Welcome to the New Year™ everyone!
So do people still do that thing with the new years resolutions anymore? Or is it just something all the news outlets crap on about because they think it’s still a thing? I want to get rich! I want to exercise more! I want to blah blah blah… rubbish.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against self improvement, far from it! But rubbish, off the cuff and random “resolutions” that are made up on the spot almost ubiquitously fail. Hard.
So there’s obviously no point in trying to improve yourself in that specific way. There are, however, other much better ways to kick off 2019 and improve your life. So let’s have a brief walk through some of them…
As I’ve mentioned before, the easiest way to do something is to have a computer do it automatically for you. It’s like magic. You set it up, watch it do its thing for a bit to make sure it’s correct, forget about it, come back months later and it’s just still doing its thing day in, day out.
Automation has a very interesting property too in that it gives you an unfair advantage over everyone else. This is because everyone only has a certain amount of time in their day, but having more and more of your life automated means you get to essentially do two things at once. Everyone knows you should “work smarter not harder” and automation certainly does this for you.
There’s also been countless times where I’ve setup some type of automated process, forgotten about it, had it become just a part of life and then been shocked later on seeing someone else doing the same thing manually.
Maybe it’s paying off our mortgage automatically or the many automatic things I use to manage this website or simply having my phone automatically go into silent mode when it should.
Whatever it was it very quickly became just another thing that computers did for me. Another tool that helped me in everyday life and to then see others not use that tool… well it’s like learning that your work colleague sends physical mail to everyone instead of using email.
So after investigating a lot of ways to work harder, work more efficiently, work smarter and so on I’ve come to what I think is a much better conclusion:
Work smarter and harder.
Do them both. Work hard, find ways of automating as much as possible in life, automate it and then continue working hard to amplify everything.
Plan For The Long Term
I’m a huge planner. Love it. Probably a little bit too much actually as it can sometimes end up getting in the way of me actually doing the plan. That being said though planning is critical to improving your life both now and in the long term.
It sounds obvious and well… it is… but if you haven’t been doing this for as much as possible throughout your life here’s a quick tip: pretty much every plan has already been planned.
Planning can be done individually, together and over days, weeks or months but it doesn’t have to be that difficult or time consuming. Most plans to solve your problems are already out there, mostly for free like How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster.
Your life, while special, probably isn’t all the different to the billions of other people currently living or dead. As such you can get a huge leg up over everyone else just by Googling a “good enough” free plan for something and then immediately enacting it.
Sure, it won’t be personalised to you but it should get you a large portion, 80-95%, of the way there with basically zero time and effort investment from you.
It won’t take away the actual work you will need to do, but it will ensure the work you do is effective and has impact.
Carve Out Free Time
One of the most paradoxical things you can do to improve your life is in fact the opposite of what most people think. Sure you can work an extra job to earn more cash or build up a side business which is very important… but for a lot of people, especially those starting out, freeing up time throughout your week can be incredibly important too.
What happens when we’re busy, busy, busy all the time is that we only tend to focus on those specific “busy” things to the exclusion of everything else. We get up, go to the gym, shower, go to work, come home, eat dinner, relax a bit in front of the TV, go to bed, repeat, have a party on the weekend, do an extra shift here or there etc, etc, etc.
We focus on improving our gym routine, working harder and smarter, setup automated systems to help us and so on all focusing on what we’re currently doing and aiming for. Yet it’s precisely because of this that we miss the forest for the trees.
What can often happen, especially with intelligent and highly motivated people such as yourself, is that they instantly attack a problem without first stepping back and assessing whether or not it’s an appropriate problem to take on in the first place.
For example, your company might have a yearly sales bonus of $10,000 and you immediately tackle it dedicating huge amounts of energy all year to get it. However if you had really thought about the problem first you’d realise that working tens of hours extra every week all year isn’t the best way to improve your life.
That $10,000 will be taxed for starters meaning it’s not really $10,000 at all. There’s also no guarantee you’ll get it even with all that hard work so there is some risk involved too. $10,000 isn’t anything to sneeze at, but there are a lot of other things you can do to generate $10,000 in a year likely with much less effort.
For instance you could take advantage of our New Years Sale, get 91% off the How To Stay Employed In The Robotic Future course and ensure your long term employment is based in an industry that is going to exponentially grow over the next decade, making you far better off in the long run.
This higher level, sort of “meta” thinking, can only be done when you have free time out of your regular busy life. Time to sit, reflect on how your life has been going, where you’d like it to go in the future and what’s really important to you or your family if you have one. As such I strongly suggest you carve out time explicitly for this activity.
By carving out periodic blocks of free, general thinking time you will find that you’ll be able to think about these things and properly asses them in full. This time isn’t about “being more efficient” or doing pure work towards a goal, it’s about deciding whether that work is honestly what you want or even worth doing in the first place.
Why are you really doing the work? Can it be worked on via a different path? Can the end goal be achieved in a different way? Is that end goal even meaningful or relevant anymore? Was that goal set by someone else for you, say a parent, and not actually what you want?
Question everything right down to its base, core level. Don’t let anything just be done “because”. Doing something because that’s how it’s always been done is a sure sign it needs further analysis. You may end up still doing that thing… but make sure it’s because of your reason not just “because”.
This type of thinking is difficult to describe and instruct on how to do but I find I do it best when I’m just relaxing, staring out into space and pondering. It might be on holidays, on the train or even at a computer screen.
Whatever way you find works best try and make it an important, ongoing part of your life as doing this regularly will save you an enormous amount of effort in the long run by eliminating erroneous work that isn’t needed. Just try not to do it while someone’s talking to you!
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