app for nearly two years for planning our budget, keeping ideas and recording my training. It's just a beautiful space to capture your thoughts. 
     
  3. Headspace App Making meditation simple, this app is a gym membership for your mind. For as little as ten minutes a day, you will learn the art of quieting your mind, and creating the headspace you crave. Take the 10 day free trial to help you discover whether it's of value to you.
     
  4. Kindle For so long my lounge-room contained bookshelves filled with books that I had either read or was planning to read. I treated my physical books like trophies and, like trophies, they took up space and collected dust. I got rid of 99% of my physical books and now read on a kindle. It stores hundreds of books, stays charged for weeks at a time, and though it's different than holding a physical book, is a completely awesome new way to read.  
     
  5. My Fitness Pal App My wife thinks I look better when I have a little more muscle. With that said, I'm currently in the process of putting on around four kilograms. This app is helping with that as it tracks your calories and your exercise to help you reach your desired outcomes, be that gaining or losing weight.  
     
  6. Nutri-Bullet This is probably my favourite item in the kitchen. Every morning I use it to prepare a fruit smoothie and a green juice. I've used it 2-3 times a day for the last twelve months and it's still running as strong as ever. It blends the drink well and doesn't leave you with a chunky end product. If I could only keep one appliance for the kitchen, this is it. 
     
  7. The Dave Ramsey Show If you're looking for some simple, practical advice on how to get yourself out of debt or just be more responsible with money, this guy is your man. Straight talking and easy to understand, he breaks down the B.S and helps you, right where you are. He's a passionate American and fairly outspoken on his belief that America is the greatest country in the history of humanity. I find it hilarious, but some people hate it. If you can get past that though, his advice is extremely helpful. 
     
  8. The Minimalists These guys have been my best discovery in the last two years. Offering some super helpful advice on how to escape the rat race of consumerism that the Western world is caught up in, and sharing ways that we can live a meaningful life with less. Check them out for sure!
     
  9. Yoga Studio App Yoga is the perfect opportunity to improve strength, flexibility and to give your mind some down time. I used to love going to Yoga classes but honestly, they were all over priced. This app changes that. For a once off payment of $6, you will have access to over 70 different Yoga classes ranging from 10-60 minutes. The layout is clean and the classes are awesome. I use it nearly ever day and so does my wife. We both feel better off because of it. 
     
  10. Zen Habits This is a great blog. Leo Babauta is the man behind it and has a specific focus on on helping the reader find simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of life. Zen Habits helps us clear the clutter so we can focus on what's important. 

Do You Need A Personal Mission Statement? by Tyson Pop

In early December 2015 I was sitting in a café in Kathmandu drinking Nepalese tea and journaling about how I could best use my talents and passions from that night forward.

I had been in Nepal for a little over a month with a Canadian mountain climbing company who were considering whether I was an eligible candidate to climb Mt Everest with them in April-May this year. As I had no mountain climbing experience, I had been feeling a little pressure to perform in the month that had led up to this moment. 

In order to qualify to climb Everest, I had to climb two mountains, both of them over 6000m.

Not a huge ask, but a challenge.  

On the morning of my first climb in mid November 2015, I woke at 1.00am for our 2.00am start. I packed my bag and ate some porridge.

Terrible decision. 

This turned out to be a famous bowl of porridge on my trip as it gave me the worst dose of food poisoning I have ever experienced. Within forty minutes I was vomiting, shaking, and in no shape to be out of bed, let alone climbing mountains. 

At that moment, Everest 2016 was over.

Despite getting to the top of the next mountain, the deal was, I had to climb both.

The twelve months of work that had led to this moment played on my mind.

I was disappointed. 

Really disappointed. 

I was craving a fresh sense of hope. 

I was wondering whether Everest would be something I would do again, or if it had just been something that excited me, rather than something I was actually passionate about.

Maybe I had confused excitement for passion?

At this time, I had been reading Stephen Covey's book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' in which he speaks of how so many of us are swayed and distracted by the shiny things in life. 

The exciting things that we busy ourselves with, so that we never really have time to decide what it is we are trying to achieve. 

I didn't want to be in that category,

But...I was

His thoughts?

Write a mission statement. 

WHAT IS A MISSION STATEMENT?

A written declaration made by an individual to clarify their core focus. 

WHY WRITE A MISSION STATEMENT?

  • To keep your priorities clear
     
  • To simplifiy your decision making process
     
  • To help you focus
     
  • To establish what you value most

HOW DO YOU WRITE A MISSION STATEMENT?

How your statement is structured is not as important as what it contains. Simply start by answering these questions.

  • How would you like to be remembered?
     
  • How would you like people to describe you?
     
  • What is it you want to be?
     
  • Who matters most to you?
     
  • How do you define success?
     
  • What will make your life great?

I started by writing down pages of qualities that I most respect about people I know, that I would like to develop in my own life. Over the following months I edited and adjusted it.  

If you would like a little more help putting a statement together, click here.

MY PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT

Those who know me well will know that I have a long way to go in so many of these character traits. The aim is to develop them, not to make you believe I've reached them yet. 

  1. Love always wins

  2. Never compromise honesty

  3. Seek counsel from others

  4. Defend the absent

  5. Be decisive

  6. Seek to understand others

  7. Think carefully before every purchase

  8. Stress has no place in my life

  9. Be known for patience

  10. Be known for positivity

  11. Keep a sense of humour

  12. Listen more than I speak

  13. Don't fear mistakes

  14. Don't chase praise or fame

  15. Start each day with a great routine

  16. Only commit to what I love

  17. Be flexible, not perfect

  18. Continue to ask "What will make it better"?

  19. Begin with the end in mind

  20. Speak confidently and kindly when asked my opinion

  21. Act brave when I'm not

  22. Choose my focus carefully

  23. Rest every Saturday

  24. Speak into the potential of others

  25. Be extremely generous

  26. Faithful husband with eyes, mind and body

  27. Choose language carefully

  28. Show interest in everyone

  29. Nurture your health

  30. Give people hope through coaching

The Power Of Clarity by Tyson Pop

I was five when I started school.

Eighteen when I left.

That's a pretty long time at school. 

I learnt some extremely helpful skills when I was there. Things like the alphabet, how to add, subtract, divide, multiply, read, write. All good things.

But honestly, some of the other stuff wasn't very helpful. 

In fact most of the time I was there, I was just going through the motions of getting my work done because that's what everybody else was doing. 

As I got a little older though, I decided I didn't want to just go through the motions, simply because the other student's were.

So, I stopped doing most of the work.

This upset my teachers. 

Especially Mr Stone.

He hated it.

Poor guy.

Great bloke too. 

On the days that I was having my little protest, I remember asking my teachers why I had to do the work. Answers like, "because I told you to" were used regularly, but that was a terrible answer. There was no motivation in that for me. Personally, if I was going to do the work, I needed more confidence that this stuff was actually going to be beneficial. I needed to know the purpose of why we were doing it. 

I needed clarity. 

I never felt like school was focussed on clarity. The teachers had to provide the content and I had to complete it. No questions asked. But I had lots of questions. 

Thirteen years of that was enough for me. 

When I did eventually leave school, I decided I was never going to just go through the motions in life again. I made a commitment to myself that if i was going to do something, I had to know why

And it had to be a good 'why'.  

Here's why:

A ship never sets sail without a destination in mind.

It would be crazy to get on a ship that has know idea to where it was sailing. 

Yet, how many of us set sail through our lives without a destination in mind.

Without any purpose behind our action. Just doing what we've been told to do. 

Maybe you're frustrated, stressed, confused, anxious, stale, flat and you don't know why. 

Having trouble committing, continuing, pushing through, trying again. 

Maybe if you establish why you want to achieve it, you'll find the motivation to get it done. 

Maybe you've just been lacking a little clarity.

 

Whenever I feel like that, I make myself answer these questions. 

  1. Are you passionate about what you're doing?

  2.  Is it in line with your values?

  3. .What is your desired outcome?

  4.  How will you know when you've achieved it?

  5.  What are the benefits of achieving it?

Often, answering these questions is all i need to do to get me back on track.

To remind myself why I'm heading in the direction I am.