Day #216:Here’s Why I Don’t Create a Daily To-Do List

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people about how I stay productive, specifically asking for tips and tricks that I use to stay on track and get things done.

Here’s a tip that I use (I’m not saying it’s what you should do, it’s just what I do that works for me). It may sound counter-intuitive, but I do not write down a detailed daily to-do list. I used to, but I don’t anymore. Consequently, I’ve been getting more done, and feeling better about myself at the end of the day.

Let me explain:

With a daily to-do list, you spend the night before or the day of listing the things that you want to accomplish. We try to judge how long something will take to complete, so as not to overfill our day and leave us with unfinished jobs on the list.

Unfortunately, no matter how much of an expert you are at estimating the length of time it takes to complete a job, the daily to-do list never gets fully checked off. At least this was the case for me.

I wouldn’t “overbook” myself. No. What normally happened was that there were unforeseen tasks or things that came up during the day that I had to do, which were sometimes more important and time-sensitive than what was on my list. Think of an urgent email that you have to respond to, or an emergency meeting or conference call that you must attend.

Those kinds of things are the ANTI-daily to-do list. What you had originally put on your list gets shoved to the back of the line, and often times you finish the day with an unfinished list and feel like you didn’t accomplish as much as you wanted to, if anything at all.

That’s not good for motivation, that’s for sure.

The solution to my problem is a system I worked out which involves project to-do lists, not daily to-do lists.

The project to-do list is easy to create: just start at the bottom with your end goal (finish project X), and work your way backwards from there. You’ll have a roadmap to completion all written out, and can easily check things off as you go along.

When I work, I simply allocate specific amounts of time “working on project X”, or “working on project Y”, depending on my mood, or what may seem to be more time sensitive. When “working on project X”, I work on the next available task on its own project to-do list, without trying to reach a specific point by the end of the day. I just work on it as much as I can in the time given, and check off parts of the list as I go.

Of course, some tasks are required to be put on a schedule, such as writing blog posts (which should be done consistently), so there will be some things that require you to finish stuff within a certain amount of time, or on a specific date, but I try to keep that to a minimum.

Using this method, I find that I can get much more done. I don’t know whether it’s because I work better because I’m not stressed out about meeting “little deadlines” throughout the day, or because I’m super motivated whenever I check off a task on my project to-do lists, but it works, at least for me!

Day #215:10 Interesting Quotes From Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel

He’s a libertarian. But he has also funded the secretive data-mining company Palantir, which works for the FBI and the CIA.

He co-founded PayPal and acted as its CEO before the company sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.

Since then he launched the global hedge-fund Clarium Capital and the Founders Fund, a venture capital firm. He was Facebook’s first outside investor, making him a billionaire when the company went public.

He’s also launched the controversial “20 Under 20” initiative which gives 20 teens $100,000 to drop out of college for two years to pursue their own tech projects.

He is one of the most original, controversial thinkers in tech today.

On living: “Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it.”

On higher education: “University administrators are the equivalent of subprime mortgage brokers selling you a story that you should go into debt massively, that it’s not a consumption decision, it’s an investment decision. Actually, no, it’s a bad consumption decision. Most colleges are four-year parties.”

On responses to his “20 Under 20” Thiel Foundation drop-outs: “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.”

On the future: “Yes, a robotics revolution would basically have the effect of people losing their jobs, as you need fewer workers to do the same things, but it would have the benefit of freeing people up to do many other things.”

On ideas: “There are still many large white spaces on the map of human knowledge. You can go discover them. So do it. Get out there and fill in the blank spaces. Every single moment is a possibility to go to these new places and explore them.”

 On progress: “People don’t want to believe that technology is broken. Pharmaceuticals, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology — all these areas where the progress has been a lot more limited than people think. And the question is, why?”

On defining a personal world view: “This is always a problem with elites, they’re always skewed in an optimistic direction.”

On success: “The most successful businesses have an idea for the future that’s very different from the present.”

On not accepting the status quo: “I think that one of the most contrarian things one can do in our society is try to think for oneself.”

On failure: “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”*

Day #214:No Arms, No Legs, No Worries – Nick Vujijic

How often do we let conditions beyond our control or our handicaps hold us back from going for our dreams?

I didn’t come from a rich family so I didn’t get the same opportunities.

I wasn’t born attractive enough. 

I can’t move up in my company because English wasn’t my native language.

The list of excuses goes on.

How often do people quit because of their handicap? How many people make excuses because their life is too tough and resign to a life of mediocrity because they’ve given up without trying?

Unfortunately, too many.

But once in a while, I’ll find someone who pursues their dream against all odds and really inspire me to continue to strive for my own dreams no matter what happens.

Enter Nick Vujijic.

Nick was born without arms. I can’t even begin to imagine how my life would be without just my hands. I’m not sure how I would deal with life. Would would you do if you didn’t have arms? Would it be unbearable?

Well guess what?

Nick was also born without legs. That’s right. No arms or legs yet at the current age of 27 he is the president of an international non-profit organization, an author and the owner of his own motivational speaking company. He travels the world following his passion to motivate people around the world to gain perspective, to find their purpose and to live the big dream. Occasionally he even finds time for surfing and other interesting things. Learn more about Nick at his main site.

Below is a video of Nick living his purpose. Every time I watch this, It puts my life and hardships in perspective and I am truly inspired to disregard any excuses I am making and continue living my passion and focusing on how I can make it happen and not whether I should. I hope it will do the same for you.

If you have an inspirational story that has helped you to continue following your dreams, please share it in the comments section below. Thanks!

Day #213:Qualities that Make Ordinary People Extraordinary [VI]

We have come to the 6th and last instalment of this post on qualities that make ordinary people become extraordinary. This makes the list 30  in all. I hope this helps you in creating a benchmark for yourself.Let’s take a look at the last 5.

26. Self Control – Successful people rarely lose control. They don’t go into panics or blind rages. They have learned to control their emotions and to consciously (or subconsciously) put themselves in a resourceful state. They understand that they can’t change other people or what’s happening to them but they can change how they react to it and how they feel about it. Another sign of self-control is doing what you’re suppose to do despite how you feel about it.

27. Prepared – Extraordinary people are always prepared. They not only have a plan B but also a Plan C, D, E and F. They mentally rehearse and visualize the possibilities vividly so that when the actual situation occurs, their brains will “remember” what to do.

28. Choice – People who are successful are in control. They know they ALWAYS have a choice. They don’t feel victimized by their genetics, history and/or circumstances and they truly believe that the past does not determine the future. They write the script to their lives.According to the Harry Potter movie:”It is our choices, far more than our abilities, that define who we are.”

29. Self Reliant – Successful people rely on themselves. They don’t need permission to do what they want and they don’t give other people permission to slow them down by relying on them. They believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their dreams whether anyone helps them or not. What’s interesting is that it is exactly this type of attitude that attracts others to want to help you. Samuel Smiles writes about this exact topic in his book, Self-Help. They take responsibility for what happens and what doesn’t happen in their lives and not blame others.

30. Energy Conscious – Those who become great understand that successfully managing their energy is just as important if not more so than managing their time (Quality #6). One of the most important principles in energy management is knowing that rest is as important as action. Successful people are aware that low energy produces poor results and this violates their need for excellence (Quality #2). One of the best ways to manage your energy is to sleep your way to success.

So where do you stand?

I hope you have either reconfirmed many of your own qualities or have created action plans to develop the qualities you are lacking. Focus on cultivating one or two qualities at a time. Once your beliefs and actions are aligned with those of a successful person, you’ll be amazed by how successful you become.

Bookmark and review this list often to measure yourself against it. Use it as a checklist knowing that the more qualities that you have, the higher your likelihood of being wildly successful in whatever you pursue.

Which one of these building blocks of success do you want to develop? Are there any qualities of success that I left off that should be included in this list?

Day #212:Qualities that Make Ordinary People Extraordinary [V]

21. Admits Mistakes – There are two things you can do to guarantee that you will NOT be successful in the future: Blaming Others and Making Excuses. When you do these two things, you give up both your responsibility and power. When something goes wrong and you blame other people or make excuses, you are clearly stating that you have no power in this situation and things are happening to you and not because of you. Great people admit when they are wrong so they can focus on the solution and not waste energy finding a scape goat

22. Mindset of Abundance – Successful people don’t view happiness or success as a finite resource where achieving happiness and success for yourself means denying someone else happiness and success. They believe that there is enough to go around and it is more about creating value and not competition. This is the quality that allows them to be happy for other people’s successes. This mindset also encourages empowerment of others.

23. Good Character – Heroes are people who triumph. Think of all the heroes you know (in movies, books and real life). Don’t they all act with honesty and integrity? Aren’t they usually generous with others and frugal with themselves? Doesn’t everyone look up to them? Being a hero that triumphs in life is no different.

24. Great Company – As I experience and observe more and more of life, I’ve come to realize that you really can learn a lot about someone by the company that they keep. Test this by looking at people you know and the people they hang out with. You can go as far as to test the idea that a person’s salary is usually the average of the five people they hang out with the most.

This happens because people with similar beliefs tend to get along and stick together. If a group averages $65,000/year and someone in the group believes that they can make $65,000/hour, the other people in the group will think that is ridiculous. Yet in the group where everyone makes $65,000/hour, the person making $65,000/year will probably second guess his/her own beliefs concerning earning ability.

What does that mean for you?

Surround yourself with people living the life you want to live and adopt their beliefs and habits.

25. Listener – Everyone wants to be a great speaker but how many people strive to be excellent listeners. People who listen succeed in life because they are able to hear and understand the needs of other people and to focus their energy on meeting those needs. The fastest way to be a good conversationalist is to listen well and ask questions.

Day #211:Qualities that Make Ordinary People Extraordinary IV

We are now in the forth instalment of the post on qualities that make ordinary people exta ordinary. Let’s explore 5 more qualities

16. Self Acceptance – Polonius had it exactly right when he said “To thine own self be true“. People who are successful don’t pretend to be something they are not. This allows them to express their creativity freely and to not worry about hiding who they really are. The best way to accept yourself is to genuinely appreciate and accept others. If you tend to judge other people, you’re probably not very accepting of yourself either. The worse type of rejection is self-rejection.

17. Big Dreams – I have yet to read a biography of a successful person who didn’t have grand dreams for what they would accomplish. Sir Richard Branson, Walt Disney and Sam Walton all had big dreams and for the most part achieved more than they originally imagined. This is one of the reasons they became successful. They are not afraid to dream big and then go for it. If you want to know whether someone will be successful, ask them about their dreams. If they sound plausible, then they are not dreaming big enough.

18. Well Rounded and Balanced – Truly successful people strive to be successful in all aspects of their lives. They live healthy lives, become financially independent, nurture meaningful relationships, develop personal mastery and accomplish their professional goals. They know that sacrificing one key area to achieve another will not help them maximize their true potential. It is hard to be your best and to contribute when you have to worry about how you are going to pay the rent.

19. Excellent Network – Successful people understand the importance of relationships and how it is one of the most important factors in achieving your goals. They also realize that the best way to build a great network is to give help to others first with no expectation of reward. Those who constantly take without giving usually do very poorly on building a solid network.

20. Enthusiastic – A sure sign of someone extraordinary is the enthusiasm they have about their passion and their life. They wake up in the morning excited about their day because they know it is going to bring them one step closer to achieving their dream. Successful people tend to be leaders because others are attracted to their enthusiasm and become followers hoping to experience the same excitement and en

Day #210:Qualities that Make Ordinary People Extraordinary III

In continuation of the last  2 days post on qualities that make ordinary people become extraordinary, lets explore 5 more.

11. Action Oriented – We all know of people who have potential or talk a big game but accomplishes nothing. Those who spend all their time thinking about doing something will never succeed. Successful people are doers and not talkers. They don’t wait for conditions to be perfect before they take action. They just go for it, observe the feedback and then modify their next action accordingly. Those who don’t achieve much with their lives tend to use “would”, “should” and “could” a lot. Those who do get what they want are too busy achieving their next goal to explain themselves.

12. Confident – This is what helps successful people take action. Like the chicken and the egg, confidence helps you achieve your goals which in turn makes you more confident. A great way to be confident is remembering your past successes and overcoming your fear of failure. Signs of confidence include empowering others, not taking criticism personally, and understanding that the first time you do something is always the hardest and all subsequent times WILL get easier. Success is the combination of confidence with competence.

13. Readers – Most if not all successful people like to read. If you believe that success leaves clues and that you can be successful by thinking and acting like a success person, then reading should be a part of your daily life. I’ve come to realize that with access to more books than I can read in several lifetimes, it is important to read the books that will make the most difference to you. Usually these are the books that will help you become a true expert in your field of your passion or challenge the limiting beliefs you have about yourself.

14. Trusts Intuition – People who succeed in life trust their “gut”. They may not be able to explain rationally why or how they made their decision but they knew it was the right thing to do. Successful people learn to harness the power of their subconscious by sending it “orders” from the conscious mind. This involves mentally visualizing the outcome beforehand and then being present to take in the data and information that will become the ingredients for your subconscious to deliver the “orders” that was sent. Learning how to meditate is also a great way to develop and get in touch with your intuition.

15. Curious and Embraces Possibility – Two people are running a race and they come up to an immense wall blocking their path. One person sees the wall and starts getting down on himself for wasting his time and decides to quit the race before he wastes even more time. The other person immediately thinks about what the possibilities are for getting over the wall. Will he/she climb it, break through it, dig under it, etc? No matter which option he/she chooses, he/she immediately acts on their decision and collects feedback. Successful people adopt an attitude of curiosity and they truly feel that they can always learn something from someone else. They incorporate the great qualities of others while make a point to avoid the bad qualities.