Archives For hacking

morningroutine

I hate routine, and yet I am a routine person.
There are areas of my life that routine drives me to the point of insanity.
There are areas of my life that routine keeps me in check.

I have a love/hate relationship with routine.

Today, let’s talk about my love for routine…my morning routine.

Productivity is one of the most important things we do in life. It separates the pretenders from serious contenders. Do not overestimate how important your productivity matters.
One of the best ways to be productive is to set yourself up for the most optimal productivity possible.

You might be wondering: “Kyle, how would one go about this?”
“Good thing you asked” I would say, “let me show you what I do.”

My morning routine or ritual explained:

1. Wake up at the same time

I wake up every morning at 6AM, no matter what. I have found this to be the best way to start my day. The discipline this creates starts the flow of my routine. Miss this time and it can throw off my entire day. My challenge for your morning routine is to pick a reasonable time you can wake up each day. Find the time that provides some buffer before you have to go to work or handle other responsibilities and also provides you enough rest from the night before.

Bonus tip: Figure out how long it takes you to get ready each morning and buffer that time in to your routine. I know it takes me 20 minutes to get ready for my day. This allows me to plan accordingly if my morning routine is to be interrupted or I have an early morning meeting.

2. Complete a task around the house

As crazy as this sounds, completing a small task around the house can get your day started on the right path. Pat Flynn taught me this trick. He (and I) wash the dishes before starting work. It helps accomplish something easy and quick and it moves the brain in to work mode. I usually make coffee for my wife and myself first thing before I get started. It is just another part of my routine that I do every morning to prep me for work.

3. Take 15 minutes to plan your day

A video posted by Kyle Reed (@kylereed) on


I use to keep all my task in my head. I had a general idea of what my day would be and what I wanted to do. The hard part was I never followed that plan in my head. Over the past year, I have taken 15 minutes every morning to plan out my mornings and afternoons. In fact, I created my own task sheet to help me plan my day. You can download my task sheet here for free.
This 15 minutes is so important. Creating a goal for the day with dedicated task allows you to give over the feeling of staying up with everything and gives you a map to complete your day.
I cannot express how important this step truly is to productivity.

Bonus tip: Download my task sheet :) 

4. Complete another task around the house or office

Yes, another task around the house or if you are at your work you can do something around your office. This is usually the time I do dishes or sweep. I sometimes put papers away, take the trash out, or make the bed. Just something else to help me signal my brain that it is time to work. It also clears my brain from the planning I went through and moves me to completing task.

Bonus tip: If you are married, your spouse will also be really happy with you. 

5. Use a timmer

This is the ultimate trick. Setting a time limit on task will blow your mind, seriously.
I have found myself completing my task sheet hours before the traditional work day is done. This timer allows me to stay focused and gives me a barometer of where I am at and a time limit to complete the task.
Pomodoro is a great app that I use all the time. Best part, it is free.
I will even write down how much time I want to give per task on my task sheet. Once the timer is set I go to work. When the timer ends I give myself a break of 5 minutes to do whatever I want. But as soon as that timer is up I go to the next task. Give this a shot, you will be surprised at how much you can get done.

Bonus tip: Also remember to set a time for a reward. You don’t feel as guilty checking twitter or instagram when you know you have put in the work on your to-do list. Give yourself some time to have some fun too.

6. Write down your success

This is one of the most difficult things for me. I often don’t focus on my successes and rather look at failures. I am definitely a glass half empty kind of guy. But, I have started to force myself to write these down as a way to remember and learn. There are times I forgot about all the things I have done or get to do, and these daily successes are a great reminder, especially when I am seeing the glass half empty.

Bonus tip: Check this app out called WinStreak. My friend @justinwise recommended it.

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These are 6 steps of many other steps I take daily to perfect my morning routine.
Every one will do it differently. Most importantly, we choose to do it. We choose to get serious about productivity and routine. We focus on the areas that will help us complete task we need to get done.
I believe we can accomplish far more than we ever believed, as long as we are focused on the task at hand.

Do you have a morning routine secret you want to share?

Next time you go to tweet or facebook your blog post or share a resource, try and schedule your tweet instead of hitting send.

This trick gives you freedom from the slave of immediate gratification (waiting for @ replies and RT’s) but also gives you rewards throughout your day.

I schedule all my social media post that I am soliciting conversation from for later in the day. This has been the best productivity idea I have come up with since writing with chalk in the shower.

It not only free’s you from waiting for a response but it gives you the added joy of checking twitter or facebook later and seeing a response.

Try it for a day and see if it helps your productivity flow.

hootsuite auto schedule feature

Check out more post here on productivity hacking.

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

Productivity has one main goal: get things done.
One of the best ways to be more productivity is to use momentum.
Momentum is found in things that we accomplish.
The more we accomplish, the more momentum we find to a do more things.

My productivity hack for getting things done is to find momentum in the little things I do.

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Momentum is hard to understand. But I started to see its impact when I chose to wake up early rather than sleep.
For the longest time I would sleep in till I had to get up and go to work. Thinking I was getting more rest for my day, but realizing that I was tired and overwhelmed by my daily to-do list, the time that I used for sleep was robbing me of momentum for my day.

That all changed when I decided to start waking up early and reading. Arising 3 hours before I had to go to work set off productivity momentum that carried me through the day. It had nothing to do for when I woke up, it had everything to do with the small wins that I accomplished in that time.

Regardless of if you are a morning person or a late night person, finding that momentum to push you over the edge is the key to getting anything done.
Productivity hacking comes down to finding ways to get wins. And when I talk about wins I am specifically focusing on getting things done.

Wins could be…

-Write a long overdue blog post
-Read a chapter of a book
-Make yourself breakfast
-Do 20 minutes of stretching
-Take the dog for a walk
-Have a meaningful conversation before 8AM
-Go for a late night run

Momentum really has nothing to do with time of day, but rather when you complete your task. Momentum builds upon itself and moves you forward to bigger things. Instead of starting out with the goal of writing a thousand words when you wake up, set the goal of writing 3 tweets for the day. Instead of trying to come up with an idea to make more revenue, focus on 2 small steps towards your previous idea on revenue generation.

If you watch any baseball, you know that sometimes a rally starts with a walk. If someone gets on base it could be the spark that gets the team going. Next thing you know, the bases are loaded, your best hitter is at the plate and hits a grand slam to put your team up by 4 runs. The rally had to start somewhere, and it started with that small win of the first guy getting on base.

Momentum comes down to finding those little wins that will lead you to accomplishing the next step until you have reached the top of your dream.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

Today’s productivity hack is exactly how it sounds, beat people to the busy places of life. There is a coffee shop I frequent often. I have written about how many times I have visited here. I have noticed that they get really really busy from 8:30AM until about 2pm every single day. Maybe you like the chaos of 50 people trying to get their drinks and find a seat, I on the other hand get distracted very easily. That is why every morning at 8:30 I leave that coffee shop.

My motivation for beating people to the busy places is to be more productive. I get to my coffee shop at 7AM, when it is just me and the baristas.

But this productivity hack doesn’t just end with physical places, beating people to the busy places also has to do with beating people to the busy market spaces.

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I try to remember this hack for specific areas of my life. Paying attention to what is going on around me, I note the busy times of ideas, strategies and trends and then try to beat people to the places that have plenty of space to breathe and stretch. This productivity hack has more to do with anticipation and paying attention then anything else.

I remember when I played basketball in high school, anticipation was a huge part of the game, but along with that anticipation I paid attention to certain players habits so I could predict what they were going to do next. I wasn’t very good at basketball, but I got a lot of playing time because I hustled and out beat my opponent simply by paying attention and anticipating.

Beating people to busy places doesn’t mean that you go where no one is at, it means that you go to the popular places just not when they are there. So instead of using twitter as a place to share your links you use it as a place to other share quotes or ideas. It is all about taking the time to get there during the off hours so you can get more done. This hack becomes very productive when you can start to capitalize on a market that is ready for something new.

It is what Jon Acuff did by challenging people to wake up early and work.
It is what Jeff Goins did by encouraging people to declare themselves writers.
It is what Gary Vee did by offering up interviews daily.

Each of these guys didn’t come up with the “place” (idea or thought) but instead chose to look at it in a different way and use it to benefit their ideas. They beat people to the busy places.

How do you hack productivity? Pay attention to the trends and anticipate where people are not.

This post is a part of a series of post entitled Productivity Hacking: How to hack productivity to get more done and get results.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

Ask anyone one thing they would like more of besides money and the common answer would be time. But surrounding the desire for more time is something that I think we all miss, silence. As a byproduct of time, silence is one of the main things we neglect. Taking a moment to just be quiet goes against everything we think we need. In reality, sometimes taking a moment to be silent can be the most productive thing you can do.

As crazy and loud your life might be, the best habit of productivity is to take some time to be silent.

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Most of the advice I have heard about getting things done talks about capitalizing on your commute. Redeeming that time is a great way to stay productive, but I would argue using this time to be silent is the most productive thing you can do. Lately I have turned my drive time into silent time. Instead of listening to the radio, sports talk or make phone calls, I choose to be silent. This allows me to think through my day, do some praying and come up with ideas.

At first it was difficult to be quiet for more then 2 minutes. But lately I have found myself taking longer and longer moments of silence to just sit and think. Recently, silence has helped me be more productive with my to-do list, my ideas, and future conversations.  Because silence has caused me to be intentional. And when I choose to be intentional, my time gets intentional. And so the very thing that I need more of, time, becomes more accessible because I have become intentional with the time I have.

My productivity hack for time is to use silence to get more intentional with everything I do.
Try it today, spend some drive time being quiet. You might be surprised how much more productive you will get.

This post is a part of a series of post entitled Productivity Hacking: How to hack productivity to get more done and get results.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

I love email and I think you do to. Sure you dread your inbox, but if I know anything about you, checking your email is more of a habit verses a productive activity. Most of us check our email 10-25 times a day. Many check to reference previous emails, follow up to other emails or send a message to a co-worker. But inside this checking multiple things can happen: you get overwhelmed by how many emails you have, you get distracted by new emails or obsess over getting your inbox to zero.

No matter your email habits, today we are going to talk about a productivity hack that will allow you to use email to enhance your work rather then distract you from your work.

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I use my email inbox as a reference. Keeping important emails at the top, I often refer back to my email app for pertinent information that I need. You might do the same thing. What I have found over time is when I refer back to previous emails for reference I inevitably check my other emails and get distracted by (so called) importance. This is a huge time waster for me and for you.

The battle that we face with email is the law of attention. When we enter the land of unread emails, they are all screaming at us to open and answer them. When we refer back to previous emails, those two week old still haven’t responded to emails start to scream for our attention. Our email inbox is just one big attention seeker. And for most of us, our inbox always wins.

It is time to start using our emails to assist us rather then dominate us.

Here is a trick that I have started to employ for emails.
As soon as I receive an email in that I will need to reference for later I copy the text of the email to an evernote folder that corresponds to the message. This now allows me to move it out of my inbox, reference it for later, and keep focused on the task at hand.

This might sound a bit extreme. But for me, emails can often take time away from my day and can be a huge drain. With this trick I can now store the email away for a later time and never lose or miss an important email or task. This has saved me time and energy and has allowed me to be the aggressor on my work rather then the victim of distraction.

Other email tips

  • Set your email to check for updates every hour.
  • Pick 3 times a day to check your email and respond.
  • Turn off all noise and sound notifications.
  • Don’t use your phone to check email (even to reference, remember that is what evernote is for).
  • Tell others your email schedule. Set up an automated response to tell people when you will be checking your email and responding.

It is time to use email as a productive activity. It is time we start hacking the way we look at email.
Check out this company here who is starting to help us rethink email: Mailbox App

This post is a part of a series of post entitled Productivity Hacking: How to hack productivity to get more done and get results.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

Efficiency is a great word.
It can bring sanity, structure and productivity to any area it is applied.

With the start of the new year, the focus to accomplish more is at the fore-front of everyones mind. Inside of these goals, efficiency is begging to be a part of all that you do.
As I have started my 52/7 focus for the new year, efficiency has been baked into everything I do.

This Productivity hack focuses on chalk and the shower.

 productivity_hacking

Not wanting to waste time, often we can make up time in our everyday routine. One place to do this is the shower. Hopefully, showering is something you do every single day. It is as common as sleeping, eating and working. Focusing on this time being renewed, the shower can become a place where ideas are dreamt, sketched and formulated. Recently, my shower has turned into my canvas of productivity. I have used my shower walls as my canvas to capture ideas and plans, and you can too.

This can be accomplished several different ways.

1. Chalk

The way that I have accomplished this hack is by using a piece of chalk to write on my walls. I have tile walls which allow me to write down ideas and then erase once I have been able to transfer the info over to Evernote. This time allows me to not let my ideas go down the drain.

2. Pencil and Paper

If you do not have tile on your bathroom walls another great practice is to get waterproof pencil and paper (I have used this product here from amazon and it works great). This is another way to capture different ideas that you might have as you stand there and think about your day.

3. Notecards

There is a John Maxwell quote that I have had in my shower walls at my parents house for over 11 years:

Leaders don’t whine from the challenge they win from the challenge

I wrote this on a notecard my sophomore year of high school and taped it to my bathroom wall. Every time I see it I am reminded of the importance of leadership and the challenge that is ahead. One way to hack your productivity is to write thoughts, insights or ideas on a notecard and tape them in places you can see. If you don’t want to tape them to your bathroom wall, tape them to the mirror in your bathroom. It can serve as a daily reminder for you and others.

These are 3 ideas that can help you hack your productivity and redeem your time. As most would note, our time is precious. This series will focus on all the different ways we can get more time and more productive.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done