The benefits of “dreamlining” & why you should bother to do it Oct01

The benefits of “dreamlining” & why you should bother to do it...

As a natural goal-setter, I never realized that other human beings on the planet find it difficult to define, break down, and plan their own dreams for the future. I never thought about it until I came across the term “dreamlining” in a Tim Ferriss book. It’s a fancy term referring to exactly that: defining your dreams and breaking down the steps necessary for achievement within a certain time frame. That sounds perfectly legitimate, and perhaps you, another goal-setting master, find it silly. However, there is an important take-away for the digital procrastinators out there–you know, the one currently browsing through this post instead of doing any of the ten-thousand other things you should be doing. Like working. Or talking with your friends. Or even jogging around the park, where the fresh air will recharge your spirits and remind you of the greener side. The secret to achieving goals is simple: Break down your objectives into small, actionable to-do bullet points, and go after them, one by one.     In fact, social psychology experts have confirmed that people are constantly switching their attention and motivation from goal to goal. Thus any given goal pursuit will interfere with other possible goal achievement processes. The rate of goal accomplishment is routinely low, unless the motivations for such a pursuit are noticeably strong and explicit. That’s why many tips for completing goals recommend writing down your goal, sharing it with friends and family, etc. The point is to create strong motives for accomplishing it, as well as strong(ish) repercussions for not. Behavioral psychologists have created a helpful acronym, SMART, that both defines and guides for effective goal-setting habits.     In fact, the idea of dreamlining encapsulates this process perfectly. First, grab the worksheet and fill...

10 Smart Ways to Make Money Online

  Last time I wrote about whether or not an intensive workday is a possibility. In follow-up, let’s assume that you have mastered the art of productive batching and single-minded concentration. You are a well-oiled cog in the sea of fast-moving and disparate company body parts. However, you still earn a bum wage. Or you’re an underpaid intern who rallies to the idea of being a Millennial entrepreneur. Or you may even be on the lookout for an additional revenue stream to add to your ever-revolving portfolio. In any case, the fact remains that you want to take advantage of the great unknown and catch a piece of the internet pie for yourself. Many lists detail ideas on how to make money online. It’s a popular subject. So why rehash what has already been stabbed to death many times over? Because I’ve walked around the block hand-in-hand with these online lists. Some of the suggestions work; others belie the point of highly productive online work.     These are 10 SMART ways to make money online:   1. Start your own niche website You have the potential to start your own website for whatever reason. However, in this ever-expanding universe, it makes sense to focus on one particular subject. Transform yourself into that big fish in the small subsection of the pond. Besides, the more tightly-focused your website content, the more relevant the Google Adsense ads you’re going to put on it, and the more likely you’ll convince one of your readers to click on them.   2. Make your own themed Youtube videos Again, we return to the idea of revolving revenue from advertisements. This time, however, you’re not creating a full website from the ether but rather sharing your unique content on...

Is an intensive work day just a myth? Sep24

Is an intensive work day just a myth?

After two years of stubbornly ignoring the “4-Hour Workweek” sitting on my virtual bookshelf, I finally took it down and dove in head first. And it got me to thinking again about the average work day; is a fully-productive, intensive work day just a myth?Some people prefer having a job where you can get paid for doing basically nothing, and others prefer to be busy busy busy all day long. Approaching this subject from different angles (as a former graduate student, teacher, policy recruit at a nonprofit, and on-the-ground saleswoman–there’s more too!), I know what I prefer:     That is, I actively choose to work hard and intensively for short periods of time, followed by blocks of fun and relaxation. And while I agree with Tim Ferriss that this is the ideal schedule, there are some places–or many, depending on your job and circumstances–where this is simply impossible to follow. But the question is: is that because you, the employee, are being lazy? or is it because your job requires you to sit and sit and sit some more to reach your daily eight hours?Of course, if you’re an hourly worker, this conversation doesn’t apply. You work by hour. So, obviously, if you only work a couple hours in the most productive way possible, you’ll end up a couple bucks short of a full paycheck. And you might even find yourself out of a job. Or you’ll just be bored all day and waste time surfing on your phone (when your boss isn’t watching). I’ve been there, too. For me, there’s no worse fate than being stuck in a repetitive hourly job with no end in sight. As a salesperson, I had to reach my quota every day, but it didn’t matter if...

Improve productivity by writing your notes and not typing them Sep05

Improve productivity by writing your notes and not typing them

I have a secret. A grossly underestimated secret. It isn’t a hush-hush type of thing, really. It’s actually a well-known phenomenon that researchers are still trying to figure out. It’s this: I learn better by actually physically writing down notes and lists than by typing them up. Truthfully, many a fellow student and co-worker has no idea that typing up notes and such actually decrease their overall productivity and retention rates. A while back, I tried to go fully digital, but that kind of relationship with my e-devices broke down real quick. You see, I’d dutifully type up my notes to remember them better and make them more portable, but then I would completely and utterly forget that I’d made them in the first place. Which defeats the purpose, I know. So why is it that the traditional way of writing trumps the digital process? The answer is simple and somewhat full of common sense reasoning: your ability to learn and later recall information is related to your level of cerebral engagement at the moment of learning. Or, in other words, the better your brain pays attention, the better you’ll remember the information afterwards. The idea truly isn’t that novel, if you think about it. Scientists have known for over 20 years that intense emotions cause your brain to better record an event for later playback. Your amygdala–in this case–activates more strongly in reaction to stimuli that involve the nervous system. In a similar manner, multiple studies indicate that physically writing with a pen engages the brain in a way that results in better memory recall. How can event-specific emotion-recall be related to physical writing and memory, you ask? Look at it this way: when you touch a pen or pencil, you’re involving  countless...

Is it worth having TWO Computer Screens? Feb01

Is it worth having TWO Computer Screens?

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to increase your productivity at your workstation? Do you ever tire of opening and closing and opening yet again all those application windows on your desktop? Well, the answer to your problems is here: get a second screen!     Wait…say what? Yes, get yourself two computer screens. Many people ask me if they should spend money on buying an extra screen for the laptop or desktop computer. If that person has a laptop I always say: You definitely should. If that person uses a desktop instead, I usually ask: what’s your current screen size? And if it’s smaller than 23 inches, hit repeat; I give the same advice as I did for a laptop. So why is it worth having a second screen?   Reason #1 It makes every task on your computer so much easier. If you do any kind of work on your computer, you will be running multiple programs all the time. For example, if I’m working on an excel sheet I generally have Excel, Safari, Word and sometimes Adobe open at the same time (Yes, I have a Macbook too). If I only had one screen to do all this, I’d be constantly minimizing and maximizing windows or switching virtual desktops. I’d eventually get the work done, but I always feel like I spent most of my time not doing my work, just opening and closing windows.   Reason #2 Save time for things that matter. You use a computer to make life simpler, right? When I first started using two screens I couldn’t believe how much time I saved. Sometimes I took less than half of the time that I used to. In fact, a study from Microsoft showed that it...