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Once Upon a Time I Accidentally Lost Four Hours of My Life & it Totally Changed My Business

It all started with a link on a client email, that led to a website, that led to a testimonial that led to a Facebook page, that led to a new marketing strategy, that led to a deep, resounding certainty that I had to completely change directions and run off to be a Russian ballerina or one of those women who swallow fire. (That’s still a thing, right? Imagine the heartburn.)

It’s basically what I’m famous for, my nature is to always look for better ways of doing things, every single time. (It kind of drives my husband crazy, to be honest.) So, after four hours of cramming my brain with every last iota of info about this new marketing idea that I was sure would catapult my business into a new stratosphere (!!!!), I realized that it was — after all — not actually a fit for my business in any way, shape, or form. I’d spent 4 hours studying everyone else’s business, but hadn’t actually done anything to move my own forward. I hadn’t even looked at my to-do list.

IT OBVIOUSLY WASN’T THE FIRST TIME I’D DONE SOMETHING LIKE THAT, BUT I KNEW IT WAS ABSOLUTELY MY LAST.

This was a year ago. Y’know, I hear comments all the damn time that people are stupid and lazy, and that’s why we can’t get out of our own way to move our lives forward. People are not stupid or lazy. We’re just busy. Very busy, being distracted by all the useless junk buzzing around us all day.

The average American will spend at least 10 years of their life staring blankly at a screen, whether it’s a TV, iPad, phone, or video game. Hell, I’ve been guilty of staring at several of those screens simultaneously! All of our energy is spent learning forklift-loads of insignificant rubbish that has absolutely nothing to do with anything that truly matters in our lives. Things like: batting averages, NCAA stats, who the Bachelor chose, or where the Kardashians or Housewives are vacationing. Does any of that stuff make a difference in our lives? Definitely not a positive one — we’re spending our time fixated on celebrity lives, when that same energy could be used to move our own lives forward.

INTERNET B.S. IS KILLING OUR AMBITION, DISSOLVING OUR DRIVES, AND MAKING US FEEL TRAPPED IN A RUT—NOT JUST ABOUT OURSELVES, BUT ABOUT OUR LIVES, TOO.

(Quick aside: You and your life are what matter most.)

Ultimately, we’re watching other people do meaningful work, raise happy children, drink dirty martinis with their friends, open that bakery, and travel the world — instead of actually doing these things ourselves. (Also, perception on the internet is insane, and we all have those friends who dominate on Instagram but not in real life.)

I HATE TO BE THE ONE TO BREAK IT TO YOU, BUT WE’RE CHECKING OUT ON PURPOSE .

Why? Because it’s easier . Buying a self-study course on change is easier than changing. Looking at pictures of Rome is easier than getting on the plane. And thinking we’re adding any meaning to our lives by watching others do the same is easier than actually adding meaning to our lives . Moving forward is work, but it’s worth it. Over the last year, I’ve developed a set of simple rules that’ll help you run your day on purpose, blocking out the distracting, easy noise so you can tune into yourself, your life and your business. So without further ado:

5 STEPS TO RUNNING YOUR DAY ON PURPOSE

  1. The night before, make a list of the top 3 things you must accomplish for the next day. (When you do it the night before, you can hit the ground full-force sprinting the next morning without any distractions.)
  2. In the morning, look over your top 3 must-dos, and tackle the task you hate most. If you can get that bad boy done, the other two items seem like a cake walk. (Disclaimer: No cake actually included.)
  3. Don’t check your emails for the first hour you’re working. Otherwise, you might accidentally spend your day responding to everyone else’s requests and working on their to-do lists while completely ignoring your own. (And there’s hardly ever anything so grave it can’t wait an hour, right?)
  4. Use social media for your business, but don’t check into Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram until your top 3 must-do s are completed. (It’s a reward for plowing through the important tasks.) Concerned about not sharing anything in the morning? Sign up for something like Hootsuite, a great little online app that lets you schedule social media in advance.
  5. Set a timer to go off every 20 minutes. This way, you’ll have a reminder to stay on track and reinforce that you’re doing what’s most important and what you should be doing. (Warning: Don’t go with a timer app online that’s too fancy because — you guessed it — it’s so easy to get distracted. Been there, done that.)

Look. We’ve all been that person texting during dinner instead of contributing to the conversation or looking people in their eyes. We’ve all stayed up too late flipping through ex’s photo albums on Facebook or staring at old pics of our kiddos. (A nostalgic tear or two may be involved.) And we’ve all researched gyms instead of actually just joining one.

BUT IT’S TIME WE PUT OUR MONEY — AND COMPUTER MOUSES — WHERE OUR MOUTHS ARE, AND START ACTUALLY DOING THE WORK .

(Hint: Doing the work may cause you to grow into a cooler human, burst out into raucus laughter with friends, and like yourself a whole hell of a lot more.)


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