People wonder how I get everything done, between an hour’s worth of writing, video work, guitar practice, reading, exercises and more. Actually, It doesn’t take as much time as you might think.
Even though I get a lot done every day, on days where I don’t work my day job, I’m typically done with almost everything by 9:30 in the morning. Here are some simple tricks that make it easy.
Making It Easy
How do I get so much done? Or, more importantly, how can you get what you want to get done to achieve your dreams? By making it easy. One of the best ways to make it easy is to double up activities.
For instance, I really struggle to find time to sit down and read. Instead, I listen to audiobooks. They were a great way to learn when I was commuting an hour each day (that’s about a book a week!). Now that I work from home, I listen to my books when I exercise.
In fact, I exercise for thirty minutes a day. The first fifteen I pray and the last fifteen I listen to an audiobook. That’s an hour’s worth of results in thirty minutes.
I do something similar with my guitar practice. I simply play through some songs I know while I watch thirty minutes of training videos, usually during my lunch break. Once again, I get an hour’s worth of results in thirty minutes.
There will be people that will scoff and say “that doesn’t count. Listening to a book isn’t as good as reading a book.” Or “Listening while exercising doesn’t allow you to focus”. These people remind me of the old weight lifting purists that I ran into in my twenties.
Back when I was a young adult there were people that hated weight-lifting machines. The haters had a litany of reasons why the machines were worse than free weights. They would gripe and complain about their gym having machines. Why? Because it gave them an excuse not to go lift weights. No matter if the weight-lifting machines were worse or not, using the machines is better than doing nothing.
Do you want to move forward or do you want to make excuses? If you want to move forward, then find ways to make it easy. After you start building habits of success, if you want to change them and make them more focused, you can; you’ve put in the work to build the habits which is the most difficult part.
The next thing I do is employ mini habits. I’ve talked about mini habits a few times. Quite simply mini habits help us start new habits by making them small.
It’s a challenge to go from sitting all day to running a 5k. It’s easy to go from sitting all day to walking in place one minute. As our habits become engrained we have a way of expanding them comfortably without them becoming overwhelming.
Many of the daily tasks I do – tasks that I have streaks that are years in the making – started out as five-minute-a-day tasks. For instance, when I first started writing, I would write five minutes a day. At the end of this month, I will have written at least twenty minutes a day for two years straight. And at this point I’m writing sixty minutes a day.
Even within those habits are mini habits. For instance, I currently write twenty minutes a day for my blogs, five minutes a day for my 90 Seconds to Amazing Presentations series, ten minutes a day for a special scripting project, twenty minutes a day for an upcoming video series, and five minutes a day for a special family video that I’m working on.
On the one hand, the breakdown helps in case I’m struggling with the content on one project. If I am, I just have to get through that time and then I can work on another project. The variety helps keep it fresh too. At the same time, because I’ve built the habit over time, even though I used to dread writing, I now feel I could write hours and hours, enjoying it all.
You Can Do It!
The big thing to remember is to do something. Move forward. As Roald Amundsen, the first person to make it to the South Pole found out, constant, steady progress is the best way to go. Keep moving forward. Find the tools and techniques you need to keep moving forward.
If you have a goal to write a book and you don’t feel like it one day, write anyway. If you only have a daily goal of five minutes, it will be over before you know it. Hans Zimmer, Academy Award-winning composer for over 150 films including The Dark Knight, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Sherlock Holmes, has this to say about writing even on the off days:
When I have to start on a new movie and I haven’t worked in awhile… I have no idea where to start. I cannot write… but if you write every day, and it doesn’t matter what it is you write – just write something… you just develop a muscle… if you write every day you just get into the flow of the writing.
It’s the act of doing consistent daily work that creates the habits that lead to success.
You can do it! It’s easier than you think! Make it easy, create small simple habits, and be consistent.
This can be the day you begin one of the most amazing projects in your life!