So, I don’t remember what math class I learned about the Law of Diminishing Returns. Probably Pre-Calculus or Calculus. That’s a moot point. The point is that, today, while I was driving, I realized that speeding is pretty pointless. I was driving to a place 46 minutes away. I’m often the kind of driver who tries to figure out how to beat the clock. Where can I cut corners (either in speed or backroads) to get where I’m supposed to get anywhere from 2 – 5 minutes earlier?
Today, I did the math and it hit me. By speeding, I’m not really making a sizable dent in my time and I’m risking a lot more. In order to go 20 more miles in an hour, I have to consistently drive 20 miles over the speed limit. That 20 mph could very well lose me my license, ultimately costing me in insurance and Uber/Lyft fees. That being said, anything above 10 mph is a risk that isn’t really worth it.
Apply that to your life: Are you staying awake just to stay awake? Are you in the gym just to be in the gym, hours pas the point of productivity? At a certain point, you’re putting out more bull🤬 than quality thoughts. That bull🤬 is a liability to your brand. So, do the responsible thing. Push yourself to a reasonable point, get some rest, and go at it hard again. But make sure you go at it after you rest.
Make efficiency a priority.
I don’t know about you all but I really use Siri as a personal assistant. “Siri, remind me to text Marcus tomorrow morning at 8:45.” “Siri, remind me to take out the trash when I get home.” “Siri, what’s 37 divided by 847?” She’s my best friend (and she has a British accent so that she sounds smarter than the average American).
But how often do we tell Siri to remind us in an hour when we could accomplish the task at that moment? We’ve grown desensitized to that tap that Siri gives us. We don’t see urgency in getting something simple done at that moment. Eventually, we have a mountain of reminders that seems insurmountable.
This post isn’t about anything super deep. Just stop pushing “Remind me in an hour” or “Remind me tomorrow” when you don’t have to. Knock out that small accomplishment. It’ll pay off.
Make checking off that box a priority.
What if we all invested 100% in what we’re supposed to? What if you believed in your ability to start that business instead of leaning on that job you hate? Or gave your all to your marriage instead of sliding in someone’s DMs? Or worked out 4 days a week instead of just using “I’m 30 now” as an excuse to let your health deteriorate?
Bet on what you said you believe in. We are called to do more than we actually do and this is the year that I call you do do exactly what you’re called to. Let’s actually commit. Write that book. Apply for that EIN. Go for that promotion or that new job. Save that defined amount/percentage. Invest in your growth, don’t spend on your survival. Don’t be afraid to tell yourself that you’ll do it. You won’t disappoint yourself because, even in starting, you’ll be further than you are now.
Make making the jump a priority.
Don’t wait for a new beginning. Create a new beginning. Forget that the first of the week, month, or year exist. Make today the day that you start making moves on that new project. Right now, as you read this, write out a vision for your business. Set a date to take that grad school entrance exam. Outline your first (or second) book. Put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and make the commitment. Get a head start on next year. Imagine what a head start on this year could have meant for your 2018 goals.
Stop subscribing to the man-made schedules of when your success should begin and end. You’re capable of so much more than the world gives you credit for. Be more than capable, though. Take ownership over the time that you’ve been given. Your bosses don’t give you your time. Your clients don’t give you your time. Your professors don’t give you your time. It is a gift from the Most High. Take ownership of it and use your time as a tool on your journey toward your purpose.
Oh… And don’t just start. Finish.
Make starting now a priority.
Last night, as I was in bed watching an Amazon Prime original on my computer and scrolling on Instagram simultaneously, I was determined to do two things: spend less time on the screen and more time sleeping at night. So, what did I do? I took advantage of the features of this expensive @** iPhone, which I’m sure I don’t get my money’s worth from. There is a bedtime feature in the clock application that allows you to set how much sleep you get. How does it know you’re sleep? It probably doesn’t but it reminds you when to go to bed and when to wake up. So, I said I wanted to get 6.5 hours of sleep per night, Monday through Friday (I probably should’ve set it Sunday through Thursday so I’ll adjust that before Friday night comes knocking). At 10:45, it reminded me that I have 15 minutes until it’s time for bed.
After I did that, I restricted screen time with the usual suspects. Actually, I restricted screen time almost all together. Between the hours of 11PM and 7AM, I will only have access to certain apps, such as the Bible application and the Harvard Business Tip, which I read first thing in the morning. That means no e-mails, no calls and text messages*, no Instagram. I also retain access to my fitness applications because I should be using them first thing in the morning.
Finally, the asterisk above is because I can be reached during these times via call and text by a select few people who, in the event of an emergency, I would be expected to respond.
My first night on this was fairly successful. At 10:52, I realized I needed to post to my photography Instagram page, so I was a few minutes late for bed (I am able to override the suggestion to put the addictive device down), but, all in all, I am pretty happy with this new commitment to a healthier schedule.
Oh, and if you don’t have an iPhone but do have a smartphone, search Google Play (or whatever other app stores are called) for iHome. I was using that for sleep regulation before iPhone developed these features.
Make taking care of yourself a priority.
Over the past 26ish years, the way I move on Saturday mornings has shifted tremendously. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the MC Hammer or New Kids On The Block cartoons while eating cereal. At the time, I was probably hanging out in my favorite Knicks shirt and some UNC shorts. It was pretty cool after a hard week of doing whatever it is that three-year-olds do.
Looking back now, those were some great times. How I operate on Saturdays now, relaxed as it may be, is still about growth as much as my Mondays through Fridays are. Most Saturdays, I wake up to pull out my yoga mat and stretch (tip to my near/post-30 year olds: STRETCH!), after which I go into the kitchen and pour a cup of coffee, spread some cream cheese on a bagel (unless I feel like cooking), and head over to the NY Times website to see what’s going on in the world. Then it’s time to shower, shave, get to running a few errands, after which I can get to my crossword puzzles. I used to exercise on Saturdays but that’s been moved to my Sunday morning regimen.
Saturdays have changed and, as a kid, I would think of my current life as boring but this is fun. I’m learning, I’m growing, and I’m keeping myself sharp.
Construct a Saturday morning routine. Make it cathartic and enjoyable. And let it work for you.
Make professional development a priority.
Ever have that friend who shows up right on time to hang out but you really weren’t expecting them to be there when they were supposed to be?
This year, that friend is August. I’m sitting here looking at my calendar and August is HERE. Here here. As in here right this moment. I’m looking at all I’ve accomplished and, while I am pretty proud with some of my forward steps, I’m behind the 8-ball on a couple things.
So, now that we’ve realized our awesome buddy Auggie is here to crash on my couch for the next 31 days (only to be followed by his sweet sister September), I’ve got some tips for both myself and you all that will help us fast-track our way to reaching our 2018 goals before the ball drops.
- Maximize your time. We all need rest (not just sleep but truly restful periods) to be healthy, happy, and productive people. That being said, some of us have been resting a lot during these first seven months. Shoot, I just took a whole two months away from the United States (but I was working on some major projects while I was gone, so don’t get it twisted). Use your lunch breaks to knock out some smaller tasks or to get a larger task done over the course of a few lunches. If you need to, pick a day out of the weekend to truly wind down but, if you’ve got goals and you’re far behind, you have to make up for time wasted by grinding on that other day.
- Pick an accountability partner. Yesterday, I had lunch with two of my closest friends. We had a running challenge while I was out of the country. I lost badly. They picked on me. The challenge required that the losers buy the winner lunch and the winner certainly didn’t let us off the hook. If you have a goal but you’re having a hard time reaching it, get someone who is going to be honest with you and set some consequences for yourself if you don’t reach it.
- Cut out the unnecessaries. Do you need that burger? How about that beer? You say you want to save money but you’re going out again this Friday? Netflix is cheap (or free for some of us whose families are generous). You set a financial goal at the beginning of the year. What will you need to sacrifice to get there before the end? If you need some help, click this link and check out what George Acheampong can do to help you get on the right track.
- Nike said it best: Just Do It! Apply for that job. Start reading some books. Fill out those incorporation papers. Enter an art competition. You have time and you said that, at the end of 2018, you won’t be in the same place you were at the beginning, but, many times, what stops us from reaching our goals is that we over plan. It would be nice if the stars all aligned and everything was perfect but, to be realistic, that will not be the case very often. Sometimes, you just have to look at the plan you have, say “Shoot, this’ll get me 75% of the way,” and figure the other 25% while you’re on the journey.
We have five more months. That’s almost half a year. You can do this. Put in 2.2x the work and you’ll hit the mark. I know we can do this.
Make achieving your goals a priority.