Top 3 Apps & Extensions To Instantly Give You More Time Back

Top 3 Apps & Extensions To Instantly Give You More Time Back

Unless you’re a complete Luddite, you’re probably spending a good portion of your day on the computer, phone, tablet, or any other addictive Apple-shaped device. If you’re anything like me (and for your sake, I really hope that answer’s no) then you get overly excited about any add-on, app, or extension that saves you time in any capacity – be it through blocking ads, speeding up recordings/videos, auto-filling, etc. This list will continue to grow, but for now I wanted to share with you a few low-cost or free apps or extensions that will give you an immediate return of your time.

Adblock for Youtube Extension

This free Chrome extension revolutionized the way I spend/waste time on Youtube: 100%  Youtube ad elimination. No more annoying retargeting ads chasing you from something you mistakenly glanced at a day before. No more Tai Lopez video ads haunting your consciousness. The wonderland of Youtube is now that much decluttered for you. Watch, learn, and motivate yourself, without the wasted time and distraction of paid ads.

Enounce

Enounce lets you speed up your videos to save time (or slow down if beed knee). Certain video hosting platforms like Youtube let you go up to 2x max speed, and other platforms don’t let you change the speed at all. Enounce lets you modify the video speed in increments of .10 up to 3x and beyond. Trying to drag yourself through an online training course a bit more quickly? Done.

TextExpander

TextExpander lets you quickly autofill anything of your choosing. You can use it for the easy wins that you type on a daily basis, like your email. It’s 100% customizable, so you could program “;em” to autofill <your-email>. Single words won’t be a landslide victory (although I’m lazy enough to consider those a great moral victory) so it’s better to use TextExpander for whole sentences or paragraphs. Is there any phrase or paragraph you frequently use in your job? How about, “Thank you Mr. Customer/Prospect for being kind enough to emphatically reject my initial offering/message. May I interest you in our second best offering? It’s slightly worse with these hardly noticeable differences.” My botched humor aside, you get the point: make it work for you. Identify anything you do manually on a repetitive basis, and automate it.

 

Simple, actionable, easy wins. Low cost and time to implement, yet high and enduring yield. What are your favorite time-saving apps and/or extensions?

Goal Achievement Simplified: The No-Nonsense Guide to Achieving What You Want WITHOUT The Motivational White Noise

Goal Achievement Simplified: The No-Nonsense Guide to Achieving What You Want WITHOUT The Motivational White Noise

Some people have dreams, better people have goals. Facetiousness aside, we’re about being practical and action-oriented, so I will hereafter use “goals” to loosely refer to goals, ambitions, end outcomes, dreams, etc.

So what’s the problem?

“If you can dream it, you can do it!” Yay for motivational platitudes! Or how about, “It’s all about the grind, grind-grind-grind, you have to love the grind.” Again, motivational and goal achievement common speak utterly devoid of practical know-how or intelligent adjustments toward your goals.

There’s a time and place for all that stuff. In fact, if you like the rah-rah, I suggest you peruse through Instagram and land anywhere. For now, let’s review more of a checklist approach to see what you can add or eliminate to tangibly move the dial in the right direction. Your goal could be hitting X $/month in supplemental income, hitting your next fitness personal record, or quite literally anything that matters enough for you to concretely write it down and focus on.

Step 1: Decide & Commit

Painfully obvious yet frequently overlooked. What is it that you want? What lights you up inside to give you the sustained motivation you’ll need to stick with it until fruition. If it’s a nice-to-have, it’s not happening. In the wise words of Derek Sivers, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.”

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” -Lewis Carroll

If you want 10 things at once, join the club, then decide which one or two are most important to you. Once you establish your end outcome, you can move on to reverse-engineering the smartest and most efficient way to get there, fueled by the requisite motivation and intention.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” -Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Step 2: Reverse-Engineer or Model

Finding the Right Mentor or Coach

Bar none, the best way to springboard yourself toward your desired outcome is finding and modeling after the right mentor, coach, or example. Nothing novel here, but what people don’t emphasize enough is the criteria to find the right model or mentor. For such an important question, the answer is remarkably simple; the best mentor or person to model after is someone is a) is currently doing what you want to learn and b) is doing it well and at a level to which you aspire. If you miss one of those, you’ll likely (not always) run into trouble. They have to be in the weeds of the business/activity NOW, to be up-to-date enough to be able to help you, versus. them spewing out antiquated information that worked for them in a prehistoric period. The other criterion is a bit more self-explanatory: if they haven’t achieved the results you want, for themselves, how could they possibly teach you or get you there? The frequency with which I’ve seen pudgy trainers training someone skinner is both disturbing and perplexing. #NoJudgements

Modeling after success applies to almost anything. Marketing 101 will teach you to swipe or model after advertisements and campaigns that have already proven to be successful. You rarely, if ever, have to reinvent the wheel. Figure out what’s already working, or who’s already figured it out, and start following what got them there.

The Best Path Is the Most Efficient Path

If you can’t find or afford the right coach, keep looking, but let’s move on to the next best thing: reverse-engineering the goal. Consider all the possible activities that could inch you one step closer toward your desired outcome, and pull out the 80/20 – the 20% of the activities that will result in 80% of the total positive impact. You could do a lot of things, but only a few will make the most difference, and they tend to be the most obvious and mundane. For example, if you wanted to get a handle on your health, you could cycle through 30 different protein powders and supplements, or you could simply cut gluten and sugar, and get enough sleep. If our friend Pareto isn’t giving you a clear answer and you don’t know which are the 80/20 activities, here’s another question to consider:

“Which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant?” Timothy Ferriss, Tools of Titans

Now that you have identified the highest leverage tasks, it’s time to obliterate all the noise in your way to perform at your peak. Near and dear to my heart, we have…

Step 3: Eliminate Distractions

This one is so important it deserves a full and separate post (which I’ve done only in part, here). If you want the elimination Bible, I recommend you read Essentialism.

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” – Greg McKeown, Essentialism.

In a world inundated with notifications, social media, and instant messages, we’ve conditioned ourselves into a culture of expecting immediate responses and engagement on a 24/7 basis. This is fabulous for OPA (Other People’s Agenda) but detrimental for you accomplishing anything of value, beyond the facade of busyness. Clear the path so that you can execute your highest leverage activities on a daily basis with consistency and quality. What you eliminate or subtract is equally if not more important than what you add in to achieve your expressed goals. This elimination process requires perpetual revisiting and constant reassessing of what is on your schedule or in your way hindering you from executing with clarity, ease, and focus, yielding Flow. Distraction= person, place, or thing that doesn’t directly bring you materially closer toward your stated goals.

Here are a few common distractions to help you get started:

  1. Push notifications on your phone that don’t require your real-time attention.
  2. Social media and FB walls/timelines/posts.
  3. Negative, annoying people and other energy vampires.
  4. Groups, clubs, or organizations that eat up your time more than they add value.
  5. Clutter, physical and digital.
  6. Mundane decisions.
  7. Meetings.

Step 4: Execute Daily

The path has been cleared, you know what you need to do, and why you are doing it. There a few theories (pre-calendar/timeslot everything, Pomodoro Technique, etc.) of how to execute most effectively, but the bottom line is to find a way to get the activities completed by the end of the day. I recommend you make your execution process a habit or routine, so you don’t waste cognitive resources each day deciding when/where/how you will complete your tasks (adding yet another barrier to achievement).

Be honest with yourself here and figure out what it’s really going to take for you to accomplish your day with consistency. Who do you need to talk to, what do you need to see or do, to put yourself in the focused and motivated frame of mind to get it done. If watching re-runs of Rich Froning makes you feel like a sufficient POS (piece-of-shit), compelling you to step it up, then I’m not (self-)judging.

Have a written list, on paper or via digital notes/reminders, and check it off each day. If you want more help coming up with the list or inspiration, check out Andy Frisella’s “Kill It Every Day” podcast episode.

I’ve observed a war between the “work smarter not harder” and the “grind until Gary V is proud of you” crowds, so if you implement Step 2 and Step 4 here, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Step 5: Adapt & Readjust

Ready. Fire. Aim. Like any plan, you must reassess and make minor or even major modifications along the way. Again, as is evidently the answer for everything, the answer is balance; you can’t give up before you ever had a chance to succeed/improve, but you also can’t work yourself to death ignoring the signs along the way that you’re doing something dead-wrong. Can you find a better mentor/coach? Can you automate something with software that you had previously delegated or were doing yourself? What other variables can you manipulate or test to prove out a more efficacious path?

“You’ve learned the Ultimate Success Formula: Know your outcome, develop the sensory acuity to know what you’re getting, develop the flexibility to change your behavior until you find out what works—and you will reach your outcome.” – Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power.

I interpret the, “develop the sensory acuity to know what you’re getting,” part to be Tony’s nice way of saying don’t be a complete imbecile by disregarding the writing-on-the-wall information if something either worked or didn’t.

Test, re-test, persist. Along the way, you can pad your ego from others by telling them you’ve “pivoted” or “changed strategies” to mask your failed experiments. Repeat this entire process, moving up the food chain on to bigger, more impactful, and more challenging projects until you no longer want to grow or until you D.I.E., whichever comes first.

 

Minimalism In A Modern World Simplified: 3 Stupid Easy Steps To Achieve Email Inbox Zero

Minimalism In A Modern World Simplified: 3 Stupid Easy Steps To Achieve Email Inbox Zero

The fabled email Inbox Zero. More often talked about than achieved by a magnitude of 10 or greater. Like anything, we’re going to need easy systems and tools to get us there, that minimize human involvement and cognitive/decision-making resources. How would it feel to close out your inbox for the day, rather than wake up to an ever-growing list of to-dos, reminders, and people you still need to reply to? If you aren’t comfortable working on a desk or in a room with paper and crap scattered everywhere, then why endure the equivalent disarray with your inbox or desktop?

Step 1: Eliminate and Obliterate (Unsubscribe)

With every email you receive, ask yourself the question, “Do I need to receive this? Does this email/info move the needle on anything in my life, business or otherwise?” If you can’t readily identify a fairly strong justification to keep receiving those emails, unsubscribe. If you can’t unsubscribe, then create a filter to automatically place it in the trash.

To do that, click the inverted triangle in the top right of the email in Gmail > Filter messages like this >

> Write in the criteria that you want to filter out. In this example, I want to filter my monthly notification from Chase that my statement is available. Since I’m on auto-pay, receiving this email does nothing for me BUT other Chase emails may, so I’m only filtering out future emails with this exact subject line.

> Check the box(es) for what you want to do with it. I suggest deleting it if you’re sure you won’t need it, but the other option is to filter it to a folder. That means you won’t see it in your inbox, but it will still be saved in a folder you created (e.g. Credit Card Statements).

Step 2: Filter to Folder

For emails that you don’t want to outright delete or unsubscribe and may want to reference later or save, creating a filter to a specific folder is your best bet. Same process as above, but this time you are checking the boxes for “Skip the Inbox” and “Apply the label.” I will also check the box “Mark as read” since I am neurotic enough to even have unread emails bolded/showing in my folders bother/distract me. What’s the difference between a control freak and someone who is just impeccably organized? Answer: no idea, and I have even less of an idea how to make this punchline humorous.

Step 3: Delete, File or Boomerang

Now that you have proactively avoided 80%+ of your emails, the only ones that slip through to your inbox each morning should be the ones that matter. For each of those, execute or respond appropriately, then file or delete. If you need to push out executing or dealing with it, use Boomerang to “snooze” the email and have it pop back into your inbox at a later time of your exact choosing.

There you have it. Your pristine sanctuary of inbox and mind returns, daily. Let me know if this works out for you or any other tricks you think are worth sharing here. Many thanks and kinder regards.