I have always loved the idea of achieving goals and becoming successful in life. Success can mean lots of different things to different people but to me it's about setting a goal, working at it and more importantly finishing it. You might think, “duh...obvious isn't that everyone's goal?” Well no, I think most people have dreams of becoming successful, but it's a general idea to them. It's like being wealthy or maybe famous, but with no clear direction on how to get to that point in their lives. That is why, at least to me, success is about goal setting and goal achieving. Doing what others don't want to do.
Of course this is easier said then done. However, for me it was a VERY hard thing to do. Sure, I had a clear idea of what I wanted and needed to do ,but when it came to putting in the hard work I lied to myself with excuses. I put work off till later (meaning never), and I went to watch TV or played video games, even though I was VERY upset about my life and really wanted it to change. I was just too lazy to do anything about it.
I realized that I was trying to be a person like Sebastian, a goal crusher...a goal terminator...a goal (okay you get the point). But that just wasn't me, and in fact when I did try to work like Sebastian it actually caused me to get more depressed and play video games even MORE! You see, how can you be expected to run a 5K when you have never put on a pair of running shoes and gone for a run? So, what I did was build systems to deal with this lazy problem.
My first real break was thinking that I have to spend a minimum of one hour a day devoted to work. Monday through Friday, working towards my goals. Now, many of you might throw your arms up and say, “One Hour!!! a day?? that's nothing!!!,” and to a productive person that is true. But, how many people really go home each night and CONSISTENTLY put in one hour's hard work into their goals? Seriously, when at work if you compressed everything challenging you did that work day would it even exceed an hour? Or what about about school work?
I soon realized that I could out perform most people by just spending an hour a day doing what I needed to get my main goals completed. How liberating is that feeling and for just for one hour a night? I'm not saying it's a great feeling to out perform other people but it is great feeling to think you are doing something with your life that matters to you!
Also, from my experience the more you do, “the one hour a night” the more you can extend it. I think hard work is like a muscle the more you work it the easier it becomes but it's important to build it up slowly. I only attempted to increase my time at night after I got some of my goals completed.
So, here is a list of what I consider are some of my achievements, which without this system I would still be in the same situation:
In one year built a political website that got mentioned on the local TV and Radio (even got some politicians signed up) – In the end it went offline but I still class it as a success and I learned a lot!
I built an e-commerce website that has taken some orders and got the website to the top of bing and yahoo (I'm a software developer by the way). It doesn't make very much money but the experience I got from running my own business is great.
Pass my GED (Completed)
Reduce my weight to 200 pounds and keep at that weight for 2 months. (Passed I'm at 187 Pounds)
Enter University and get 36 credits (Completed/Failed, I entered University and got 29 credits “while working a fulltime job”)
Get my US Citizenship (Completed)
Start lifting weights (Completed, I've been doing it for four months now.)
Launch a PHP shareware application (Completed)
Learn Spanish (Failed)
Successfully pass my Zend PHP certification (I'm taking the test next week)
As you can see it's not perfect but compared to how my life used to be it's a VERY big improvement. All of this I managed to achieve by working one hour a night and the was some weeks when I fell off the waggon, but the important thing is to get back on.
I wrote this post because Sebastian asked me to write a post about a book I recommended to him on Maths, however, I haven't had chance to read it completely yet. In fact, it's one of my goals to read it and learn from it. As you can see on the fact that I needed to get my GED to enter University that I’m not very good with Maths or English.
So, instead I thought I would write about my experiences and hoped it helps someone else. I would love to hear what other people do to get passed lazy times in their lives.
Wishing you the best.
Good piece, dude. It's nice to know your history.
Your text is a good example of someone who is refusing to be outworked (in your own limits and ways). I'll try that for a couple of months, I do need something to get back on track.
But, did you really accomplish all that working just one hour per night (and failing some weeks)?
Thank you for your comment. I have to be honest I was a bit worried putting something like this up because some people will have strong viewpoints on what is productive, but this method works the best for me and it's something I can build on by extending the time as my mind and work ethic gets better.
Well, the political website took one year to complete then the e-commerce website took another year to complete and that was me missing the odd week because I got burnt out (well, burnt out is a nice way of saying being lazy).
However, in the 3rd year I didn't miss many weeks. You can 100% complete a lot of things with just one hour a week M to F. But, remember try not to fall into the same trap that I did by trying to do too much too soon. I wasted years doing that and didn't achieve anything!
The biggest thing I noticed with doing this method is it's not so much about the time you spend doing something, it's really the fact of sitting down and DOING IT TODAY!
For example my 2012 year goals:
Pass my GED - It took me 2 months to read and understand all the GED textbook. That is 40 hours of HARD REAL study.
Reduce my weight to 200 pounds and keep at that weight for 2 months. - This didn't take any time just a change in eating habits. So, it didn't really affect my hour a night. Although, I did cook at home more often but cooking, cleaning the house is just normal stuff. It's not something I think you should look at as part of your hour a night because it's just normal life.
Enter University and get 36 credits - I took online classes. I planned my time very well. If you see how your classes are structured you can complete all your homework for one class for that week (in a day maybe two). Of course it depends on how hard the class is but it's something you can work around, for example don't take all the hard classes in one semester try and spread them out. I didn't get a grade lower than a B in my school.
Get my US Citizenship - This is were I think the one hour a day really shows it's value. It forces you to sit down and do it! It took one hour to do the paper work. It took another day to drive to the mall and get the money orders and mail the stuff. It then took me like 3 more days to study the US citizen test (an hour each night). So, I got a big pain in the a** task done and it only like 5 days to complete this project. But, immigration is a big pain so you tend to put it off for a long time with the one hour a night you cannot do that.
Start lifting weights - I do this in the morning and it is no longer part of my hour a day because it has become a habit. If you are trying to do habits it's a good way of using the one hour system to do it but once you have it cracked you have to move onto something else.
Launch a PHP shareware application. For this I did an extra effort and did this on top of my 1 hour a night but only like 30 mins extra. You can see the application here: http://codecanyon.net/item/php-debug-tracer/1972894
Learn Spanish (Failed) - This was a complete failure from me. I could have done this while walking the dogs. I spend an hour each night walking the dogs and I could have listened to Spanish lessons but I got lazy and missed this one.
Successfully pass my Zend PHP certification (I'm taking the test next week) - Still working on it.
So, the real point is this, you can see that sometimes I had to go over the one hour a day to meet somethings like doing my shareware application but that is because I got used to doing an hour a night so adding an extra 30 mins is okay for me to do now.
However, I cannot emphasize this enough look at your life now. What are you achieving? If your achieving things than great but if your not doing anything than maybe one hour a night might be a good method for you.
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Total Focus; Total Enjoyment by Tynan, as told to Sebastian Marshall
When I turned 30 and I had a minor freak out… I thought, "I'll be 40 in not long, and then 50… there's things I want to do in my life, and they're not happening at this pace."
Before that, I had a general idea of things I wanted to do and have in my life, but I went about in an unstructured way. It was good in a lot of ways. It made be a broad process, but not much depth.
I bought Sebastian Marshall's book, Ikigai, when it first came out. His is one of very few blogs that I read regularly, so I had high expectations for the book. And, hey... even if it's not great, I like supporting people I respect.
As soon as I bought the book, I read the first chapter. It was the blog post that I mentioned in the isolation post. Oh, I thought, I guess this book is just a bunch of blog posts that I've already read. I stopped reading.
That was six months ago. These days I read about 2-3 books per week, which means that I have a really tough time keeping my reading list full. Last week I was searching through my Kindle to see if I had any half-finished books I'd forgotten about, and I decided to give Sebastian's book another shot.
Man, am I glad I did. I'm not sure I've ever read a book with lessons that can be applied so quickly for such immediate results. Ikigai is one of the top few books I've read in 2012.
The focus of the book is rational and efficient productivity. Or at least that's what I got most out of it. If you're into that sort of thing, definitely read it.
I bought Sebastian Marshall's book, Ikigai, when it first came out. His is one of very few blogs that I read regularly, so I had high expectations for the book. And, hey... even if it's not great, I like supporting people I respect. As soon as I bought the book, I read the first chapter. It was the blog post that I mentioned in the isolation post. Oh, I thought, I guess this book is just a bunch of blog posts that I've already read. I stopped reading. That was six months ago. These days I read about 2-3 books per week, which means that I have a really tough time keeping my reading list full. Last week I was searching through my Kindle to see if I had any half-finished books I'd forgotten about, and I decided to give Sebastian's book another shot. Man, am I glad I did. I'm not sure I've ever read a book with lessons that can be applied so quickly for such immediate results. Ikigai is one of the top few books I've read in 2012. The focus of the book is rational and efficient productivity. Or at least that's what I got most out of it. If you're into that sort of thing, definitely read it. I now plan my day every morning. Sebastian shares his daily planning routine, which I used as a rough template for my own. Every morning I record the time I went to bed the night before, the time I woke up, the time I brushed my teeth, the time I finish planning, and the time I finished writing a blog post (I'm writing one every single day, but not posting them all). Recording the time you finish these things is a bit of subtle genius from Sebastian. When you record the time you finish something, you tend to do it earlier. Today I woke up and had two immediate phone calls that had to be made, which pushed my whole schedule back. As soon as I saw the time, I started doing my few morning things, including writing this post. Morning used to be my least productive time of day, but now I jump right in and start producing. The rest of day planning consists of making a todo list for yourself. You're supposed to create a list that you believe can be completed to 70%, but I've completed 90-100% every day, despite trying to make the list harder each time. It's amazing how much you can get done when you have a plan and start early. I use the tasks feature of Google Calendar for my todo list. It's not amazing, but it's good enough and keeps me looking at my calendar, which makes me more likely to schedule things and see when they're happening. At the end of the day, I do a quick five minute summary, as prescribed by Sebastian. I record whether or not I flossed, reflected on the possibility of death, and played my violin. I write down my key accomplishments for the day, my top life goals, a quick analysis of the day, and my top priority for the following day. Last, I record how many minutes I wasted, how many minutes I worked on SETT, and how many minutes I spent writing. RescueTime helps me come up with a rough estimate of these things. There's a lot more than planning your day in Ikigai, but that was the big value that I got from it. He also spends a lot of time covering the same sort of strategy and philosophies that I'm a big fan of and write about here. ### The great Alaska trip starts next Saturday. A few friends and I will be riding our motorcycles to Alaska for no real reason at all.