All In a Days Work

I was at lunch with a friend last week who asked me, “how do you get all that stuff you do done in a single day?”

She was asking about a full-time job at MLive, a daily marketing podcast in Everything is Marketing, The Incredible Hult podcast, the Way of the Warrior MMA podcast, the I Hate Your Favorite Movie podcast, the BarrettAll podcast, teaching at Aquinas, writing for Medium and Linkedin, keynotes on social media, raising two amazing kids, spending time with my beautiful wife, and still having time to take care of myself.

The answer is simple — automate what you can, ditch what doesn’t matter, and sacrifice the bullshit.

  1. Leave work at work.

Sure there are going to be times that you need to attend to something that is either a big project, or a big problem but those are the exceptions.

In EVERY other case you need to disconnect and recharge as you will be MORE productive in your work and put in better ideas if you get a chance to be inspired and experiment in your personal life.

Work/Life balance is a non-negotiable part of getting more out of life.

2. Cull your friends.

This may sound horrible but I am very serious.

You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with (digitally or IRL in real life) if those people talk about how everything is someone else’s fault, live in a world of woe is me, or think that life is “out to get them” you are going to lose with them, I promise.

It is imperative that you shift your focus to being optimistic about the world around you and I understand after the last ten days that we have had that can be difficult. But, you will be better prepared to respond when things go wrong if you were not waiting for it to go wrong in the first place.

3) Ship your art.

This is my favorite Seth Godin quote ever.

You should make something, anything, and then share it with the world. Instead of spending 4 hours a night looking at other people’s Instagram posts — learn to make cupcakes, write for an hour a night, read a book (the average American fails to read ONE a year), build a business, play with a new app or learn to code. 2–3 times a week take those nights and MAKE something.

4) Automate your life.

You are doing dumb shit with your time. How do I know? Because we all do and in most cases it revolves around email. Here is how your typical day starts; you wake up, check your email, and decide how the day is going to go.

Think about that for a second.

Your day is planned for you depending on what is in your inbox.

Which means you spend your whole life reacting instead of acting.

Want to know why you don’t feel like your life is full of purpose? Because you are waiting for an email to give you a direction.

Am I saying ignore email? No, I am saying have some intention behind it. Use products like IFTTT or WorkFlow will help you automate some of the things you just don’t need to do anymore. Attack the rest with purpose.

5) Put the phone down

For two hours a night try putting the phone in a drawer and being in the moment. I was listening to Tim Ferriss talk about a Zen Buddhist quote the other day that goes “If you walk, just walk. If you sit, just sit; but whatever you do, don’t wobble.”

What does that mean?

It means do what you are doing in that moment and don’t be distracted. If you are at dinner with friends BE at dinner with friends. If you are playing with your kids PLAY with your kids. Be intentional with your time and enjoy your surroundings.

So, start with putting the phone away for two hours a night and see if you can graduate to my favorite day of the week “social-free Sunday.” It is exactly like “sucka-free Sunday” with all the awesome hip-hop but none of the Facebook or Instagram.

In all honesty, I do take one whole day a weekend and leave the phone alone. I don’t respond, I don’t consume, I am just in the moment. Try it, it will be life-changing for you.

Later at lunch, at one point in the conversation, my friend asked what time I got up and I said 5:30am. She asked, “every day?” And I responded unless I am sick, yes. Fast forward to yesterday and she texted and said, “I have gotten up the past two mornings at 5:30am, I feel amazing.”

The thing about it is, it isn’t at all about what time you get up — but that you get up with intent about the day. Every minute, every second, every hour of the day is yours to spend — How will you spend today?

Eric HultgrenComment