Going to Bed Early

This past week I’ve been making it a point to go to bed early. For me, early means by 10pm at the latest, earlier if possible.

Normally I’ll be up until 11 or sometimes midnight on the computer.

I know that when I go to bed early, it is easier to wake up at a reasonable time without an alarm. When I wake at a reasonable time I’m more likely to get my training done in the morning and get to work earlier. When I get to work earlier I tend to get some big things done right away before meetings take over. When I get a few big things done at work every day I just feel good. When I feel good I end up being a more effective yoga teacher (when I teach after work on Mondays) and more pleasant when I interact with friends and family.

Overall, going to bed early has a massive and positive ripple effect throughout the rest of my day. It’s worth doing.

When You Have No Other Choice

When you have no other choice, you stop making excuses and start doing the things you know need to be done. When you close off all alternatives, it is much easier to commit and make progress.

Most business people I know love the fact that they are able to get so much work done while travelling on airplanes. At least on most flights, cell and e-mail access isn’t an option, so one is left with the only choices of reading the inflight magazine, reading a book, listening to music or actually getting work done. Goodbye internet, hello productivity.

Can you go internet free one day a week? Can you go e-mail free a couple times a week? Can you resolve not to answer your work calls after 5pm or before 9am? Can you commit to eating a leafy green salad with every meal? Can you not turn on your TV after 9pm? Can you stop reading so many blogs and focus more on writing more of your own 🙂

What can you do to recreate such situations (like the internet free flight!) in your everyday life – so that you don’t have to rely on your own willpower to achieve a positive result? For example, have organic produce delivered to your door every week so you feel compelled to eat healthy food – so it doesn’t spoil. Join a sports team that will make you feel guilty for not getting out and exercising. Do work in a location that doesn’t have internet access. Sell your TV (or loan it to a friend for a while). Disable your Facebook and Twitter accounts…etc.

Get creative and design a lifestyle that makes it easy for you to be more disciplined and smarter about how you live you life and spend your time.

Deactivate Facebook and Twitter to Improve Your Focus

Today I have deactivated my Facebook account, and will no longer be posting to my Twitter account. This is another 30-day challenge. I’m an avid social networker, but at the end of the day, I realize that much of the conversations that happen through these networks are not directly supporting my overall goals or well-being.

Participating in social networks is a fantastic thing, but you need to be incredibly disclipined and focused so that you do not begin to allow the network to swallow you whole. As your network builds, the more people will contact you, the bigger and busier your news “feed” will be and the higher the noise-to-signal ratio will become.

You run the risk of becoming a human spam filter just trying to parse through what is valueable vs nice-to-have vs absolute garbage. For me, with over 600 friends on facebook, the information tsunami was difficult to manage. I would check the site several times a day just to see if there was something of interest.

I would get people sending me notes and e-mails on Facebook totally out of the blue and often off-topic. I’d also have lots of “shallow” interactions with people and very few meaningful conversations. In the end, I am not that big on small talk. I would much rather have a few meaningful conversations with people than a hundred casual chats. People can easily contact me through my blog (or my e-mail, which is also posted on this blog).

Lastly, I also have found myself posting updates and photos just to see what other people think…that is to say, just to get a reaction. I don’t think this is healthy behavior or a good use of my time.

Therefore, for the next 30 days, I have deactivated my Facebook account and also will not be using Twitter at all. The only exception with Twitter is that when I post a blog, my site auto-updates to Twitter. I’ll let that continue, I just won’t check it! I am curious to see if I even miss not having this connection to my online network.

How to Keep Your House Clean

I am a big fan of not creating problems that I will need to solve later on. I do not love cleaning, but I do enjoy a clean home. The best way I’ve found to keep my house clean is to not make it dirty or messy in the first place! This sounds incredibly intuitive and simple – and it is – but it amazes me how many people still don’t actually do it.

For example, let’s suppose the dishes pile up, the carpets get tracked with dirt, clothes are lying all over the floor, laundry is left half-dry in the dryer, food is spoiling in the fridge, receipts and mail are littered about the counter, etc.

This is quite a mess, but not out of the ordinary for the typical home every. Just think about how frusting it would be to live in this kind of environment. Cleaning once you hit this breaking point would just add another layer of frustration to the mix.

Instead, consider the following changes:

  • You don’t put dishes in the sink, but directly in the dishwasher
  • You slip off your shoes when you enter your home
  • You have a hamper in your bedroom for all your dirty clothes, and another for the clean clothes that are yet to be folded
  • You eat what is in your fridge first before dining out, and get in the habit of freezing things you know you won’t eat in a few days
  • You have a shoebox for receipts, maybe a few shoeboxes if you have a home business
  • You immediately throw all junk mail out before you set the mail down on your counter (and then take steps to stop junk mail for good)

Continue reading How to Keep Your House Clean