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Quirks that Cost us Time

time.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. The five elements of bigg success are money, time, growth, work and play. Today we want to focus on time.

Quirks. Call them peculiarities, idiosyncracies, habits, oddities, eccentricities …

Okay, we’ll end our tour of the Thesaurus!

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We all have quirks which, to some extent, make us who we are. But some of them get in the way of our bigg success. There’s way too many to cover in a short post, so we’ll discuss a few quirks that perfectionists sometimes exhibit.

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georgeAh … perfectionism. I have to admit to falling into this one, but I get it honestly – my Dad was a perfectionist. To this day, I have to fight the urge to get it perfect. It’s too high of a standard for most of the things we do. We’re only human; we need to accept it.

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The Compulsive Cleaning Quirk

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marylynnSomething that goes along with perfectionism is being obsessive about something. For example – the Compulsive Cleaning Quirk. No one could accuse me of this. Maybe the Compulsive Picking Up for the Cleaning Person quirk!

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We’re told from the time we’re kids that cleanliness is next to godliness. So Compulsive Cleaners clean … and clean … and clean. And they pick up … and pick up … and pick up. Obviously, clean and tidy are good things but there are limits. This quirk sweeps away your valuable time.

The Infomaniac Quirk

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georgeThis is a quirk I constantly fight. It’s the need to have all the information before you get started. News flash – it’s impossible! There’s just too much information available. There are too many options these days. This quirk deletes your productive time.

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The Minutiae Quirk

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marylynnPeople who fall into this trap get caught up in all the little details and lose sight of the bigg picture. It’s important not to get mired down in the bits and pieces and lose track of the cohesive whole. This quirk turns your activities into trivial pursuits.

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Perfectionism can hurt our productivity. So when you feel your quirkiness coming out, here are some little things that make a bigg difference:

Strive for excellence, not perfection.

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marylynnPerfectionists aren’t going to settle for anything less than stellar. You will still put out a high quality product or service, but remind yourself that you don’t have to get it perfect.

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georgeEven though my Dad was a perfectionist, he had this saying, “It’s good enough for who it’s for.” Of course, he usually said this when he was working on a project for himself! Remind yourself that sometimes good enough is good enough.

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Know when to say “when”

Give yourself a deadline – be it thirty minutes or thirty days – to accomplish something. This will help you focus on moving ahead without getting caught up in trying to make something perfect.

Make a decision

Take comfort in the amount of information you have. Remind yourself that you can adapt as new information hits your radar.

Remind yourself that “the devil is in the details” but the destination is the direction. Don’t just begin with the end in mind as Stephen Covey taught us; keep the end in mind. Everything should move you closer to your destination.

A law and a question

The law of diminishing returns underlies this whole discussion. You reach a point where it’s just not worth your time to do anymore.

So how do you know when you’ve reached that point? Ask yourself about materiality.

If you press on, what material difference will you make to the finished product?

If it’s material, press on. If not, move on. It’s a key to bigg success.

Have you battled perfectionism? What have you done to get past it? Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We think it’s just perfect that you read our post today. Thank you so much!

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Frank Sinatra did it “his way.” Please join us next time when we’ll talk about why Frank wouldn’t make it today. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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How to Stay Focused

on_target.jpgHave you ever met someone who really seemed to have it all?

‘Cause they’ve got personality … walk!

Personality … talk!

Personality … smile!

Well you get the idea! So ends our tribute to Lloyd Price and the song You’ve Got Personality. Back to our regularly scheduled program …

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You know they could be a bigg success, but they just can’t stay focused. They start a project but then something else captures their attention. Kind of like the interruption we just had with the song.

Bright, shiny objects

Liz Strauss calls it Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s easy to succumb to bright, shiny objects. We must overcome these distractions if we want to reach bigg success and live our lives on our own terms.

It begins by creating a vivid image of what you want your life to be. With this long-term vision in mind, you’re ready to break it up step-by-step and set a due date for each step.

That’s called a milestone. It’s our exclusive focus day-to-day. We develop a plan to get to the next milestone. It’s helpful to break that milestone down into terms – a quarter or a month.

Then begin each week by thinking about what you need to accomplish this week to reach your goal for the month. Now that helps you determine what’s most important to get done each day of this week.

Then all you have to do is everything you can every single day to get there!

Today is all that matters

It begins with a prioritized list – what must I do today to hit my goal this week?

By having this focus, it keeps us from being distracted by those bright, shiny objects. Here’s how we do it:

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georgeI love spreadsheets so that’s what I use. I divide my tasks every day by priority – “A priorities” are those things I must do, “B” are what I need to do, and “C” are things I want to do. Then I order the tasks within the categories. So the first thing I work on is my “A1” item.

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marylynnSounds like a steak sauce, George! I like the old-fashioned pen and paper. For me, it works better to write out everything on a legal pad. Then every day, I pull off the most important things I have to do from that paper and put it on a sticky note. I have everything on my main list but I put the most important things front and center. Another thing that I really like about this is getting to crumble up those sticky notes when I’ve finished these important tasks.

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georgeI’m glad you pointed that out, Mary-Lynn. I highlight each item in my spreadsheet as I complete it for the same reason. As the day goes on and I see more and more lines highlighted, I get a tangible sense of accomplishment.

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Avoid bright, shiny objects so you can focus on the bigg prize. Start with your vision of what life on your own terms means to you. Then focus today on what’s most important to get there.

Doing the right things leads to bigg success!

How do you keep yourself on task?

Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thank you for sharing your time with us today.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
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Next time, we’ll discuss how opportunity is like a flower. Please join us! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00387-050509.mp3

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Future Shock! Why You Over-commit

shock You’re backed up with work. There’s no time to spare. You’re busy, busy, busy. You eat your lunch at your desk and keep plugging away. An hour passes, then another. It looks like another late night at the office. And it’s Friday. Guess you’ll be working this weekend. As evening approaches, you get a call from a friend who is chairing the fundraising committee this year for his favorite charity. He asks if you’d help raise money this year. The campaign kicks off in a month. Oh, what the heck you say – it’s over a month away. No problem!

You don’t think anymore about it. The weeks turn into a month. You get an e-mail reminding you of the first committee meeting. You’re just as busy now as you were when you committed to it. But now you have yet another obligation – you have to serve on this committee.

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The future becomes the present

A study done a while back showed that we do have a tendency to think we will miraculously be less busy in the future than we are today. So we say “yes” to requests for our time in the future. Then we’re shocked when the future becomes the present and we have even less time than we had before.

We’ve overcommitted ourselves … again!

5 questions to ask before committing yourself

The first question is simply a check. It may be obvious, but we didn’t feel we could leave it out.

  • How will this request advance me toward my goals? If it doesn’t, why say yes.

The next four questions aren’t sequential. They should be answered simultaneously.

  • If you had to do this tomorrow or next week, would you still say yes? If you can’t say yes to this question without hesitation, why commit yourself? But consider the next question before saying “no”.

  • How significant would the impact be on your life if you say yes? You may be willing to pay the price of overextending yourself if the pay off is high enough. If that’s the case, look at the next question.

  • How much time will it realistically take? You can only operate in a state of hyper-activity for a short period of time. If it will take a year, you can’t push yourself that hard. So if it’s a long-term project you may have to say no. If it’s short-term you may be able to say yes. In either case, consider the next question.

  • What am I willing to say “no” to or put “on hold” in order to do this? You only have 24 hours in your day just like any human. Will you sleep less? Spend less time with your family? Skip your next vacation? Be realistic about what you have to give up. Is it worth the price? 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to commit (or not commit) your time in the future. You understand that you won’t have more time then. So you’ll be careful to only commit to those things which will make you a bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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We greatly appreciate you reading our post today. Join us next time as we look at the difference between being battle-scarred and battle-scared. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

How $70,000 Delivered 5,000 Families from Drought and Hunger

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

Bloggers from all over the world wide web are discussing poverty today in the hopes that conversation for a cause will lead to a cure. We’ll share how $70,000 had an impact on drought and hunger.

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marylynnWe chose to participate because we believe in the cause and we believe in the power of people working together with a purpose.

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georgeWe remembered an inspiring Wall Street Journal article [pdf] written by Roger Thurow. It highlights how seemingly small things can make a bigg difference in the developing world. We love success stories and this one is awesome!

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$70,000 feeds 5,000 families

A group of farmers in Ohio raised $70,000 and sent it to another group of farmers in Kenya. The project is part of the Foods Resource Bank, an organization that fights hunger by connecting churches here with groups in need around the world.

The Ohio farmers decided to send money, rather than food, so the farmers in Kenya could decide how to use it best. They spent the money to build a number of small dams and retention ponds to catch water in the rainy season so they would have water year-round. With that water, five thousand families have been delivered from hunger.

Everybody wins

Here’s an example of the impact made by just one project. The farmers in Ohio sent $3,000 to the farmers in Kenya, who hired an engineer. With the plan in hand, the Kenyan farmers built the dam with their own labor and materials.

Now their village has water – for themselves, for their cattle, and for growing crops. The women of the village used to walk about ten miles to get water. Now their time is being used much more productively.

With the water problem solved, the village switched its focus to better roads. These roads are the link to nearby markets where the farmers can sell their surplus produce. But they had deep ruts which made them nearly impassable.

It used to take two hours to get to the market by bike, which is the main form of transportation there. Bikes cost $6 to rent. With the improved roads, it only takes a half-an-hour now to get into town and bike rents have fallen to $3.

Talk about win / win! The farmers are paying 50% less to rent a bike. But the person who rents the bikes is making 100% more, because the bikes get returned so quickly. Everybody wins!

Farmer increases income over 400%

The article also highlights one Kenyan farmer. With the water nearby thanks to the dam, he was able to dig his own water retention pond, which he uses to irrigate his crops. His income has grown from less than $100 a year to $500 per year!

That’s an increase of over 400%!

Now he’s plowing his extra profits back into his business. He bought a generator and mechanical pump to double his cultivated land. He also planted 400 mango trees.

Entrepreneurship at its finest!

How it started

All of these wonderful things started with the vision of one man – the pastor in the village. Originally, he reached out for food from the large international agencies. But he feared that his people would become dependent.

So he formed a development group that created a list of needs – water was number one on the list. He sent that list to a number of organizations, including the Foods Resource Bank. They got the farmers in Ohio involved.

Takeaways

We found this story so inspiring because it shows that a small amount of money with a large amount of focus can accomplish bigg things.

We liked how farmers here supported farmers there. We can all use our passion, knowledge, and skills to help people like us in other parts of the world.

It also shows the resourcefulness of people. Get resources to people on the scene. They will find a way to overcome their biggest obstacles with their ingenuity and industriousness. The accomplishments can be phenomenal!

You, too, can make a difference. Donate money or make microloans to people in need with good ideas. Reach out to organizations that have the infrastructure in place to help people in need.

It only takes one person.
Each of us can make a bigg difference in helping other people around the world be a bigg success.

Next time, we’ll talk with a man who left a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm to do his own thing. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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how $70,000 saved 5,000 families|Blog Action Day 2008

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Track Your Time with this Popular Toy

legosWe read a very interesting post by Michael Hunger at the Better Software Development blog. What we learned from Michael is that sometimes it pays to think inside the box! He uses Legos to track his time. You have to see his illustrations to really understand it. So go to his site and check it out!

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His system

He puts a whole week on a single 8-peg by 16-peg base. He uses a different colored 1-peg by 8-peg piece for each day of the week. He breaks each hour into four 15-minute segments. So each row has a maximum of four blocks across, one for each fifteen minutes. If you work eight hours, you’ll have a max of eight rows high, one for each hour.

Then he assigns one of the nine colors to each project. He checks his start time and end time and then places a block for each fifteen minutes worked on that project. So if he worked on two projects in the first hour, for half-an-hour each, he would have a row with two colors in it, one color for each project.

The result

The overall result is that, at the end of each week, he can look back and see exactly what projects he worked on and how much time he spent on each one.

We loved how you could see what you worked on with a quick glance.  It really pops. It’s in 3D, so it brings time management to life. You can get a real sense of accomplishment by seeing exactly what you’ve worked on.

And it’s fun! Who doesn’t like playing with Legos?

In fact, Michael’s been using this system for four months and can only come up with one disadvantage – his co-workers keep coming into his office and disassembling his blocks!

Plan vs. actual

He points out that you could easily use this system to plan your week. You could determine what projects you need to work on and plan for how long it should take.

We thought it would be great to use one base for your plan for the week. Then use another one as Michael does to track your time. Then you could compare your plan vs. actual at a glance.

Identify time wasters

Instead of using the different colors for projects, consider using them for categories – the ways you spend your time. For example, one color could represent time at work, another could be for commuting time, yet another could be for watching television. You pick the categories. At the end of the week, you’d have a great visual of how you spent your time.

All kinds of other uses

There are a number of other ways to use Legos as a system. For example, why not track your diet. Use a different color for each food group and track the number of servings. You’d know at a glance if you have a balanced diet.

Why not track spending with Legos? Use different colors for different categories so you see where your money goes.

What are some ways you can think of to use Legos as a tool?

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(Image by Michael Hunger)