5 Daily Habits That Will Increase Your Productivity Levels

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“How can I become more productive?” is a question that will continue to always come up.

Everyone wants to get more done and feel a sense of accomplishment as each day comes to an end. There are a million different productivity tips out there, but here a five ways to increase your productivity levels that have worked wonders in my own life.

1. Arrive early, stay later

Living in a congested city such as Chicago, I have found that if I start my workday before everyone else, I can save time by beating traffic and getting to my most important tasks right away. Sitting in traffic will do nothing but frustrate you and set a negative tone for the rest of your day. The same goes for when the end of the work day rolls around.

Your ability to save these extra hours can not only increase your productivity levels drastically, but help you become one of the highest paid and most productive people in your field. Arriving early and staying a little bit later could make all the difference in the world.

2. Plan each day the night before

This is a total game changer. If you spend just 15 minutes before you go to bed the night before creating your to-do list and prioritizing it, you will have a head start on your day when the morning rolls around. After I create my to-do list, I pick the most important tasks and put a little star next to them reminding me that these are the tasks that need to be done to push me forward with achieving big goals.

3. Leave the office for lunch

This is something so small that can have such a powerful effect on how you work for the remainder of your day. Getting out of your work environment for lunch can ease stress levels, refresh your creativity and help you to re-focus for when it’s time to go back to work. I often take a short walk to clear my head and think about how I want the rest of my day to go.

4. Minimize distractions

This seems self-explanatory, but in this day and age, distractions are everywhere. If you work from a computer, as most do, there is the temptation to check social media and surf the Internet, among many other things. When it’s time to work, work! If possible, close your door and have a “do not disturb” sign hanging on the door so your co-workers know not to bother you.

Every company has those employees that love to talk about what was on TV the night before instead of actually getting important things done. Don’t let these average achievers hold you back. Set boundaries and try your very best to abide by them daily. Your ability to minimize distractions as much as possible can single handedly increase productivity.

5. Keep your goals in sight at all times

After setting extremely big and exciting goals that you want to accomplish, keep them in sight at all times. I keep a list of my goals in my phone, a note card that I carry in my pocket and in a spiral notebook. The main objective is to keep your goals in a place where you will end up seeing them many times throughout your day. When I glance down at my goals, my motivation levels to get things done goes through the roof.

Start to picture yourself as the most productive person in your field. How does it feel? What tasks are you spending the majority of your time on? What is your philosophy on personal performance? Be in competition with yourself to see how much you can get done. Have fun with it. Make it a game.

Always try to beat the person you were the day before. Keep track of your results and work every single day to be a highly productive individual and watch the small daily victories begin to transform your life.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Keeping a Daily Journal Can Give You Tremendous Power

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For over three years, I have reaped unbelievable benefits from keeping and writing in a journal daily. Being able to have a place where I can analyze where I am, see my daily progress and capture quotes/sayings that really move me has been incredibly beneficial.

As the late Jim Rohn once said, “A life worth living is a life worth recording.”

Not only can a journal be a place where we store important information, record quotes or sayings that move us, but it’s also a wonderful tool to help us analyze where we are at and where we want to go.

A journal can be used in a number of different ways. Personally, I do quite a few different things in my journal. Below, I will give you an excerpt from my own personal journal, but first I want to jump into five reasons why you should consider keeping a journal.

1. Increase your happiness by listing five things you are grateful for each day.

Before I do anything else, I begin to list five to 10 things I am grateful for that particular day. There is tremendous power in actually writing down on paper what you are grateful for. The pen to paper to mind connection is magical.

2. Keep track of your goals by logging daily action steps.

The little things can pay big dividends. Being able to physically write your goals for the year and track the action steps that are being taken towards them is a sure path to success. You might notice you didn’t do as much one day in comparison to another. This will help pinpoint areas of growth so more can be done to maintain consistent progress, even on a bad day.

3. Jot down key lessons learned throughout the day or notes from a book you are currently reading.

Find a quote you like and write it down. Learn something new from an online course you are enrolled in and write it down. However you are learning or searching for ways to grow as an individual, being able to write down what you learned is reinforcing the concept. You’ll be able to go back at a later date and look at what was written to refresh your memory.

4. Monitor your health and fitness gains.

Sometimes something might or might not be working, but being able to quickly write down the results you are seeing, your actual workout you did for the day, or how you felt before and after the workout is setting you up for optimal health because you are making it a priority.

5. Take motivation levels to a whole new level and grow individually daily.

Being able to write down how you are feeling, what you are learning, quotes and sayings that move and inspire you is motivating. When you go back and look at what you wrote the previous day, you will be able to see progress or a saying that inspires you to move faster and work harder.

Those are just a few ways I use my own personal journal. There really is no right or wrong way.

As promised, here is an excerpt from my very own personal journal to give you a good idea on how to get started:

Aug. 7, 2013

– Today I am extremely grateful for the health of my family and friends. Without them, I am nothing.

– I am grateful for the opportunity to be speaking to 1,000 business leaders on how to maximize their performance as an organization. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love but more importantly serve others. 

Fitness and health

I ran 2.5 miles this morning and got in a light dynamic lower-body workout before prepping for my speech. I felt great before and after my workout. I reached my goal today of drinking 1 liter immediately upon waking. Before bed tonight, I will spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching. 

Daily objectives

To serve and bring tremendous value to the client. Spend time before and after the event talking with employees on ways they think the organization can grow and become better. Report my talks with leadership with a follow up phone call.

I came across a quote from Norman Vincent Peale today that really touched me. 

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” 

This quote speaks volumes in so many ways. Self-confidence is an absolute must for anyone striving to achieve their biggest goals and dreams in life.

It’s my hope that after reading this you feel a little more compelled to utilize the tremendous power of a journal. It can be a fantastic tool to help make 2015 a fantastic year for you. Even if you are a little reluctant at first, just try it for 30 days.

I can confidently say that I think you will be pretty satisfied after the 30 days are up and won’t want to stop anytime thereafter.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Things We Can All Learn from Stuart Scott

One of the more moving speeches I have seen in quite some time was Stuart Scott’s speech at the 2014 ESPYs when he was presented with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

There are a million reasons as to why this speech was so spectacular, but what touched me the most was that he was speaking solely from the heart. He meant every word that came out of his mouth and actually lived it every single day of his life.

Stuart Scott wasn’t just a legendary sportscaster. He was a legend of a human being that brightened everyone’s world around him.

Of course everyone is sad and grieving when someone passes away, but to see the reaction of some of the world’s biggest stars when Scott officially passed away was a clear testament to the way he lived his life. Stuart Scott was the real star.

Here are 3 things we can all learn from Stuart Scott.

1.) Never give up.

One of the most incredible things that Stuart Scott lived and breathed for every single day was to demonstrate to never give up. Whether it’s fighting for what you want in life or continuing to come back time and time again after getting knocked down to your knees, never give up. Stuart Scott was a champion where it mattered most, in the game of life.

2.) Love your family now.

It deeply touched my heart the love and affection Stuart Scott had for his family, especially his daughters. You could tell by the way he went about his everyday life how much his family meant to him. We don’t know how much time we have left here on earth. Life in itself is one of the most extraordinary gifts we will ever receive. Love those closest to you now. Stop what you are doing right this second and tell someone that you love how much they mean to you.

3.) Be YOU!

If there is one quality that I absolutely love about Stuart Scott it would be his ability to be himself and not worry about what others thought or said about him. When he first got into being a sportscaster and on TV, he brought his own persona. He wasn’t like everyone else. He brought a whole new dimension to being a sportscaster. People praised him, people bashed him, and people doubted him, but one thing that never changed was Stuart Scott being himself.

I strongly believe that Stuart Scott was as successful as he was and was loved by so many from all over the world because of his authenticity while on camera. We can all learn to be more authentic and true to ourselves every waking moment of every day.

I was deeply saddened by the passing of this courageous man who made such a tremendous difference in the world. I never personally met Stuart Scott, but I sure did learn a lot from him and his courageous battle.

“When you die, that does not mean that you lost to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.” -Stuart Scott

10 Ways to Crush It in 2015

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At the beginning of the every new year and even a little bit before then, everyone has the same theme, or at least they think so. This theme is, “This is going to be my best year yet!” Unfortunately, once the end of the year rolls around again, they quickly realize that the past year was just like all the other years.

Nothing was really different. The same habits, the same achievements, the same goals and the same mediocre results. Please don’t fall into this category that will rob so many people of greatness this upcoming year.

Here are 10 ways to help you crush it in 2015.

1. Get serious!

To truly make this year your best year yet and absolutely crush it in 2015, you must get serious about doing just that. A majority of people will get excited for the first 30 days and then fall victim to complacency and just coast along from that point on. Get serious about your life. Get serious about your business. Get serious about your health. Get serious!

2. Learn and let go of 2014.

The whole last week of every year I spend every single day reflecting on how my previous year went and how I can grow and get better from it. I analyze my wins and losses and how I can build momentum going into the New Year.

But once I am finished with this process, I let the previous year completely go. I erase it from my thinking and encourage you to do the same. If it was a successful year for you, great, but don’t let that define your 2015. Build new successes and reach for new heights. If it wasn’t the best of year for you, there’s incredible opportunity ahead because you have a whole year to absolutely crush it and make up for lost ground in 2014. Don’t let one bad year turn into a bad life.

3. Take your health and fitness to the next level.

If you are going to take your success, income and business to the next level, then you must not forget about your health and fitness. This is one of the greatest assets that you have. Never take your health for granted. If you keep your body in unbelievable shape, you will increase your productivity levels like crazy and boost your self confidence.

4. Get very clear about what you want.

Setting a goal to lose weight, get in better shape or make more money won’t cut it. Maybe for the first month you might be motivated but over time this type of clarity won’t cut it. When you get extremely clear about what it is you want, your desire and commitment to actually make it a reality will skyrocket. Get clear about what you want.

5. Take massive action.

If people decided to actually get going on their new year goals and resolutions instead of just talking about them they would begin to see an amazing shift take place. One thing is for certain if you are going to really crush it in 2015: You must take massive action! Less talking and more doing.

6. Let this be the year you let your mind work for you, not against you.

As hard as it may be at times, we fully control what goes into our minds and what we think about. Instead of letting your fears get the best of you or letting self-diminishing thoughts convince you that you are not capable, really work at what goes into your mind and what you think about. Come up with a routine that nourishes your mind and builds you up. Read the book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen to help get you started.

7. Hang around those who are doing better than you.

Take the time to analyze your relationships. As I say all the time, “Association is everything.” If you constantly surround yourself with others who aren’t doing big things then guess what? You won’t do big things. The weak and mediocre get jealous when they are surrounded by others who are doing better than them. Champions, on the other hand, love being in the presence of greatness. They not only admire other peoples’ success, they let it fuel them to be great themselves.

8. Create a personal growth plan.

Make 2015 all about your growth as an individual. I am a big believer that self-education is the best kind of education. Possibly nothing else could impact your life more in 2015 than creating a personal growth plan.

9. Stop the take-take mentality and operate out of the give-give mentality.

In business and in the game of life, always try to give more than you take. Be known as someone who gives freely and is always looking to serve others.

10. Create a sense of urgency!

Nothing gets on my nerves more than someone with a lack of urgency. Life is short, so live that way! If there is something you want to do, do it. If there is someone you love, tell them. If you have a passion, follow it. What a shame it would be if you missed out on something special all because of a lack of urgency. I see it happen all the time.

I hope this year is the year everything changes for you. I hope this year is your best year yet. I hope this year is the year you absolutely crush it and end up changing your life and business forever. Don’t settle for average. Happy New Year!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com