How to Stop Wasting Time

I’ve come to the conclusion that wasting time is the biggest obstacle for entrepreneurs in getting things done.

You don’t get results from things you don’t implement – and these four time wasters are the biggest culprits.

We all react to them and they fill the time we could be doing other things that are more productive and valuable.

Now I’m not bashing the usefulness of the four time-wasters below. But, consider it from the point of view that these are interruptions that not only take away our time from being productive and implementing, but also distract us where it adds even more time to get back on task and focused.

Here goes:

Email

You guessed it. We all fall for the trap. First thing in the morning you login and check email. Then, next thing you know one email pops up after the other and you’re in there for hours. Plus, if you’re using a browser-based email program like gMail, it’s always open. And here come all the different emails with different ideas, messages, videos, etc. Most of them lead us to the Internet where we go further and further into wasting time. It gets you into reacting to all the other email related items.

Kick the habit strategy: Check at planned times each day and only spend allocated time like 30 minutes at 9am 1pm and 5pm. Use an online tool for managing email like http://emailga.me/.

Telephone

It starts ringing and it can never stop. But, most often it’s checking messages and returning phone calls. It’s the same idea as email (reacting, not being proactive) and usually not accomplishing much. If you have pre-arranged phone appointments but other than that – why would you ever answer an unplanned telephone call? Maybe it’s a referral – but schedule it so you’re not interrupted.

Kick the habit strategy: Don’t answer the phone unless it’s scheduled and have someone else check voice messages and send you the summary. Ask them to schedule a time-block on your calendar where you make return phone calls each day.

People

This especially applies if you work in an office environment. People “just popping in” with questions, conversation or ongoing chitchat that can drag on for quite some time that constantly interrupts you. Often times we get caught up in about talking about things that are not really valuable conversation. It doesn’t mean be a hermit – but it is a major distraction.

Kick the habit strategy: If you’re working with other co-workers, implement “quiet-time” hours each day in the office where say from 10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm is just for quiet productive time. The time outside that block is for meetings, discussions, talking, etc.

Thoughts

Your mind runs all over the place as entrepreneurs. Let’s face it – we’re all guilty of loving the “bright shiny object” and it always distracts us. We’re always thinking of something “else” and that leads into some other different thoughts and ideas that carry you on and on. Focus time is essential.

Kick the habit strategy: Create an environment where you can minimize the “thought distractions.” Perhaps it’s removing all the clutter and stuff in your office or work in a space that has very little distractions where you can sit and really focus without your mind wandering from one idea to the other.

So, it’s time to focus!

Put some of these simple “anti time-wasting” strategies in place and get back to working on the stuff that really matters.

Listen, more of the same is just more of the same – so if you want to change, you’ve got to make a change. It sounds trivial – but it works – and will allow you to focus more and accomplish what you’re truly meant here to do!

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

The Power of Breaking Through Your Limits

For those of you who don’t know this, I had a severe skiing accident about a year ago while ski race training in Colorado.

I had a nasty fall and was out for the ski season.

Needless to say, I was devastated. Skiing is everything to me.

I had torn my ACL and my Meniscus ligaments in BOTH of my knees. Yes. That’s right – both of my knees.

Not having had any sort of injury like this before – I had no idea what I was in for. After the first few visits to physical therapy for ‘pre-surgery” preparation – I got a sense that my road to recovery would be no “walk in the park.”

Over the first few days with tons of icing and medication and not being able to walk around – it began to sink in.

In essence, what had been established was a new “limit” of what I could do and accomplish – physically.

Having always been a very active and physical kid growing up and even today as an adult – my idea of being limited by my physical condition was very disappointing.

How would I actually breakthrough this limit? I knew I wanted to be 100% healed and ready for the following ski season. Could I do it?

The prospect of a full recovery in 6-9 months seemed very bleak for just one knee. I had TWO surgeries and recoveries to handle.

Thus, started my journey. Shortly after surgery I was on my path to recovery.

After about 3 months post my first knee surgery and just starting my recovery, I had surgery number two.

The recovery period included a grueling and often painful 90-minute session at physical therapy, three times a week at a minimum. Walking in on crutches at 6am and being “worked on” until I could bend a knee, stand again without crutches, walk, run, sit – you name it. I had my work cut out for me.

I quickly learned that physical therapy, or “PT” as it’s commonly referred to, has a different meaning when you’re actually the one doing it: “Pain & Torture.”

There would be countless visits to therapy where I would literally be lying on the workout table holding back painful tears as I was being stretched, pulled, pushed, extended, flexed – trying to get back to a normal condition where I was not limited by my physical condition.

If this is what it took, so be it.

And yet, I still had doubts.

As the tears rolled down my cheeks one session, I contemplated to myself – is this really worth it? I mean, it’s only skiing, right???

I needed to find a source of inspiration and motivation to keep me going – to break through the edge of that personal and physical limit that was now in front of me.

I kept going. I didn’t let up. I was steadfast on breaking through that limit no matter how much time and effort it required.

I was often very quiet with my thoughts, thinking of the feeling of skiing again and the joy it brings to me. I had amassed a tremendous sense of perseverance and determination to get through this. Nothing was going to stop me.

Then one day in July, just after the 4th of July holiday, I had finished yet another session and heard the words I had been dreaming of for over 8 months.

“You’re all set. I don’t need to see you anymore.”

At first I paused and thought – “huh, what does that mean? “Am I really done?! I’m recovered?!”

He said… “Yep, this is one of the fastest and best knee recoveries I have ever seen. You’re in the best shape and condition you can be in. You did it!”

I had realized I had done it.

I began to cry in the car driving back home – feeling an overwhelming sense of joy, accomplishment and happiness.

I did it… I broke through my limit.

I share this not to boast or impress you (if you know me well you know I’m nothing like that.)

But, I wanted to share this story because we ALL have limits. Some we’ve set intentionally – or others have manifested over time by our beliefs and thoughts. They are all self-imposed in some way.

Physical or mental – we can always breakthrough whatever limit exists in front of us. We’ve done it over and over again during our lives – and we can continue to do it.

The point is we should be working towards breaking through these limits each and every day. It’s what inspires us to do better in the world. Achieving more by being a better person and doing well for others.

What’s my limit now? Well, I’m not sure yet.

I am back on skis in early November and I will soon find out.

I’ve challenged myself with the fact that my first day back on skis will be the exact same day a year ago when I got injured.

And, my first run will be down the same run where I had my accident.

It’s kind of eery – the scene and timing can’t be more alike from a year ago.

I’ll be testing my next limit about how well good karma works in this world.  😉

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

p.s. What does this have to do with marketing? Well, as I was writing this post I went out and bought the URL breakthroughyourlimits.com. Don’t click it yet – nothing is there. It’s part of my next challenge of what I’m capable of – my next limit

I’m sure I’ll rise to the occasion and have a good use for it in the future…

Why Unsubscribers Are Good For You

You are probably thinking… “What?!”

Wondering why I would say people who opt out of your list is a good thing? Read on…

People lose interest. When someone joined your list they were excited and motivated to find out more about you and what you had to offer. It’s very difficult to sustain that level of engagement over time. Even if you’re cranking out excellent content and value consistently – some people just lose interest and move on. Nothing you can do about it. The longer the time, the more likely they will lose interest and eventually decide to opt out.

Be OK with that…

People opt out after a period of time with consistent non-activity. We all do it. We scan our email inbox or folders and decide to ourselves if we want to stay on that list… or not. It’s like spring cleaning or going through your closet and tossing what you don’t need and keeping what you do. The longer the stuff lingers in the closet or attic – the more likely it will get tossed. People view your list in the same way. We all have to try and rise above the clutter and remain front and center. Over time if we don’t meet our end of the bargain – they’re likely to opt out like last years jeans.

Be OK with that…

It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. People opt out for a reason. It’s our job reason to have the awareness as to why they do opt out and figure out what can be done differently to avoid more people leaving in the future. Been through an extensive launch with a lot of “sales” and “pitch” emails? – you’re opt out rate will for sure increase to an extent. Starting to slack and not churn out the solid content that your subscribers are traditionally used to? Get back on it and whip it into shape. People who opt out should be seen like a red flag that something is not right – and you need to address it the best you can.

Be OK with that…

Focus on gaining the new people. The rate of people who unsubscribe is all relative to the number of new people who join your list. Focus on that and it will make the reality of people unsubscribing easy to deal with. Don’t look at your unsubscribe numbers -focus on the overall list size. People will leave your list at some point.

Be OK with that…

I’m happy when people opt out because then it cleans up my list and I can rely on more realistic and truthful statistics and analytics like open rates and click-through-rates. Dormant subscribers who never opt out (and never read your emails) are just skewing your numbers. I say “you know where the door is, leave whenever you want to…”

Be OK with that…

As a result of this – try not to focus on the numbers of your list. Focus on the conversation with your list. Write to one person (not the full list) and you’re more likely to not only keep them around longer – but open and read your emails (which is the idea here, right?)

Listen – the moral of the lesson is this: If people on your list are not opening your emails – why would you want them on your list? Chances are if these people are not opening or reading your emails – they’re not going to buy anyway.

And, with the new social media platforms out there like Facebook and Twitter (and many more) people can easily get your content and value in other places – not just email. My thought is if they move away from email – perhaps they’re moving onto an alternative platform to get my content like my Twitter updates or Facebook status.

Perhaps they’re no longer your ideal client – so be happy they moved on. Say to yourself… “I’m not their teacher. That’s totally cool.”

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

Everything Happens for a Reason

If you’ve been following me on Twitter and Facebook recently, you know that I had a nasty ski accident out here in Vail, Colorado. I was here for ski training with my race team from Stratton Vermont for 4 full days of skiing and training with some of the best skiers in the world. Skiers were here from all the Olympic teams spanning from the USA to Austria and Canada. I had a day where I got to see some of my heroes on the slopes – Ted Ligety, Bode Miller and even Lindsey Vonn.

Unfortunately, I had a freak ski accident and ended up damaging my knees (both of them) pretty bad. I thought it wasn’t too bad – but as the pain got worse, I got it checked out with X-rays and an MRI along with multiple trips to the Vail Medical Center and their doctors and specialists. It turns out that I completely tore both of my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and meniscus (knee ligament) as well as chipped my bone on my outer left knee. I will end up needing reconstructive surgery on both knees and have several months of recovery with physical therapy and many weeks on crutches. No skiing or physical activity for 6-8 months and possibly back for tennis next summer and competitive skiing next winter.

You have to understand – skiing to me is like nothing else. Beyond my wife and kids – it’s one of the few things that inspire me and motivate me more than anything else. Needless to say, I was quite saddened and devastated with what happened.

During these last few days (in particular from the time of my accident to my final diagnosis from one of the best sports medicine doctors on knee injuries) I learned a lot about the people around me – and myself. Below is what I discovered – and I share it with you so can learn from my perspective – as I’m sure we all have trying times like this where the outlook does not look good.

Think positive. During the two days when I didn’t know exactly what the diagnosis was, I stayed positive. And, I mean ultra positive. Talking to my wife Fabienne and others – I consistently thought about the good that will happen – focusing on the result that I most wanted (full recovery and no long term impact.) Even though I now need surgery and will not ski for the better part of the year – being in a place of positive expectation and having an optimistic attitude helped me with going through this experience and not feeling down or negative about it – and ending up not having a worse situation than I am in now.

Bigger purpose. This experience led me to believe there is a reason behind this accident – and a bigger reason I am choosing to have this experience and what it means for me in my long term purpose here on Earth. Yes, it may sound kooky – but I believe it. It’s all about rising to the challenge and stepping up to what this experience is going to lead me to next.

Focus. Now that I have this time to reflect – I can focus clearly on what really matters. Yes, I will still watch the ski videos and obsess over skiing – but this experience leads me to believe that there is a time for being present NOW – and focusing on what really matters most. My family (my wife and kids) and the close friends I have with me. This is by no means a life altering accident – but it’s in these times of challenge that we should all find it important to reflect and contemplate on what matters most.

Gratitude. I am certain that being in a place of gratitude during this time – if not all the time – is critical for feeling positive and upbeat about what is going on around you. I had a long conversation with my wife Fabienne where I listed everything I was grateful for – in this moment. My wife, my kids, my friends, my work, my surroundings, my support at home, etc. I didn’t stop with just the obvious – I drilled down to being grateful for the glass of wine I had that night. Gratitude works wonders – if you trust and state what you’re grateful for.

Humor. I definitely needed to laugh along the way. From the funny picture about the beef jerky I posted to laughing with my ski buddies here about my accident and their own experiences with ski injuries – laughing and making light of a situation can help you feel even more positive and optimistic.

Long term perspective. Although I was really down and upset about what happened – I had to put things into a longer term perspective. Will I ever ski again? Yes. Will my knees recover 100%? Yes. Can I walk (with crutches) and be present with my wife and kids? Yes. For a time I was pissed about not being able to ski this season. But, it’s only one year. I’ll be back next year – and every other year – for many years to come. Think of the joy that will bring me and those I am with.

Community. This is where it gets really inspiring. The comments and support and reaching out from so many – was so supportive and uplifting. The comments on Facebook alone were partly responsible for keeping me motivated and inspired. It felt so good to be recognized and loved in that way – something that social media and technology can do for us – unlike anywhere else. People from under the woodwork on Facebook reached out and offered words of support, recommendations, a place to stay and even a ride to the airport. For this – I thank you…

So, I do believe that everything happens for a reason – if you think about it in that way and allow yourself to believe it. If you go about your daily routine and never think about the subtle coincidences or big shifts that leave you wondering about WHY – remember this: It all happens for a reason.

Perhaps it’s time for YOU to step in and step up. Or, perhaps it’s simply time to slap on some skis and hit the mountain. 🙂

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

p.s. As I wrote this I was listening to some reggae music and this track from Ziggy Marley came on. His words resonated with me and I wanted to share them with you. Again, everything happens for a reason…

Life has come a long way since yesterday I say
And its not the same old thing over again I say
Just do what you feel and don’t you fool yourself I say
Cause I can’t make you happy unless I am I say I say I
Got to be true to myself got to be true to myself

Why This Day Matters

To be honest I was hesitant to write a blog post about September 11. Thinking to myself – what does this memorable day 10 years ago have to do with Internet marketing?

First, I concluded nothing.

Then, after some consideration and thought I realized – EVERYTHING.

Ten years ago today I worked at One World Trade Center in NYC. My office was on the 38th floor and I was headed to work that day like so many others in lower Manhattan. Fortunately for me I was able to get out of the elevator (I was literally in the elevator heading up when the first plane hit) and then escaped through the black-lit fire stairway by climbing down all 38 floors to the ground. Once I ran outside and scurried to safety – the second plane had already hit.

After running 20 blocks north to get away from the catastrophe, I turned around and the last image I saw was the towers crumble to the ground. I was speechless and left having an enormous sense of remorse and guilt for having been lucky to escape. To this day I constantly think back about “what if” – and feel blessed to be here today.

I’ve had a lot of different emotions about how to feel today based on what happened 10 years ago. At first, “guilt” was a big part of it – but I’ve been able to embrace and appreciate so much more in my life from that horrific experience. I think like many other New Yorkers who were there that day – we’ll be forever changed – and have a different perspective on life. What always comes to mind is that Fabienne would have lost her fiance and my 3 beautiful children would never have been born.

From that perspective – is how I try to live my life every day. I try to live more in the moment – enjoying and savoring the little things that make each day special. It’s why I chose to leave my corporate job and join the ‘Entrepreneurial World’ with Fabienne. It’s why I put all of myself in coaching our clients on what I love to do most. And it’s also why I never take for granted an opportunity to kiss my wife, hug my children or say hello to a close friend. THIS is what matters most – and I’d ask you now – what matters most to you? How can you use your life to make a difference in other peoples’ lives through your business?

At the end of the day it’s not your email list or the marketing or the business that matters. It’s the connections and relationships that you have and the fortunate experience to live life to its fullest each and every day. And it’s also the way that you make a difference in peoples’ lives by doing your purpose here on earth.

I’ve never shared this publicly like this before, but I wanted to share it in the hope that you realize the tremendous impact you have on people every single day, even if you don’t realize it.

So let’s do this – make the most of the time that we’re here together. You’ll never know when you get another chance.

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

Take A Risk

I felt compelled to write a quick blog post today. And, even though it’s not directly related to authentic Internet marketing, I thought it would be worthwhile to share.

Today was my first ski race. And, for those of you who have been following me on Twitter, you know how excited I was leading up to today and seeing what I could do. Now, I haven’t actually skied in a competivie ski race in over 20 years, but I knew I had to get out there and try it to see how I would do.

I didn’t win. I was close – close enough where I was in the lead for my age class leading up to the second run. However, I was going too fast and pushing a little too hard (no surprise there) and my aggressiveness got the better of me. I took a nasty tumble towards the end (I could see the finish line) and ended up not finishing the run. Although I was not hurt, I was bummed!

But, I realized that in the exercise of pushing myself and taking a big risk trying to go faster than I had thought, I was really seeing what was possible with my limits. It was exhilarating and scary at the same time. It was a risk I felt I wanted to take and glad that I did. Yes, I would have liked to have finished, and maybe even won, but my lesson is learned and it’s prepared me that much more for my next race. And yes, there will be many more races this season and for years to come.

So, the lesson is this – you gotta take a risk. Putting yourself out there whether in life or in business is absolutely essentiual to see what is possible for you to continue to grow. Without risk, we’ll never grow and expand and truly reach whatever that next level is. And for, that is definitely to win my next race. I’m more determined now than ever.

Stay tuned for my ski posts but I look forward to sharing more about authentic Internet marketing and helping you grow your online business to that next BIG level!

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

(The view from the bottom of the race course today – was an amazing experience.)