Think Less and Get More Done By Using The "Getting Things Done" Model

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/M_gsk1WRNwk/think-less-and-get-more-done-by-using-the-getting-things-done-model

Trying to be productive while you’re worrying about other things that need your attention can be stressful. Even though you can’t be in two places at once, and you’re doing the best you can, the fear of not doing everything can still be overwhelming.

Every time your focus shifts from your current task to one that you are feeling pressure to complete, you interrupt yourself. Interruptions cost workers 3-5 hours of productivity every day.[1]

You lose touch with the current task by worrying about the what you need to finish next

Imagine that you are in the middle of a task, and you think to yourself, “I have to complete that project this afternoon.” In that moment, you’ve lost touch with the present, and now your attention is focused on that thing you have to do later.

Fearing failure and wanting to meet all expectations, you run through everything you need to do to pull of the project this afternoon. At some point, you remember that you have to finish the task in front of you, but by now, you’ve lost track of what you were doing in the first place. You have to refocus yourself, which is extremely time-consuming and tiring.

If you’re always worrying about the things you’re not doing and the things that you ought to do later in the day, it can take a toll on your productivity. As long as your brain is chasing every task on your to-do list as though they’re all equally important, you’ll never be able to focus on what’s in front of you.

Trying to keep everything in your head at once takes up mental energy that you need to do your best work.

You need a no-nonsense approach to manage your day

In 2001, David Allen wrote Getting Things Done, a productivity framework that helps people focus on their work. If you adhere to Getting Things Done, you’ll spend less time thinking about what you need to do, and you’ll be able to clarify and organize your duties.

If everything seems important in your mind, then nothing gets the attention it deserves. Allen’s method helps you prioritize and find the balance in your workday so that you can give appropriate attention to current and future endeavors.

This method works because it requires you tout aside anything that doesn’t need to be addressed immediately. You can put anything that doesn’t need to be done now out of your head instead of interrupting yourself with items that aren’t high-priority.

How the system makes you easier to maintain focus

Getting Things Done doesn’t tell you what you should think is important. Instead, it teaches you how to identify the most important things on your to-do list, and then organize and prioritize them.

Capture everything

If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I need to remember to do x,” you may not have a good system for capturing things that need to be done. When you have a good capture system, you will feel less stressed because you won’t have small tasks vying for your attention.

Allen asserts that capturing involves figuring out whether or not an item is actionable. If it’s not, then it may not be worth thinking about at all, or it might be something to delegate or save for future reference. If you can do the task, you can either complete it immediately, delegate it to someone else, or defer it for another time.

Break your project into actionable items

When your objectives are too broad, they can make you feel overwhelmed. Breaking things into actionable items and defining how taking action will look gives you a sense of control and offers you a clear vision for an outcome.

Allen recommends that if a task can be done in two minutes or less, you just do it right away so that it won’t clog your mental space. If the task will take longer, think about whether you are the most qualified to do the job. If not, you can delegate this work and get it off your desk. For jobs that you ought to do yourself, you’ll need to define when you can complete the work.

Organize and prioritize your work

After you’ve determined which projects need your attention, you can prioritize them so that they have a designated place on your calendar. Allen categorizes actionable items to be done as those which are date or time sensitive, and those which need to be done as soon as possible.

By assigning priority and establishing a schedule for completing these tasks, you’ll always know where to spend your energy.

Set concrete due dates

Deadlines are great motivators. If your project doesn’t have one, assign benchmark deadlines and a final due date. Write these down on your calendar so that you will be reminded at regular intervals of things that you need to do, but you don’t have to recall these tasks by yourself in the middle of whatever you’re currently working on.

4 Benefits of adopting the Getting Things Done method

1. Because no one can EVER multi-task. By solely focusing on one single task makes you more efficient and contribute the greatest value

By only focusing on the task at hand, you can be more productive. Research has proven that human beings are not good multi-taskers.[2] Switching between tasks leaves you open to making mistakes. By committing to doing one thing at a time, you complete the task eight times faster than if you try to do two things at once.

2. You will become the most promising person EVER because you won’t miss any deadlines from now on 

When you define action items and plan out when you’re going to do them, you don’t have to waste energy panicking about whether or not you are going to finish your work. If you’ve set reminders and smaller actionable steps, the project should fall into place on time with minimal fuss.

3. You can stay focused at the present task without worrying about what you have to do next

When you give yourself a pile of things to remember, you’ll spend lots of time juggling your priorities in your mind. That’s valuable mental power that you could be using to get the current task done before you move onto the next one. You can stop juggling and focus your full attention on the project in front of you.

Failing to pay close attention sets you up to miss key ideas and information. These bits of information could be the difference between success and failure. You’ll be less likely overlook critical information when you’re working on one thing at a time.

By adopting the Getting Things Done framework and organizing your ideas and tasks, you free up so much brain power. Being able to focus on one thing at a time gives you the mental clarity and efficiency to do better quality work in less time.

4. Since you have freed up your mind by putting things down on paper, you are not stress-free for more creative work 

When you aren’t making cognitive leaps from one task to the next, you’ll notice that your stress level goes down. On top of that, disruptions that cause stress are the same type the stifle creativity. [3]

Deep thinking can’t occur when you are in fight or flight mode. You’ll do better work when you have a system for prioritizing and organizing.

Start Getting Things Done today

You won’t want to return to jumping from project to project after you experience what it’s like to give every project your undivided attention in its own time. Check out David Allen’s Getting Things Done to kick start your productivity and reduce stress.

Reference

[1] Fast Company: The Hidden Costs Of Interruptions At Work
[2] Forbes: How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work)
[3] Thirty Fifth International Conference on Information Systems, Auckland 2014: Effects of Interruptions on Creative Thinking

function footnote_expand_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).show(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“-“); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).hide(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“+”); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container() { if (jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).is(“:hidden”)) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery(“#” + p_str_TargetID); if(l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery(‘html, body’).animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top – window.innerHeight/2 }, 1000); } }

The post Think Less and Get More Done By Using The “Getting Things Done” Model appeared first on Lifehack.

10+ Must-Haves to Pet Smart and Make Your Furry Friend Happy

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/SMDRCjzwvZ8/10-must-haves-to-pet-smart-and-make-your-furry-friend-happy

A pet can be a source of joy and affection. Having a pet can make life more enjoyable yet any pet owners will know that it’s important to ensure their pet remains smart, healthy, safe, and happy. Unlike with people, a pet can’t tell you how it feels, or what it wants.

In this article, I will only focus on the gadgets for dogs. But next week I’ll recommend cat lovers the must-haves to keep your cat happy.

Dogs, being social animals and man’s best friend, can often get unhappy if left alone for long hours, and this can affect their overall happiness. To pet smart and keep your dog healthy, I have picked some of the best designed gadgets for your furry friend.

1. Petnet Smart Feeder

Feeding your dog properly can be much harder than you may think. As your dog grows and ages, the amount of food that they need to eat often changes. Many pet owners are unaware of this and as a result, they can easily under or over feed their dog. What’s more, to keep your dog in good health, you need to ensure that they are getting the most important nutrients.

The Petnet Smart Feeder resolves these issues. It can connect to your smartphone, allowing you to perfectly feed your dog even if you are away from home.

Petnet Smart Feeder, $119.99

2. Gulpy Water Dispenser

All dogs need their exercise, however, if you’re walking and your dog needs water (something which can be a big issue on hot days) it can be difficult to find a source of water. You can take your dog’s bowl and a bottle of water but it’s not always easy to carry around these extra items.

The Gulpy Water dispenser works as both a water bottle and bowl. All you need to do is simply flip open the attached cup, squeeze the bottle of water, and let your dog drink.
It comes with a belt clip so you can carry it around with you hands free.

Gulpy Water Dispenser, $9.82

3. PetChatz Greet & Treat Videophone

Now, it might sound strange, a device which allows you to essentially Skype your dog. But the videophone also works as a mobile treat dispenser, and it can also give calming scents to your dog. Because of this, you can both check up on your dog, and treat it, even if you are very far away.

This is one of the pricier gadgets on the list, but if you are looking for easy ways to check on your dog, and give yourself peace of mind, it’s perfect.

PetChatz Greet & Treat Videophone, $379.98

4. PetFusion Ultimate Pet Bed with Solid Memory Foam

As is the case with people, it is very important for your dog to get a good night’s sleep. A lot of dog beds available tend to be badly designed. This can be an issue as badly designed beds can cause problems with your dog’s muscles and joints.[1]

The PetFusion bed is designed with this in mind. It has a memory foam base which adapts and forms around your dog’s shape, ensuring fantastic comfort and support for your dog.

PetFusion Ultimate Pet Bed with Solid Memory Foam, $119.95

5. 360-Degree Pet Shower Kit

The 360-degree shower kit makes cleaning dogs much easier. It’s great at cleaning hard to reach areas of your dog, or at least areas you don’t want to put your hands! This ensures that your dog is clean all over. Inside the shower kit, the water and soap mixes instantly so you can be sure that your dog is getting a total and deep clean.

360-Degree Pet Shower Kit, $19.99

6. SeaDog Pro Dog Drying Towel

The SeaDog Pro Drying Towel is microfiber based, so it dries itself and dries your dog super quickly. As it is designed as a jacket, it fits snugly around your and as such can be better at drying all over it than conventional towels.

Your dog doesn’t have to be wet for it to be useful either. By itself it is a well designed jacket and can keep your dog warm and dry all year round.

SeaDog Pro Dog Drying Towel, $27.77

7. iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher

Playing fetch with your dog can be great fun, but it is easy to get tired of it before your dog, or maybe you find you are, for some reason incapable of throwing the ball effectively. The iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher solves all of these problems, allowing your dog to play fetch to its heart’s content.

iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs, $199.90

8. EzyDog Road Runner Leash

The EzyDog Road Runner Leash revolutionizes the design of dog leashes. Conventional dog leashes can harm your dog’s throat and neck. After all, many leashes and collars force you to lead your dog by its neck. The Road Runner Leash is designed with anti shock technology, meaning any sock, strain, or pull is massively absorbed by the leash, limiting any potential harm caused by the leash.

It can be used hands free so you can easily use it while running and jogging with your dog at your side. The length of it is easily adjustable so you can use it in a way that suits you both.

EzyDog Road Runner Leash, $34.99

9. K9 Sports Sack AIR Dog Backpack

Carrying your dog can be difficult, but at times you might be forced to. The AIR Dog Backpack is the solution to this problem

The sides of the backpack are well ventilated, keeping your dog cool and comfortable. Plus the mesh lined shoulder straps helps to ensure that carrying your dog and wearing the backpack is easy.

K9 Sports Sack AIR Dog Backpack, $69.92

10. K&H Manufacturing Quilted Cargo Cover

It is commonplace to put your dog in the trunk of your car or SUV if you are going for a drive with them. But this can be uncomfortable for them. And if your dog is dirty, it’s liable to make other things in the trunk dirty too.

The K&H Quilted Cargo Cover both keeps your trunk clean, and your dog comfortable and protected in your car or SUV. There are pockets built in, allowing you to carry extra toys or brushes with you, no matter where you go.

K&H Manufacturing Quilted Cargo Cover, $25.49

11. Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker

If your dog ever goes missing, it can be an extremely traumatic experience. Even if they return, you often have no way of finding out where they went. Some dogs more than others like escaping, so you can never be sure.

With the Whistle 3 GPS Tracker you’ll be able to keep track of your pet, no matter where they are. You can establish a “safe zone” and will get a message if your dog ever leaves its boundaries. You’ll be able to trace all their movements for twenty four hours.

Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker, $79.95

Pet smart with these gadgets, and you can keep your dog happy and healthy, and have more joyful time with your furry friend!

Reference

function footnote_expand_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).show(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“-“); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).hide(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“+”); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container() { if (jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).is(“:hidden”)) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery(“#” + p_str_TargetID); if(l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery(‘html, body’).animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top – window.innerHeight/2 }, 1000); } }

The post 10+ Must-Haves to Pet Smart and Make Your Furry Friend Happy appeared first on Lifehack.

Are Dot Com Entrepreneurs Stuck in La La Land?

Posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/JohnChowDotCom/~3/gxwEDPmIOcU/

A lesson that you should come to embrace very early on in your career is that inspiration and insight can come from just about anywhere. You could be out having a cup of coffee and there’s just something about the cafe that strikes you. Maybe it’s how they designed the menu. Maybe it’s a passing comment made by the barista. The important thing to note is that you should always have your eyes and ears open.

And even though we may choose to write them off as little more than popular entertainment, Hollywood movies can oftentimes offer these tremendous nuggets of wisdom. And these nuggets of wisdom can be applied far beyond the context of the film’s premise, which is exactly the experience I had when I watched the award-winning movie La La Land.

The basic premise of the film is that of a romantic comedy with more than a healthy dose of musical theater and drama thrown in for good measure. There’s the cliche of the struggling actress working in a coffee shop and there’s a charming young musician who values his craft more than his paycheck. He’s a purist and he’s not willing to sacrifice his principles to achieve some greater success.

Somewhere along the way, we are hit with this line:

“How are you going to be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist?”

The musician, played by Ryan Gosling, yearns for the golden age of jazz and he mourns its slow and painful death. He wants to open up his own jazz club where the classics can play true and clear, but everyone around him basically says this is a massive failure waiting to happen. Everyone around him says that he needs to move forward.

I’m not going to spoil how the film turns out, but if we consider that line of dialogue in isolation, we can see how loudly it rings true. You can’t move forward if you keep clinging to the past. This doesn’t mean you need to abandon tradition entirely. What it means is that you can derive inspiration from it, but to be a revolutionary, you need to offer something completely and utterly new.

To the point where people will call you crazy. But here’s to the crazy ones. Here’s to living in la la land.

Steve Jobs was a revolutionary. Bill Gates was a revolutionary. Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are all revolutionaries. They may have started with ideas that weren’t 100% original, but they twisted them in such a way to provide the world with a solution they had never seen before.

Another incredible example is Wikipedia. You have to realize just how positively insane of an idea this was at the time. When there is a whole industry to sell multiple volumes of encyclopedias for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, here was a website that was going to do it for free. What’s more, the content of this website wasn’t going to be written and curated by experts. It was going to be publicly accessible and publicly editable.

Anyone can contribute. Think about how the traditionalists at the time would have reacted to that. How can you possibly rely on the knowledge and contributions of the public en masse? It would be complete and utter anarchy! But somehow it works. And now the traditional encyclopedia business is all but dead.

So, as you move forward in your own online career as a dot com entrepreneur, you have to ask yourself one question. If you’re going to make it big, if you’re really going to change the world, will you dare to be a revolutionary? Or will you allow yourself to be shackled by tradition, clinging to a past that is getting further and further back in the rearview mirror?

How To Make 6-Figure Monthly Online Income! Download John Chow’s New eBook!

Use "Packr" App So You Will Never Need To Worry About Your Travel Packing List Again

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/Dxnpue77cgo/use-packr-app-so-you-will-never-need-to-worry-about-your-travel-packing-list-again

Travelling is wonderful, but packing can be a pain. It’s easy to remember toiletries and extra underwear, but when it comes to setting up a wardrobe, deciding what to add to your suitcase can be overwhelming.

When you pack, you have to consider so many different aspects of your travel. You’ll need to bring specific items for the activities that you plan to do. You also have to consider the weather conditions. With so many moving parts in the packing machine, it’s easy to forget a thing or two along the way.

Forgetting what to pack is a real headache

As someone who has traveled and moved a great deal, I have forgotten my fair share of items over the years. Once, I was in the middle of a cross-country move. All of my stuff, save for one suitcase, had been loaded onto the moving truck. Then, I received an invitation to an out-of-state conference. I thought that I had been clever by setting aside a professional outfit just in case something business-related came up, but I completely forgot about shoes! An eleventh-hour shopping trip ensued.

Another time, I was working overseas for the summer. I remembered to bring everything except a small bag for outings. All I had with me was a suitcase and a backpack. I ended up using plastic grocery bags as my purse for a large chunk of the trip. This was not a good look for me.

Packr takes the guesswork out of creating a packing checklist

The Packr app helps you figure out what you need to bring with you based on your destination and what you’re planning to do.

In addition to telling you what to bring, the app also gives you the option to create to-do lists in advance of your trip. This can help you keep track of paperwork, vaccinations, and other logistical items that you need to complete before you go.

Getting started with Packr is easy

You naturally want an app focused on creating a checklist to be easy to use, and Packr doesn’t disappoint.

1. Plan your trip

Before you set up a checklist, you can input information about your destination. Click on the red plus sign icon to add a trip. If you have a busy travel schedule, you can create multiple trips in the app.

2. Tell Packr where you’re going and when

Highlight the dates on the calendar on which you intend to travel. When you enter the date and location, Packr pulls data about the weather at your destination. As you get closer to your travel dates, the app updates your trip’s weather forecast with the latest information.

You can also indicate whether you will be traveling for business or leisure at this stage.

3. Add details about your activities

At the bottom of the calendar page, you will notice an option that says, “Select activities.” Click on that to provide even more details about the nature of your travel.

The app takes into account your accommodations, transportation, and specific activities that you plan to do. Choose from the 24 pre-defined activities in the app to start your list.

Camping with your family in the mountains will require a different list than staying in a hotel for a business conference. Your in-flight needs are different from the things you might want on a train. Packr helps you stay organized as you navigate different settings on your journey.

4. Generate a packing list

You can create and view your packing list by selecting the trip that you want to see from the “Next Trips” page. The top of the screen shows you a projected forecast for each day of your travel. Based on that information and the nature of your travel, Packr will generate a list for you.

Click on the arrows beside each item to view the full list for each category.

If you need to create additional reminders or want to make a list on your own, you can also do that by selecting the “Customize lists” option at the bottom of your packing checklist. You can also select the plus sign on the packing list to add individual items.

Packr is a traveler’s best friend

Regardless of where you’re going and why, the Packr app makes it easy to pack your bags. You’ll be able to spend more time enjoying your trip and less time (and money) replacing forgotten items.

Packr is currently available for iOS devices. You can download it for free to access the basic features, and for $1.99 you can get an ad-free experience with faster loading times and additional features.

Put the Packr – Travel Packing Checklist to work for you.

The post Use “Packr” App So You Will Never Need To Worry About Your Travel Packing List Again appeared first on Lifehack.

215: Simplify Your Business and Make More Money Blogging

Posted from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/8vwAUe7MvMs/

Ways You Can Simplify Your Business and Increase Your Blogging Profitability

Today, I want to share two big lessons I learned this year at our Australian ProBlogger events. They were lessons I think apply to many aspects of blogging and online business.

It’s all about simplifying what you do while making more profit.

I’m heading to Dallas for our Success Incubator event and to speak at FinCon in a few days time.  So I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off the podcast to travel and focus on the event attendees as much as possible.



In the meantime, dig into the archives. There are now 215 to choose from.

Recommended Further Listening for the Next Couple of Weeks:



Full Transcript
Expand to view full transcript
Compress to smaller transcript view

Hi there. My name is Darren Rowse. Welcome to Episode 215 of the ProBlogger Podcast. ProBlogger is a blog, a podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks all designed to help you as a blogger to grow a profitable blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

Now in today’s lesson, I want to share two big things that I learned at our Australian ProBlogger events this year. They were lessons that really apply to business as a whole, but I think they’re particularly applied to many aspects of blogging and online business. I guess really the theme of today’s show is to think about simplifying what you do whilst also increasing your profit because both of the lessons that I’m going to talk about today do exactly that; simplifying what you do, taking some of the complexity out of what you do, but also increasing profit.

Now before I get into the lessons today, I just want to share I’m heading off to Dallas later this week for two events, the Success Incubator event, the ProBlogger event that we’re running in Dallas, and also to speak at FinCon. I’m doing the keynote there. I’ll be taking off to Dallas in a couple of weeks time. I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at those events. There still are a few tickets left for the Success Incubator event, it’s a one and a half day event with people like Pat Flynn and Kim Garst and Rachel Miller who many of you will be familiar with from previous episodes of this podcast.

You can go to problogger.com/success to get any last tickets that may still be available. There’s also a virtual pass there which is pretty affordable. You get plenty of teaching with that.

I’m heading off to that event in a few days time and while I’m away, I am going to be pressing pause on this podcast. Just wanted to let you know that for the next couple of weeks, there won’t be episodes, highly unlikely that there will be episodes. I may chime in and suggest some previous ones to listen to, but there’s plenty in the archives to dig back into. I will suggest a few episodes at the end of today’s show that you might find useful, particularly practical episodes that we’ve done in the past. Dig around in the archives and I look forward to getting back with you late in October, probably early November.

You can get all of the details of our events and I will link to all the podcasts that I recommend you dig back into over on our show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/215.

Okay, so let’s get into today’s show. The lessons I learned this year were from our event. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized that these are lessons that I’ve been learning over the year in other areas as well, and I’ll touch on some of those towards the end. But just to give you a little bit of the backstory, the ProBlogger event, for those of you who haven’t been, we’ve been running it since about 2010. This makes it our seventh year of running the event. Since we ran the first event back in 2010, the event has evolved a lot. And I’ve told the story of that evolution in previous episodes. Back in that first event, it was a very simple event. It was one day, one stream, so we were all in the room all day. I think it was 120 or so people there. We had five or six speakers and really it was very simple. We didn’t add in extra parties, it was just hastily organized and as a result very simple.

Over the years, it evolved from something very simple into something that got quite complicated. We were getting, in our biggest year, I think up towards 700 attendees and speakers at the event, so it was getting quite large. But it also had lots of moving parts. We added in sponsors, we did two days instead of one day, then we added in an extra half a day before it, and some extra stuff at the end. We had five tracks, five different rooms of sessions running multiple at that same time. We had 40 or so speakers one year. It was very complicated.

It was great on many levels. Every year, our attendees told us that they loved it and it was the best event that we’d ever run. As a result of that, we felt driven, or I felt driven, to keep adding more and more to it. I’m a people pleaser. I just wanted to keep making it the best event ever, I wanted to make it more impressive, more valuable to people. So we added more sessions, we added parties, we added workshops, we added more speakers. we added teepees one year, which we had our party in. I drove in on a Segway one year. It got more and more complicated. We had more and more bells and whistles, more and more sparkle.

But all of this extra stuff came at an expense. It was beginning to take over my life, it was beginning to take over my business. The amount of time and energy that we were putting into this event was enormous, it was taking 12 months to plan. In fact, some years we were thinking about the next year’s event before we had even done this year’s event, so it was taking longer than a year.

The other factor was that whilst it was making some profit, the amount of time that we were putting in versus the profit that was coming out, it really didn’t compare. It was profitable on paper but in terms of the amount of effort we were putting in, it wasn’t particularly profitable. And this was partly because we weren’t… well I felt we weren’t able to charge as much as some other conferences. Many of our attendees were new to blogging, or they were mums and dads doing their blogs on the side while they’re looking after kids. And with travel to get to the event, it was a big ask. And so I felt really like I wanted to keep it as affordable as possible.

And so the model for the event, in terms of the business model, was that we actually charged less for the tickets than it cost us to put the event on. And we subsidized the tickets and took our profit out of getting sponsors into the event. Now this worked really well some years where we were able to land some big sponsors and we got some great sponsors who added a lot of value and paid us to access our audience. But other years, it was harder to get those sponsors. And so it was a bit of an up and down rollercoaster ride. And it was a lot of work working with sponsors at that kind of level. That was an area where we’re putting in enormous amounts of work and it was quite stressful as well.

The event was dominating our time, it wasn’t really the most profitable thing that we do, and we realized also that it was only really serving a small segment of our audience being an event for Australians whilst our audience is very global. And we realized that there was so many of you listening to this podcast, it just wasn’t feasible for you to get to our event, even though a few did fly in from overseas. And so after 2016’s event, I did a lot of soul searching, my team did a lot of soul searching, and we really considered carefully how we moved forward with the event. I realized that we just couldn’t keep going in the direction that we were going by adding more and more value in.

To be honest, I very nearly pulled the plug on the events. I almost stopped doing events altogether. But at the same time I had this little nagging feeling that events were also one of the best things that I did. I enjoyed it incredibly and I could see that it was having a big impact upon the people who were coming. So rather than giving up on doing the ProBlogger event, I decided we needed to evolve what we do as an event. And to do that, we really needed to simplify what we were doing and get back to the basics. I guess return to what we did at that very first event.

We began to dream of a simpler event. The simpler event that we came up with, we sat as a team and really wrestled with this, but we came up with let’s go back to a single day event, let’s go back to a single stream event, everyone in the one room. Let’s strip back those 40 or 50 sessions that we had available to attendees, let’s just strip it back to five or six core sessions on the core things that ProBlogger stands for. In those 40 or so sessions that we were running, we were doing really interesting stuff but it wasn’t our core teaching.

Let’s strip back having sponsors, and add in some extra profitability through other means – through decreasing our expenses but also building in a little bit more in terms of what we were charging as well to people. So that’s what we did. We designed this event. It was significantly less expensive to run because we only had six speakers instead of 40. We weren’t flying in 40 or so speakers and putting them up in hotel rooms. We had a smaller venue because we only needed one room rather than a hotel with lots of different rooms. Really, it cut down our cost in terms of things like audio and video and all of that type of thing. No more teepees, no more Segway.

We really pulled back in many regards. We simplified things and we did it for our own benefit, really, in terms of organizing the event. But it had some unexpected benefits which I’ll talk about in a moment.

This new format of event felt right. But it also felt risky. I lost a lot of sleep in the lead-up to putting the tickets on sale and running the event. My worry was that our past attendees might feel like they were missing out on some of what we previously offered because we were pulling things out. I was pretty stressed about doing that. But at the same time I felt it was going to allow us to spend more time on other projects, it was going to be a more sustainable model, and it was something I needed to do.

There were two other things that we tried as part of what we were doing as well, which I’ll briefly touch on. Firstly, we wondered when we saw this simple event whether we’d designed something that could be run and reproduced in different places. We often talk on ProBlogger about repurposing your content, and I began to wonder what can we do with this event. Could we repurpose this event? It was a simple event where we had almost built a product, a formula for an event. ‘Could we do the event more than once?’ was an idea that I came up with.

We began to think about could we do it one on one weekend, one on another weekend in different cities to make it more accessible to our attendees, to reduce some of their expense, which might get more people there. We decided to run it over two consecutive weekends, we did it in Brisbane and in Melbourne here in Australia, and really had the idea that maybe we could even reproduce the event in more places as well, maybe even in other countries in future years.

The last big change that we did this year was to offer masterminds – an extra day for those who wanted to have a more intimate, higher-level, more personal, more interactive experience. A smaller group, we knew that it wouldn’t appeal to the large percentage of our audience, but could we offer this higher-value event on top of a premium experience for our attendees. This is something we’d actually been asked for for years, ever since the first year I ran the event. It was always something that I was used to because I knew I’d have to significantly raise the price and charge a lot more to be able to run that type of event. It would take quite a bit more expense of having speakers who are there to really do that one on-one-stuff.

I decided, ‘Okay, I’ve been asked for this, the demand’s there, maybe we need to give it a go’. And we decided to add the mastermind day into both of the cities. So day one was everyone all in together, that cheaper event, single stream, larger event, less personal but still valuable. Then, the mastermind event for day two, more intimate. This all felt really risky to me. I worried a lot. I lost some sleep in the lead-up to it all. But the results were fantastic, and I really am grateful that I took that leap and that my team went with me with this as well.

The events were a few months ago now. But it was one of the best things that we’ve done over the last year. The planning of the events were so much simpler – we designed the content very quickly, we locked in our speakers very quickly, we booked venues very quickly, we released the tickets and got it all out there very quickly. Not having the sponsors cut down a massive amount of work. Preparing for the event was a lot less work, and it enabled us to then move onto other things within the business.

Running the event was so much simpler. We came away from the first event nowhere near as tired. Also, having felt like we were able to really pay a lot more attention to our attendees. It took a much smaller team to run the event and we were more present with that audience.

The only tough part of the event really was on a more personal note. Unfortunately my father-in-law passed away the day before that first event which was a tough time for the family. And it was I guess a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me personally. I’m not sure how I would’ve gotten through the event if it had been a bigger, previous event. Having that event, a simpler event, certainly took a less toll upon me. Despite that setback and that tough part of the event, on a personal level, the event was much more of a pleasure to run if I can say that in the midst of a tough time. Attendees’ feedback was really positive.

We did get some of our previous attendees who mentioned in their feedback that they definitely missed some of the sparkle of previous years, but over half of our attendees were actually first timers. They had nothing to compare it to, I guess. I was worried that by stripping back the amount of choice of our sessions, going from 40 or so sessions to six, I was worried that maybe there would be complaints about that.

Interestingly, even amongst our previous attendees, the overwhelming feedback was that people actually liked having to make fewer choices. This was a massive lesson for me. We actually simplified the event for our benefit as a business but it actually benefitted our attendees. What we realized is that in previous events, we’d actually created an event that for some of our audience was quite stressful to attend, it was quite overwhelming and they really enjoyed the stripped back, simplified event. I think this is a big lesson and this is something I’ll talk about in a moment or two as well. I lost count of the amount of people who told me they enjoyed the simple event. Whilst it certainly didn’t suit everyone, it worked very well.

I guess the big lesson for me was for years I felt like I needed to add more and more and more into the event, but in this case I actually learned that less is more. Whilst we made the event simpler for our own benefit, it really benefitted that audience. They were less stressed out.

On reflection, I think maybe we stripped things back a little bit too much and we would probably add a little bit more in, a little bit of that sparkle back in over in the coming years if we continue to go forward with this event. But I think we are on the right track.

The other two changes that I mentioned went really well as well. Creating an event format that could be reproduced or repurposed in different cities worked well. I’m not sure whether we’ll continue to do that or not in future years, but it certainly taught me that an event can be repurposed. Creating a simple structure that can be repurposed is something that we could do again.

Lastly, the masterminds. They went off. Wow, they were my highlight personally. They sold out and so there was demand there even at that significantly higher price. Secondly, they ran really well. The overwhelming feedback from mastermind attendees was really positive. We saw people taking action at the event that paid for what they paid to attend the event. There were people at the event who were creating courses and products. That week later, they had already made more than what they paid to attend the event. People took action, and that was probably the best thing for me. But they loved their intimacy, access to speakers, the networking, and we’ll definitely be doing more masterminds in future. And I personally loved having that more intimate experience with attendees as well. Again, we’ll evolve masterminds, but it was a big lesson for me.

The two big lessons, and these are two lessons that if you’re running events will apply, but I think these also really apply to blogging. I’ll really tie them back to blogging in each case. The first lesson, simple is good, less is more. Sometimes, as product creators, as bloggers, we feel compelled to add and add and add when it comes to value. And ‘value’ I put in italics, I guess. We feel like we want to add in more value, we want to add in more features, we want to add in more bonuses in the products we create and what we do as bloggers. And we do it because we genuinely want to provide as much value as possible. We think it will benefit our readers to add in more. We think it will also make our products more attractive people if there’s more features, if there’s more bells and whistles. Maybe people will be more attracted to what we do.

But in doing that, sometimes by adding in extra, we create complexity. Our products can end up feeling overwhelming. They can also end up feeling unfocused, and this is one of the things I realized about our event. Our first event was about how to make money blogging. But we’d actually built an event that was more about how to take photos, how to do social media, and some of these extraneous things which are important as bloggers, but really we’d lost some of that focus by adding in and adding in and adding in. By adding in the extra, we’d actually created something that was stressing out some of our attendees as well.

Sometimes, we end up putting out more and more and more and we overwhelm, we create complicated products, and we create complicated blogs. But also, we are putting in more time and expense as well, that really isn’t needed. The big question I came out of this event with was, ‘What else can I strip out of what I do? What other areas in my business have become complicated?’ It’s very easy for a business to evolve and become complicated in many different areas. I’ll talk about some of those in a moment.

What can you strip out, I guess is the big challenge, from what you do? We’ve actually been experimenting in a number of ways. I think simplification can relate to blogging in many different ways. Let me just touch on a couple.

Firstly, content. The content this year on ProBlogger, we’ve really simplified it. I know some of you have noticed this. A year ago, we were producing upwards of seven, sometimes up to ten pieces of content every week. I was getting emails from readers saying ‘That’s too much, I can’t read it all, I can’t consume it all. I’m feeling stressed by the amount of content that you’re producing.’ So we really stripped it back. Instead of ten pieces of content every week, we now do a podcast, two blog posts, a live video, and an email. that’s five pieces of content every week. The email is really a summary of the other four. It’s really four main pieces of content every week.

Simpler, it’s simpler to consume I hope for you, but it’s also simpler to produce. In doing that, we’ve reduced our expenses and the amount of time we’ve put into that and we’ve been able to increase the quality of what we do as well, which is always a good thing. It really has led to no dip in traffic, but it’s increased the engagement that we’ve had around each piece of content. Content scenario you can simplify.

Community. This year, again on ProBlogger, we simplified our approach to community. We really focused in our efforts on one area, our Facebook group. Rather than trying to provide community in lots of places, we’re encouraging anyone who’s a part of the ProBlogger audience to join our ProBlogger community Facebook group and to interact in the one place. In that group, we’ve tried to simplify things as well. Those of you who joined that group in the early days knew that it was a pretty noisy place and we’ve simplified it. We’ve pulled it back and we’ve asked you only to share tips and ask questions, not do anything else. We’ve built a rhythm for the week as well, we do different things on different days. Simplifying what is happening within that community has helped as well.

Simplify content, simplify community, simplify monetization, simplifying if you’ve got products, you probably can already see some things in what I’ve said before. Obviously, we did this this year with our event, we pulled things out of this product of the event. But you can do the same thing as well with other types of products that you offer as well.

I think back to a product we used to offer at ProBlogger, which was our membership site a few years ago. In that membership site, we had weekly calls, I had weekly teaching, we had a forum, we had deals of the week, we offered plugins, we offered a lot of bits and pieces within that community. Again, I wanted to add in as much as possible. I wanted to make it as valuable as possible, I wanted to add in extra features. But in doing so, it created so much work for my team but it also became quite overwhelming. As a result, you as the audience who are part of that weren’t engaging in that community as you could’ve been. I really realized that I created this beast that was hard to continue, it was hard to sustain from my end but it also wasn’t being utilized from others.

My friends who have really successful, the most successful membership sites that I’ve come across, really in most cases offer something that is very stripped back. They don’t offer loads of new content every week, they don’t offer forums with hundreds of threads, they offer very simplified things. They offer a little bit of content, high-quality content. They have very focused areas of community, they offer a little bit of coaching and personal access, they keep things minimal, they keep things focused. Again, you can simplify either the products that you create, the monetization that you do as well, and then the systems that you have as well.

It’s very easy as bloggers to evolve your systems and what you do to become quite complicated. For example, I know bloggers that have very complicated social media sharing systems. They share 20 times an hour on Twitter. In fact I’ve got one friend who’s a podcast friend who recently I was looking at what he did on Twitter. He tweets every two minutes. It’s not him, of course, it’s automation. It’s evolved to the point where he’s just being very noisy and maybe it’s a little out of control. I think it could be more in that particular case because I, for one, have muted his tweets. I’m not actually engaging at all with him anymore because there’s just too much going on. Less can be more, and it could be ‘less can be more’ in many different areas of your business. ‘What can you simplify?’ I guess is the question that I have for you there from that first lesson, less can be more.

The second lesson that I want to talk about that I learned at this event that I think really does apply in many ways to business in general, but also to blogging particularly, online business, is that a certain percentage of your audience is going to be willing to pay a higher premium for more. I’ve always, as I mentioned before, kept our prices for our events very low, the low cost, below what it actually cost us to put it on and we make our profit from sponsors. This was to make our event more accessible. On that front, I’m really proud of what we’ve done. I know that there are people who attend our events because they are so much cheaper. Every year, we get to hear from people saying, “This event is four times cheaper than other events I go to in industry events.”

I’m proud of that on some levels, but it also has been an increasingly risky move to do for my business, and it’s not really sustainable. I know that it’s risky. If my business goes under because of it, then that’s a disservice to our attendees to charge them less. Keeping our prices lower is a risky move, it’s something that wasn’t sustainable, but it also actually doesn’t allow us to fully serve our audience as well. Our audience have been asking for more, they want more personal, they want more interactional experiences. We’ve not been able to afford to offer that because we’re not charging as much.

This year, we didn’t actually put our prices up. But because we reduced our expenses and reduced the length of the event, that first day as well, we’re able to increase our profit margin and our tickets as well. In essence, we gave our attendees less but charged them the same, In effect, I guess putting our prices up a little. Also by adding in that premium level product, we offered a product that was significantly higher, I don’t exactly remember how much higher, I think it was four or five times what they might’ve paid in previous years to attend that mastermind. Our margin grew in that regards. As I said before, I was really nervous in doing that, by having that premium level product at that higher price point. But I guess what I learned is that it was well worth doing.

One of our speakers this year was James Schramko. He’s got a business called SuperFastBusiness. He did a video recently on his Facebook page that said that, “Ten percent of your audience will pay ten times more for what you offer.” Ten percent of your audience are going to pay ten times more, they’d be willing to pay ten times more for what you offer. I’m not suggesting that we all just increase our prices tenfold, but it’s kind of food for thought, isn’t it? If there’s ten percent of your audience who are willing to pay ten times more, that means you’re leaving some money on the table, I’m leaving some money on the table. I was really worried about offering that premium type product, but what I realized is that there was a significant proportion of our audience who wanted more and they were willing to pay for it.

Over ten percent of our attendees this year ended up coming to the mastermind, in fact it was closer to 20% of our attendees ended up coming to our mastermind. By significantly increasing the price for the masterminds, I learned that a significant proportion of our attendees could afford a higher price and were willing to afford that higher price if I could offer something extra value.

Really, this for me is the key. What can you add to what you offer? What can you add to your products to make it a premium level product? Not everyone is going to take that offer, that’s totally fine. They will continue to buy your low-priced products. But there are a proportion of your audience who would be willing to take the extra step if it’s valuable. Really, that’s the key. It’s got to be valuable. I think our masterminds proved this year that that was the case. As I said before, we saw people taking action at the masterminds who were making money at a higher rate and it paid for them to really attend those masterminds.

I know masterminds are going to be a part of what we offer going forward. In fact, if anything, I think we’ll expand them from one-day events to longer ones as something that our attendees actually want more of, they want a longer, more intense, more immersive experience as well.

How does this particular lesson apply to blogging? I think it can apply in a few different ways. If you are monetizing with a product, an ebook or a course or something else, what could you add to make it a premium level product? I’m not suggesting just put your prices up, although that may be the case, maybe you could do that. But what could you add to make it into a premium level offering?

If you’re selling an ebook, what could you add? Could you add some bonus videos? Could you add some printables? Could you add some access to you personally in a coaching package? Could you add access to a private Facebook group? You might already have the thing that you could add, or you might need to create it. In most cases, something could be added to make it an upsell I guess, to make it a premium level offering.

If you don’t have products, you could also take this same principle and apply it in other areas as well. For example, if you’re doing affiliate promotions, maybe you should be considering throwing into the mix of the things that you promote the occasional higher price point product. We’ve done this on Digital Photography School. We typically promote ebooks or courses that may be $20 to $50 as a price point. That’s a sweet spot for our audience. They like to buy products around the $20 mark up to $50.

But occasionally, what we’ve done over the last couple of years is promoted very comprehensive courses that have sold for over $200, up to ten times the price of the $20 product. Whilst a small percentage of our audience buy those products, you don’t have to sell too many at that kind of price point to make a pretty decent product. Maybe mixing it up, the types of product that you promote and promoting different price points as well.

Alternatively, if you’re promoting physical products on Amazon or some other store, maybe when you promote a product that’s a budget product, maybe putting alongside a premium product as well. On Digital Photography School we quite often review lenses. We might review a budget lens for a camera, might be a $200 lens, very affordable. But we know there are other lenses out there that are more professional grade lenses, maybe during the review, in the middle of the review, we might mention if you’ve got a higher budget, here’s a professional grade lens and here are some of the benefits you’ll get from upgrading. Maybe putting products alongside each other in that way may be worthwhile as well.

These are the two big lessons that I learned this year about events, but I think they really do apply across to blogging. Less is more, simplify what you do. You may be adding too much complexity into your content, into your community, into your monetization, into some of the systems that you have. What fat can you cut out of what you’re doing to simplify and reduce the expenses, and also to remove some of the stress and overwhelm amongst your audience as well.

Secondly, there are a percentage of your audience who are willing to pay more for what you do than you’re already charging. So what can you add? What extra can you add in to give a premium level product and service to what you do as well? I think it does apply to not just products but also services as well. If you’re a freelancer and you offer your services as a writer, what premium-level package could you add in as well? What could you add in on top of the writing for the clients that you have? You can add in premium level stuff on that regard as well.

I would love to hear your feedback on today’s show around these things. How are you going to simplify what you do? What premium-level products could you create? You can let us know over on the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/215 or you can find us on Facebook if you just search for the ProBlogger Community on Facebook, you’ll find our little community, or you can just go to problogger.com/group and you’ll be forwarded into that group as well. Let us know what you think of today’s episode.

As I said before, I’m heading away to Dallas in a few days’ time so I will not be doing new podcasts over the next couple of weeks. But there’s plenty of episodes to dig into. One that I really do recommend that you go back and listen to, in fact it’s just the first of a series that we did a year or so ago now, was Episode 137. I really think that if you want to give your blog an injection of goodness and greatness, if you wanna get your blogging groove back, I would really recommend that you go back and listen to Episode 137. It was the start of a series that I did over a week. It was called Seven Days To Getting Your Blogging Groove Back. Actually goes from Episode 137 through to Episode 143, I guess.

It gives you, every day for seven days, a different type of blog post to create. Every day I teach you how to do a different type of blog post. Then, I challenge you to create that blog post. We went through this little challenge as a community over seven days a couple of years ago now. It was amazing to see the feedback as a result of that.

You may choose to do this over seven days, you might want to do it over the next week, or you can spread it out a little. I’m away for two and a half weeks from this podcast, so over the next couple of weeks, you might want to choose one every couple of days and create those posts as a result of that. You can let us know how you go with those over in the Facebook group as well. If you go to problogger.com/podcast/137, you’ll find links to all of those shows. It’s Episode 137. Alternatively, you can find them over in iTunes, or in Stitcher, or in any of the other podcast apps that you use as well. Episode 137, Seven Days To Getting Your Blogging Groove Back.

Hope you enjoy that little series. I look forward to chatting with you in the next episode of the ProBlogger podcast in a few weeks time. Thanks for listening.

How did you go with today’s episode?

Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.

Click Here to Subscribe to ProBloggerPLUS for Free

The post 215: Simplify Your Business and Make More Money Blogging appeared first on ProBlogger.

Rein in Your Spending and up Your Savings With Spendee

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/yF5ZMJh5R3M/rein-in-your-spending-and-up-your-savings-with-spendee

We all know the feeling. After payday arrives, we get a major cash infusion and feel able to breathe easy. But a week or so later, all that money’s gone. You can’t even remember where you spent it. Maybe it’s the nights out with friends, the lunches with coworkers, the new clothes for spin class, or getting coffee every day (and sometimes twice a day). The only thing you know for sure is that the sum of money you were paid has dwindled.

The average American is spending $1.33 for every $1 earned.[1] So many people worldwide are in debt from student loans, auto loans, home loans, and credit card spending. In fact, the average American household has $8,700 in credit card debt.

This happens to most people. We want to save money, but we often end up spending more than we expected. This makes it so hard to save enough money for the important big-ticket purchases: cars, vacations, homes, etc. We have our savings priorities, but we often fall short of our real goals.

What’s more, it’s hard to know where to cut our budgets. Or where we even tend to overspend in the first place.

Keeping track of your spendings

In order to stop overspending and to meet your savings goals, you need to keep track of your actual activity. You need be aware of the problem before you can even begin to fix it.

That’s where Spendee comes in.

When it comes down to it, there aren’t many programs or applications that make personal finance simple. But Spendee offers quick and transparent information about your spending and it’s easy to use. Let me walk you through the main features of the app right now.

1. See where you spent your money

Spendee gives you a simple but powerful way to view your spending. Graphs and charts track the categories you spent in, how much you spent on average, the number of transactions, biggest expenses, and much more.

This super-valuable tool allows you not only to budget realistically, but to see trends in your spending so you can track down further details if you want. Surprised that you spent $5,400 last week? Well, now that you know, you can go into your recent transactions and see where exactly that money went.

2. Plan your spending with budgets

Individual budgets are a powerful tool to help you stop overspending and start boosting your savings. Spendee lets you set budgets for various categories. This lets you track how much you eat out or spend at the grocery store (one of the most flexible part of anybody’s budget, by the way).

The bright visuals (with percentages) give you an immediate sense of how much you’ve already spent and what you have left. So if you’ve spent 80% of your food budget by the 10th of the month, it might be time to cut back!

3. Create different wallets for different spending purposes

In what’s call the “envelope method,” Spendee Premium lets you set aside the money that you already have for specific purposes. (Note: This is not an option with the basic, free version of the app.)

This isn’t so different from regular budgeting, but many people swear by this method. Why? It allows you to divide up your sources of money, which in turn makes it psychologically more challenging to overspend. You can’t spend what you don’t have, and if you restrict yourself to money in a particular wallet, you can’t mess up.

4. Sync your Spendee account with your online bank account

With Spendee Premium, you can always keep track of your money. Your transactions will automatically update when you sync Spendee with your online bank account.

Simply select your bank and enter in your credentials. All of your transactions will get automatically imported and categorized. Seeing your spending activity couldn’t be easier if you tried.

Take control of your finances

The sooner the better! If you find yourself wanting to rein in spending, or just to save better for mid- to longer-term goals, it’s important to have and use the right tools.

Install Spendee Here

If you love the free version, consider trying out the Premium version if the features interest you!

Reference

function footnote_expand_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).show(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“-“); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).hide(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“+”); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container() { if (jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).is(“:hidden”)) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery(“#” + p_str_TargetID); if(l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery(‘html, body’).animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top – window.innerHeight/2 }, 1000); } }

The post Rein in Your Spending and up Your Savings With Spendee appeared first on Lifehack.

Make Good Habits Stick Easily With Productive—the Habit Tracker

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/jCTMSc7Psds/make-good-habits-stick-easily-with-productive-the-habit-tracker

Building good habits like establishing an exercise routine, reading every day, or drinking enough water take a lot of focus and motivation. At times, it can be easy to forget to continue your good habit once you started. Some days you might lack the motivation to even try. You might have found that once you’ve gone a few days without your good habit, you lose enthusiasm to continue. 80% of New Years resolutions fail but the second week of February.[1] It is a wide spread, and common problem.

What we need, then, is a way to easily keep track of our good habits. For example, if someone wanted to run for twenty minutes a day, it could be useful to have something to help them plan their day around it, or keep track of the days they have succeeded in running for twenty minutes.

The app Productive has been designed with this is in mind. Effective use of the app could make maintaining good habits easier, and fun, thanks to the numerous ways the app helps you. Let’s take a look at how Productive helps you build the habit you’ve always wanted.

1. Plan your day

What makes the app so useful is that it encourages you to break down when exactly you want to engage in your good habit. It gives you the chance to decide and separate your positive habits into morning and afternoon habits, which gives you the needed push to ensure you do them.

When I started meditation I noticed that when I chose a specific time in advance to meditate, I was far more likely to follow through with my plans and actually meditate when compared to times I didn’t have a particular time in mind. This app ensures you won’t make the same mistake I did.

2. Focus on your habits

The app is very clearly organised by habit, unlike other ways of scheduling, where your habit might be easily lost or drowned out by other options. Displaying things in a simple, and clear manner makes your habit a clear goal to be achieved.

3. Establish a routine

In many ways, we all live by routine. The things you do every day are done almost without thought. Everything from brushing your teeth, to the drive to work are done the same way because it is routine to you. Once something has been established as part of your routine, you don’t need to worry about remembering to do something, or finding the enthusiasm to do something, in the end you just do it. If you want to set up a good habit, making it part of your daily routine can be hugely important.

Productive helps you do that by helping you keep track of the days you have performed your positive habit, and the days you have not.

4. Sustain motivation.

Productive keeps a record of all of your statistics and successes, available for you to check on at any time. This means that progress will feel all the more real and concrete. It is easy to not do something if you don’t think you are making any improvements in it. As you are able to see for yourself how well you are doing in maintaining your good habit, you will naturally feel more motivated to continue.

The app can log your progress over weeks. After a month or two, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come since you’ve started. This might even give you the extra enthusiasm to start establishing many other great habits.

Currently Productivity is only available on iOS devices. You can install it for free and start to build habits with its basic functions. Install Productivity here.

Or you can consider the premium version which is reasonably priced and you can subscribe to it from anything from one month, to one year or more. With the premium version comes with all features and is fully customizable and so can you can tailor it to suit your preferences exactly.

Reference

function footnote_expand_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).show(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“-“); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container() { jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).hide(); jQuery(“#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button”).text(“+”); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container() { if (jQuery(“#footnote_references_container”).is(“:hidden”)) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery(“#” + p_str_TargetID); if(l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery(‘html, body’).animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top – window.innerHeight/2 }, 1000); } }

The post Make Good Habits Stick Easily With Productive—the Habit Tracker appeared first on Lifehack.

23 Movies That Are Always Amusing No Matter How Many Times You Watch It

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/6lairxBL0ow/23-movies-that-are-always-amusing-no-matter-how-many-times-you-watch-it

New movies can be hit or miss. Sometimes you find on a stellar piece of cinema, but often you reach the end of the film wishing you could get back the last two hours. When it comes to picking movies, most people like to look for something they have never seen before. You might seek out classics from a genre that you like, or wait for new movies to come out.

But some movies are meant to be replayed.

When a well-written film contains important life lessons and themes, you can re-watch it over and over. Sometimes you’ll see different aspects of the story, or your opinion about the film will change depending on what’s happening in your life. As your perspective alters, what you take away from the movie changes.

A second viewing can reveal plot points that you didn’t catch the first time. The best movies can be watched repeatedly because you get something new every time you see it—a fresh perspective, new opinions, and new emotions arise in subsequent viewings.

You may be wondering where to find movies that have a strong replayability factor. I’ve compiled a list of the best movies to watch over and over.

1. The Prestige

Two magicians become embroiled in a rivalry to create the best magic trick. Follow them on their harrowing quest to devise the ultimate illusion.

The Prestige (2006) is an electrifying tale that’s sure to leave you questioning the line between reality and stagecraft.

Watch The Prestige to see how this feud unfolds.

2. Black Swan

Nina is vying to play the lead in Swan Lake. Her entire life revolves around ballet, and though she dances beautifully, she only embodies the attributes of the White Swan. She has a tenuous friendship with a talented new dancer who embodies the darker aspects of the Black Swan.

Black Swan (2010) shows us the cost of perfectionism. Watch it a second or third time to see if you can spot where things start to unravel.

Find out more about the dark side in humans in Black Swan.

3. Lost in Translation

Bob, an aging actor, and Charlotte, a newlywed, strike up an unlikely friendship while staying at a hotel in Tokyo.

Watch Lost in Translation (2003) a second or third time to see if hindsight changes how you interpret the interactions between the lead characters.

Lost in Translation reminds us that often the best bonds come from happenstance meetings and in unexpected ways.

4. Pulp Fiction

Jules and Vincent are hit men who undergo a series of bizarre events in the line of duty. Pulp Fiction (1994) follows the hit men through several different vignettes of violence and dark comedy.

Expect all the grittiness and brilliance of a Tarantino film in Pulp Fiction. This movie is loaded with nods to the classic pulp fiction style of storytelling.

See something new every time you watch Pulp Fiction.

5. Se7en

A serial killer stages his crimes so that the victims represent the seven deadly sins. After a detective figures out the criminal’s modus operandi, authorities rush to stop the killer before he can carry out more murders.

Se7en (1995) is not a film for the faint-hearted, but it will make you think. Hit replay on this one to think about human nature.

Se7en will keep you on the edge of your seat—even after you know how it will end.

6. In the Mood for Love

A man and woman bond when they suspect that their spouses are having extramarital affairs. They grapple with temptation and morality as their relationship develops.

In the Mood for Love is visually stunning and full of an old Hollywood romanticism that is sure to keep you entertained for many viewings.

Watch In the Mood for Love to consider interpersonal boundaries.

7. Before Sunrise

Two strangers form a bond as they take a train from Budapest to Hungary. Though they can only be together for a short time, they make the most of it.

Before Sunrise (1995) reminds us to treasure every second we have with the people we love.

Pay attention to the conversations these two strangers have in Before Sunrise and you’ll be inspired every time.

8. The Pianist

Wladyslaw Szpilman is one of the greatest pianists and composers of his time, but World War II forces tragedy upon him. This true story follows a musician through the depths of despair and the heights of triumph.

The Pianist (2002) is a moving drama that will inspire you to appreciate the gifts that you’ve been given.

Watch The Pianist when you need to see a story about hope.

9. Her

Our world exists in a constellation of networked devices, but what would happen if you fell in love with an AI? In Her (2013) a writer does just that, and then must grapple with the consequences.

Contemplate the nature of love and loneliness when you watch Her. Regardless of where you are in your life and relationships, this film will have an emotional impact.

Think about how you define love when you see Her.

10. White Oleander

When Astrid’s mother is convicted of murder, she goes into the foster system. She endures a series of trials as she learns to stand on her own.

White Oleander (2002) is a coming-of-age story that highlights the different approaches that people have to life. This film will help you appreciate the depth of the human experience through the eyes of a young girl.

View White Oleander to remember that everyone has a complicated story.

11. Billy Elliot

Billy, a boy from a working class family, discovers that he is a dancer. He must buck the traditional paradigm for males in his social class to pursue his dreams.

When you have a gift that you need to share with the world, people may try to hold you back. Billy Elliot (2000) is a reminder not to give up on our dreams.

Watch Billy Elliot whenever you need to feel inspired.

12. Spirited Away

A wrong turn leads Chihiro and her family into a world inhabited by beasts and spirits. Chihiro must figure out how to navigate this complicated world, and along the way, she finds out who she is.

Spirited Away (2001) is a beautifully animated story with a powerful message. Watch it whenever you face a challenge and put your life into perspective.

Get Spirited Away by this fantastic tale.

13. Princess Mononoke

A young man is caught between humans and the gods of the forest. He meets a fierce warrior, Princess Mononoke, who was raised by a wolf-god. After seeing the good that exists on both sides of the dispute, he does his best to negotiate for a peaceful outcome.

With so much divisiveness in the news today, it’s important to have movies like this to remind us that every conflict can be viewed through multiple lenses.

Watch Princess Mononoke whenever you need to think about the big picture.

14. Good Will Hunting

Will is a janitor at M.I.T. with a brilliant mind. Despite his intellect, he feels stuck with his lot in life. He befriends someone who pushes him to dream boldly.

Sometimes someone else’s belief in you can compel to to do great things, and sometimes, you can inspire others with your belief in them. This film is a reminder of the ways that we can lift each other up to achieve incredible things. Good Will Hunting (1997) is perfect any time that you need encouragement to dare greatly.

Get inspired with Good Will Hunting.

15. The Green Mile

The guards on death row deal with inmates that have been convicted of horrible crimes. They have to question all their assumptions about their prisoners when they meet John Coffey, a man with supernatural powers.

You can find magic in unexpected places in The Green Mile (1999). Watch this film any time you need to remember to find the beauty in dark times and withhold judgement until you have the full story.

Take an emotional journey when you see The Green Mile.

16. Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List (1993) is set during World War II. This film recounts the true story of a man who used his wit and resources to save over 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust.

Sometimes we are faced with challenges that seem insurmountable. Oskar Schindler defied all odds and risked his life for the sake of others. We need to see this story over and over so that we can remember to have hope in times of despair.

Watch Schindler’s List when you need to be reminded of the impact that one person can have on the world.

17. The Shawshank Redemption

When Andy is imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, he befriends an older inmate. They navigate the difficulties of the prison system together, and Andy hangs onto hope that he will be free again.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) encourages viewers to “get busy living, or get busy dying.” It’s worth rewatching because it shows us that freedom is a state of mind, and that there’s power in hope.

See The Shawshank Redemption when you need to assess what it means to be free.

18. Life of Pi

When Pi’s ship full of exotic animals goes down, he must fight for survival. He escapes on a lifeboat with a surprise companion, and the two endure many trials together.

Life of Pi (2012) is a visually stunning survival story. We could always use a reminder to have hope in difficult situations, which makes re-watching this film a natural choice.

Watch Life of Pi a few times and you may have different interpretation of the story every time.

19. Inception

Dominic Cobb uses a technology called “inception” to steal secrets from people’s dreams. He’s an excellent thief, but if wants a shot at redemption, he has to pull off his most complicated mission yet.

Inception (2010) is a cerebral thrill-ride. Watch this more than once to get a clearer understanding of the distinction between dreams and reality.

Inception will keep you thinking about the subtle differences between perception and real world.

20. Shutter Island

A rookie U.S. Marshall, Teddy Daniels, takes a missing persons case at a mental hospital for the criminally insane. He encounters many challenges on Shutter Island as he and his partner work to locate the murderess.

This psychological thriller has more twists and turns than a country road. Shutter Island (2010) is the kind of film that you watch over and over to see what you missed on the first viewing.

Question if seeing is believing on Shutter Island.

21. Interstellar

When Earth is on the brink of becoming uninhabitable, an astronaut embarks on a mission to find humans a new home. He has to fight to complete his work to ensure the future of humanity.

Interstellar (2014) is a story that reminds us to have faith and continue to push forward, no matter how impossible the odds are. Quitting is not an option in this story, and we could all stand to be reminded of that once in a while.

The relations between humans, time and universe are what make Interstellar worth re-watching.

22. The Matrix

The Matrix (1999) is the science-fiction equivalent of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” As the characters discover the nature of their existence, they must grapple with the age-old question, “Is ignorance really bliss?”

The Matrix is a classic, and not just because the special effects dazzled us when the film came out. We live in a world where most of our perceptions of others are based on an identity that they’ve constructed. This movie reminds you to question what you see.

Watch The Matrix for a mind-bending experience.

23. La La Land

An actress and a musician struggle to eek out their existence in LA. The journey toward success is paved with obstacles, and they have to work to define their dreams and what they mean to one another.

La La Land (2016) takes us into the lives of hungry performers trying to make it in their respective fields. We get insight into how brutal show business can be, and we see the importance of perseverance.

Watch La La Land to see what the path to success looks like.

Keep Replaying

All the films on this list have a great replayability factor. Each time you watch them, you’ll gain some insight or experience some aspect of the work anew.

Keep this list handy for your next movie night. You won’t go astray watching (and re-watching) these tried-and-true titles.

The post 23 Movies That Are Always Amusing No Matter How Many Times You Watch It appeared first on Lifehack.

How Having A Healthy Relationship With Yourself is The Key to Happy Relationship

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/zFmgn95VxXQ/how-having-a-healthy-relationship-with-yourself-is-the-key-to-happy-relationship

An image displays a couple holding each other's fingers

We all have our inner voices that are our daily companions. We all carry on an internal dialogue that constantly evaluates and analyzes our and other’s actions. And it is that inner voice that is an indicator of how we see ourselves and treat ourselves.

How My Inner Voice Affected My Life

For the longest time, my inner voice was an ugly bully that followed me everywhere. As a teen and young adult, I remember that I was living in the constant state of general anxiety. Even though I had people around me who loved me, I continued to feel unsafe and overwhelmed. And it was my inner bully that created these feelings in my life.

The bully would tell me things like “You are not good enough! You are not pretty enough! You shouldn’t be feeling this way or that way! Even though people tell you that they care about you, they don’t mean it. They are going to hurt you and leave you cause you are not good enough!”

Sounds horrible, right? I have to admit that I wasn’t even aware I had such an ugly companion for an inner voice. These thoughts would float into my mind automatically and leave me feeling miserable and exhausted.

Because of the inner bully, I couldn’t trust myself, and I felt anxious about making decisions. And I also couldn’t trust others, especially a person I was involved in a romantic relationship. I constantly doubted his interest in me, felt jealous and sought constant reassurance to ease my anxiety.

While his supportive words would help for a bit, they were never enough to quite my inner critic. Looking back, I can now see that there were three entities in my intimate relationship: my boyfriend, the bully and me.

It was a rotten triangle that caused much heartache. I became over-reliant on my boyfriend for his reassurance in many aspects of my life. And it felt my happiness utterly hanged on what he would say. This created an unhealthy relationship dynamic between us and placed an enormous burden on his shoulders.

It is effortless to see the big picture from where I sit now, some 15 years older and with much life experience. But back then, I couldn’t tell you why I felt so insecure and miserable. As a result, I experienced this pattern and its full adverse effect in other relationships.

How Having a Healthy Relationship With Myself Has Changed My Life

Things began to change for me as I started to recognize the inner-bully voice, question it and foster a supportive voice instead. It was not an overnight success, but it worked!

As I began to talk to myself in an understanding and motivating way, I saw powerful changes. I was able to make decisions without panic. I could pay myself a compliment and see my strengths. I could be fully present with others and enjoy their company.

To summarize, I became a good friend to myself! It is from this place of friendship with myself that I was able to foster a secure relationship in my life with a significant other. In this new pattern, I didn’t feel overly dependent or too vulnerable; instead, I felt secure and safe.

As I underwent this makeover of my relationship with myself and helped others to do the same, I identified a few crucial steps necessary for success.

1. Become aware of your inner critic

It is time to find out what your inner voice sounds like and what it says to you on a daily basis. Without this awareness, we won’t be able to change your foe inner voice into a friend.

Does it inspire you or bring you down? Does it scare you or makes you feel confident? Does it tell you that you are worthy or does it tell you are looser?

To help you build this awareness, I recommend checking out this Thinking Traps handout. These are common unrealistic ways of thinking that we all get caught up that leave us feeling inadequate. Find out which ones are a trap for you.

2. Challenge your inner critic and never let it beat you up

As you become more familiar about the nagging and bullying that your inner critic does, you can start to question it.

Just like a majority of people, I never questioned my inner critic and felt like it was right the entire time. But as I began to query, I realized that there was no evidence for any of the bully statements. The only evidence that supported it was my own belief. I chose to believe it blindly.

Luckily, I began to deconstruct this belief with some clever questions that my inner critic had no valid response.

Here are a few examples of questions that I used on my inner bully:

a. What is the evidence that supports this thought? And what is the evidence that doesn’t support it?

b. Is this a thought or a fact?

c. Is my belief in this thought based on my feeling?

d. What would I say to a friend if he or she had this thought?

3. Recognize a feeling for what it is just a feeling

Mixing up a thought and a feeling is a great source of confusion for many of us. A feeling is usually something that we can describe with one word like anxious, uncomfortable, happy or sad. In contrast, a thought is usually our evaluation of an experience and is one or a few sentences long.

Your inner critic uses this confusion against you. As soon as you feel uncomfortable or anxious, the bully comes out and starts telling you that something is wrong with you. Where is, in reality, there isn’t anything wrong. It is ok to experience unpleasant feelings at times, and that doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong or that you are a bad person.

So one of your greatest defenses against your inner critic is to catch and highlight this for yourself.

You can raise your awareness by saying something like this “X has happened and now I feel anxious or sad. It is ok to experience this feeling, and it will pass. Just because I feel this way, doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me or my actions”.

I invite you to create your personalized mantra based on this sentence that you can use to uncouple your feeling from your negative interpretation of it.

4. You need to build the relationship, it won’t happen in instantly

It takes some time to put these critical elements to practice. You have probably been hearing your inner bully for over 10 or 20 years. The inner critic has had a lot of practice. So it will take some excersice for you to foster a supportive and empathetic inner voice.

As you follow these steps to complete a makeover for your relationship with yourself, you can also begin to enjoy numerous benefits in your intimate relationships.

You will foster these relationships now not our of need or anxiety, but out of desire and confidence.

Instead of being destructed by analyzing how you or others feel about you, you will begin to enjoy your moments with your significant other.

And instead of being plagued by doubt and jealousy, you will able to experience trust and safety in your relationship.

Please remember, that in the real authentic intimacy there is no room for bullies and harsh critics. It is time to become a true friend to yourself, so you can also be a friend to your partner.

The post How Having A Healthy Relationship With Yourself is The Key to Happy Relationship appeared first on Lifehack.