Become a SpeedDemon 2.0: Productivity & Automation Tricks to Have More Time (New & Improved!) | Jonathan Levi | Skillshare

Become a SpeedDemon 2.0: Productivity & Automation Tricks to Have More Time (New & Improved!)

Jonathan Levi, Entrepreneur, Eclectic, Lifehacker, SuperLearner

Become a SpeedDemon 2.0: Productivity & Automation Tricks to Have More Time (New & Improved!)

Jonathan Levi, Entrepreneur, Eclectic, Lifehacker, SuperLearner

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34 Lessons (3h 5m)
    • 1. About Us & This Course

      3:13
    • 2. Why Do Things Quicker

      5:01
    • 3. Where Most People Spend (Or Waste) Their Time

      4:43
    • 4. The Power Of Preparation

      3:06
    • 5. Having Clear Priorities & Goals - and Making Them "Smart"

      7:33
    • 6. Organizing Priorities With The Priority Star Exercise

      9:14
    • 7. Setting Deadlines - and Making Them Real

      4:13
    • 8. The Pareto Principle Our Secret To Being Effective

      4:38
    • 9. The "Bad" Kind Of Multitasking, Avoiding Distractions, and Meditation

      7:38
    • 10. Batching Similar Tasks

      3:43
    • 11. The "Good" Kind Of Multitasking & The Wheel Of Life

      4:21
    • 12. Planning For Structured Rest Periods

      5:52
    • 13. Using Small Chunks Of Wasted Time Effectively

      4:12
    • 14. A Brief Note On "Flow" and Focus

      5:29
    • 15. Just How Much Time Are You Wasting On Your Computer?

      6:39
    • 16. Automating Meeting Scheduling

      4:51
    • 17. Text Expansion - Stop Typing The Same Things Over and Over

      4:19
    • 18. Speaking Is Faster Than Typing - and Clicking

      5:28
    • 19. Using Custom Gestures To Speed Up Common Tasks

      3:38
    • 20. Launchers: Act Without Doing

      5:57
    • 21. Wasting Less Time Reading And Sorting Through Email

      3:29
    • 22. Automating Simple, Repetitive Tasks Effectively Across The Web

      5:09
    • 23. Watching Lectures, Videos, and Podcasts Faster

      4:43
    • 24. Getting Fit In Fewer Hours

      4:05
    • 25. Spend Less Time Cooking

      3:57
    • 26. Sleeping Less and Feeling Better

      5:59
    • 27. Monitoring Your Finances Automatically

      5:24
    • 28. Paying Bills Automatically

      4:25
    • 29. Some Things Just Aren't Worth Your Time

      11:07
    • 30. Thoughts & Tips On "Outsourcing"

      11:29
    • 31. Speeding Up Decisions

      9:09
    • 32. Speeding Up Communication

      5:07
    • 33. Splitting Time Into “Maker” and “Manager” Days

      5:01
    • 34. What We've Learned, Conclusion, and Congratulations

      2:37
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About This Class

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This course will teach you the most cutting-edge tips and tricks for productivity, automation, and efficiency, so that you can do more work in less time and have more time for the things that matter in life.

Contrary to popular belief, productivity isn’t always about doing things faster.

If you...

  1. Don’t have enough time

  2. Have tried becoming "more productive" without much success

... chances are you’re actually working too much.

How could that be?

It’s simple.

As a student or professional looking to get the most out of your time, you know that there is a HUGE difference between:

  • Doing deep work on high-level tasks that help you accomplish your goals

  • Sitting at your desk for 8+ hours hopping from task to task... getting nowhere

So...

If you’re putting in the hours and not seeing proportional, or rather exponential results, you don’t have a productivity problem.

You have an “attention management” problem.

But what is “attention management”?

And, more importantly, how can you make it work for you rather than against you?

I’m glad you asked!

Become a Speed Demon 2.0 will answer that exact question.

The sad truth is that most of us simply don't have enough time in our daily lives to get through everything we need to do. Much less the things we want to do.

In this course from best-selling instructor Jonathan Levi, author of the blockbuster course "Become a SuperLearner," you will learn how to reclaim enough time to do just that - and so much more.

For the last 10 years, your instructor Jonathan Levi has developed a series of techniques, tips, tricks, and strategies to overcome a near superhuman workload.

From juggling a multimillion dollar business while engaged as a full time student, to running multiple companies at the same time, to leading a jam-packed travel, social, and educational calendar that would make some people's heads spin.

How Is This Possible, And How Can You, Too, Learn To Become A Speed Demon?

The course starts out with a great foundation in theory, training you on the philosophies behind efficiency, productivity, and "speeding up."

Armed with these theories and strategies, the course then dives into more nuts-and-bolts recommendations on how to speed up some of the most time-intensive activities we each do every day:

  • Working at the computer

  • Cooking and fitness

  • Interactions with others

  • Other general inefficiencies

The course takes a holistic approach to productivity and efficiency, arming you with the mindset to kick butt and speed up every aspect of your productive and creative life, in order to make time for the things that really matter.

So if you...

  • Could use an extra 1-3 hours in your day

  • Currently spend the LITTLE free time you have worrying about the endless pile of work waiting on your desk

  • Would like more time to spend with friends and family

... this course is for you.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jonathan Levi

Entrepreneur, Eclectic, Lifehacker, SuperLearner

Teacher

Jonathan Levi is an experienced entrepreneur, angel investor, and lifehacker from Silicon Valley. Since 2014, Jonathan has been one of the top-performing instructors on Udemy.  

After successfully selling his Inc 5,000 rated startup in April of 2011, Levi packed up for Israel to gain experience in the Venture Capital industry. While in Israel, Levi enlisted the help of speed-reading expert and university professor Anna Goldentouch and Machine Learning expert Dr. Lev Gold, who tutored him in speed-reading, advanced memorization, and more. Levi saw incredible results while earning his MBA from INSEAD, and was overwhelmed with the amount of interest his classmates expressed in acquiring the same skill set. Since acquiring this superlearning skill, he has become a proficient lif... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. About Us & This Course: Greetings and welcome to become a speed demon. My name is Jonathan Levy and I'm a serial entrepreneur, bestselling author and podcasts are known all over the world for my accelerated learning and personal development programs. I'm honored to say that my courses, books, and podcasts have helped over 350 thousand people in over 205 countries and territories worldwide. And I am so excited at the opportunity to count you among them. In this course, you're going to learn everything you need to know to become what we call a speed demon. You'll learn valuable mindset, adjustments and mental models to change the way you think about productivity. You'll learn tools to make yourself more productive and eliminate busy work that's dragging you down. You'll even learn how to automate and delegate a huge percentage of the things that are wasting your time today. And best of all, there is no prior knowledge required, just a willingness to learn and try new things. Why take a course about productivity? You may ask lots of reasons. First of all, as Benjamin Franklin once said, if you love life, you shouldn't waste time because time is the stuff that life is made of. But more seriously, the reason I created this course isn't so that you can just cram more work into the same amount of time you take to work today. I created this course to give others the same sense of freedom that I've been enjoying for decades. The freedom to spend my time on the things that matter in my life, the things that make me happy, things like learning family, friends, and relaxation. It might seem like a fantasy, but at the time of this recording, I'm managing to businesses simultaneously and still working about 15 to 20 hours a week. This course is broken down into short, easy to consume lectures and sections, and it's meant to take about six weeks to complete and apply. Additionally, as with all Skillshare courses, you'll be asked to complete a short project as you go through the program. That project is to create a set of goals for your personal and professional life that you'd like to achieve. And then report back on your progress towards those goals after implementing what you've learned in the course. After all, the point of this course isn't just to teach you how to do things faster. It is to empower you to have more time and attention so that you can accomplish more of the things that bring you joy. Whether that's learning a new instrument, spending twice as much time with your children, starting a new business on the side and so on. One quick thing, before we get started, we've gone ahead and created a friendly PDF syllabus as a companion to this course. And it's important that you downloaded the PDF syllabus will give you all the links you need to complete the exercises, homework, and much more. So please pause the video now and visit the course project description for a link to download this important document. All right, I know you're excited. Get started. So let's go ahead and dive right in. 2. Why Do Things Quicker: As I teach in my super learning courses, there are a couple of key principles adult learners need to commit to and understand before we can really effectively learn anything. Among those, It's really important that we understand why we are learning a given skill or subject. Beyond that, we need to actually understand the practical application of our knowledge. That is to say we need to envision how we're actually going to use that knowledge. This simple fact is the reason that you probably don't remember trigonometry anymore. These are just two of the seven principles required for adult learning. But you can leave the other four to me for now and be safe in the knowledge that I've built these strategies into each and every one of my courses in order to ensure that you get the most out of them possible. In any case, these two factors are important enough to justify starting our course out with a little bit of a homework assignment. Don't worry, it's not too bothersome or too time consuming. Print out the progress and goals worksheet we've created for you. On the first page, I want you to write out at least three reasons why you want to become more efficient, productive, or quicker. Gets specific though. Don't write something really elusive like I want to have more time. Instead, maybe write something like I want to have an extra three hours a week so that I can read to my kids so that there'll be ready to start first grade this fall. Or I want to have an extra two hours a week to do yoga so that I can fix my knee pain and stress issues. Get really specific and explain why you want to save time. Then go ahead and complete the rest of pages 1 and 2 of the worksheet, taking as much time as you need. Once you're done, pin the worksheet up in your work area where you can see it clearly and add to it for each new section of the course. Before you start doing that though, let me give you a little guidance on this from someone who is obsessed with efficiency and productivity. I don't improve my productivity or find life hacks because I want extra time to sit on my butt. I also don't necessarily do it so that I can do a superhuman workload either. Personally, I do it so that I can fill my life with other things that are meaningful and enjoyable and which can't or shouldn't be optimized or hacked for efficiency. Whether that's time with my loved ones playing sports I enjoy, or guilty pleasures like watching movies. It's important that you don't have any illusions. Productivity and efficiency are not the same thing. If, for example, you are very efficient at doing tasks that don't matter or move you towards your goals. Well, that's not very productive. That's why I want to warn you in advance. Being more efficient does not necessarily mean that you are more productive if that's not your goal. After all, we all get exhausted and there is a limit to how much you can reasonably do in a day. Remember that time is the most valuable and finite resource, but time without attention is worthless. That's why you may decide to become more efficient so that you can maintain the same level of productivity you have now in half the time. And hey, that's just fine. What I ask of you though is that you don't use these skills to work yourself to death. Use them to make time for things that are meaningful and enjoyable in your life. And hey, if that's working more great, I have no problems with that. But if it's not respect yourself enough to acknowledge that fact, okay, with the touchy-feely part out of the way, the next mini assignment is to identify three to five areas where you feel that you could save time. This will help in setting a goal and focus area for you, but it's also something interesting for me to understand as I improve the course in the future. I've attached some supplemental materials to this lecture, which will really help you out. Make sure that you've also downloaded the PDF syllabus for this course and saved it somewhere handy as it's a great way to keep track of all the many, many articles that I'll be linking you to. Note that there's also a zip file of all of the bookmarks which you can import into your browser for fast access to articles, software and other stuff that I'm going to recommend. Alright, get to work and join me in the next video. Once you're done with that progress and goals worksheet. 3. Where Most People Spend (Or Waste) Their Time: Now that you have some priority items you want to work on, let's discuss where most people spend and waste the most time. Now, I, along with some other prominent thinkers, have identified a number of areas where time is wasted. This isn't to say that these activities are always a waste of time, though. They definitely are sometimes, or that they're inherently unimportant. When I save that time is wasted on an activity. I'm more suggesting that more time is invested on that activity than is absolutely necessary. It's in these areas where we're going to make our biggest wins. So what are these things? Well, let me start with an example. Have you ever sent an email to someone with a question or concern only to receive a reply that requires even further follow up. Pretty soon you're sending back and forth emails trying to understand each other when a simple phone call would have been so much more effective. That's a perfect, although very basic example of time wasted, and it happens every single day. Now we'll get to email and communication later. But for now, here are some of the key areas where we're going to tackle and find a lot of lost productivity. Of course, how we spend our time is variable for each person. And so giving you stats or averages like the average American watches 2.2 hours of TV per day or the average sales professionals spends 84 minutes a day on email. These stats are ultimately useless and meaningless if you're interested, I've posted a link to a highly detailed and interactive breakdown by The New York Times, showing how different groups spend their time down to the nitty gritty. It's absolutely fascinating, but it's not really important for progressing through the course. Instead, let me give you some more generic observations of some categories. These types of time waster is don't correspond to the sections of the course though. Instead, each section will invariably have techniques for avoiding each of them. In any case, it's good to talk about them and get you to start thinking about them well in advance. And yes, this is another one of those learning philosophies that I mentioned in lecture two. So, how do we waste time? Well, the first one might surprise you. It's communication, scheduling, and planning with other people. Basically situations where our productivity or efficiency is dependent on someone else. This includes emails, texting, and other inefficiencies. It also includes waiting three days for an email reply from your boss before starting to work on a project. When I first started teaching this, people used to be surprised that communication was an inefficiency. But these days, when most of us spend half a day answering slack messages, Facebook posts and Whatsapp messages, o and emails. I think you already know exactly what I'm talking about. The second category is unnecessary effort or doing things slowly or ineffectively. A good example of this would be running on a treadmill for an hour and a half when in fact, you can generate the same health benefits in a properly designed intensive 12 minute workout. Another example might be searching through folders on your computer for a file that you need three times a day? Or how about sleeping eight hours when you know, the last 30 minutes of sleep are just tossing and turning. You get the idea. The next area where people waste time is in ineffectively structuring or stacking tasks. If you are the kind of person who folds one shirt at a time on the table and then turns around to put it in the closet. Well, this is the kind of stuff we're going to try and eliminate with different strategies and hacks. We're going to try and figure out how to make the most of our attention and our effort by structuring our activity intelligently. Now finally, there's the element of choice and placing your efforts wisely on the things that you're good at and giving up on the rest. If you've ever met on someone who insists on fixing their own car, even if it takes them six hours, then isn't a perfect job. Well, this is the kinda stuff that I'm talking about here. We're going to talk about how to decide what is and isn't an effective use of your time. And how to be honest with ourselves about how much time should be invested. Hopefully, you already see some of these elements in your day-to-day life. And you're both ready and excited to tackle them. Because now we're finally ready to dive into some hands-on techniques and strategies. 4. The Power Of Preparation: For part of her career, my mother was a highly skilled seamstress, creating beautiful and elegant costumes for children's theater productions. Knows always amazing to me how she managed to get something done in half the time. It would've taken another seamstress without any apparent reduction in quality. When I asked my mom How she was so effective at her work, she simply replied, I measure twice, cut once. This is really similar to that famous quote supposedly said by Abraham Lincoln, Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax. Now, I don't want to get into a long and drawn out lecture about the importance of preparation. So instead, I'll say this, whether it's learning a new skill, writing an article or cutting down a tree, the old adage is true. A minute of preparation saves an hour of deliberation. We all fall prey to improper preparation. In fact, as I wrote out my talking points for this exact lecture, I realized that I needed to look up the exact Abraham Lincoln quote I mentioned before. And they're doing that meant switching gears, searching through Google, getting distracted and losing my focus. If I had searched for all the quotes I would need ahead of time and had them ready alongside my text editing app. I would've saved at least five minutes. But even more importantly, I would've avoided disrupting my flow state, which we'll learn more about later on in the course. Of course, nobody is perfect and remembering to invest in proper preparation is an ongoing battle for me and everyone else. But first and foremost, I want to alert you to the fact that you can save a lot of time just by properly preparing. In fact, this little life hack applies to almost anything you do. If you're writing a research paper, pull up all the articles you need beforehand so you don't have to break your concentration to search for them. If you're cooking, pull out all the ingredients you need from the fridge, take them out of the plastic bags and put them in your work area in an organized manner. If you are fixing a car, figure out all the different bolt sizes that the car uses, and then organize all the tools you'll need in advance. If you're heading into a meeting, brief yourself on the other person's credentials so you can avoid asking unnecessary clarification questions and wasting everyones time. You get the idea. Planning ahead is a habit that will almost never backfire on you. In the worst case scenario, you do a little extra work that you have to throw out. But in the best-case scenario, you maintain calm, save time, and set yourself up to be more effective when it's go time. It's like my dear friend, Dr. Anthony TVA always likes to quote, dig your wells before you're thirsty. So it really is that simple. Just by investing in your preparation upfront, you can save tons of time in an execution. And we haven't even gotten into the strategies for being more effective in the tasks themselves. 5. Having Clear Priorities & Goals - and Making Them "Smart": I know, I know the following doesn't sound like a productivity hack, but trust me, it is. Having clear priorities helps us place our efforts intelligently. Have you ever sat down to answer a bunch of emails and then found a software update email and one of them, of course, you don't want to forget to update that critical piece of software. So you click the link, but then you have to close all your windows and update another piece of software that the first update requires. But of course you've got to back up your files and before you know it, you've lost 30 minutes of time that should have gone to your important emails. Setting priorities helps us be responsible and accountable to ourselves. But not all goals and priorities are created equal. In fact, later on in the course, we're going to learn to different frameworks for assessing the importance of priorities and for determining in which order to do them. Before we do that though, we first need to understand what makes an effective goal. After all, if you're like most people, you've probably set some fuzzy, undefined goals in the past, such as New Year's resolutions to get in better shape only to watch things fall apart. Fortunately, there is a methodology for setting effective goals that you can actually stick to. This methodology is called smart or SM ART. And it originally is a methodology that managers use to get better performance from their employees. Don't worry though, because it's just as relevant for helping us manage ourselves. Smart is an acronym for specific. A goal should be as clear and precise as possible, measurable. It should be easy to measure when the goal has been achieved, assignable, ambitious, or actionable. Now, depending on the goal, it should be either something that you can give to someone else, something that's ambitious, or something that you can actually take action on. Realistic. The goal should be within your reach, even if it'll be hard, time-related, the goal should have a very specific deadline. Let's explore some examples of what smart versus not smart goals look like so that you can see what a difference it makes. Years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn some Russian. I set myself a goal to learn the Russian language and I made it a priority in my life. But if I had written out a fuzzy goal, like improve Russian skills, well, it would be pretty hard to measure or to know if I'd accomplished that. How much is enough by when? What does improvement really mean? Does it mean repeating the same sentences with better pronunciation? Or does it maybe mean being able to recite Pushkin from memory? Or maybe it means being able to debate the latest policies of the Kremlin. Instead, I decided to write down the goal as follows. By December 31st, I will be able to hold at least a five-minute conversation about common everyday topics such as introductions, whether or personal interests with a native Russian speaker without reverting to English. This goal is specific because I know exactly what topics I'll need to learn about. Its also measurable. If I can only last for minutes before resorting to English, I will have failed. Its ambitious because Russian is very difficult and at the time, I can only handle a one-minute conversation without going to English. It's realistic though, because I was able to acquire that first minute with only 30 to 40 hours of work. And of course, because I had to do it before December 31st, the goal was time-related. As you can imagine, setting these clear goals and priorities helps us know where it is best to invest our efforts. It also helps us focus on what not to do. If I have a goal like the one I just described, you can bet that I'm not working on improving my professional vocabulary and I'm avoiding the temptation to improve my Spanish or Hebrew skills because that's not the priority at hand. However, what about managing smaller tasks, like little priorities and goals that take hours, not months? Well, it's important to write them down and create accurate to-do lists. After all, I may be a memory expert, but even I can't remember the 5 thousand little tasks and projects that I need to do in my business, my personal life, and on my side projects, and I wouldn't want to memorize them. This is why it's absolutely essential to have a good capture system somewhere that you put all of your tasks introduced. And that helps you make sure that each one of them is smart. But which system should you use? Well, it's going to depend. If you're like me, you have a task management software for your work that helps you coordinate and collaborate with your colleagues. Something like Basecamp, Trello or Monday or my personal favorite, Asana. And I definitely recommend that you use some kind of software that lets you input to-dos and set deadlines for them. However, if you're like me, you probably also use some different kind of personal to-do list, whether it's one that comes on your iPhone or Evernote or something like Wonder List. And don't worry, I'll provide links to all of my top recommended ones in the supplementary materials on the PDF syllabus. Now the thing is with all these different software is being used for different purposes. How the heck are you supposed to prioritize tasks when they're all over the place. That task reminding you to pick up your dry cleaning is in a totally different software website. And then Task reminding you to update the company website, for example. Well, there's a great app that I discovered called taco app, which solves this exact problem. It connects to practically every task management software or to-do list out there and it imports all of your tasks. And then it gives you one clean interface where you can sort your tasks onto the main dashboard and prioritize them across different fields. As you see, I can sort different tasks, whether they're for the startup I work with, courses I'm working on or my personal to-dos. It also updates the various softwares when you mark something complete and sends you a daily Punch-List every morning. So you don't get distracted by a long, scary sidebar of tasks. Personally, I love that. I can ask Siri or OK, Google, hey, Remind me to pick up paint at the hardware store tomorrow at noon. And that ends up alongside my tasks for work, allowing me to prioritize whether I'll write another chapter of my book before or after picking up that paint, check it out and see if it's a good fit for you. In conclusion, setting well-designed goals and priorities helps us be accountable to ourselves. If you have a smart goal to accurately and politely answer all 27 emails from your colleagues before lunch at 1230, you're going to have a much harder time procrastinating by checking Facebook, getting up for an extra cup of coffee and so on. In fact, that's a perfect segue into our next lecture, which talks about the importance of deadlines. 6. Organizing Priorities With The Priority Star Exercise: So in the course I talk a lot about how prior planning is really important. And that's definitely true. If we know what we need to do and we have our priorities outlined clearly, then we basically set ourselves up for success. And there's no losing a focus or going off task to try and understand what we need to be doing next. So one exercise that I really love for prioritization, It's called the Priority Star exercise. Now this is a great exercise that helps you take five to-do items that are loosely interrelated and structure them in step-by-step processes. So in order to illustrate the power of this, I'm actually going to use a real-life example. Right now. I'm working on establishing a new blog called Becoming a superhuman. And I have a lot of work to do for setting up this blog. There's a lot of different aspects and a lot of different moving parts. Let me tell you what five of them are. Well, the first thing is I want to launch with a lot of blog posts. So here I have posts. The next thing is I'm going to actually want to do a podcast. So audio interviews and cool stuff like that. So the next thing is going to be establishing the podcast or PC. Now of course, I'm also going to need to set up an email list so people can subscribe. Let's go with email list. Now of course, I need to pick a domain name and get all the domain and webserver stuff set up. So let's just put for that one domain now notice I'm arranging these in a pentagon and there's a reason for that. And the last thing is, I need to decide on a design. And that design goes for the logo, which fortunately I've already done, but also a nice design for the website. So here I have my pentagon of five interrelated tasks that I need to get done before I can launch my new blog. Now, let's go ahead and go through the exercise. So the idea is if you look at all five of these tasks, it's really hard to think about what you should do first. Maybe domain will jump out at you, but what about the other ones? Should I record podcasts before I do posts? Should I set up the email list before I set up the design? Of course, this isn't a perfect example because maybe for those of you setup websites, the answers really clear, but it's a great example because all these things are interrelated. They're all aspects of one project. So here's how it works. I need to think about the interrelation between each one. I usually start at the top. So let's start it posts. And I asked myself a simple question. Will writing posts help power the podcast? Or we'll creating the podcast helped power new posts. Well, it actually turns out that the podcasts will be posted on the site. And so for every podcast I create a new post. And so setting up the podcast is actually going to drive posts. Now, the next one posts to email list. Well, are people going to sign up for my email list if I don't have any posts, Probably not. So I think having posts is going to drive the success of the email list. What about the relation between posts and a domain name and my web server? Well, I can't really work on anything until I have the domain name setup. And so domain is going to drive my posts. What about posts and design? Well, this one's tough because really I could write some posts and I can schedule them before I have my design. But actually if you think about it, the size of my images that I put in my posts and all that stuff is going to depend on the design. So actually I should probably have my design setup and know what my aesthetic is going to look like before I do that posts, so design will drive the success of the posts. Now let's go to the podcast over here. Will having a podcast improve the success of my email list? Or will having an email list improve the success of my podcast? Well, if I have the podcast that's more material and more material means it'll appeal to more people. So probably having my podcasts setup will drive my email list. But let's think about it the other way. If I have my email list, will it help me get more interviewees on my podcast? Probably not. So we can safely say that having the podcast is gonna make the email lists more successful. What about the relationship between a podcast and a domain? Well, really, I would say that in the podcast I'm probably going to have to talk about the domain. Like you can download the notes from this podcast at www dot becoming a superhuman.com. So really having the domain name setup is gonna make the podcast possible. Now what about the podcast and the design? I guess they're not really related unless my podcast image is supposed to match my design. And when I submit it to iTunes, I need to have a graphics. So really, I guess I need my design to be all set up before I really launched the podcasts. Now going back down to email list, does having an email list make the domain more successful? Or no, it turns out I need to know what my domain name is and I need to have all my email and server set up before I can drive the email list to reality. What about the email list and the design? Well, my emails are going to have to match the design of my website, so I better decide on that before I set up the email list. And now just wrapping up, let's look at the domain and the design. Well, I definitely could do them separately. And sometimes you'll find tasks that you could argue either way. In, in that instance, I just have to make a decision. So I guess it's going to be a lot easier to do my design work once I have a domain name and I can do the logo, I need to decide on my domain name because it might go into my logo. And of course I want to preview it, send it to friends and stuff so I better have my server and my domain setup before I do that design. Now you see we have a nice little star in the middle. And all of them are connected around the outside of the Pentagon. So that's perfect. That means we did the job. Well. Now, how do we prioritize these tasks? Well, it's really simple. We just need to count the number of originating arrows from each one. So let's go around posts and setting up the blog has just one originating arrow. So that's a one. Podcasts that has two originating arrows. Email list has no originating arrows. Domain has four. And design has three originating arrows. So basically, now we know our priorities and I'll tell you how the number of originating arrows means that that item is critical for other items. So domain here with the highest number of originating arrows means that this is priority number one. Design actually is going to be priority number two. So you might think that's surprising. Maybe I should write posts first, but note, the graph doesn't lie. The podcasts. Now, this really surprises me. I think that I would run a right-side posts before, but actually, it shows here that the podcasts should actually be priority number three. And if I think about it intuitively, the way that I thought about it in this connection here, it does make sense because having the podcast set up and running is going to contribute to more posts. And more posts is priority number four. Whoops. And lastly, it turns out that the email list is the last thing I should worry about. Which is really interesting because I've been stressing out about this email list and getting it set up before I do anything. But in reality, you people aren't going to subscribe until I have all these other things set up and running because there's no reason to subscribe if there's no posts. And the posts are driven by the podcast and so on and so forth. So this is a really powerful framework for determining the priority of different tasks and which order you should do them in. I sometimes use it for personal tasks that I need to coordinate in my own life or for different professional projects. The key is that they need to be interrelated. And you need to think objectively about the different roles and interrelations between each task. So give it a try. 7. Setting Deadlines - and Making Them Real: For any of you who've read the four hour work week by Tim Ferriss, you're already familiar with the idea of Parkinson's Law. For those of you who haven't, I strongly, strongly recommend it and have LinkedIn in the course outline and supplemental materials. It's an essential handbook on productivity and efficiency. And this course is heavily influenced by Tim's teachings combined with my own tricks and tips for implementing them. In any case, Parkinson's Law is the idea that work expands to fill the time allotted. When we feel like we have all the time in the world, work drags on and on and expands. We decide to add more details to triple check unnecessarily and so on. In reality, our brains are really, really effective at synthesising what is and isn't important, especially when we're in a rush or under pressure. If you wherever that student that waited to the last day of the semester to write your term paper and accomplished weeks worth of work in an evening, then you've experienced Parkinson's law. In fact, many people are baffled to find that they do their best, most productive work in spurts just like this. If this is true, then why not hack the psychological force behind Parkinson's Law? Why not set artificial deadlines for how long we will allow things to take. After all, we've all had days where we hardly manage to finish a few hours of work by 05:00 PM. While paradoxically, we finished an entire day's worth of work when we know we have to leave early. In fact, many students have reported to me that when they became parents, they actually became much, much more efficient at work because they suddenly had to give up working overtime on nights and weekends. Personally, I found that it's actually quite difficult to set artificial deadlines because deep down, we know that they're fake and meaningless. See, I read about Parkinson's Law years and years ago in the four hour workweek. And I completely failed to implement it until I discovered my own little hack. Making the deadlines real. In his book, willpower doesn't work. My friend Benjamin hearty refers to something like this as a forcing function. Forcing functions are a way of using external pressures to make yourself do what you want to do. The example Benjamin gives is of a pianist who has developed a powerful forcing function for writing albums in half the time, the day he decides to write the album, the pianist immediately books time at the very expensive recording studio for exactly three months in the future. Half the time, it would take most artists to write an album. Then for good measure, he announces the album release date to his fans, making the deadline for writing it very, very real. I use this hack all the time and I find that the pressure of being late and the unpleasantness of disappointing others is highly effective for me. I bet that throughout the day there are dozens of things that you simply can't push back, such as picking the kids up from school, a meeting with your boss, and so on. So when those things happen and you have small blocks of time, you can pick a task that should take twice as long and try to sandwich it in. You can also do this on a much bigger scale with projects that should take weeks or months. Worst-case, your work quality isn't quite good enough and you have to revisit it. But even if that happens, it probably won't. The surge of productivity will be astonishing and you can always apply a deadline to the revision work as well. I encourage you to experiment and play around with Parkinson's Law and set some deadlines for work that tends to drag on and on or have no deadline and see how it goes. Instead of letting your email take as long as it takes, set yourself a maximum of half an hour. You'll probably cut some corners, but those corners probably won't be all that important or even worth the time that they would take. In fact, the majority of the details in reality aren't important in a lot of our tasks. But that's the subject of another lecture altogether. 8. The Pareto Principle Our Secret To Being Effective: At this point in the course, I want to remind you about the difference between being efficient and being effective. You can be extremely efficient at a task. But if it's a meaningless task, like say, ironing your socks, that it doesn't make you any more effective at doing your laundry. In order to be both efficient and effective, we need to understand which elements of the priority or task actually contribute to the quality or desirability of the outcome, Right? To that end. Here's another great tip that I owe to Tim theorists. You see, Tim is a big believer in something called the Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule. The rule is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He further developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the Ps. Okay, that's probably not very interesting, but the applications of the 80-20 rule and the 9010 rule that was born out of it are really important. For example, in my former business, I did some analysis and realized that 80% of my customers gave me only 20% of my revenues by focusing on the other 20% of my customers who gave me about 80% of my revenues. I was able to be much more effective in my goal to grow my business and turn a healthy profit. As a side note, I also realized that 20% of my customers, if 80% of the headaches, and I was sure to recommend that those customers check out my competitors website. Pareto's Law has a limitless number of applications. But here are a few to think about. Roughly 20% of the words in most languages make up 80% of conversations. So start by learning those words. Roughly 20% of the work of cooking makes up 80% of the difference in how tasty the food actually is. So why do the other 80% of the work, probably 80% of the news articles you read only gives you 20% of new information. So why waste your time reading those extra articles? Probably less than 20% of the people you would call friends or family make up 80% of your happiness, support, and enjoyment. So focus your attention and time on those people. In fact, I bet that 20% of the tips that I give you in this course, we'll make up 80% of the value that you extract from it personally. But that doesn't mean that you should start skipping sections. This 1 is the principle behind most of Tim versus success in business, writing, podcasting, investing, and even learning new skills. Tim is a master of deconstructing a subject and figuring out what he calls the minimum effective dose for success. While you could view this as doing the bare minimum. And it's certainly not appropriate for everything. It can have massive implications on how effective you are and subsequently how efficient you are. But this is just some basic thinking to introduce you to the idea that some tasks are inherently more valuable than others. For a lot of people, this is going to be a big shift in the way that they think, especially if they're the type of person who believes that they should get done everything on their plate. Guess what? Thinking this way is going to inherently limit you and hold you back. In fact, one of the main themes that comes up again and again throughout this course is the idea that in order to achieve more, you have to do less. What I mean by this is that if you want to move forward faster on the things that matter, you have to be able to identify and eliminate a lot of the things that don't. For more on this, I recommend checking out the interview I did with RMI cell productivity expert and founder of the company and podcasts less doing. In any case. For now, I want you to start thinking about the 80-20 rule as an entry into this type of thinking. Later on in the course, we're really going to build on this understanding with a much more advanced way of sorting through priorities known as the Eisenhower decision matrix. So your homework, if you can call it that, is to start viewing the world through the lens of 8020. When you catch yourself sitting through a boring meeting or writing an email, I want you to think if I can remove 80% of this, which parts would remain. Though we can't always do this in the real-world, especially with meetings. It's good practice to start thinking in this way and it'll help us a lot when we take a big machete to our workflows and start cutting things out. 9. The "Bad" Kind Of Multitasking, Avoiding Distractions, and Meditation: You might think that because this is a course on productivity hacking, I'm going to teach you how to do ten things at once to speed things up. So you can achieve twice as much work in the same amount of time. But actually this is exactly the opposite of what I want you to do to be more productive. Sure, while the next lecture will deal with how to use a form of multitasking effectively and responsibly. I want to tell you that 80% of multitasking is in fact destructive to your productivity and your work quality. Even if you pride yourself on being a skilled multitasker, The truth is, multitasking is just a way of doing two or more things poorly. And slowly. You might think you are doing a great job and all the tasks that you're juggling. But in reality, dividing your focus yields really lousy results. This is a topic that I've learned time and time again, whether it's through my interviews with flow experts Steven Kotler and digital distraction expert Dr. Greg wells, or through best-selling books like Cal Newport's deep work. No matter who you ask, the science is clear. Multitasking reduces how effectively you perform. But believe it or not, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Did you know, for example, that when switching between microtasks, even for just a second, there's a distinct period of confusion and decreased mental acuity before you can re-enter into the focus state. We're going to talk about this more in our upcoming lecture about focus and flow. But for now, I want to give you an example you've probably experienced. Imagine you're filling out a work-related form and you're fully focused. You are in the zone until someone calls you on the phone. This is surely happened to you. And so you've surely experienced the feeling of settling back down after the phone call and trying to figure out where you were on the form. Now it may seem like it only takes you a few seconds to pick up where you left off. But if you're performing some kind of high-functioning task, in fact, it takes much longer. It's actually been suggested that he can take as much as 15 minutes to get back into the zone. This is to say that while our brains are very sophisticated at maintaining tons of different threads of thoughts are focused at once. They're far less efficient at doing so that we would like to believe. While you may think you're multitasking as you listen to a podcast, enter chat messages from customers, read your emails and chit chat with your coworker across the room. The reality is that each and every micro shift is costing you productivity. Whether that means needing to reread the chat message from a minute ago to remember, to ask your coworker to repeat something they said or to rewind that podcast a little bit. Those little hiccups add up and they cost you time. Now, I want you to imagine if it takes 15 minutes to get back into your optimally focused state after a micro distraction, what do you think happens when you have a text message or a notification coming in every few minutes, you guessed it. You are never able to get back into your peak state. But wait, because it gets even worse than that. In his blockbuster bestseller Deep Work, author Cal Newport describes the actual structural changes that happen to the distracted brain. That's right. Not only does multitasking make you less effective and less efficient, but repeated multitasking and distraction actually makes you incapable of focusing on one thing at a time. After all, the human brain is an incredibly adaptive instrument. It'll adapt to whatever you force it to repeatedly do. And if you repeatedly force it to switch tasks and respond to distractions, well, guess what? It will adapt and as a result, you will find yourself unable to concentrate and perform deep thinking. Instead of falling victim to this all too common trap, I want to encourage you to shut off all distractions whenever possible. Try to do one thing at a time and only one thing. If your co-workers want to chat, put the e-mails on hold. If you're answering emails, set yourself a deadline, like we discussed earlier, put on headphones with some non-distracting music to make it clear that you're focusing, set your phone to do not disturb and get the emails done. For activities that require your mental acuity. Multitasking is about the worst thing you can do for your productivity. Give this a try. Stay focused on one task and see how much more effective you are. Most likely. You're going to find that it's really hard for you that your brain is actually learned to love jumping around. You'll start to reach for your smartphone to wonder how many emails that are coming in or what the people in the office next door doing, fight that temptation. In one powerful exercise from his book, Cal Newport suggests that the next time you're waiting in line or standing at the bus stop, try just well, waiting in line or standing at the bus stop. Fight that urge to be constantly distracted in stimulated and over time, you will regain the ability to focus on one thing at a time. And even more powerful way to regain your ability to focus is by practicing meditation. Meditation is incredibly powerful tool because it helps us train our brains to focus on one thing at a time. And it helps us understand how impossible that has become in our culture of constant multi-sensory overload. There's a common misconception that meditation means clearing your mind and not having any thoughts. But in fact, the opposite is true. In meditation, you clear your mind of every thought except one. Whether that's the sensation of your own breath, a mantra, or oppose. In the case of yoga, meditation then is simply training your brain to notice when it becomes distracted and to gently bring itself back into what you wanted to focus on. In a very real sense, meditation is the practice of conquering your mind. If you decide to embark on a journey of meditation, which I strongly recommend, you might be shocked and disappointed to see that you can only focus on something as simple as your breath for one or two seconds before getting distracted. Don't worry. This doesn't mean that you're failing to meditate. It means that you're doing it right. Celebrate the fact that you are catching your mind wandering. And remember that every time you bring it back into focus, you are strengthening your mental muscles. Not to mention all of the incredible emotional, psychological, and physiological benefits that science has discovered in experienced meditators. You see the beauty of meditation is that it simultaneously teaches you to improve your focus while training you to accept the monkey mind, reduce stress, perform under pressure, and avoid aggravation. In fact, it turns out that a great majority of the world's most productive and successful people in the arts, business, government, and more are all avid practitioners of meditation. From Oprah to Tony Robbins to Bill Clinton and even Paul McCartney. There are literally thousands of top performers who claim that a huge part of their success is owed to the focus they gained from meditation. So I strongly recommend you check out some of the links I've provided, including interviews that I've done with some of the world's top experts in meditation. I'll be honest. When you start out, it's a surprisingly difficult thing to do. After the first time you try. You will likely say, I'm just not someone who can meditate. But guess what feeling that is how you know that you need to meditate. So now we understand the many parallels of so-called multitasking and how it is made modern humans incapable of focusing in on one thing effectively. With that said, there are some things you can do to get tasks done faster, and we'll cover those in the following lectures. 10. Batching Similar Tasks: Now that we have an understanding of how important it is to avoid the confusion and disorientation of switching between tasks or threads. Let's add to that fact that there is an inherent amount of setup for each task. For example, you wouldn't put on your workout clothes, stretch out, do 20 push-ups, shower, get changed, and then repeat the process a few hours later to do your 20 squats, would you? Of course not. That would be a ridiculous waste of time. And so you do the push-ups and the squats and certainly some other exercises all at the same time. So why do you do this with email? Why don't we open up our email every hour or even worse, GET a notification for every single email and deal with that e-mail the moment that it comes in. In principle, how is this any different from changing in and out of your workout clothes for every push-up you do, or running the dishwasher for every dish individually. We rarely think about it, but our day is literally filled with little time waster is just like this. Fortunately, there's a solution. It's called batching. Best of all, you already know how to do it. When we batch similar tasks together, it allows us to amortize or divide the setup and recovery time involved with those tasks across more items. A great exemple of batching is what you are already doing with your laundry. You probably don't do a load of whites and a load of colored laundry. Every time you have one of each know you wait until you have enough of each type of laundry to do a full load amortizing not only the water and the electricity to run the washing machine, but also your time to hang the laundry folded and put it away. Indeed, since we've already learned how important preparation is, it's a huge shame to have to do that preparation more than once. And since we've already talked about the hidden costs of mentally switching tasks, we now understand why batching tasks is so important. Let's think for a moment. What are some tasks that we could batch to make them more efficient? Well, to start with, there is the example we mentioned before, emails. What if instead of responding to every email as it comes in or even checking your inbox every hour, you batch Jerry Mills into one or two sessions per day. Or how about Aaron's? What if instead of running out for just the grocery store, we waited until the dry cleaning was ready and then we picked both of them up at the same time. We pick the kids up from school. Too easy for you. No problem. Let's go for a more advanced one. How about instead of cooking just one meal at a time, you did the food prep or even all of the cooking for the entire week, you'd surely save on energy and water. And I think you'll find that you'll save a ton of time too, but we'll cover that later. There's a lot of different ways that you can utilize batching to increase your efficiency from simple things like running things up and down the stairs in your house in batches to more complex forms of batching, like pushing all of your meetings to the same place and day of the week. And later on in the course, we'll come back to a lot of these ideas which draw upon the basic theory of batching. And we'll explain in more detail how you can actually use it. For now, I want you to start scrutinizing the work you do every single day and looking for opportunities to make things more efficient by bashing. I guarantee you they are lurking there in your everyday habits. You just have to look to find those low-hanging fruit. 11. The "Good" Kind Of Multitasking & The Wheel Of Life: By now, I hope I've convinced you that at least 80% of what you would call multitasking is quite bad for your productivity. With that said, there is of course that 20% that is actually quite useful. To explain what I mean, I have to go on a bit of a tangent though. Early on in my career, I was exposed to an idea called the Wheel of Life. Now the Wheel of Life is a circle with eight sections to represent how satisfied or successful you feel you are with different aspects, like friends and family, personal growth, health, finances, et cetera. That is a whole different subject which I teach in a whole different course. And so I'll give you a link to explore it on your own time. However, I wanted to introduce this concept because learning about the Wheel of Life introduced me to another idea. The idea that you can actually accomplish two goals at once by doing mutually productive activities. The trick here, or what I call the good kind of multitasking, is to look at the Wheel of Life, assess the areas you want to improve, and then find ways to improve more than one area of your life at once. What does that mean? Well, if I want to improve my fitness while maintaining strong and healthy relationships with my friends and family. Who's to say that I can't find activities that do both at once. Let me give you an example. One of my goals, as I mentioned, is to improve my Russian language skills. Now, I could hire a tutor. Sure, but that would only accomplish one goal. It would only improve one section of my wheel of life, personal growth. However, if I decide to travel to Russia with my spouse and practice with native speakers there, then it also improves my satisfaction in the phonetic adventure category and strengthens my relationship while simultaneously improving my Russian skills even better if I decide to visit friends from business school while I'm in Russia, that makes for sections all being mutually fulfilled. It gets better than that though, because some activities, or even better if done in conjunction with one another. Here are a few examples. Learning to speak Russian and a higher stakes environment with native speakers in Russia is way more effective than learning from a textbook or tutor. Double bass with friends, or going to a museum and learning something new with your wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, and so on will improve your relationship and your friendships more than sitting on the couch and watching movies together. Exercising while learning or reading actually improves your memory and brain function. Listening to an interesting podcast or audio book can keep you alert and engaged during long drives. Working out with a friend or a loved one makes you less likely to skip workouts and more likely to push yourself to the limit. Now, these are just a few examples, but I think you get the idea. If you want to be really productive and effective, you should try to nurture to aspects of the circle at once. But hey, even I get tired and lazy. Sometimes I watch TV and silly movies on the couch by myself every so often, which doesn't really fit in line with any of my goals or improve my satisfaction in any of the sections of the Wheel of Life. But when I do, I can make a choice that if I'm going to relax, I need to do something productive. For example, I can stretch out my muscles because one of my goals is to improve my flexibility. I can watch the movie in Spanish or in Hebrew languages that I went to improve. The point is that you can always find ways to make even your downtime productive in some way, shape, or form, and in ways that are not exhausting or emotionally draining at all. Now for this lectures homework, I want you to check out the worksheet that we've provided, which includes an exercise with the Wheel of Life. Fill it out and determine which areas of your life you want to improve. Then see how you can link up activities that are mutually productive or made better by the combination. Go for a run with a good friend instead of just the dog. Try reading while you're on the exercise bike. Make your next vacation, a meditation retreat. In short, figure out little ways that you can use the good kind of multitasking to your benefit and make the most of your time. 12. Planning For Structured Rest Periods: In the late 19 eighties, a university student named Francisco surreal figured out a neat little hack that made him more productive. Surreal realized that if he worked in blocks of 25 minutes with short breaks in between, he was actually more productive than if he worked for blocks of two or three hours interrupted. He called this method the Pomodoro Technique because he used one of those little tomato timers, or Pomodoro in Italian. This might seem contradictory to everything we've said about batching tasks, avoiding distractions, setting deadlines, and so on. But it's actually not. You see, 25 minutes isn't the critical part here. And obviously if you're fully focused or in the zone, you can and should skip a break. What's critical is the process of planning breaks into your work schedule. For one, this actually helps us set artificial deadlines because we know that in whatever time period we specify, whether it's 25 minutes or an hour, we will have to take a break and we don't want to be caught in the middle of the task. Second, because of the nature of the Pomodoro tree or time periods, we have to do some proper preparation and break the tasks into manageable chunks. This requires that we estimate how much time each section will take, which requires some level of planning and macro analysis. And that helps us set up mentally for success and efficiency. It's also important to note that there are a lot of psychological effects involved in taking a break if it's planned and not a random interruption by a co-worker or a text message. Now when I say take a break, I don't mean log onto Facebook and scroll mindlessly for five minutes. I mean, get up, walk around, go to the bathroom, grab a glass of water, and then get back to work. After all, we want to take a break, not completely break our concentration or our focus. Now perhaps you've experienced a situation in which you struggled with a math problem or a computer programming glitch, got frustrated, got up, took a break, came back, and then solve the problem almost instantaneously. See this is because it is important to refresh the mind and look at things from a different viewpoint. And also because our brains are actually doing a lot of subconscious processing and digestion when we're not working on the task itself. Have you ever heard of someone say that they do their best thinking in the shower away from the computer. Or a business executive who says that he does his best work on the golf course. This is the case with the Pomodoro Technique. The breaks not only refresh and relax us, they not only forced us to plan our work and set deadlines and be strategic and effective. But they also enable the brain to kind of do its thing, which is processing and digesting the information we are interacting with. In fact, this same effect is the reason why many experts in productivity, such as the founder of strategic coach and high level executive coach, Dan Sullivan, advocate for regular, often extended recovery periods. In fact, in these strategic Kluge executive mentorship program that I'm part of, entrepreneurs are encouraged to take as many as three free days per week in order to stimulate these types of random creative breakthroughs. Now it might come as a surprise to you, but at the highest levels of performance, people know the power of rest for restoring creativity and productivity. And so many of the people you most admire take quite extended periods of rest outside of their regular breaks. In a recent lecture delivered to my members only mastermind, bestselling author and psychology researcher Benjamin hearty, told us about how he took for entire months off after the stressful launch of his book. He also shared the example of Steffen sag Meister, a TED speaker who became famous for taking one year off every seven years. Now, this might sound insane, but according to sag Meister, during his one-year rest period, he comes up with all of the creative and inspirational ideas that carry his career for the next six. Of course, taking a full year off probably isn't an option for everyone, but that's no matter. We can all plan ahead and structure in rest periods, both large and small. We can all make a vow to actually disconnect when we go on vacation for a week or two a year. And what's more we deserve to. Beyond that, just about all of us can take the occasional free day off in the middle of the week to relax, restore, and recover. And a top of all of that, we can all leverage the Pomodoro Technique to plan in short, five minute breaks in our work. Once we do, will not only benefit from the effects of Parkinson's Law, but perhaps most importantly, we will see tremendously improved productivity, creativity, and motivation, not to mention a decreased risk of burnout. So your homework for this lecture is to check out the recommended resources on the Pomodoro technique. And if you like the idea, download an app that times each pomodoro E for you or buy a real clock. I personally like flow because it has a widget right on the Apple watch. After you've done this experiment with different time intervals from 25 minutes to an hour, and try building in timely automatic breaks between your tasks. Like I said, if you're in the zone, something I'll be talking about at the end of this section, you should definitely skip breaks, but otherwise, you'll likely find a ton of benefits from them. Oftentimes, even if you have 0 motivation to work, setting up a pomodoro timer manages to get you into the swing of things within one or two sessions. Perhaps this is because you know that you only have to do 25 minutes of work before you get a break. Perhaps it's because you are racing against the clock to try and get something done in those 25 minutes. I'd be lying if I said I know exactly how this technique works, but believe me, it does. 13. Using Small Chunks Of Wasted Time Effectively: We all have little periods of time throughout our day that go to waste because of circumstance. Usually these chunks of time are spent waiting for something, standing at the bus stop, sitting in the back of a taxi, arriving early to a meeting and so on. As Cal Newport observes in his previously mentioned book, Deep Work, these chunks of time usually get filled with unproductive activities. We check Facebook, we play Candy Crush or some other mindless activity to pass the time. Now, like we learned before, doing this is actually much worse than doing nothing as it trains your brain to need constant distraction and stimulation. If you're going to do something mindless and unproductive, the reality is you're better off staring out into space. In fact, I recommend that every so often you fight the urge to pick up your phone, even if you plan to do something productive and train yourself to be comfortable doing nothing but waiting. Now with that said, if we do a little planning in advance, there is a way to set ourselves up to be actually productive in those short wasted periods and get important, meaningful things done while we wait around. You see in the moment, when we realize we may have five to ten minutes of waiting, it's impossible to think of what we could do with that time. We default to whatever is easy and convenient, which is most likely scrolling through Instagram. However, we all have those little 10-minute tasks that we don't have the time to do. Tasks like calling grandma, reviewing our flashcards or reading the news. And if you're like me, you always push those tasks back because every time you sit down to get real work done, they seem like they aren't huge priorities. The trick to actually doing these things during our gap time is to remove the elements of thinking and deliberation. Make a list of things you'll do when you have those five to ten minutes and then make it easier for you to do those, then your normal goto to distraction. For me, this meant deleting the Facebook app for my phone entirely. And instead of putting the New York Times app in its place, Now, it's important to note that this is different from your normal to-do list, primarily because every task here is something that can be done in a maximum of five to ten minutes. This is so that you can do at least one, but maybe two or three if it's a long taxi ride or the doctor is behind schedule. Now this is literally free productivity time taken away from usually meaningless tasks that do nothing but waste your time. Now here are some of my personal mini tasks that I do when I find myself stuck waiting for something, Review Russian, Spanish, or Hebrew flashcards. This one is great because I can do one minute or one hour and it doesn't matter if I stop in the middle, call a friend or family member I haven't spoken to in a while. Now to make this a no-brainer decision, I have a group on my address book of people that I want to be in touch with more. Stretch out my muscles if of course, it's socially appropriate. And sometimes even when it isn't, watch a lecture of whatever Udemy course I'm currently taking, since they're usually one to five minutes and available on my phone, read a few pages of whatever book I'm currently enjoying on the Amazon Kindle app. Now this is fantastic because it actually synchronizes to my other devices instantly. By doing this, I accomplish a lot of small stuff that would normally get pushed back. And because I'm already in-between tasks such as getting in and out of the taxi and going into my meeting. I don't really have to break my concentration. I just sandwich something productive in between. Now before I let you go, I want to again encourage you to use this trick in moderation. While it's great to get back and extra 30 to 40 minutes a day. You certainly don't want to feel like a robot who needs to occupy every waking minute of every waking day with something productive. That's why every once in awhile I encourage you to stop and smell the roses. Look up at the sky while you walk, stand patiently at the bus stop, instead of looking at your phone and practice the skill of not being stimulated, theres a happy balance and I'll leave it up to you to find whatever works best for you. 14. A Brief Note On "Flow" and Focus: In this lecture, I want to talk about perhaps the most important aspect of productivity. Focus. As I mentioned earlier on in the course, time is very valuable, but time without attention is practically worthless. I've also talked a lot about the idea of being in the zone and knowing when to skip taking breaks. It's important for us to know when we are in are not focused. And to take advantage of that. If you can't sit at your desk and work right now, well, then maybe it's time to tackle another productive task, like say, exercising. In fact, I want to talk about focus a bit more scientifically here, though, not at the level of neurologists or psychologists by introducing the flow state. Now flow or what I've been referring to as being in the zone, is defined as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Basically, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what you're doing. And when you're in it, your brain has a completely unique balance of neuro epinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin that allows you to be incredibly productive while remaining calm and collected. This is important because it relates to everything that we've been learning thus far in the course. You see when it comes to flow, it's not so much that the 80-20 rule applies, but even the more extreme 9010 rule, I've actually heard it said that at least 90% of the important work that we do is done in that 10% of the time that we're in the flow state hyper-focused and on the ball. In fact, a study by McKinsey and Company actually found that executives in the flow state were five times more productive than their non-flow counterparts. This means that if you can get into the flow state for just 15 or 20% of your time, you will literally double your productivity. Now I'm sure you've experienced flow before. If you think back to the example where I asked if you'd ever done an entire term paper the day before an exam, this was possible because the sense of urgency or Doom pushed you into the flow state. You should be aware of this and of course, you should try to do as much of your work as possible in flow. You should also try to get into flow as much as possible, though that could be the subject of an entirely different course. Now, I've been fascinated by flow for a long time. I've read books on the topic, devoured research on it, and interviewed one of the leading experts on the topic, Steven Kotler. What I've learned is not only that most of our work gets done in flow, but also that the more time we spend in flow, the happier and more fulfilled we feel. According to Kotler, quote, motivationally, these five chemicals are the biggest rewards the brain can produce. And flow is one of the only times the brain produces all five simultaneously. This makes the State one of the most pleasurable, meaningful, and literally addictive experiences available. End quote. In short, you should do everything you can to get and stay in the flow state. According to the research, there are seven conditions to flow. One, knowing what to do, to knowing how to do it. Three, knowing how well you are doing for knowing where to go if navigation is involved. Five, high perceived challenges, six, high perceived skills, and seven, freedom from distractions. Now, it probably doesn't take much for you to realize that the other strategies outlined in this section such as preparation, smart goals, Pareto's Law, Parkinson's Law, Pomodoro time, avoiding the wrong kinds of multitasking and so on are all closely related to this by preparing ourselves so we know what to do and preparing our environment to be free of distractions and creating challenges on our time or shooting for challenging goals, we maximize the likelihood of entering flow, and therefore, we maximize the likelihood of kicking. But in fact, it's safe to say that the reason that most of the productivity strategies I've taught you thus far work is because of their ability to either get you into flow or keep you there either directly or indirectly. Now there are a number of other things you can do to get into flow, including connecting to the purpose behind why you're doing what you're doing. And of course, practicing meditation. With that said, this isn't a course on flow states. And so I encourage you to read up about flow states on your own time. And I've also suggested some additional resources, including a TED talk and a Wikipedia article. These resources talk about flow as being the key to success and happiness. So I strongly recommend you check them out. 15. Just How Much Time Are You Wasting On Your Computer?: For the vast majority of us, we spend a lot of time on our digital devices. After all, the world has made a real transition towards knowledge work, and for most careers, that means spending a ton of time on the computer, the smartphone or the tablet. That's why the first practical section of this course is going to deal with digital productivity and why it is the longest and most detailed portion of this entire course. But before we do that, let's take a step back and look at the big picture. As the old adage goes, what gets measured, gets improved, and what gets measured and reported improves exponentially. It follows then that it's only by measuring how productive or unproductive we are that we can truly realized gains. Let me give you some tough love for a second. You have no idea how much time you spend, or should I say, waste on your digital devices and it's not your fault. See, these devices and the apps that are loaded on them have been designed to be incredibly addictive. There are dozens of books and entire teams of people dedicated to the study of how to make you compulsively use these products. Like someone's sitting at a slot machine for hours on end, you just can't help but be sucked in. And that's how the system has been designed. There's always another post, another message and other video, another article or another level to keep you staring at your screens without even realizing how much time is going by. I for one, was shocked to find that my little Pomodoro Technique breaks of viewing funny internet memes weren't consuming a handful of chunks of five minutes per day. They were costing me on average hours a day. And guess what? Though? I know and I even teach that communication in scheduling or a massive source of time wasting. I figured out that in one quarter in 2018, I spent a total of 90 hours or more on Slack checking in with my staff. That's two entire work weeks, every three months that I'm spending talking about work, but not actually getting it done. But wait a second. How did I measure this in order to keep myself accountable? And more importantly, how did I correct the problem? Enter Rescue Time. Rescue Time is a really cool cross-platform application that you can install on your Mac, PC, Linux machine, Android phone and more. It sits on your computer and measures how much time you spend on various activities. Then you categorize those activities from very productive to very unproductive. It will then send you out a report and summary every week helping you understand where your time is going. Now, just by understanding where your time is going, you're going to immediately see benefits. Like me. You will almost certainly be shocked to see just how much time you are wasting on things like email, group chat, or scrolling through Facebook. Plus, if you complement Rescue Time with the screen time feature on your iPhone. The digital well-being feature on your Android device, both of which offers similar reporting on mobile. You're going to be in for a real shock. These two apps, when put together, will help you easily identify your problem areas and make a conscious effort to cut down on the things that are wasting your time. Plus all of these features are completely free. So why not take advantage? I love Rescue Time for a lot of reasons and I've been a subscriber of their premium plan for a years. First of all, it allows me to set goals such as a minimum of one hour of writing per day or a minimum of five hours of productivity per day. But what I like most about Rescue Time or the warnings and the block feature, you see, I have it set up so that on my writing days, it actually doesn't allow me to do the normally productive things that distract me from writing, such as checking emails or posting in our private membership group on Facebook. Then even on my normal work days, I have Rescue Time warned me if I'm spending too much time on things like email, helping me take advantage of Parkinson's Law, festival. If I ignore these warnings and spend time scrolling through irrelevant articles, are shopping online, Rescue Time will actually lock me out of everything but the apps and websites that I've previously designated as very productive. Pretty cool right? Now. Recently in a monthly challenge on environmental design, psychologists, Benjamin hearty taught our private membership community about the fact that willpower simply doesn't work. It's much better. We learned to use what Ben calls forcing functions. Things that set you up in your environment to force you to do what's best for you. Setting up these forcing functions takes the elements of willpower and decision-making right out of play. It doesn't matter how much I want to browse Facebook on a Wednesday with Rescue Time setup the way it is, I simply can't. So your homework for this lecture is to download and configure these applications on all of your devices. For your Mac or PC or Linux computer, I have provided you with a special link to rescue Time, which you can use for free or choose to spend something like $7 a month for a greatly enhanced productivity with the professional version. For your iPhone and iPad, you should definitely make use of the included screen time feature and take a look at the past reports to understand how much time you're spending on your phone and how you're spending it. Once you know that, I would set it up so that there are actual limits on how much time you can spend on a specific app or group of apps. Additionally, I like to set limits on my time so that I can't stay on my phone after 09:30 PM and I can't check my messages until at least 07:00 AM. For your Android devices, you can actually do a similar thing with the suite of digital well-being features that Google has released. Using these apps might make you feel a little bit like a kid having their phone taken away by mom and dad, but take it from me. You cannot rely on your own judgment or willpower when it comes to digital devices. So do yourself a favor and install some tools that not only help you assess the problem, but also get it under control. 16. Automating Meeting Scheduling: Let's face it, there are some things that computers can do so much better than humans can. On that note, it turns out that one of the biggest ways we waste our time is with scheduling. You know, exactly what I'm talking about. In the best-case scenario, you and someone else send ten messages or emails back and forth before finally settling on a time and a place to meet. In the worst-case scenario, it's actually ten people who need to meet. And that requires 20 emails back and forth, each with reply all messages of everyone listing out there available times. What a mess. There are a number of ways to alleviate this problem depending on the situation. First off, for group meetings, where you need to quickly pick a time. I recommend doodle. Doodle is an app for pulling people on their availability and notifying all of the involved parties when a mutually convenient time has been selected by everyone. Doing so saves a ton of emails back and forth and allows you to pick a time that is convenient for everyone in one easy layout. But what about for one-on-one meetings? Well, in 2015 when I started teaching this next tip, people were honestly pretty surprised. But over the last few years, this has not only become more socially acceptable, it's become expected. The tip I'm talking about, of course, is using an automated booking system for your personal calls. There are a number of softwares out there, from acuity to cowardly to mix match and more. The basic idea is this. You set up rules for when you want to accept certain types of appointments. You connect the software to your calendar for read, write access, and then you let people pick from the times that work for you and everything goes automatic, the person is able to see all of the options that work for you with no emails and no time wasted. And they get a nice calendar invite and a friendly reminder about the meeting while you get it automatically added to your calendar. Over the last few years, this one TIP alone has probably saved me 10 thousand emails and messages and probably a few 100 hours. At its most basic level, this one simple tool will eliminate the need to ever answer the question, when are you free? Think of all of the time spent checking your calendar and drafting replies that you'll save. Heck, Think of all the decision fatigue and energy you'll save. Plus, if you have a relatively complicated schedule like I do, it's even more valuable. Setting up one of these systems allows you to standardize what your days and weeks look like and create predictability and efficiency while completely forgetting what you need to do because it's all automated. I, for example, have decided to set my acuity account to only accept podcasts, interviews on two days a week at very specific hours. Oftentimes this means that my guests book episodes back-to-back, effectively batting the tasks for me. This way, instead of setting up the microphone, logging into Skype, preparing my voice and all of that stuff every day. I only need to do it twice a week and I know exactly what to expect in my days. I've set up complex security scheduling pages for everything from 15-minute meetings to dinners with friends, each following a specific set of rules that work for my schedule. Another great side effect of this is that I can send specific links to specific people based on how much time I want the meeting to take. Ever had someone asked you for a quick call to ask a few questions only to watch that call Become a 45-minute snooze fest will know more. When you have a clear scheduling system that dictates how long the call will be. People respect your time and understand that you have other calls booked after there's, I really can't stress enough how important this one hack alone is. Unless it's my own mother or father, I schedule nearly everything for my acuity scheduling page and I recommend you do the same. If you feel like this is too impersonal or egotistical, I would challenge that by saying that you are saving not only your time, but the other persons as well. Plus, if you feel uncomfortable just sending someone a link, I encourage you to include a thoughtful personal message alongside the link, just like this one. If you wouldn't mind visiting blank and choosing a time that works for you, I'd really appreciate it. I know it's a bit impersonal, but because of the time zone differences and scheduling and all that stuff, it can be really tricky to find times that work without a million back and forth emails. Thanks so much. While they may take some time to properly configure, these services will more than repay that time by a factor of ten, at least. In the PDF syllabus, I've provided a link to some of my favorite tools for doing this. Go ahead and check them out and see how you can free yourself from an endless stream of back and forth emails. 17. Text Expansion - Stop Typing The Same Things Over and Over: Hi there. You know, as I mentioned before, I often like to use the same friendly apology warning that I know my automatic meeting scheduling tool is pretty impersonal, but I use that so often that it can get really, really repetitive. And in my mind, anything that is repetitive is an opportunity, of course, for automation. Now, if you think about it, you actually spend a lot of your time. I think it would be very surprised how much of your time you spend doing and typing the same thing over and over. And that may be your email address to log into a website and maybe your phone number, your address, or even larger blocks of text. Typing the same thing over and over again as a huge, huge waste of time. And so I've become a big proponent of using a system or a tool called text expansion. And it's something that's available on many different operating systems. And I know is baked into your iPhone, MAC, ipad, and even your Android devices. The basic idea is that you create predetermined shortcuts that will automatically expand, hence the name text expansion when you type them. Now, personally, since I use a Mac and iCloud, those are automatically sync to my iPad, iPhone, and all my other iOS devices, which saves me a ton of time. But you can also import and export them from your Android devices, Windows devices, and use different kinds of auto corrections. Basically the way it works is you're teaching the dictionary to autocorrect. We all have auto, correct and we all laugh about how much autocorrect drives us crazy on our Android or iPhone. You're teaching the auto correct to autocorrect specific things. So to show you guys some examples and we're going to have to blur these out so I don't give away too much personal information. You know, those million times a day that you type your email to login to all your different accounts? Well, for me, I just type EML and then when I hit space, it goes. When you type in your phone number, I type that and it just goes and I have different phone numbers, so that just goes. But what about longer things that you need to type? Well, for example, DDL cause we'll share that hole and will have to blur out the link there. We'll share that whole link. I know it's a bit personal, but because I'm based in Israel can be really tricky to find times to work. It's nice about these is that they work in all different kinds of applications. So you can see, I can go into this one and share this long block of text, which is all about the chunking worksheet. And it's a common problem that people have or area of confusion. And I have tons of these. I have them for personal stuff such as MS. R&d. Hey, I haven't seen you in a while. No-good. Let's hang out. When are you free? I even have them in other languages. So if I do this, I gotta get used to the keyboard here. It will automatically punch in my email and they're really, really easy to set up. All you need to do is go to your keyboard area in settings if you're on a Mac and go right in here under the text, and you can add a new one. And you can see that I have many, many, many, many, many of these. And even for simple, simple things, for example, Genius Network. I got tired of sharing and finding the way to do that registered trademark or for my spouse's name, I type LIM And it doesn't autocorrect anymore bank details. And you can see that I have a lot of these and since you are masterclass students, I have shared with you a suggestion of the things that you can do. I even have ones for, you know, when you're kind of fed up with someone. And you don't really wanna deal with writing those polite responses. You can just write GG, whoops, G, and it will go, sorry, can't really chat right now. Gotta run. I hope you guys enjoy that. They're really, really simple to set up. And if your iCloud account is working properly, they will sink. Otherwise, on Android or Linux or Windows, you can download them and upload them to other services to synchronize them. I highly recommend that you check them up and play with them and enjoy them because they will save you quite a bit of time. 18. Speaking Is Faster Than Typing - and Clicking: From the title of this lecture, you probably think that I'm going to encourage you to use phone calls instead of text messages or the cool voice recording feature of iMessage or WhatsApp instead of typing. Well, those are indeed good ways to shave off a few minutes here and there. And I certainly recommend that you use them to save time. But I want to actually take things a step further than that. I'm actually going to recommend that you don't type at all. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but you can actually cut out a lot more of the typing that you do every single day than you think. Let me explain how. I remember about 15 years ago, my father got all excited about a software called Dragon. Naturally Speaking, we aren't going to have to type ever again, he said excitedly, opening the box of software. Yes, software came in boxes back then. Well, in reality, the technology was not nearly there. And my father, like many customers of that type of software, was pretty disappointed. Not much change up until the last few years with the development of a company called Nuance Communications and a few others. As it turns out, most people can comfortably speak at least a 140 words per minute depending on the language. But most can only type around 40 words per minute. Of course, it makes a lot of sense to improve your typing speed in general, but you'll probably never be able to type at above a 120 words per minute, even if you switch to that more efficient Dvorak keyboard. Fortunately, today with your iPhone, Mac, Android, or Windows device, you really don't have to type if you don't want to or if you're not in public. Today, speech-to-text technology is a built-in feature of the various mobile and desktop operating systems. And even for older systems, there are third party apps. Now, I love these features because they save time and reduce issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, a great majority of this lecture was originally dictated to my Mac and typed out automatically, which definitely saved me a lot of time. Now, let me give you a quick demo of how this works. On your iPhone. You have a key on the keyboard in many languages that will automatically start transcribing spoken texts. You would be totally amazed at how fast you can speak and it will still catch what you're seeing. On the Mac. You can set up speech dictation in more recent versions of the operating system, such as Yosemite, mavericks, and onward. You can also set up a keyboard shortcuts to make it convenient and easy to use. If there are mistakes, they'll usually be underlined in blue as areas of uncertainty, which you can right-click. And there will usually be the correct phrase for you to select. By the way, it works with a lot of other languages as well. You have Toyama, Ugarit, Petrosky, which is great because typing in Russian is really, really slow for me. In fact, I also find that speaking numbers like call 0-5, 22452342, or filling in credit card details is much faster if you don't have to look at the numbers and then type them, I'll often read off numbers into the computer to avoid having to type them. This is cool because it allows you to do other things with your hands while typing out e-mails or even essays. Of course, as I mentioned, not all multitasking is good multitasking, but if dictating emails helps pass the time faster while doing a hard workout, or if exercising while writing your next book gets the creative juices flowing. That's a great use of technology to empower the good kind of multitasking. My recommendation here would be to get a pair of noise canceling headphones with a microphone to take advantage of this tip to avoid embarrassment, it might actually be better if your friends and colleagues think that you're on the phone rather than if they think that you're talking to how or night writer. If you can get over a little bit of social embarrassment, just pretend that you're talking on the phone. You can save a ton of typing by minimizing your daily typing. On another note, I also find that I save a lot of time by using voice commands, not just voice commands to text. Whereas Android has the OK Google feature, and Windows eight has speech recognition. Ios devices have Siri and Amazon products have Alexa. It may not seem like a big time-saver, but I find that by bypassing the process of unlocking my phone, Finding the right app, clicking the right menus, typing, and hitting Save. I can usually save two or three minutes of time and hassle. Now this applies to all kinds of things that I do, including telling Siri to draft my emails, add things to my calendar, or to-do list, looking things up, or even ordering stuff on Amazon using Alexa. By the way, if you're worried about getting the exact right transcription, frustrated with the quality of your devices, text-to-speech, or you have a lot of recorded stuff like interviews or lectures that you need to have transcribed. Not to fear there are actually companies out there like rev.com who will hire real humans to do this transcription for you, for as little as a dollar a minute. Revs new sister company, Tammy, even uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to do the same thing for just $0.10 a minute. At rates like that, it's definitely worth your time to record audio instead of typing out your next essay or report. So check out the built in or third party speech detects features available on your various devices and see how you can save time and reduce muscle fatigue. 19. Using Custom Gestures To Speed Up Common Tasks: So now that we've started to shy away from a lot of the manual clicking around and typing that has been wasting countless minutes in our day and distracting us from actually creating productive work. Let's take it a bit further. Did you know that you can set automated shortcuts or gestures on your computer to speed up the things that you frequently do. This goes way beyond those standard keyboard shortcuts that you probably already use everyday, such as open, save, copy paste and so on. Instead, using gestures or even keyboard shortcuts can dramatically change the way you use Apps and the different things you do. On the Mac, we have a really great big trackpad and a special app that I love called Better touch tool or B tt. This tool allows you to create any kind of gestures. One finger, two fingers, or three fingers, four. And you can set different patterns of movement. Then you can assign just about any keyboard shortcut to the computer for that gesture, which saves you from having to memorize all the keyboard shortcuts. You can also use better touched tool to automatically snap to different sizes of Windows, move windows across monitors, and lots of cool features. Just like that. He even works with Apple remotes, magic mouses, and Leap Motion touchless controllers. In fact, later on we're going to learn how to string together multiple actions, like opening up a few programs you use together, all with one hotkey. Now that will make better touch tool even more useful because you can string things together. One of the coolest BT shortcuts that I've ever created was when I clicked five fingers on my trackpad and my computer would open my favorite movie watching app, turn on airplay, move the app to the big screen TV and then dim and change the colors. All the smart lights in my house turning off the ones that aren't in my living room. Now, I'm sure you're curious how I did all of that, but we'll get to that in a couple of lectures from now. For now, let me share with you some of my favorite uses for tools like BDT, which saved me lots of time and keep me from having to use the mouse. I'm also including a blog post that I wrote a while back that shares all of my configuration specs so that you can duplicate them. On my computer. I have three finger gestures to forward reply or archive male, depending on the direction. I rotate my fingers left or right to switch tabs in my browser or chat window. I use forefinger tops to maximize windows and five-fingered taps to move windows to my other monitors. I then have three finger clicks wipes with different key variants to make windows a quarter size, half size, or even a third size of the page and much, much more. Now I know this may not sound like it saves me a lot of time, but it goes beyond shaving off the ten seconds here in there to select things or drag windows. It keeps me from getting distracted or frustrated when I have two mouse to the other side of the screen to perform simple actions like maximizing windows. It's something small, but I think it'll really help streamline a lot of your work. These shortcuts are one of the reasons that I can often go through 50 emails in just ten minutes. Up next, we're going to take it even further than gestures or minimizing typing. We're going to learn to act without doing. 20. Launchers: Act Without Doing: So now that we know how to use gestures, we know how to use some basic shortcuts. It is time to learn how to act without doing. And I'm talking, of course not about telepathy. I am talking about App launchers. These are a sort of search engine for your computer on steroids and then slapped up a bunch. Basically, what an App Launcher does is it allows you to launch apps, but it allows you to do much, much more than that. Now there are a bunch of different options. I like quick silver. There's Alfred out there. There are many options which I will share in the PDF syllabus for PCs. But here's how it works. You know, and most people normally search their computer by going up to the top right and clicking on this and getting to the spotlight search or using the Windows search. Well, that's kind of a pain because even if I do find the file there and that search isn't very, very smart. Let's say I'm looking for a contract. Well, search isn't really, really smart and it's not sorted according to the things that I want. And all I can do is open it. Whereas if you use an app launcher, I can not only find the contract easier because it's sorted according to how frequently I look for those things. But let's say I have this contract right here. I can't just open it. I can hit tab. I can move it to a folder, automatically type the folder and punch it in. Or I can email it to someone such as my mother and hit enter and it will automatically go. I can do all kinds of things. In fact, if you look, you will see I can move it to trash. And these are all configurable. Say for example, I want to find a person such as my mother. Well, there, sir, passport. There is her contact. I can edit her contact info and it will just open right there. As easy as that. If I want to say find a file such as starting shortly, which is on my desktop. I can resize that image and say 50% as PNG. And you will see that it has resized that image and giving me a PNG version. And the truth of the matter is, is that this is another one of those tools that is limited to how creative you can get. You see when you go in and it will take you time to configure this and set it up the way you want it. You'll figure out that you can use different commands. You can change appearance. You can set up thousands of different actions. Look at all these different things that you can configure it to do so that you never have to use your mouse again. I mean, of course if you want to move a window, you will have to use your mouse. But for the most part, when I'm using my computer, I'm searching for files such as the challenge guidelines, and then I can email a link or I can copy it to. I can go through my clipboard contents. I almost never have to use my mouse and so I'm not wasting time going around the screen looking at things. This goes far beyond just file management. As you'll see, there are all kinds of plugins and upgrades that you can put on it. So for example, you can set it up to work with one password so that you can copy and manage your passwords automatically. You can set it up with a calculator. You can set it up to work with male, with Evernote, with FaceTime, with your Gmail, or Google Chrome with iTunes. I mean, there are so many things that you can set this up. And despite the fact that quite honestly that the person who built the software went to work at Google and started developing an app launcher for them, I believe called Alfred. It's still developed by community and Alfred is also very good and you can do all kinds of things. It's still works with all these different services, which I think is just phenomenal. It works with Microsoft Office. So it really takes some time to learn. I'm not going to tell you that this is a quick and easy one and it takes time to configure, for example, what do you want to scan? How deep do you want to scan into your folders? What folders Do you want to ignore, for example. And it takes time to also set up the triggers that you want, because this will go a step further and allow you to create keyboard triggers that you couldn't do with better touch tour all by itself. So you'll see I launched my Zoom room with a very, very simple one-click of the keyboard. I show my contents for the keyboard history. And you can setup shortcuts for anything that you can find in this app launcher. Any program on your computer, any file that you use a lot. You can set up a keyboard shortcut. You can even set up a shortcut to do a multi-step action, which is incredible. So there's a lot here. You can even, here's another example. Let's say that I want to take a whole folder that has a lot of photos in it, right? So my studio photos, there's a ton of photos there. I can compress it. I hit Enter, it's done. I never have to deal with it. Then once that is compressed, it will pop open again on Quicksilver. And I can just e-mail that compressed file or I can move it into Google Drive. Once it's in Google Drive, I can get a link. So I can do all these different things without ever having to use my mouse. And by doing this, you can save probably hours a day that you spend mousing around searching for files, right-clicking, going through the menus. Where was that menu? Was it under File or was it under Edit? No, you don't have to do that. It's all done by invoking one keyboard command. For me, I use the function button, hitting it and then typing what you'd wanna do. Tab type in what you wanna do. It's incredible and it will save you a ton of time. And I really hope you enjoy it. 21. Wasting Less Time Reading And Sorting Through Email: For most people, email is a major part of their day, but as we've discussed before, they can also be a major time stuck. In a recent lecture, we learned how to handle and speed up all of our newsletters and other messages that we don't need to read one-by-one. But what about individualized emails? Either the types that we don't even need to look at or the types that we need to file away safely. Every month, you probably get at least 20 or more of these types of emails. I'm talking about payment confirmations from the ten different utility companies and services that you subscribe to. Bank statements that you don't need to actually look at receipts from all the software you're subscribed to and more. How about, for example, all those emails that Amazon sends you every single time you place an order. And again, when your order ships, in many cases, you can't unsubscribe from these emails. In fact, most banks legally need to provide you with a statement either by mail or digitally. And most vendors are required to send you a receipt by email. But because these aren't newsletters, you probably won't use a service like unroll me to roll them up. What's more, you probably don't even need to see them. With that said, you might just need them one day. So what do you do? The answer, my friends is email filters. With most modern mail providers like G-mail, you have the ability to create sophisticated rules and filters. By learning the search operators that your email runs on, you can set an email to automatically get filed into a folder and taken out of your inbox without you even having to look at it. This means that you can create folders for each type of receipt you get, or a generic folder for all of them. And another folder for bank statements, yet another folder for paid utility bills. You can really instruct your email to filter by anything such as sender, contents, subject or attachment, and then you forget that those emails ever existed. If you need them, there'll be safely tucked away in your folders. But if you don't, you don't even need to look at them or suffer from them clogging up your entire email inbox. The more advanced levels, you can even set up filters to automatically forward certain types of emails to your colleagues, your family members, or even your bookkeeper based on a specific set of criteria that is contained within the email. Now, I like to use filters for all types of things. I have filters that file away receipts and payments confirmations, filters that deletes certain kinds of spam that managed to evade my spam filter. I have filters that file away all types of emails from the websites I buy things from. I have filters to get rid of weekly status reports that various software companies insist on sending me. And much, much more. I think the only thing I don't have as filters to organize my filters. Now, best of all, setting these types of filters up is completely free and it takes very little time. It does, however, pay massive dividends in the form of cleanliness and time saved. So check out that feature. 22. Automating Simple, Repetitive Tasks Effectively Across The Web: We know how to use keyboard shortcuts and gestures. We know how to act without doing, but now it's time to learn how to make the internet work for us. So much of the work we do every day is something that requires little creative or analytical thinking. So much of it is based on patterns and rules making it highly repetitive. And as you know, anything that's repetitive is an opportunity for automation. Enter two different softwares, IFTTT or IFFT for beginners and zap year for more advanced users. These services connect just about every Internet service that you can possibly think of to just about every other and allow you to build pretty complex and sophisticated logic into it. The possibilities are literally limitless. The only real limit is how creative you can get if you're just starting out with automation or don't want to pay a monthly fee than if it is a great place to start. It will allow you to connect to some basic services such as Spotify, Alexa, Facebook, Evernote, email, Google Drive, iOS, photos, LinkedIn, slack, and many more. Then you can create a basic If This, Then That recipe. For example, if my profile photo changes on Facebook, updated on Twitter, if I get tagged in a new photo in Facebook, save it to my iOS photos and so on. While, if it is much more basic than zippy or it is completely free. And it does surprisingly have some integrations which actually aren't available on the more advanced and commercially applicable Xavier. So it's actually worth signing up for both. In my business. We use it for a few different important functions, but we rely on zap here for just about everything. It keeps accurate records of our customers based on purchases. It notifies our Slack channel of messages across different platforms, sales refunds, social media messages and more. We use happier to automatically create documents on a schedule, set reminders for staff members, and organize files. In fact, Xavier performs almost 15 thousand menial tasks and checks for us every single month. But zip year isn't only good for businesses. In fact, Xavier can actually help you control everything in your digital life and beyond. Here are just a few ideas that I've developed over the years for leveraging the power of things like z happier. And if you can use them to notify you when new episodes of your favorite TV shows come out and automatically send you the link to watch them on the Network's website. You can use happier to change the lights in your house to read when there's an amber alert or an earthquake warning. You can use apps like this to automatically reply to a specific type of email if it has a certain string of words and then remove it from your inbox so you don't even have to see it. You can use it to automatically download receipts from your email inbox and upload them to your Google drive or better yet, you can get really ninja with it. And you can probably insert those transactions into your accounting software and automatically notify your accountant when they are input. You can even use it to automatically log every one of your workouts, every time you go to the gym on a spreadsheet and then share the results with your accountability partner on your favorite chat app, all automatically. Or how about using it to automatically add all of your replies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to a spreadsheet and emailing that spreadsheet to you every day so that you don't get sucked into the distracting apps themselves is just an idea I've been playing around with. The possibilities are like I said, literally endless. The hardest part of using an app like snappier or IFFT is coming up with creative recipes. For that, you'll need to think long and hard about the things you repeatedly do. Once you determine those things, it's very, very easy to automate them with zap years, easy interface. And you can even do conditionals and multi-step ps and different decision trees to get really complex. So while this is going to sound crazy, your homework for this lecture is not just to open a zap your account, but also to spend a good couple of hours looking at all the apps in integration they have and building some of your very own. At the very least, you should build some to help take over some of the basic repetitive tasks. But at best, You'll be liked by previous Become a speed demon student Jeremy, who was able to automate over 50% of his day job using Z happier and cut his workday down to just four hours before leaving to start his own business. Zagier will literally change your life. So give it some time and thought. In the next bonus lecture of our masterclass, I'll walk you through what zap your looks like and how I use it to automate a lot of repetitive tasks. 23. Watching Lectures, Videos, and Podcasts Faster: Since you've made it this far in this online course, it is safe to say that you like to sometimes learn by watching videos on the web. But that can be a big time commitment, especially if the lecture is speaking at a slow pace. This is particularly a problem for students of my Super Learner course who become accustomed to consuming information very rapidly. For them, it is somewhat torturous to sit and listen to someone lecture at a 120 or a 130 words per minute. Now, whether you've taken my super learner course and are able to process information at say, two to 3x speed. You can still shave off a considerable amount of time by just speeding things up to 1.5 x without sacrificing quality or understanding of the material. When I first started teaching about this hack, it involved signing up for a free trial of a new YouTube technology or downloading some kind of app. But today, you've probably seen the 1.5 or two X button on the bottom right of most videos online, such as YouTube, Vimeo, whiskey, and more. But what if the video does not have that enabled? Or more importantly, if 2x is still too slow for you, after all, by spinning a video up to 3x or speeding the mandatory advertisements up to say 60. Next, you can save hours of your life every month. Enter a powerful Google Chrome extension called video speed controller. This nifty little extension allows you to speed up, slow down, advance, and rewind any HTML five video with quick shortcuts. After you install this plugin, you will notice that most videos you view online now have a little number in the top left-hand corner that looks something like this. If you hover over it, a little menu pops up that allows you to toggle the video speed and even skip backwards and forwards a few seconds. In the settings, you can actually customize your keyboard shortcuts to meet your preferences. I find this particularly helpful when watching longer videos where you are looking for a very specific piece of information. To save some time, I will often listen at three to four X the speed until I can tell. I need to focus in and then I will slow it back down to 2x, the speed for retention. Note that this is also significantly impacted by how fast the person in the video is actually talking. I personally choose to watch most videos at about 2x speed, though I'll sometimes go as high as 3x speed depending on the speaker's natural speed. And if that sounds like gibberish to you, well, you could easily start watching videos at 1.2 or 1.5 and slowly increase the speed every few days until you feel comfortable at higher levels. Another extremely useful feature of the video speed controller plugin is that you can effectively fast-forward and even skipped through mandatory adds. A few years ago, a simple ad blocker would stop all the YouTube ads from showing. But now that is not the case. But since you are a speed demon who doesn't want to waste their time watching ads. You can now use this extension to power through an ad at 16 x the speed, or even use the forward skipping shortcut to jump 15 seconds ahead until you can click that Skip Ad button. Now, another great tool that I use is an iOS app called overcast for listening to podcasts. When I went to listen comfortably while commuting, cleaning, cooking, or eating, I listen to podcasts on 1.9 x the speed and enable the smart speed feature, which shortens the pauses in the audio. If you don't have an iPhone, you can use an app called podcast addicts for Android, which has similar features. Furthermore, many audiobook apps like Audible will also allow you to speed up the track, which prevents you from going crazy while listening to audio books. Audible is also a great choice because it will actually sync up your progress with the text you're reading on your Kindle so that you can speed read when you're at home. Speed listen while you're in the car and move through books without any kind of hindrance to your progress. I've included, by the way, a special link and the PDF syllabus which will get you a completely free audio book on Audible.com in case you want to go ahead and try that one out. 24. Getting Fit In Fewer Hours: Whenever I ask people what they would do if they had more time, a few of the same things come up. One of the most common ones is I would get back into the gym and go three or four times a week. Indeed, physical fitness is extremely important as part of our lives. And like I mentioned earlier, physical activity and being in shape can make us more effective in every other aspect of our lives by improving our focus, our happiness, and our mental acuity. But who has the time to go to the gym for two hours, four or more times per week? Well, as it turns out, not only is that unnecessary, it can actually be detrimental to your health. See overtraining is just as bad as not training at all. And maybe even worse. Fortunately, a lot of recent research has identified a new type of training that is more effective than the long two-hour weightlifting and running exercise routines of the 19 eighties. It's called high-intensity interval training or hit. The basis behind hit is to do short, intense bursts of exercise interrupted by short breaks. This applies not only to cardiovascular health, where you do a series of sprints for a few minutes rather than running ten miles. It also applies to weightlifting, where one very intense, heavy set of slowly raising and lowering the weights until muscle failure can have more of an effect on muscle growth than doing five sets of 12, for example. Here's a really cool metabolic hack because it actually conditions the body to speed up the metabolism. Muscle repair more than if you were doing long exhausting workouts. It also makes your body burn fat like crazy speaking from experience, the idea is to do the bare minimum to stimulate muscle growth and development without doing the kinds of damage or micro-tears necessarily associated with exercise. Now, there's a fine line and if you can hit it, your body will stimulate growth and speed up your metabolism without having to do all the repair work. In fact, you don't even need to go to a gym to do hit work. You can do hit with squats, pull-ups, pushups, and sprints, which saves you the time of driving back and forth to the gym. Now remember how I told you that we would use Pareto's Law in all different kinds of ways throughout this course. This is a perfect example. Hit workouts of 20 to 30 minutes, including cardio and weightlifting? Yes, seriously, are the 20% of work that yields 80% of the results. For this reason, I'm a big advocate of CrossFit. A typical CrossFit workout is 60 minutes, but that includes ten minutes of warm-up and ten minutes of stretching after the workout. The workout itself consists of 25 minutes of strength training because there's a lot of rest in between sets and usually a very fast-paced, intense workout of seven to 20 minutes. Yep, an average workout is about 15 minutes. It's hugely efficient and it will speed up your metabolism and stimulate growth. Like you wouldn't believe. This is not only because it's intense and fast paced, but also because it's stimulating the larger muscle groups, like your glutes, your quads, your hamstrings, and more, which stimulate human growth hormone production and testosterone. Now I'm going to give you guys some links in the supplementary materials, including a link to Tim Ferriss, his blog explaining how he gained 34 pounds of muscle in just four weeks while losing three pounds of fat. He did this without illegal drugs and with about an hour a week at the gym. It's amazing. Check out some of the various forms of hits such as CrossFit, bootcamp and so on. C, which exercises such as kettle bell swings and squats make the largest impact. And you will be amazed how quickly you can work out and still see huge performance gains. 25. Spend Less Time Cooking: Cooking can really take a long time. If it didn't, then fast food wouldn't be almost a $200 billion industry in the US alone. The truth is though, that cooking doesn't have to take nearly as much time by eliminating that 20% of tasks that take up 80% of the time or stretching them out across multiple meals, we can actually make things a lot faster. What exactly do I mean by this? Well, let's start with chopping and slicing. I was listening to a podcast recently where Andrew Zimmerman was a guest host, asked him to give one tip to people listening who wanted to make more time for cooking instead of eating out his tip? Invest in your knife skills. If you are holding the knife and the object you're cutting improperly, it will slow you down quite a bit. The cooking of the food itself is pretty negligible in terms of time commitment. Mostly because you can usually walk away and do something else while the water is boiling or the oven is baking. In fact, if you ever watch Iron Chef, you see how fast they are able to actually prepare meticulous meals with no preparation. And a large part of that is because they spend very little time on chopping. Most people, however, chop very, very slowly protecting their fingers. I'm going to provide some supplementary videos from YouTube that will actually teach you how to handle a chef's knife correctly. And you'll be amazed that you can cut at least 50% of your cooking time by using the proper cutting techniques and no pun intended. Now, the next thing that we can do is amortize or spread out the preparation and cleaning time. If you're like me, the majority of your cooking time is actually cleaning and prep time, cleaning up the kitchen before you cook, buying all the ingredients, on packaging them all, boiling water, heating the oven, and of course, scrubbing all the pots and pans when you're done. Now it's hugely wasteful to do this for just one meal. And so one of the most powerful ways that you can save time is to cook in bulk. What I'll often do is cook enough for three to four meals at once. For example, cooking and entire chicken or salmon and a few pounds of vegetables. Then I decided the meal is something that I want to enjoy again tomorrow. Sometimes it's so tasty that I actually don't mind eating it two days in a row. But other times, I make nice little prepackaged Tupperware meals and put a few of them in the freezer where they are good for months and months. I know what you're thinking. Gross. But actually, if you have a decent freezer, seal the meals in decent Tupperware, and you freeze them right away. The food comes out just as tasty and doesn't get dry or chewy at all. Seriously. If you don't believe me, next time you're at an average restaurant, asked the waitress or waiter which items on the menu have been frozen? The answer will really surprise you. Anyways, I used to do this bulk and freeze method at least once a week when I had time and the motivation to cook. And at any given time, I'd have two to three different choices of meals that I'd cooked over the last couple of weeks. That way I was able to amortize my efforts or bachelor tasks and I didn't have to shop or clean pots and pans every time I wanted to eat a nice home-cooked meal. Now this technique alone can easily save you three or four hours per week of time spent slaving over a hot stove. So I highly recommend that you check it out. O and later on in the course, when we talk about outsourcing and delegation, I'll tell you how I figured out a way to actually spend absolutely 0 time each week cooking, except for the few occasional minutes that I spend making my own breakfast while ensuring that I have a delicious home-cooked meal for every time that I'm hungry. Stay tuned for that. 26. Sleeping Less and Feeling Better: In this lecture, we're going to talk about how you can sleep fewer hours and feel better. Wait. When I know, I know. All the common wisdom says that you should be sleeping more, not less. Sleep is so hugely important for every aspect of your health, physical fitness and recovery, brain health focus and more. But what if I told you that for most people, sleeping eight hours is actually worse than sleeping 7.5. Or that sleeping seven hours is actually worse than sleeping six. It sounds strange, but it's actually true. You see for most of us we have a 90 minutes sleep cycle where we dip in and out of deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, you'll actually feel groggy and exhausted throughout the entire day, even if that means that you actually slept more. I figured this out when one of the companies that I invested in was launching during the same week that I was leading an executive board retreat. I only had time to sleep 4.5 hours each night, but somehow I felt amazing in the morning. I just needed about a 20 minute nap in the afternoon and I was ready to bounced back. Well, it turns out that I was unknowingly experimenting with something called poly phasic sleep. In this case, I was on a bike aphasic sleep schedule, which it turns out is healthier and more natural than sleeping Once. You see because of modern electricity and the fact that we work in offices, not out in nature. We've become accustomed to waking up in the morning and staying awake until evening. But that's really not natural. See in experiments where people are secluded without clocks or distractions or lights, they actually naturally gravitate towards sleeping twice a day. You can probably relate to this because you probably get really tired every day at around three o'clock. In my other course, I give a lecture just about sleep and napping. I'm a huge advocate of napping and for years I would take a 22-minute map almost every single day. This Knapp allowed me to sleep on average six hours and night. And these days I sleep 7.5 hours per night instead of eight or more. And I feel great. If I don't get 7.5 hours, I will instead go for six, which is a multiple of 90 minutes, and then add in a 22-minute nap during the day. It also coincides with a lot of research and experimentation from other polyphyletic sleepers, some of whom it take it to the extreme and cut all complete sleep cycles instead taking only six, 20-minute naps every day. Now I definitely don't recommend that, but I do recommend that you start adjusting your sleep to at least be in multiples of 90 minutes. If your lifestyle affords it, you should try cutting your sleep down by one Sleep Cycle and squeezing in an afternoon nap. Now, even if you can't do that, you can optimize your sleep in other ways so that you don't need to sleep eight hours. And by the way, that eight hours number, we've all been conditioned around. It's totally bogus in tons of military research in dozens of countries. It's actually been determined that everyone has different sleep requirements. And for many of us, six hours is perfectly fine, especially if napping is available. I've confirmed this in interviews with some of the top sleep coaches and experts in the world, including Nick little hills, who hosted an entire 30-day upgraded sleep challenge for members of my private mastermind. It should be noted though, that on average, women do need a little bit more sleep than men for biological reasons that we won't get into. You should optimize your sleep by following these important rules. Make sure your room is as dark as possible with no LEDs or Light coming from the street. Avoid blue light at night by adjustable smart LED bulbs if you can afford them, or yellow colored light bulbs if you can't install flux on your computer and avoid using your phone in bed. Blue light tells the brain that it's daytime and it actually keeps you a week. Sleep in a cold room with a warm blanket. You can go as low as 64 Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius, though that might be a little bit cold for you. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Have a snack immediately before bed. Depending on if your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, this snack could vary, but it's not a bad idea to have a natural fat source like peanut or almond butter before bed. This will keep your body nourished and prevent that exhausted feeling in the morning. Take magnesium before bed to help your body sleep. Never use a snooze alarm. Instead, it uses an adaptive alarm like sleep cycle or pillow, which measures where you are in your sleep cycle and wakes you up at the optimal time to prevent grumpiness if you can afford it. I also strongly recommend picking up an Apple Watch or an ordering to track your sleep. The latter of which we've actually provided you with a discount coupon code for. By tracking your sleep, you'll be able to see when your body naturally wants to rest and wake up. And you'll start to see how different factors affect your sleep. Now if you can afford those smart LED bulbs or some other kind of smart lighting system, you should really use light to wake you up. Getting light into your eyes releases the hormones that wake you up and make you alert. So this also means try to avoid using sunglasses first thing in the morning. Anyways, I'm going to link you to another great course on sleep hacking that we'll go into more detail about all of this. I'll also link you to the upside mentioned above, as well as some great articles about polyphyletic sleep and light. Check them out and see how you can optimize your sleep to be more effective and more efficient. 27. Monitoring Your Finances Automatically: Now that we've covered most of the quick wins we can make in our health lives with lectures on cooking, sleeping, and fitness, let's talk about another big aspect of everyone's life. Finances. Financial responsibility is an important, important aspect of our lives. Of course. I mean, we need to make sure that we're not being charged for things that we did in order ensure that we're meeting or a long-term financial goals and make sure that we don't miss payments or in current interests on things like our mortgage or rent or credit card. But all of this doesn't mean that it has to take up a lot of our time. I remember that when I was a kid, my mother would sit for hours every month going through the credit card statements, tracking expenses, balancing the checkbook, and making sure that there were no suspicious charges, not to mention tax time when the entire family would sit and sort through receipts and expenses. Here's a picture of me trying to help with this momentous task, but this isn't an isolated incident. In fact, most people I know spend an hour or two every month going through their bank statement and credit card statements at the very least, or recording and tracking budgets manually in some extreme cases. Remember how I told you earlier on in the course that there are some things that a computer can do better than you can. Well, this is definitely one of them. Instead of going through your credit card statement line by line and making sure there are no fraudulent or unwanted charges. You can take advantage of very sophisticated and powerful software algorithms that determine how much you're being charged for what and whether or not it's changed. There are a number of great apps for this, including clarity, money, True Bill, and card life. These apps have a bunch of different features. They can determine, for example, all of the subscriptions that you've signed up for and let you know if something changes. Some of them can even alert you when suspicious charges post to your credit card, though, most likely your credit card company is already doing that for you. These tools are great for prevention and for keeping a watchful eye on your expenses. But what about budgeting and expense tracking and seeing the big picture of your finances? For that, I like to use two separate apps that I personally recommend. The first is called mint.com, and it's a company that was actually bought by financial software industry giant into it meant hooks up to all of your bank accounts, credit cards and other accounts and tracks all of you're spending. It also lets you make awesome budgets, tag and categorize expenses and easily search through all of your financial activity in one search. It will then send you alerts when there are unusually large charges or when you exceed your budget in a specific category. This can save you time in two ways. First is that it helps you automatically budget and track expenses, effortlessly saving you from counting up receipts. If you're the type of person who likes to know what you're spending on what. And the second is that when it comes time to do your taxes, you can save many, many hours of research and searching through receipts and invoices. Personally, I just create a tag for all tax deductible, business expenses and write-offs. And at the end of the year, I'm able to quickly total them up from Mint.com and send them to my accountant. Another automatic monitoring solution that I want to propose is a newer one, and it's actually run by former intuits CEO Bill Harris. It's called Personal Capital, and they offer a free service similar to mint.com. The difference with Personal Capital is that it offers much more in-depth and sophisticated tracking of investment portfolios, which can save you a lot of time spent, or in most cases, time that should be spent but is not spin. That's time reviewing your investment and ensuring that things are in tip-top shape. Now, I love Personal Capital because it allows me to check all of my bank balances, investments and gains in one screen, saving me tons of time. I would otherwise waste logging into a bunch of different accounts and downloading statements to make sure that everything is okay. But what about keeping tabs on your credit score and making sure that people aren't applying to loans in your name. Well for that, you should check out a great site called Credit Karma. This site automatically scans your credit score and will alert you if something fishy is happening while you sleep. It does a great job at estimating what your credit score is, which means that you don't need to fill out that annual credit check from the three bureaus, which is a huge waste of time every year. Best of all, Credit Karma is completely free. Now, all of these apps have desktop, web, and tablet and even mobile versions, which makes checking your finances a great candidate for filler time, as we talked about earlier. You can get a quick incomplete overview of your entire financial life in a matter of minutes with these apps, which frees you from Manually laboring through monitoring and calculating expenses. Check these apps out and see how much time you can save with these systems of checks and balances in place, it's time to let go of the reins on your finances just a little bit and let automation takeover. 28. Paying Bills Automatically: The next place we can shave a lot of time is with check writing and paying bills. Now that we have absolute clarity, money, True Bill card life or mint.com, watching our backs. There isn't a need or a reason to review our bill before paying it. Now, if you're like me, you may have started paying your bills all online eaters in years ago. But I still know a number of people who spend an hour or more every single month writing checks, addressing envelopes, adding postage, and mailing them out, or even if they don't write paper checks, after all, who does that anyways, they may have to log in and pay their bills manually once a month. What a waste of time. Sure. Maybe you automatically pay some of your bills, but not others. Maybe you already pay your bills online, but you're guilty of logging on every month or so to do the payments one-by-one. Or maybe you automate all of your bill paying, but you don't yet automate your investing. This is yet another area where computers are just more effective than humans. Computers don't forget dates, send payments in late or transposed any numbers. Computers know the exact amount and they don't have to look up the bill online. For this reason. I want to encourage you to pay as many bills as possible automatically. In fact, I would argue that unless you have some kind of weird payment, almost every monthly bill or payment can be done automatically. Even checks to individuals can be automatically sent out by your bank, usually at no charge. Of course, you can set up automated wire transfers for things like that as well. Now another great benefit here is that if you pay bills with credit cards, you have the added protection if you're unhappy with the service. And of course, you earn a lot of reward points depending on your credit card. I offer an entire other course on how to earn lots of miles and fly for free. But that's besides the point considered that most people have a renter, mortgage check, an internet, and a cell phone bill, cable TV bill, electric, gas, water, homeowner's association, and at least one credit card bill. Now imagine that each one of those takes a conservative five-minutes to open the paper bill. Something I avoid like the plague. Check the amount, write a check at a stamp and seal the envelope. That's almost an hour of check writing that you do each month, and that's with conservative estimates, assuming your checkbook is handy and not buried away in a drawer somewhere, that hour would be much better spent with family, friends, or doing that yoga class that you've been meaning to get to. This is not to mention any checks or payments that you receive, which takes 20 minutes of driving to the bank and back, dealing with the ATM and so on. Even if your bank does offer a service where you can take a picture of the check, you know how those apps work sometimes. And you often have to fidget with your phone for ten minutes before it actually accepts the damn picture. So the same principles apply here. Ask your employer or anyone who writes you a check to other deposited into your bank account. Now, what about your investments? We all know that we should be putting aside a portion of our salaries for investments, such as setting the money aside to buy a house or putting it into the stock market. We know that because of compound interest, even investing a $100 a month from our salary can have massive impacts when it comes time for retirement. But how often do we actually do it? Well, like I said, computers never forget. So why not automate this? Why not do as personal finance guru, raw meat safety suggests, set your bank account to automatically transferred to a separate savings account for a home purchase, or even set your brokerage account to automatically debit your checking account every single month, reinvesting the funds into your portfolio. Doing so will not only have incredible positive financial impacts, but it will also allow you to rest easy knowing that your nest egg is growing while you sleep. So take a good hard look at the time that you're spending or writing checks, depositing checks, paying bills, and transferring money around between your accounts and consider automating as much of it as possible. I promise that it is work. You will never miss doing. 29. Some Things Just Aren't Worth Your Time: In a previous lecture, I proposed that paying your bills manually, whether by check or online, is a big time waster, and it takes up mental space and time that you could better spend elsewhere. In this lecture, I want to propose that this is just one common example of a large array of tasks that simply aren't worth your time. Not only do many of these tasks waste time, but they waste your attention and mental energy. And as we've said before, that attention and time can be even more precious than time itself. Now, I don't know what your time is worth, how much time you actually have or what activities you enjoy doing. What I do know, however, is that for each and every one of us, there are some tasks that we either hate doing, are terrible at doing, or which simply are not a good use of our time. Let me give you an idea of what I mean. I'm pretty lousy at cleaning. It takes me a long time. I do an awful job and I suffer throughout the entire process. Years ago though, when I first moved out into my own place, I didn't want to be one of those precedes spoiled college kids who hire someone to come in clean my dorm room. I mean, how ridiculous would that be? Right? We used to tell a story about one of our advisors who was notorious at his university for having a cleaning lady and a laundry service to all of his cleaning necessities. We all laughed and made fun of him, but in reality, the joke was on us that advisor knew something that we didn't yet realize that time is a precious commodity, especially in college. And that the two or three hours a week that should be spent cleaning, washing, and folding laundry and so on, was just not worth saving the money. He knew that he was spending so much money on his education in college and should do everything in his power, not to skip reading assignments or homework for something as trivial as scrubbing the floors. He also knew that he only had a limited amount of time with the classmates and friends that would become some of his closest lifelong relationships. Now obviously this isn't for everyone. I know some people who find cleaning, relaxing, and therapeutic. It helps them unwind after a long week. If that's the case, by all means, clean your own place. But if it isn't, then why suffer and waste time? Maybe you're on board so far and perhaps you already have someone cleaning your apartment or mowing your lawn for you. But what about when I tell you that I also have someone come to my home and make me home-cooked meals and that I often have a laundry service, come and pick up my laundry and return it to me, clean unfolded. All of a sudden this sounds like a ridiculous luxury, but it's not. In reality. It cost me about $20 per hour to have someone cooked for me, which ends up being more affordable in bulk, then going out to restaurants and a large load of laundry only cost $20, including delivery. When I tell you those numbers, you realize that it's not the money that's stopping you from delegating these tasks. It's the psychological and social norms that you've become used to. But here's the thing. You probably do, this kind of delegation and outsourcing every single day by going out to lunch during the workweek instead of cooking your own lunch in the middle of the workday. You outsource all kinds of things that you could do yourself, from getting your nails done to having Amazon deliver packages to your door instead of going down to the store and many, many more things. Now, while you might want to judge someone for hiring a private chef, chances are you've used Uber before to hire yourself a private driver. If you think about it, what's the difference? The only question is where you draw that line and whether or not you submit to the social stigmas that makes some things normal and other things frivolous or spoiled. But here's what I want to impress upon you. Outsourcing tasks that aren't worth your time is a double-whammy. First, from an economic standpoint, it makes a lot of sense and more importantly, second, research has actually shown that buying back your time is among the top ways that you can use money to improve your happiness and quality of life. And at the end of the day, what the heck do you earn money for, if not, to improve your life and the lives of those you love. Heck, research has even demonstrated that couples who buy back their time and delegate common sources of household frustration, such as housework and cooking, are happier, healthier and less likely to get divorced. To further illustrate the point that outsourcing some tasks makes a lot of sense economically. Let's go back and do a little math problem here with an imaginary currencies, since I don't want to offend anyone by making salary assumptions. Imagine you earn, say, 20 coffee beans per hour at your job. It's not a prestigious job or a particularly high paying job, but that's a fair rate. Then imagine that you can get your apartment cleaned in two hours at a rate of 15 coffee beans per hour. Also, imagine that because you're not as effective at cleaning as someone who does it for a living. I want you to imagine that it'll take you at least three hours to do just as good a job. In reality, if we look at a concept in economics called opportunity cost, cleaning your own apartment costs you 60 coffee beans, whereas you could get it cleaned for only 30. In fact, even if you could clean as fast as the professionals and get it done in two hours, you would still make a profit of ten coffee beans by not cleaning your apartment. Of course, I realized that you don't work 24, 7. And so the opportunity cost or the price of cleaning instead of working is just an imaginary one. But to that, I would ask you a simple question. How much is spending time with your friends or family, getting to the gym and extra time per week, or just having an extra two hours to relax, really worth isn't it worth those 30 coffee beans? I don't know about you, but I certainly value every minute that I spend reading a good book, enjoying dinner with my wife, or even relaxing at the beach. Much, much more than the hourly rate of what my housekeeper charges me. And plus, as an entrepreneur, I can generally use those safe hours if I want to build up my business and get ahead at work. Here's another real life example. I have a friend who's a very successful architect and he runs his own firm. He was working on a very exciting project in downtown San Francisco. And he wanted to alert the media to get some coverage and recognition for his company. He came to our CEO group with a problem. He and his employees, we're spending lots and lots of time reaching out to media outlets and they weren't having a lot of success. Not only that, but the hours they were spending on chasing down reporters and trying to pitch the story was causing delays in their actual work pipeline and preventing the company from completing the project on time. I'll never forget what one of the other executive said to him. You know, when I needed to redesign my office, I didn't waste my time trying to do it myself. I came to you and I had it done in record time. But yet, when you need to get your press coverage, you waste your time trying to do it yourself. You have to realize that there are people out there who are as skilled and efficient at generating PR as you were at redesigning my office. So why would you not take advantage of that just to save a few bucks? In the end, he hired a PR firm for a few thousand dollars and the project got amazing coverage without having to delay a multi-million dollar deal or distract his very highly paid employees. This reminds me of a famous saying that I've heard all throughout my life as an entrepreneur. Don't step over dollar to pick up pennies. So what are some things that you can delegate or outsource in your life? Like me, you can choose to delegate and outsource the cleaning of your apartment or home. You could also choose to have your laundry done for you very affordably using apps like cleanly. If you consider that a large load of laundry will cost maybe $20. And you imagine that it would take you about two hours to do all the sorting, ironing, folding, and hanging. This works out to be about a cost of $10 per hour saved. Personally, I decided long ago that it would be better to invest that time into fun activities, which to me is well-worth, that $10 an hour. Or I could at least put those two hours a month into creating new courses, which if it helps me earn one more student like you, is a net positive effort. Or how about grocery shopping? Maybe you enjoy going to the grocery store and squeezing your own avocados. But let's face it, many weeks, you just don't have the time or the energy. So you end up eating out a lot. Instead, you can save the hour of labor and probably a lot of money and carrying out all the groceries by clicking the one-click reorder button on the supermarket website or via Amazon know the cost of delivery is about $6. And as I mentioned before, that is likely weight less than your time is worth to go to the store or take it to the next level and do what I do. Hire a student or a part-time chef to do your grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning of the dishes. I simply can't tell you how much I love coming home, opening up the refrigerator and finding a week's worth of delicious, healthy and home-cooked meals waiting for me to enjoy. Total cost per week, about $80 plus the expensive groceries. More recently, I've even begin experimenting with things like finding flights, booking hotel reservations, and researching travel arrangement. You would be surprised to find that your credit card may include a completely free concierge service. And they can often do a lot of the heavy lifting around finding new tickets, booking flights, and arranging hotels for you. What a treat. But these are just a few examples. What kind of stuff are you currently doing that is a poor use of your time. Maybe it's leaving work to get to the pet shop and buy dog food before they close. Maybe it's building your own ikea furniture or maybe it's mowing your lawn or changing the oil in your own car. If you enjoy doing these activities and find them therapeutic or enjoyable, or your time really isn't worth that much for whatever reason, then by all means, keep doing them and don't feel guilty. But just know that you have an option and you shouldn't feel bad about making a conscientious decision to say no to the things that aren't a good use of your time or mental energy. The next chapter, I'm going to give you some websites and services that help you find people who are better than you at doing some of the things that you are lousy at doing. And I'll give you some background on how to use these services. 30. Thoughts & Tips On "Outsourcing": In the last lecture, I advocated for hiring other people to do the things that you aren't efficient or optimal at. Now, I want to give you some tools, experience, and resources that I like and have used for outsourcing common tasks over the last ten years since being turned on to the idea of outsourcing by Tim Ferriss, I have experimented a lot with outsourcing in every possible way. I've hired project-based people for specialized tasks like design work or accounting. I've hired for one-off assignments that take someone an hour or so to do. And as many of you already know, I routinely work with over a dozen people all over the world who feel various full and part-time jobs, ranging from editing this video to designing my company's websites and brand assets to even personal tasks for me. First, let me say this. It's been a long journey. Outsourcing isn't a simple, easy button that you flip, that magically makes all your work disappear. Like any other management role, in many cases, it involves properly building relationships and your leadership skills. And in every case it involves properly understanding and explaining what you want done. My early Fourier phase into outsourcing or an absolute mess, I would hire the wrong candidates. I'd give them the wrong explanation and I would watch as they made things like my company's entire accounting system even worse than they were before. Now, For this reason, for years, I thought that I was better off alone doing everything I could all by myself. And that outsourcing only needed to be done on a small per project basis. But I was wrong. Over the last few years. I've really sharpened my skills as a hirer, as a manager and as a leader. And today I can safely say that I delegate the vast majority of what I can, both in my businesses and in my personal life. In fact, at the time of this recording, I'm actively working with around 20 different individuals from about ten different countries to get things done collectively. So where do you even begin with outsourcing things in your personal or in your professional life. The first step, of course, is to clearly, clearly understand what work needs to be done. Unless you or someone that you really trust to hire other people for you, have a very clear understanding of the job and of its specifications. How can you determine who's a good fit? How can you teach them how to do the job? And of course, how will you know if they're actually doing a good job at it? This, of course, is one of the reasons that you will often want to delegate things only after you have done them yourself for a little while. It's also the reason why a clear job description or project specification is so incredibly important for any outsourcing project big or small. Now once you've done that, it's time to hire. There are many, many different ways to hire people in our hyper-connected and globalized world. But the fact is you're probably not going to put out an ad in your local newspaper like your grandfather used to. Instead, you'll probably end up looking online where you'll find a ton of great options depending on what it is that you need. If you're looking to hire someone for a quick project and you want a specialist. I really like Fiverr.com. Fiber allows you to hire freelancers all over the world for small tasks, for as little as $5. Service providers offer a quick one-off services such as podcasts, Editing, graphics design, video, voice overs, and so on. And they generally give you the ability to upgrade the complexity of the task and repurchase if you're satisfied. Fiber is great because it allows you to find specialists and work with them in a non-binding, transactional kind of way with the safety net of a marketplace and buyer protection. I can honestly tell you that in our business we probably spend 300 to $400 a month on fiber for various tasks involving producing our podcast alone. Another site I used to love when I lived in the US was TaskRabbit. Because TaskRabbit lets you post different things that you need done in the real world, like running to the grocery store or picking something up. And people will bid on the task. You pay them a small fee and refund the expenses. And it's all guaranteed and ensured by TaskRabbit. You know, I'll never forget how a friend of mine from my CEO group paid someone on TaskRabbit $70 to wait in line for six hours for the release of the iPhone four, so that he and his team could have the latest devices on launch day for testing. This may be an extreme example, but he was able to get to new iPhones before many other competitors, and it cost him only 12 bucks an hour, which is completely easy to justify if it's for your business. Now, the next step up from the simple one-off tasks is finding someone for a longer term project lasting a few days, weeks, or even months. Now for these types of projects, I generally use Upwork or sometimes Freelancer.com. Whether you need programming, design work, contract drafting, editing, analysis, testing, or really any other type of work. You can always find some great and highly qualified people for very affordable rates to do that work on Upwork. Now, Upwork is great because you can build a longer-term relationship with someone, but you're not really obligated to them after the project is over. In situations where you don't think you'll be needing ongoing work. It's probably your best option. And it's not just for providers in developing countries either. I mean, just recently, my company actually outsourced some trademark research and filing of legal documents to a lawyer in the Midwestern United States who is actually much more affordable than the lawyers that I've worked with in the past in California. And I have to say the results were phenomenal. Finally, we have the type of outsourcing that most people think of when they hear that word, which is hiring full or part-time employees in other countries for ongoing relationships. Ironically, though this is the most common type of outsourcing I do with literally all of my 15 full and part-time staff members residing abroad. I don't actually think of this as outsourcing anymore. Regardless, the set-up here goes like this. And note that you have some AI bots coming out that will do this for you too. But you hire someone for an indefinite period of time, either part-time or full-time to do an ongoing piece of work. This work can range from answering your emails and managing your calendar for you, to keeping your website updated to editing videos for you and literally everything in between. Now, as I said, I've had a checkered past with outsourcing. I've had really, really great experiences with individuals from certain countries and universally awful experiences of hard cultural clashes with individuals from other countries. One country that has literally always blown me away in a good way has been the Philippines. In fact, my experience working with Filipinos has been so universally positive that I actually employ at the time of this recording and entire staff of five full-time members throughout the nation of the Philippines, there are many, many, many reasons for this. First, Filipinos are probably the most caring, warm, and loyal people you will ever meet in your life. Their entire culture places a special emphasis on family relationships, respect, and kindness to others. And for this reason, they are an absolute joy to work with beyond that, because of the history of American involvement in the Philippines, English skills in the Philippines are exceptional and it's not rare to find people who speak English just as well as you or I. Plus, Higher Education in the Philippines is very, very good. People have a tremendous amount of technical skill. Finally, while this isn't the most important factor, the cost of living in the Philippines is incredibly low, meaning that even a 600 to $1000 a month salary is very, very good there, and it allows people to support an entire family comfortably. All of these reasons and many, many more are why I strongly recommend that you consider working with the people of the Philippines. Whereas I used to use a hiring service in the Philippines, I've since discovered that I can get great results going directly to the source. I use a great website called online jobs dot ph, where local Filipinos search for remote work opportunities. Please note, however, that this option is only appropriate for long-term relationships. The people on this website are interested in full or part-time work and they aren't looking to do quick one-off projects. With that said, if I look back on my journey as an entrepreneur and as a productivity geek, I can honestly say that one of the biggest mistakes that I made was not learning how to properly outsource and delegate. Sooner, had I learn this valuable skill, I could have opened myself and my businesses up to a world of highly skilled, affordable labor much, much sooner, allowing me to focus on other more important aspects of my business and of my personal life. I used to brag that I was too efficient for a personal assistant to keep up with me. And that was wrong. I was just too damn stubborn and I was too lazy to properly hire and train the right person for the job. So those are a few thoughts on the various types of outsourcing. You might be thinking right now that it's something reserved for companies or for wealthy individuals, but you couldn't be more wrong if that's the case. Indeed, if you are to look around in your life and you look at your average day from picking up stuff at the store to researching things online for your job or your thesis. You'll find a lot of areas where you could actually spend a few measly dollars to get help. Now, doing so will not only reduce your stress, but it will also allow you to do exactly what this course is designed to do. Free up your time for things that give you more value and more joy in life. 31. Speeding Up Decisions: Yet another area where people waste a lot of time is in decision-making. Now, we've all experienced scrolling through the list of movies for half an hour, trying to choose something and in the end, giving hope on watching a movie altogether. But this can be much more than just those ten to 30 minutes that you spend staring at the menu at a restaurant, see having difficulty making decisions, or what I like to call analysis paralysis can add 20 to 30% of wasted time to all kinds of everyday activities, such as getting dressed, your three daily meals, grocery shopping, going out with friends and so on. Not to mention the hours, weeks and months that you can deliberate on big decisions like which car to buy, which person to date, and so on. But this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, according to Barry Schwartz, the author of the book, The Paradox of Choice. Having too many choices can not only make the process of choosing miserable, but it can also make us really unhappy with our final outcome. What's more than that? There is a real phenomenon called decision fatigue, which basically says that all of the small decisions that we make every single day are like withdrawals from a pool of decision-making capacity. We have every single day. The more small choices we make, the less effective we will be at making big ones. Decision fatigue also causes a phenomenon called ego depletion, which wears down our willpower, making us more likely to do the things like eat unhealthy foods, engage in dishonest behavior or cut corners on important tasks. This is the precise reason why people who have to make a lot of big decisions, such as Steve Jobs or even Barack Obama have specified outfits that they where depending on the day of the week or in Steve's case, the same thing every single day. It's also the reason that Barack Obama never specified what he wanted to the White House Kitchen. He just told them to surprise him every single day. Decision fatigue and certainly cost us a lot of time in and of itself. But it also raises an important question. Would you rather spend twice as much time pick the perfect option and ultimately be only 60% happy with the outcome? Or would you prefer to spend half as much time choose the second or third best option, but being a 100% happy with your choice. In some senses, ignorance is bliss, especially when it comes to decision-making. Now there are a few ways to avoid analysis, paralysis, time wasting, decision fatigue, and ego depletion. One of them is to engineer automatic decision-making rules based on external conditions. For example, I have three simple rules when I sit down to a restaurant. First, I dramatically reduced the number of options I'll even consider by ruling out anything with wheat, grains or dairy according to my own dietary guidelines. Second, I will look for one of two things that I particularly like. I mean, if a restaurant has Philemon yawn, I will often automatically order without even checking the rest of the menu. If they don't, I'll look for a grilled fillet of salmon and order that. Now when I sit down to an Indian restaurant, I almost always order chicken tikka masala or Pollack pioneer. And if I'm at a Chinese restaurant, I usually just go for broccoli beef and orange chicken with maybe a chicken low main. If I've decided to spoil myself. Now this might sound crazy to always order and eat the same thing wherever I go, but it saves a lot of hassle. And in reality, these are dishes that I know I really enjoy. So unless I'm in a special restaurant known for a special dish, Why waste my energy and risk getting a dish that I don't love? When I used to drink wine, I used a pairing system that I had memorized based on what dish I was ordering. And then I'd asked the waitress or Somalia to choose a bottle of that specific type of wine for me based on my price range. I mean, let them make the decision, right? These types of automatic rules can apply to all different kinds of conditions. You might have noticed that in the vast majority of videos i appear in, I am wearing a black v neck t-shirt, just like this one. Well, guess what? I have about eight of them and almost all of my pants match with them as well. You might not want to become so Robotic as to plan an outfit for each day of the week. But what about choosing your shirts in the random ordering which they are stacked in your closet, and then having a matched pair of pants that goes with each one. Or better yet, how about only buying clothes in colors that match one another? Effectively, you've chosen a matching outfit without making a single decision. Or how about setting up one or two nights a week where you don't have to think about what to cook or eat. Mondays are usually pretty stressful, so why not make every single Monday feed at night? The next strategy is maybe a little bit morally questionable, but it's basically to offload decisions onto other people. I don't always do this, but if I'm having a pretty busy and stressful week where I need my full mental capacity, I definitely am guilty of it. When I travel with friends who don't have similar optimization mentalities, I tell them at the beginning of the trip that I'm happy to go wherever they want to go, eat wherever they want to eat and do whatever they want to do. Unless I say otherwise, I'm on vacation. So why should I make any choices? When I go out to dinner with friends, I play the nice, flexible friend and I ask them to recommend a favorite restaurant in their area that's convenient for them. And tell me what time to meet them there when choosing a movie to watch. Well, I think you get the idea. It's important to note that I don't reply with, I don't know, what do you wanna do like that scene from The Jungle Book. Instead, I asked for a recommendation and let the other person understand that. I want them to be happy with the final outcome. Above all, Why don't you pick somewhere you like, or how about you choose a movie that you've been meaning to see? If other people don't know about the paradox of choice and the outcomes are more important to them than being happy with the choice. Well, it's a great opportunity for you to skip making a decision and look like a friendly and easygoing person. Besides, everyone loves spending time with people who go with the flow and put other people's preferences first, even if they don't necessarily understand why. And of course, when it does matter to you, you can always make your opinion heard on the things that are actually worth making a decision on. The last and possibly most important strategy for optimizing decision-making is to limit your choices. It is very easy when you're looking for a solution to research or more different options. But in fact, you should really limit decisions to three to five options right off the bat. The more possible variables and options that you throw into the mix, the more unhappy you'll be and the more time that you'll waste. For this reason, you can use different strategies such as only looking at the specialist menu, only scrolling through one page of movies, or only purchasing a category of products from one specific brand. For example, I've decided that I only shop at Under Armour for my workout gear. And even there since there are so many options, I usually only shop in the special section of their website. If I were to also shop at Reebok, Nike, Adidas, and Puma, I would add way too many extra options that make the process way too difficult. So while sometimes people at the gym tease me for having Under Armour head-to-toe. I'm saving lots of time and decision fatigue by just purchasing whatever is available at the Under Armour Store when I need new gear. And I'm always happy with my decisions because I don't know what kinds of new stuff I'm missing out at from Nike. And I don't really need to know either. Finally, and this is an important one. Once you make a decision, there's no looking back. If you look at the origin of the word decision, it means to eliminate all other options. So if after making a decision, you go back and check if you made the right decision, you are not only wasting time, you're also setting yourself up for heartbreak. Once you've made a decision, don't reverse that decision. All other options are closed. If you decided last night that you'd wake up early and go to the gym. Don't waste your energy renegotiating that decision within the alarm clock goes off. You already made this decision. If you decided that you're not going to eat junk food this week, don't go back on that decision when you walk by a pizzeria. And if you've already chosen from the ones, 1000 different models of digital cameras, don't waste your time by looking at the other options next month when a new model comes out, no good can possibly come of it. By carefully addressing and limiting the amount of decision-making and deliberation we have to do. We can not only save time, but save a lot of mental energy and capacity, which has plenty of awesome effects on our performance and our efficiency in many other aspects of our life. Now, give this a try and check out the TED Talk and book On the paradox of choice in the supplementary materials. 32. Speeding Up Communication: Previously, we talked a bit about how other people can play a role in our productivity, specifically when it comes to decision-making. In this lecture, I want to take that idea a bit further and note how communication and dependency on others can play a big role in our productivity. As human beings, we are social creatures, and this means that for most of us, communication will take up a majority of our time. With that said, there are strategies to make communication more efficient without hurting feelings or transforming into a complete robot. In the beginning of the course, I talked about sending back and forth emails and waiting for responses to move forward. This is something that is covered in the getting things done productivity system by David Allen. And it's something he calls an open loop. An open loop is something that basically drains resources by looping back and forth, such as sending emails back and forth. It also burns through mental energy as your brain devotes a disproportionate amount of memory and mental energy towards remembering unfinished things. That's actually known as Visigothic effect. Now an example of an open loop is if an acquaintance invites you to a wedding and you reply with, let me check my calendar and get back to you. When in fact, you actually mean thanks, but no thanks. That open loop has created more work and mental drain for both of you as they'll have to follow up and you'll have to write another email or have another conversation. Now, I'm not going to tell you how to communicate with other people. That's something that only you can judge and you should always be yourself. But I do want to give you some suggestions as to habits that you can implement into your own communication style. The goal of making communication more efficient is to be polite yet firm, and always direct. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Get directly to a solution rather than being indecisive. Here are some examples. If you're picking a restaurant with a friend over text message and they ask you, where do you wanna go? You already know to avoid the other Know, Where do you wanna go? But instead of writing back, how about either cafes that are talker Rij, you right back. Let's go to cafes Zed. You just saved 50% of the time in the interaction, but that's just the beginning. Now, if instead of just picking the place you had written back, let's meet at Cafe zed at 730, you just saved another round of back and forth messages. Another important aspect is to tell it like it is, direct communication is one of the best ways not only to save yourself from misunderstandings, but also to save a lot of time. If you have a problem with something, just tell the other person the problem as politely as you can, right? When you observe the issue, instead of brow beating and carrying around the frustration for weeks, think how much energy that wastes. On the note of direct communication, I've often said that no is the most productive word in the English language. After all, as area Anna Huffington says, the best way to get something off of your to-do list is to delete it. If you don't wanna do something, don't leave an open-loop or worse, agree to do it and then have to back out of it later. Doing so adds a ton of stress and wastes, not just your time, but the other person's time as well. Instead, opt for direct communication and just politely say no right away. It'll save you both so much time. Perhaps you'll feel the need to give a reason for saying no, such as I can't I have to go to my son's school play. But in time and with a little bit of practice, you'll learn to be comfortable just politely saying, no, thank you. And guess what? People will understand. In fact, if you learn to be direct in your communications and tell people what you expect, want, or need. Without fuss, you'll be amazed at how much faster things happen and usually without offending anyone. Examples of this include saying things like, if you could please respond back with the following three things, instead of giving a vague set of questions or bizarre indirect language. Short, direct communications are magical when it comes to efficiency. And unless you're in a culture where small talk is mandated for every interaction, Most people will appreciate you saving their time as well as your own. Now, just in case if you're worried about seeming robotic or rude, you can always throw in a sorry to be so direct, but I'm sure you're very busy just to let them know that you aren't doing it out of rudeness. In my experience, the vast majority of people will actually really appreciate you being considerate of their time. So give this a try and see where you can minimize wasted effort and time using a more direct style of communication and a lot less indecisive deliberation. 33. Splitting Time Into “Maker” and “Manager” Days: One of the first things we talked about in this course was the idea of eliminating the bad kind of multitasking. We also learned about batching tasks in a way that allows you to hone in and focus without switching gears every time. And of course, we covered the detriment of distraction. Well, as it turns out, one of the biggest and best ways that we can utilize these techniques together is in the way we communicate or don't communicate with other people we work with. Let me paint a picture for you of an all too familiar scenario. You sit down at your desk in the morning with your cup of coffee, bright eyed, motivated, and ready to work on that project you've been putting off. That's right. Today is the day and you are going to get it done. It might be coding a new feature, writing a new blog post, updating an internal training manual or editing a video. You know which projects I'm talking about. But then just a few minutes into working on it, something happens. Someone comes into your office, sends you a message on Skype, calls you on the phone, and your concentration is broken. You probably know where the story is going from here. You continue to get interrupted time and time again throughout the day, both by unexpected interferences and buy your planned calls and meetings throughout the day. And by the time five o'clock rolls around, you haven't even move the needle at all on that project. Another day, lost. Well, if you've ever experienced something like this, I want to tell you about a genius new productivity strategy that many people like myself have begun using to great success. It's called maker versus manager days. And it's an idea that's been advocated for by a lot of very successful people, most notably Paul Graham of Y Combinator. Here's the basic idea. On specific days of the week, you commit to only Manager work, meetings, phone calls, emails, messages, you know the drill. On all other days, you val to only work on Maker work, presentations, projects, blogposts, coding, reports. What's most important about each of these days is not what you do, but what you don't do. You don't schedule meetings or answer emails on your maker days. You don't shame yourself about not getting any creative work done on your manager days. Creating this clear delineation allows you to focus in and be more productive and more effective at everything you do by eliminating the need to change gears. Because ultimately, as we know, it takes a good chunk of three to four hours to really get creative work done and to get in flow. And how can you do either of those things if you're being constantly interrupted? Plus, on the other end of the spectrum, how can you be expected to be at your best when you're answering emails, fielding phone calls, and attending meetings, if you're rushing through them to get back to your creative work. In fact, in an even more extreme example of this delineation, Deep Work author Cal Newport describes how he takes maker and manager weeks or even months, completely ignoring the outside world while he's writing a book, for example. Now, if you can do that and take weeks or months off to focus on just one project that is obviously preferable. But let's be honest, that strategy isn't applicable for most people. So let's go ahead and focus in on how maker and manager days look like. Personally, I've really enjoyed this strategy and I've been using it for a couple of years now. On Sundays and Wednesdays, I strictly do creative work with minimal, if any, interaction with my colleagues or customers. On Mondays and Thursdays, I dedicate the whole day to meetings, phone calls, emails, and social media posting. Now, Tuesdays are flex days, which can go either way depending on the need. And Fridays and Saturdays, I don't work, which is customary in Israel where I live. Using this methodology has been a massive help in organizing my time and preventing me from having the checkerboard effect going on on my calendar. I never would have more than one hour blocks of uninterrupted creativity time to really get into Deep Work and flow. While I know that some of you may not have as much flexibility over your time if your students or working in large companies, you almost certainly can choose when meetings happen or when you set aside time to be a maker. Furthermore, this method is so effective that it might actually be worth bringing it up with your study group, your colleagues, or even your manager. I've linked to Paul Graham's original article in the PDF syllabus. So I highly recommend you check it out and try this maker versus manager schedule and see how it works for you and the people you work with. 34. What We've Learned, Conclusion, and Congratulations: And so this brings us to the end of the course. Let's have a look back on all of the different theories, techniques, and tactics that we've learned. We started out with some background exploration into why we would want to do things quicker, where most people spend time and understanding how the course was engineered. We also wrote out some goals and areas that we wanted to improve on. Now is a good time to look back on those goals and priorities and see if we've covered them. Have you learned some strategies that can help you speed up the time-consuming areas you outlined at the beginning of the course. From there, we dove into the foundations and theory and we learned about the power of preparation, the importance of goals, priorities, and deadlines. We also learn some effective theories, such as the Pareto principle, Parkinson's Law, and batching similar tasks. We talked about the differences between good multitasking and bad multitasking. And we discussed the importance of planning in breaks and rest for efficiency. We even covered some strategies for taking advantage of wasted chunks of time and dove into an abridged discussion on flow and focus. Now from there, we explored some concrete tips and tricks for speeding things up. We discovered a ton of computer productivity hacks, fitness and health optimization tweaks and financial automation tips and a bit on avoiding unnecessary or inefficient uses of our time. My hope for you is that this course has turned you on to the mentality of a speed demon. It may take time for these learnings to settle in and for you to perfect these skills and habits. But I hope they will cause you to look at your productive life a bit differently and to identify areas where you could use your time more efficiently or responsibly. With that said, I wanted to make it very clear that not everything in life is about efficiency and optimization. In fact, all of the tips, theories, and strategies in this book are designed to help you make time for the things that shouldn't be optimized. Time spent doing things that you love with the people you care about. I hope this course has been very helpful and of course, very productive for you. And I want to thank you for learning with me. I hope you'll take some time to lever a view, tell your friends, and share your feedback. And with that, let me congratulate you on becoming a speed demon. Bye-bye.