Read This If You Think You Could Manage Your Time Better

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I had a great conversation with a friend of mine.

He owns a company in San Fransisco that presents public school data to leaders and administrators and shows them where they need to focus in order to improve outcomes for students.

It’s an amazing company that is helping lots of schools, but that’s not the point.

When we connect, we often talk about project management, productivity, and strategy.

I love chatting with him because I admire the way he runs his company and his life.

One morning, we were talking about time management and how beneficial it is for both of us to be early risers.

I forget what time it was, but it was early in the morning for a phone call–definitely before 8 AM for me and probably before 7 AM for him.

But then he said something that really reshaped the way I look at my calendar.

He said:

“I started noticing that I felt better in the morning. I did better work. I had more energy. So, I stopped focusing on time management and started focusing on energy management.”

Click.

By introspecting more closely at our times of high-energy and times of low-energy, we may learn more about how to shape our day or when to focus on important tasks.

If we take this another step further, to the career level, it might be helpful to ask yourself:

“What kind of work makes me feel the most alive?”

“What kind of work makes me feel the most dead inside?”

These are powerful indicators that may help you shape your career into the life of your dreams.

And that’s the dream, right? To be productive and happy at the same time?

No one wants to be lazy and miserable. No one wants to be overworked and miserable.

2 Minute Action:

So, today, for 2 minutes, I urge you to ask yourself these questions.

If not, don’t be surprised if you’re doing the same work and feeling the same way about your life and career a few years from now.

Moving from your current state to your future desired state will require energy and strain.

Read This If You Want Your Job To Make You Happy

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I have really bad news.

But first, I’m going to tell you a quick story.

When I was in college, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after graduation. I pulled a few graduate students together, into a panel, and asked them questions.

One grad student said something that really resonated with me.

She said:

“there’s no job in the world that will make you happy, unless you’re already happy.”

– Helen G.

Whoa. That really stood out.

Let’s be clear, if you’re a coal miner and you get the black lung, I think we can agree that you have a crummy job and you’d be much happier somewhere else.

The point that this grad student was making was that I had only considered external factors in the creation of my happiness. I had never considered all of the internal factors, and those were even more powerful.

My point in telling you this story is to ask you a question about your work, your productivity, and your impact.

It’s not the job that makes us happy, it’s how we see ourselves in our jobs.

It’s not the career that makes us happy, it’s all of the experiences we have and relationships we build that make us feel happy.

2 Minute Action:

So, today, I’d like you to take 2 minutes out of your day and consider some of the things that truly make you happy. Look outside yourself, but also look inside yourself.

Go ahead, make a list. I love lists.

When you see the full scope of what makes you feel alive, you’ll be able to diversify your sources of happiness.

I know it’s scary, but it’s important.

Read This If You Think You’re A Rebel

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Someone said something to me yesterday.

He was talking about his attitude and how it matured as he got older.

He mentioned that early in his journey he felt like a rebel. He was out there making things, sometimes without guidance, sometimes without intention, and certainly without permission.

A rebel is someone who opposes things. They may not have a reason other than some general discontent with authority.

But then, this person mentioned that something happened to his mindset as he began to experience the results of his effort as he moved through life.

He developed intentions, purpose, and importantly, a plan.

He said, “instead of being just a rebel, I became a renegade.”

A renegade is someone who changes beliefs based on new information, often endures social ex-communication or stigma, and commits to a new belief or way of being.

Part of this commitment is taking calculated action on those beliefs.

How will you turn your work, attitude, or mindset into action?

Are you a rebel or a renegade?

2 Minute Action

Here are some ways you can turn an idea or intention into an actionable plan:

  • If you’re having trouble turning an idea into action, take 2 minutes to “phone a friend” and ask them to hold you accountable to a small goal. Let them text you to remind you, or you can offer to do them a favor if you bail on your goal. (I had a friend who wrote a $1000 check to a trusted friend and said he could cash it if he failed to take action.)
  • Set a block on your calendar that is reserved for just one part of your project and invite a friend to join you.