Getting Your Investing Advice on Twitter

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about people getting their investing advice on Twitter.  It is an interesting article, but a completely asinine idea for any investor to be getting their investing advice on Twitter.  You’ll lose your money if you do.

Talking stocks is always sexy.  Even when you don’t know what you’re doing, you can easily sound like the richest guy in the room.  Now, this totally crazy past time has made its way to social media and it is going to cost people lots of money.

How Down Markets Drive Efficiency

Low oil prices will create more efficient oil producers and service businesses.  The current downturn may be hard for those in the industry now, but a down market drives efficiency.

Prices won’t stay down forever.  In fact, there are signs it may come back soon.  Storage levels are the only thing really keeping oil prices down right now.

The Only Way To Keep Your Inbox Empty

The inbox is a never ending topic.  I’m convinced that I’ve finally found the only way to keep your inbox empty.  It’s so simple I almost can’t believe it works so well.

The inbox is an on-going debate.  The Today Show recently brought up the subject, so I thought I’d address it again.  It seems there are two classes of email users.  One class always has thousands in their inbox, the other has zero.

The Definitive Two Step Process to Stay On Top of Everything

Being successful in the workplace often means having the ability to stay on top of everything.  Most workers are completely overwhelmed by their workload.  The answer to their problems lies in their ability to quickly and efficiently process the onslaught of responsibilities coming at them.

Stay on top of everything

The other night over dinner, as she usually does, my wife asked how my day had gone.  “Surprisingly well” I answered.  I then went into ,probably too much, detail about why my day had gone so well.  “I’ve found a simple two step process to help me stay on top of everything” I told her.

As an executive and leader of my company, I can sometimes feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I often return home at the end of the day completely spent and feel like I achieved nothing.  I have goals and objectives for my company, but some days, it seems I spend all my time attending to the urgent things that pop up.

I find it impossible to stay on top of everything we have going on!

Many leaders can sympathize with this feeling.  Day after day we find ourselves emerged in urgent tasks and requests from employees.  By the end of the week we’ve achieved none of our business goals.  Worst yet, sometimes we find that we’ve forgotten all together what our goals were!

What has my workday go “surprisingly well” is a two step process I’ve developed to help me stay on top of everything.  This is how I do it:

1. Process everything twice daily

2. Track everything in real time

Of course the beauty is in the details.  Here is how I execute this two step process to ensure I stay on top of everything going on with my company.

Process In twice daily – I have an inbox, email inbox, and voicemail.  This comprises what I call “In.” I’ve downloaded Xobni to find out when I receive most of my emails.  I’ve scheduled my processing of in to occur right afterwards.  This ensures that, even though I only check email twice a day, I am responding to people quickly.

Gather your gear – I open my email, currently Mac Mail.  Then I grab my papers from my physical inbox.  Lastly I pull my phone near.  Finally, I launch Nozbe.  This is everything I need to complete the process.  Below is my stand up desk ready to “Process In.”

Stand up desk

Process Email – Here is a screenshot of how I clear my email inbox in less than 30 seconds.

Mail ActOn – I use this app to help me process my email inbox.  With just a few clicks of my keyboard, I can completely stay on top of everything in my inbox.  Using the hotkeys pictured below, I make 1 of 4 choices for every message.  I use only 4 so I can set my finger on the keys and very quickly make decision.  I typically clear my inbox in less than 30 seconds.

1. Trash it – these are emails I don’t absolutely need

2. @Action – these are emails I must take some form of action on personally

3. @Waiting For – these are emails that contain something I can delegate

4. Processed – these are all the emails that I want to save but don’t need to act on or delegate

acton

Enter Nozbe – I open Nozbe and Mac Mail in such a way that they split my computer screen.  I can then open my @waiting for folder.  I add all the new items and delegate them to employees.  Anything still in there that an employee has checked off of Nozbe, I delete or send to “Processed” if the email is still important.  I do the same process with @Action, but I don’t delegate these tasks, they’re mine.

Process Paper – Now expand Nozbe to full screen to limit distractions.  Pick up the first piece of paper and make a decision on it.

1. Trash it

2. Delegate it – Enter it into Nozbe and assign to the appropriate employee

3. Take it on – Enter it into Nozbe for yourself

4. File it – These are important items but require no action

Process Voicemail – I treat my VM the exact same way as my other inboxes.  To stay on top of everything, you have to have a central location for everything.

1. Trash it

2. Delegate it

3. Take it on

4. File it – I typically write down the pertinent information and stick it in the appropriate file.

The most critical aspect of performing “Knowledge Work” is to gather everything together in one place so you can keep track of it all and stay on top of everything that is going on at your company.  This two step process has made my work much more enjoyable.

The entire process takes less than 10 minutes each time.  The peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re able to stay on top of everything is sublime.  20 minutes a day is a small price to pay to become a super productive, organized, stress-free high performer.

Is 20 minutes a day worth it to you to be able to stay on top of everything?

How Massage Can Improve Your Productivity

 

This guest post is provided by the creative team at Pingup. Pingup is an online booking application that allows users to make appointments and book reservations at all types of businesses across the country, from San Francisco spas to Boston salons.

 

Everyone knows that getting a massage feels good, and on top of that can relieve the aches and pains brought on by the stresses of daily life. In this regard, many consider the act of getting a massage to be a way of pampering themselves or as an indulgence, a fun activity when they’re on vacation in a tropical climate. Although this is true, as massages can definitely fulfill some of our hedonistic desires, they are also beneficial in many other ways. One way that you may not have considered – improving your productivity.

How Massage Can Improve Productivity

 

Do you ever feel stressed out at work? Of course you do; not only are there deadlines to meet and demanding bosses to please, but also anxiety-producing details from your personal life that can creep into your work day. All this stress is not only unhealthy; it can also detract from the quality of your work. One way to combat the negative influence of stress is to get a massage. Studies have shown that massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol in your body, thereby helping you to relax and focus on your daily tasks.

 

 

Another factor that can contribute in detracting from your job performance is lack of sleep. If you’ve ever spent the night trying to count sheep, only to walk into work the next day on five hours of sleep feeling like a zombie, then you know what I’m talking about. Massage can actually help you to get enough Zs, as it promotes healthy sleep patterns due to its positive effect on delta waves – the type of brain waves required for deep sleep.

 

 

One of the most debilitating factors on your productivity is illness. When you are struggling through a bout with the flu, you are either at home in bed accomplishing nothing other than regaining your health, or suffering through a miserable unproductive day at your desk. Unsurprisingly, massage can help with this as well. Remember how I told you earlier that getting a massage can help curb your production of the stress hormone cortisol? Well it turns out cortisol is doubly bad for us, as it destroys cells that ward off invading bugs. By going for a massage and decreasing the amount of cortisol in your body, you can ensure that your immune system is up to the challenge of keeping you in good health and on the path to productivity.

 

 

 

While people are certainly unproductive when they are sick, the same can be said about them when they are in a foul mood. In addition to all the things massage does for your body, it also can have a powerful effect on your mind. Studies have shown that massage can improve your overall mood, even if you are only going for a brief 15-minute session each week. This is a fact that is not lost on business owners, as many businesses have begun offering their employees massages during the day in order to improve both morale and performance.

 

 

 

In essence, massage can provide a multitude of benefits to your well-being. In addition to improving your overall health and mood, you can also expect to see an increase in your productivity and performance. If you are considering getting a massage for pleasure, make sure you are also thinking about all the ways it may be able to help you in your quest for productivity.

 

Have you thought of getting a massage to help improve your productivity?

 

 

 

Use This Morning Recipe For A Better Start To Your Day

A morning recipe is like an opening drive in a football game.  In Football, the opening drive is the most important drive of the game.  How you come out of the gate often dictates if you will win or lose.  The same is true about your morning ritual.  How you start your day, often dictates how successful you will be.  To ensure a successful day, every day, I’ve created this morning recipe.

morning-recipe

I call it a recipe because that’s really what it is.  There are key ingredients that must be combined in just the right portions to create the exact same results time and time again.

I credit this morning recipe as the cause of much of my success.  I’ve come to guard it from interruption and diversion.  If I follow the recipe, my day has a very high likelihood of ending well.  If something interrupts it or keeps me from getting it just right, my whole day can spiral downhill quickly.

Why is a morning recipe so vital?  Just like the opening drive of a football game, it sets the tone and creates a an aggressive confidence that can carry you through the rest of the game, or in this case, the rest of your day.

This same aggressive confidence can be yours every day if you know how to systematically create it.  This is exactly how I set myself up for a win every single morning.

My Morning Recipe for Success:

1. Get enough sleep the night before.  Waking up tired leads to grumpiness.  Grumpiness leads to a negative attitude.  A negative attitude will keep your momentum heading in the wrong direction.

2. Hydrate before bed.  The groggy feeling you experience when you wake up is often dehydration mistaken for tiredness.  I use a Nuun Active Hydration Tablet in 16 oz of water 1 hour before bet to ensure I wake up hydrated.  The effect is astonishing.

3. Wake up on time or earlier.  Being late will put you in a rush and make you feel a little depressed.  You have to avoid negativity like at all cost in the morning to ensure a positive start.

4. Consume 30 in 30.  Consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking.  This gives you the energy to create a good vibe of productivity.

5. Make the perfect cup of coffee.  Here is my recipe for the perfect cup of coffee.  It’s such an important part of your morning recipe that Apple invests thousands in the right coffee and coffee maker.

 

Jony Ive’s Secret Coffee Ritual http://t.co/EhPyGpdPOo

— Jayson Feltner (@JaysonFeltner) December 9, 2013

6. Play music that gets you going.  This ingredient in my morning recipe is the sugar to the cupcake.  It is both essential and enjoyable.  I play my “Contemporary Singer-Songwriter” playlist on Pandora.

7. Create a repeatable success structure.  For me, this part of my morning recipe looks like this.

8:00 to 8:30 – reading and coffee – I read my feedly, the WSJ, and USA Today.

8:30 to 9:00 – Process my email and inbox – I do this following the GTD method.

9:00 to 9:30 – Set others up for success – this is when add items for my team on Nozbe.  I’ll also meet with my direct reports and convey my expectations for the day.

8. Create a short list  of must do items.  After processing in and my email, I’ll have everything I need to do in my Nozbe.  Then I choose the top 3 items.  If these were the only items I accomplished all day, I’d have had a successful day.  I mark these as next actions.  Then I get started on the first item.

By having at least one of these items checked off before 10:30 in the morning, I’ve set myself up with an opening drive touchdown.

Creating a repeatable morning recipe that leads to success ensures you’ll have a successful and productive day every day.  I’ve tried winging it and found my results sporadic.  Creating a morning recipe like this has had an incredible impact on my success and productivity since I’ve implemented it.

Try this recipe today and let me know how it works for you?

How To Find Time To Follow Your Passion

When I began blogging in 2011 I never dreamed it would be so fulfilling.  For me, writing has become my creative release.  My friends read my blog and wonder “where do find the time to follow your passion?”

follow your passion

I’ll be perfectly honest.  Finding the time to follow your passion is not easy.  For years I’ve struggled to find the time to write.

My world has recently been turned upside down.  Despite it all, I still maintain my blog and write frequently.  The truth is, you don’t have to struggle to find time to follow your passion.  You can begin today by following a few simple rules.

Prioritize – In everything you do consider whether or not what you’re doing helps you to follow your passion.  It is surprising how often I find myself on social media when I could easily be writing.  The problem is, I let the world tell me how I should spend my time.  If you’re going to follow your passion, you’re going to have to tell the world how you choose to spend your time.

Use Tools – When I began blogging I was inexperience and frankly naive.  I didn’t know the first thing about WordPress or the world of blogging.  If you’re going to follow your passion, you’re going to have to make it easy on yourself.  To do that, you need to research the tools of the trade.  Look to the leaders in your area of interest and see what they do.  Bloggers should look at Michael Hyatt’s Toolbox and Tim Ferriss’s “How To Build A High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself.”

Create A Team – Kenny Chesney loves singing and performing for crowds.  Unfortunately, that requires him to travel.  I bet he doesn’t like arranging travel.  But someone out there does, and that is who he has arranging his travel for him.  If you’d like to follow your passion you’re going to need a team to do the things that are necessary but not interesting to you.  I have a web developer, an editor, and a Virtual Assistant who handle the aspects of blogging that I do not enjoy.

Focus On The Fun StuffDelegate everything you can to free yourself up to focus on the things you enjoy.  To truly follow your passion, you’ll have to get rid of everything else.  I like to look at Michael Hyatt’s latest ideal week.  Here I see a guy who’s built a huge platform but spends his days doing only the things he loves, the content creation!  This is how you should craft your schedule if you’re going to follow your passion.

Nothing is more impressive than a person who is fully engulfed and in love with what they’re doing.  Living a life where you follow your passion can be amazing and inspiring.  Following these few rules will get you to the life you’ve always dreamed of faster.

What would you do today if you were to completely follow your passion?

What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Over the last few months life has seemed to flip upside down.  I’m essentially homeless, our company is growing, my wife is back in the workforce, and I’m an active part of 6 different companies.  On top of all that, I’m starting a fun new project.  I’m feeling overwhelmed to say the least.

Feeling Overwhelmed

The pressures of the world have forced me into a corner I can not escape without a fight.  Perhaps many of you are also feeling overwhelmed.  You have bills to pay, children to take to soccer practice, long hours at the office, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all.

Trust me, you’re not alone.  As Andy Andrews, author of The Noticer likes to say, “We’re all either in a crisis coming out of a crisis or headed into a crisis”.  In order to pull yourself from this mess and survive the storm with your wits intact, you have to be smart.

I’ve developed a routine that I follow every time I sense that I’m going to start feeling overwhelmed.  This routine has bailed me out time and time and again.  I guarantee it will save you as well.

Pray – Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, the first thing I do is pray.  I do this for several reasons.  Prayer helps you find true north again and center your thoughts where they should be. Prayer also gives you a chance to verbalize your crisis and think it through.  You’ll come out with a clear mind and a better understanding of your problems.

Seek Wisdom – I often lean toward the bible here but you can find wisdom in many places.  The odds that what you’re going through has never happened before are slim.  You’re not the first person to be feeling overwhelmed.  What does God say about this situation?  The Bible is full of wisdom and guidance. Learn to lean on it.

Go to the well – Retreat into your happy place when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  The default for any achiever is to get moving and start trying harder to fix the mess.  Unfortunately, bad situations are a lot like quick sand.  The more you toil, the quicker you sink.  Remove yourself from the situations and get a clearer picture of what is important and what is not.

Prioritize – I always apply the 4 F’s of life when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Faith, Family, Fitness and Finance.  These are the four cornerstones of life.  Prioritize them in that exact order.  Organize the tasks you must do by these four areas.

Sleep – You’re mind doesn’t worry so much when you’re asleep.  Moreover, stress can have a huge impact on your body.  When life becomes difficult and you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to find the time to get a good night’s sleep.  You’ll be more refreshed and alert to take on the challenges before you.

Life has a knack for spinning out of control and leaving a wake of disaster.  Don’t let it take control of you.  Learn to navigate the rough waters in your life by following this simple routine when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

What in your life is leaving you feeling overwhelmed right now?

Why I’m Scrapping My Excel To Do List for Nozbe

Years ago in college I finally caved in and realized a to do list might not be as evil as my middle school English teacher made it sound. So I began to use an excel to do list to track what needed to be done each day. A few years ago I switched to Nozbe and I haven’t looked back.

excel_to_do_list_nozbe

David Allen wrote a book that I’ve used for years as my go to guide on getting things done. The book is aptly named Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.  At first, I tried to use my excel to do list to track everything I needed to do. I soon found excel too bulky and rigid.

That is when I found Nozbe. One time through “processing in” and I was hooked. My excel to do list was out the window. Nozbe is the perfect companion to high productivity individuals and anyone looking to implement GTD. It is a must have for leaders and a leadership tool I use daily.

Mobile – I have Nozbe downloaded on my iPhone, iPad, Macbook, and my Office PC. In a pinch, I access it on the web as well. It syncs across all my devices so no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I have my to do list with me.

Project Driven – In Nozbe everything is driven by each project you have. It allows me to seperate things I have to do at work, on my blog, and at home. This enables me to focus on what needs to be done now, where I am.

Next Actions – With every to do, there is an action that must first be accomplished. Doing the next physical action to mark something off your to do list is how you get the productivity ball rolling. Nozbe aligns this next action at the top of each project. I can look at a project and instantly know exactly what I need to do at that very instant.

Context – Context tracking in Nozbe is something I never could achieve with my excel to do list. By clumping things together by context I can “bulk process” items together. Have a phone call to make? Why not sit down and make all your phone calls in one sitting? Context tracking also allows me to remember what I’ve assigned to my employees. For instance, my awesome VA Wendy has her own context. When I send something to her to do, I track it in her context. This way I always remember what I’m waiting for from her, or most often, what she’s waiting for from me.

Intregation – Something Nozbe will do that an Excel to do list is incapable of is integrating with other softwares. When I make a note in Evernote, it can autosync to a project in Nozbe. I can also email to do items to myself. Additionally, Nozbe just announced integration with Google Calendar! The integration is seamingly endless.

Knowledge work hinges on a leader’s capability to recognize what needs to be done next. An Excel to do list just falls short of the functionality today’s leaders need. If you’re curious to try out Nozbe, you can download the free software by clicking on the box in the right sidebar, or you can use this link: Download Nozbe Free. 

What is your default To Do List?

How To Shave 10 Hours Off Your Week And Find More Family Time

Almost everyone I know would like to have more time with his or her families. This is why we all enjoy vacations and why books like The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris are so popular. Most folks however, can’t up and retire, nor can they get by with only four hours of work a week.

Practical Ways to Shave 10 Hours

But, what if you could shave 10 hours off of your week every single week? What if you could spend 520 more hours with your family? That’s equivalent to 13 weeks of vacation! This isn’t such a far-fetched idea. In fact, it is very simple to do. Here are several places where you can create more family time in your day:

  1. Stop mowing your lawn (2hr/wk) – Redesign your lawn to be maintenance free. There are many options – Xerscape, turf, and even robot lawn mowers. Of course, you could always hire a lawn service to help you shave 10 hours off your week.
  2. Stop doing laundry (2hr/wk) – The last time I timed myself folding and putting away laundry, I averaged 20 minutes a load. On average, my family has five loads a week. Include the 20 minutes spent sorting it; I’d waste two hours a week doing laundry. Instead, find a laundry service in your area. Some even pick-up and drop-off.
  3. Stop cooking (5hr/wk) – Thirty minutes of food prep plus thirty minutes of cleaning dishes kills an hour a day for whoever is doing the work. Multiply that by five times a week, as much as seven, and you can quickly shave 10 hours off your week.
  4. Don’t Eat Out (5hr/wk) – I find that the average restaurant takes me 15 minutes to get from my front door to a table. Add 20 minutes for all the waiting you do between ordering your drinks, reading the menu, ordering food, and waiting for food. Another five minutes can be added for that annoying time when you’re finished and waiting for the check. Another 15 minutes back home; you’ve spent an hour not actually eating. Instead, pick food up on your way home, and then eat as a family.
  5. Hire a Cleaner (3hr/wk) – The size of your family and home will make this number fluctuate, but I’d bet three hours of cleaning your house per week is probably a fair estimate. Ask your friends for a recommendation or you can use websites like Care.com. They provide background checks to make sure you won’t be swindled.
  6. Stop Watching TV (14hr/wk) – According to this survey, the average person watches 2.8 hours of TV a day. This wastes 14 hours of your work week, when time with family is most hard to come by. Set down the remote and quickly shave 10 hours or more off you week. Plus, TV provides almost zero enrichment for your life.
  7. Outsource Labor (4hr/wk) – How much time do you spend driving to the grocery store, shopping, then driving home? Add in the same thing for the dry cleaners, the post office, and other errands. Outsource this to folks like TaskRabbit or Needto.  These are great sites to help you shave 10 hours off your week in other areas also.  You can often find someone to do your shopping for $20. Consider the $5 in gas you’re saving and you just spent $15 for an extra 2 hours with your family. That’s a great investment.

You may not be able to completely outsource your life – and who would want to? But you can certainly find a few more hours in a day if you’re intentional about it. Take an inventory of time wasters you engage in every day, and then get rid of them to shave 10 hours or more off your week!

What other activities are you doing that you could eliminate?