Life is short: Here’s what’s important to you today

Life is short:

You’ll often hear people talk about the importance of money in terms of living life in the modern age.

Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to live without money today, is it not? Certainly, it’s up there with oxygen and water for sustaining life.

Nevertheless, we must also remember that life is short. And sadly for some people, it’s very short indeed.

So, while money’s important, it’s not an ideal means for measuring success, is it? Not real success in life anyway.

Misplaced priorities:

In the modern age, it’s easy to become obsessed with money.

However, the accumulation of money for its own sake should never be the underlying motive that drives us, surely? That can only lead to a life of misplaced priorities, I think.

If your approach to life includes an obsession with money, then you’ll be doomed to disappointment, and I think you’ll realise that eventually.

One day you’ll look back and wish you’d spent a bit more time with family, friends, and loved ones, of that I’m quite sure.

So what would be an ideal measure of success?

A measure of success:

For me, a better measure of success is whether we’re feeling fulfilled by what we’re doing.

If our work is something we’d do as a hobby if we couldn’t get paid for it then that’s a better way of gauging success. As the legendary investor, Warren Buffett once said, “Look for a job that you’d take if you didn’t need a job.”

A sense of purpose and work that is fulfilling and truly absorbing is a much less stressful way of living.

Enjoy what you do:

Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy, if you possibly can.

If you enjoy what you do, you’ll do it well, and the money will follow anyway. If you do your work exceptionally well, then people will notice. And once you get noticed, you’re on your way to genuine success.

Never be driven by money alone.

Never accept a job simply because it’s well paid.

It’s nice to have a good salary, of course.

However, once you get used to the money, you still have to spend a third of your life doing the work for which you’re being paid well.

And doing work you don’t enjoy is a significant price to pay in terms of your emotions, stress levels, and the potential impact it will have on your health.

Time is precious:

If life’s short, then our time is very precious, surely?

What’s the point of working every hour you’ve got just to become rich, only to die suddenly of a heart attack having had no time to enjoy the fruits of your labour?

What a waste that would be. Being the richest man or woman in the graveyard is hardly a title worth having, is it?

So my underlying message to you today, dear reader, is to find work you enjoy doing and to make sure you leave a little time to enjoy life too. A little ‘me time‘ is essential for everyone.

No one’s life is perfect:

Don’t forget that everyone faces challenges, occasionally. No one’s life is perfect. We all have problems.

Inevitably, your life will have its ups and downs. However, make sure there are more ups than downs in your life, as far as you are able.

Take some time to smell the roses and have a laugh.

As the old Music Hall song used to say; “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

You wouldn’t want to live forever, but you should be living your life to the fullest today.

Life really is short and it’s definitely later than you think. And as we say where I come from, “you’ll be a long time dead.”

So go on, live life and live it now. And if you’ve yet to find work you enjoy doing, keep looking.

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To find a job you’ll love start with these questions

Most people, if they’re lucky enough to have a job, are in jobs for which they have little or no passion.

They just do whatever they have to do to ensure they have a regular income. It’s a living but it’s hardly a life, wouldn’t you agree?

If you’d like to find a job you’ll love doing then start by asking yourself some searching questions like these:-

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What activity gives you a genuine buzz?
  2. What activity would you regard as more fun than work?
  3. Do you have a genuine talent for some particular activity?
  4. What activity makes your eyes sparkle with enthusiasm?
  5. What would you do as a hobby if you couldn’t make a living at it?
  6. In which activity would you not have to be asked twice to participate?
  7. In what activity would you be so absorbed that you’d completely lose track of time?
  8. For what activity would you willingly rise early, knowing that this was on your day’s agenda? 

Why the answers are important:

The answers to these questions will help you to identify the activity for which you have passion and enthusiasm.

If you can identify a job that consists primarily of activities consistent with the answers to these questions, then the chances are that you’ll have found the job you’ll love to do.

And as the saying goes, find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Now, getting that job won’t be that easy, of course.

However, knowing what you really want is the first step on the road to success.

If you have a real talent for your work then you’re likely to enjoy what you do. If you enjoy what you do, then you’re likely to do it well. Do it well and people will notice. And once people begin to notice you for the work you do then your career will start going places, potentially to places beyond your wildest dreams.

Finding a job for which you have a passion really can lead you to success.

So go on, start reflecting on these questions and then ask yourself, is what I’m doing now consistent with the answers? A negative conclusion would imply that it’s time to make some changes.

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Copyright © Mann Island Media Limited 2024. All rights reserved.

How serious money is made through self-employment

Today I thought it would be interesting to consider how serious money is made through self-employment rather than spending your life working as a wage slave.

There are many ways to make money, dear reader, and they all have their merits.

For instance, if you get a job with a big corporation, it’s possible to earn a decent income, and you may enjoy a few fringe benefits too.

And if you get a job in the public sector, the pay may not be as good, but the pension scheme is usually the best you’ll find anywhere. And of course, working for the government is usually a fairly secure form of employment too.

So, if you become a wage slave in any sector, you can make a living, and sometimes that can even be a decent living as well.

However, unless you work on Wall Street or for an investment bank in the City of London, you are unlikely to make a fortune. Unfortunately, dear reader, that’s one of life’s facts.

The road to serious money:

So, if you aim to make serious money, then you should consider self-employment.

And the good news is that we live in an age in which becoming self-employed has never been easier or cheaper. As a result of the Internet, there are so many business opportunities that were simply not available to previous generations.

And the best news is, you don’t even have to give up your day job, not initially anyway.

You can start your own business as a part-time side hustle, initially, and keep it that way until the income your business is generating for you is sufficient for you to live on.

You can even start one business to generate extra cash and as it makes money you can invest that cash into bigger and potentially more profitable opportunities. The possibilities are endless.

The downside of being an employee:

As an employee, you’re trading your time for money and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your preference.

However, if your firm does well, you’re unlikely to benefit significantly from any extra profit they make. You might get a bonus but regardless of personal contribution, it’s more likely to be an incidental sum rather than life-changing money.

With your own business, you can make money whilst you’re sleeping.

If you want to get seriously rich then you’ll have to find ways to start making money while you sleep.

Now dear reader I can hear you asking, but how do you make money while you sleep?

Let me give you some examples of online businesses where you could start with little or no money and start making money while you sleep.

Selling products online:

The Internet provides you with the ability to reach most of the people on the planet, wouldn’t you agree?

Think about that for a second.

If you create a website or an online store then billions of people around the world will have access to it. And those people can access it while you’re asleep.

So the potential is there for you to create something that can be generating money for you 24 hours a day 365 days every year.

Still not convinced? Let me give you some examples of businesses you could start to achieve this goal:-

Selling on Amazon:

If you’ve ever bought anything from Amazon you’ll probably have noticed that Amazon is not always the actual seller of the item you are seeking to purchase. Other suppliers sell their products through Amazon via what is known as Amazon Marketplace.

And when third-party suppliers sell products via Amazon they can also use a service known as Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).

This means if you are the seller, you deliver your stock of products to Amazon and they’ll handle all the logistics associated with product delivery to the buyer.

Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA):

If you want to sell products but you don’t want to handle the packing, postage, and delivery then you can get Amazon to handle it all for you using FBA.

You can do it yourself of course but the point is that you don’t have to because there’s an easier way.

So you can focus on finding products that will offer solutions to the problems your target customers have and just let Amazon do the rest.

And remember this; those products don’t even have to be new. They can be ‘second-hand‘ or used items too.

Second-hand products:

As long as you can find a suitable niche in second-hand products, there is money to be made.

Let me offer you an example.

Each year graduating students have textbooks to sell. Maybe you’ve had that experience, dear reader?

Essentially such students want to get some cash back for books they’re unlikely to read ever again.

Shrewd entrepreneurs recognize that there’ll be a ready market for those textbooks at the start of the next academic year. New students will want to obtain course textbooks at a better price if they can.

So entrepreneurs offer ‘selling students‘ a quick way to turn their textbooks into a little cash.

And then ‘buying students‘ will be sold those same textbooks at a rate which will save them money on the price for the same book had it been bought new.

You make money and everyone’s a winner.

Set up a website:

The entrepreneurial you can set up a website to attract booksellers and then through Amazon Marketplace the books you’ve bought cheaply can be sold at a profit.

And in that way, you could create a profitable second-hand book business.

You could repeat the same trick with music such as vinyl records and CDs, as well as films on DVD.

Second-hand smartphones, tablet computers, and other technology items offer another entrepreneurial possibility.

And don’t forget there’s demand for second-hand clothes too.

Alternatively, you could source your products, e.g. skincare products, cosmetics, household products, and so on and then sell those via Amazon.

I know plenty of people who have created successful businesses with this approach and from them made good money. 

Selling on eBay:

When people sell stuff at a boot sale or yard sale, they usually sell at low prices because they price items for a quick sale.

These are things they need to get rid of as quickly as possible for whatever reason and get whatever they can for them. So, there’s a potential opportunity for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

You buy these items cheaply and then resell them on eBay for profit.

More importantly, people sometimes sell valuable stuff at boot sales and yard sales for ridiculously low prices because they don’t realize the real value of the item.

On the British television show Flog It, I saw a woman sell an antique vase at auction for £800 having originally bought it at a boot sale for just £1. Now that’s a healthy profit.

Yes, such examples would be the exception but shrewd people can and do make money this way and eBay is a great vehicle for doing so.

Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing is ‘commission only’ selling.

It works through an idea known as content marketing. The idea is that if you can direct traffic to a product seller’s website which results in a sale then you get paid a commission for that sale.

The amount of commission can be as low as 4% or less from the Amazon Affiliate Program to as much as 75% from some items offered through programs like Clickbank and CJ (Commission Junction, as it was known previously).

The idea is that you create a website in a niche of your choice, generate content on known problems for which people are searching for solutions, and then recommend a product as part of the solution you offer. Then you include an affiliate link to that product and you’ll get a commission every time a sale is made.

How do you achieve this in practice?

Well despite its relatively low commission rates, Amazon offers the easiest opportunity for the beginner. You sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program and then identify a suitable niche that interests you.

Let’s say that niche is budget-priced sports shoes for women. Now the niche does need to be focused and quite narrow. The category ‘Shoes‘ would be far too wide. You need to think about categories for which people will be searching via Google and other search engines.

Once you decide on a niche, you create a website publishing offering reviews of sports shoes for women.

And remember; those reviews don’t have to be your own necessarily.

They could be a curation of reviews you’ve read elsewhere, summarised with an overall rating based on what others have been saying. In other words, you’ve done the hard work for readers by providing them with a comprehensive summary of all the reviews out there and then providing a convenient link to Amazon so that they can easily make their purchase

Creating a review summary by curating input from other sources is legitimate, as long as you acknowledge the different sources which form the basis of your article.

Why review sites are a good idea:

Review sites work with affiliate marketing because they capture buying intent and that’s important.

If someone searches for a review of an item on Google, there is a strong possibility that they will buy if the reviews are positive.

When producing your review articles the crucial action is to embed affiliate links within the text.

Getting readers to click on those links and taking them to Amazon is how you’ll make money. If they buy within 24 hours of clicking on a link you will get paid a commission.

Amazon commissions vary depending on the number and type of sales for which you are credited each month.

So in choosing a niche, you must think about product value too. Generate low-value sales and you won’t make much. However, sales for items with a bigger price tag can prove very lucrative.

That said generating some low-value sales can be a way of pushing subsequent bigger ticket sales into a higher commission rate. So don’t ignore them completely.

Content Marketing:

Essentially content marketing is publishing web content to promote products and services. Content marketing is closely linked with affiliate marketing but not exclusively so.

There are two types of content you can consider, as follows:-

(1) Written Content:

For instance, if you’re producing regular content and publishing it on your blog then there’s the potential to generate an income through advertising.

Now selling advertising space on your blog or website is only possible if you have substantial traffic.

However, If you’re just starting you will not reach those levels for quite some time.

Nevertheless, what is known as pay-per-click (CPC) advertising could generate money for you right from the start.

Perhaps the best-known CPC program is one offered by Google Adsense. You sign up for this program, then embed Google’s links in your blog and they will insert advertising on your blog that is relevant to your content.

EZOIC is another excellent advertising opportunity for new content marketers and bloggers.

Every time a reader clicks on an advertisement you will get paid and it’s not purchase-dependent. Readers only have to click for you to get paid.

The trick with Adsense and EZOIC is to have a narrow focus for your blog.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your blog is about how to keep chickens and deal with blights like red mite. You’ll attract search-engine-generated traffic from people desperate to deal with the problem of red mite. Google or EZOIC will insert ads from companies offering products that will help with this problem and desperate people are likely to click on those ads to see what’s on offer. They click, and you get paid.

As long as your subject matter is focused and narrow, and ideally based on a highly searched keyword or phrase, then this can be a way to generate decent money. However, the traffic levels to your blog will have an impact on how much money you can reasonably make.

(2) Video Content:

Another way to benefit from Google Adsense is to create your own YouTube channel, produce videos and again insert links from Google so that relevant pay-per-click advertising will appear on and around the video. Again if people click then you get paid.

Write eBooks:

Devices such as the iPad, the Kindle and other eReaders, provide you with the opportunity to self-publish eBooks and sell them through Amazon.

You may not be able to come up with the next Harry Potter work of fiction but there is good money to be made writing ‘How To’ books on just about any subject.

They don’t even need to be that long either.

As little as 50 pages or 8,000 – 10,000 words covering a topic of general interest can be enough to produce something that will sell for one dollar or one pound sterling. That might not seem like a lot but sell 1,000 of them and you’ve made a decent sum of money.

Write something on an evergreen topic and it could sell for years.

If you write several eBooks like this on evergreen topics, that could become a decent income stream.

And what do I mean by evergreen?

These are topics for which people have always looked for solutions. That might be something like tips for good time management, or how to lose weight, and so on.

And even if you’re not an expert you can research the necessary information and pull it together for people. Essentially you will be doing the work for your readers.

And don’t forget, nowadays you also have the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help you in the form of Gemini and ChatGPT. These are powerful writing aids.

Develop Apps:

If you can learn to write code, and of course, you can learn to write code, then you can also learn how to develop apps. If you can develop a killer app and sell it through the App Store then you can make serious money.

And a great app might attract a corporation to buy it for big money. By way of an example, the app Wordle was sold to the New York Times for more than $1 million. That’s a decent payday, don’t you think?

OK, so you’d love to develop an app but you don’t know where to start, right?

Well, there are endless videos and tutorials on YouTube and from these, you can learn how to code and develop apps.

Yes, there’s some work to be done upfront of course.

However, a good app will generate money for years to come. Just think about apps like Candy Crush Saga.

Produce something that becomes a real fad and there’s serious money to be made.

11 things to bear in mind:

If becoming self-employed appeals to you and you fancy making money as an online entrepreneur then here are 11 things you should bear in mind:-

  1. Know your target customers.
  2. Know your target niche or niches
  3. Know your strengths and interests?
  4. Apply your strengths and interests to serve customers
  5. Recognize that different markets need different strategies.
  6. Make sure you’re capturing buying intent.
  7. Create an image that will appeal to your target audience.
  8. With a website, traffic matters.
  9. Search engine optimization (SEO) will bring traffic.
  10. Getting backlinks from other websites will help with SEO.
  11. Be determined, work hard, and learn as you go.

6 things you must do when you’re self-employed:

(1) Register with the tax authorities: Make money by all means but pay your taxes too. Upsetting the tax authorities is not a good idea dear reader wherever you live. In some countries, tax regimes are more benign than in others but it’s always better to keep the tax authorities happy.

(2) Register for sales taxes and VAT: Again it’s all about paying your dues. If you do well financially then you have an obligation to share some of your wealth with the rest of society. Taxes are the price we pay to live in society and you can’t have a successful business without the society in which you live.

(3) Get a separate business bank account: Keep your business activities separate from your personal life. This is very important.

(4) Keep accurate and up-to-date records: You’ll need these in any dialogue with the tax authorities. You don’t want to end up paying more tax than was necessary. Paying your dues is one thing; overpaying your dues is careless.

(5) Insure your business: When you’re in business, you’re required by law to have certain insurance policies. Exactly which policies you need depends on the nature of your business activities. Make sure you know your obligations and act accordingly.

(6) Keep it simple: In the early days, you don’t want to be spending money you don’t have on things that are initially unnecessary. So keep everything as simple as possible for as long as possible.

Conclusion:

Self-employment can be an attractive proposition and for most people, it is the only way you will ever make a fortune. It’s not easy of course but it can be done and you don’t have to ditch your day job to get started.

With an online business, you can start small and build it up over time. And you can mix and match options. For instance, you can start a website to make money with both affiliate marketing and Google Adsense or EZOIC.

A good review website can become quite profitable and once it’s generating revenues on ‘autopilot’ it can become an asset that you can sell for serious money. There are plenty of examples where such sites have sold for 6 and even 7-figure sums.

Don’t underestimate the challenges of course but it can be done and people do. Why not you?

So, think carefully about how best to exploit the opportunities before you and then have a go.

Good luck and may you be the next Richard Branson.

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How to be happy and why you should be

How to be happy? Now, that’s a question I hear frequently.

Well, I believe that, if you’re going to be happy, then you need a sense of purpose.

Now just think about that for a minute. Your work takes up one-third of your life so surely it’s essential that you’re happy doing whatever you do?

So dear reader, if the question on your mind today is how to be happy in life then to find the answer it’s worth reflecting on your work for a moment and thinking about whether it’s right for you.

Does your work make you happy?

Do you believe your contribution to your job is something that only you can supply?

Would you say that your work is closely aligned with your natural talents?

If your job is a mismatch with their natural talents then you’re unlikely to do it as well as you might do otherwise. If you don’t do it well then it’s hard to feel a sense of pride in your work, surely? And, if you’re not doing it well, your boss is likely to be giving you a hard time too.

So in this scenario, you’re not going to be very happy, are you?

Let’s face it, spending your life doing something you don’t enjoy is such a waste, wouldn’t you agree?

You have so much natural talent that could be put to better use.

Yes, every job has its chores. Things you have to do which you hate but accept as part of the job. No job is perfect.

However, tedium should only be a small part of your whole work experience.

To feel happy and fulfilled doing the work you do means that you should enjoy at least 80% of your daily activity.

What happens if the job you do and your talents are mismatched?

Human beings are flexible and adaptable of course. So even in the worst job situations, people survive but at what cost to themselves?

How to be happy

The further you are from applying your natural talents and abilities, the less likely it is that you’ll enjoy your work in my experience. And being unhappy at work means you’re less likely to be happy in life. That’s a fact.

And if you’re not happy then it’s difficult to make a genuine contribution to life and the lives of other people. And this matters, particularly for those people who are your loved ones.

If your loved ones have to deal with someone who’s doing a job they don’t enjoy then it can make their lives miserable too. In fact, it can be no pleasure for anyone around you.

If you derive no pleasure from your work then life just becomes a grind. Also, it becomes stressful which is not very good for your health either.

The best and least stressful way to earn a living is by pursuing your interests and something which you both enjoy and which is compatible with your natural talents. This is the sweet spot and it’s how to be happy in life.

If society encouraged people to pursue their interests and work to their strengths, then we would not only be happier but we would become more productive.

And of course productive lives are happy lives too. We would all benefit and society would reap benefits too.

So think about what you enjoy doing and your natural talents, and then think about how you can best apply them.

It’s important to be happy doing what you do, but if you’ve yet to find work that makes you happy, then keep looking and don’t give up until you find it.

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Creating a Life Plan: 17 ways the rich think differently

Creating a Life plan

Have you ever thought about creating a life plan, dear reader? If you’re young and have your life ahead of you, certainly, it’s a good idea. You can always let life happen to you, of course, but it’s better if you go out and make life happen the way you’d prefer it to be. And to have a good life, having money certainly helps. So money is at the heart of life planning.

Now, why is it that some people are wealthy and others are not?

You might argue that the rich inherit money, and therefore they’re just lucky. For a few people, that may be true. However, it’s not a universal truth.

Having wealthy parents helps, no doubt but there are plenty of examples of self-made millionaires and billionaires. And there are plenty of examples of people who lost all their wealth and then just created another fortune.

There are also plenty of examples of poor people who enjoyed good fortune winning a lottery only to squander their millions within a few short years.

This would suggest that the rich and poor have a different philosophy concerning creating a life plan and money as a resource.

17 ways the rich and poor think differently:

The video embedded here explores 17 ways in which rich people and poor people think differently. It’s an interesting video and it makes some really useful points that will help you in your life planning. It’s informative and well worth a few minutes of your time, in my opinion.

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How to turn enterprise into money and riches

How to turn Enterprise into Money and RichesBeing poor is sh*t. ~Bob Geldof

The media personality and former rock star Bob Geldof’s communication style tends to be blunt and to the point. He’s not a man to sugarcoat his words, or so it seems. However, he does make an important point here.

People may tell you that money isn’t important, but next to oxygen, it’s essential for a life worth living. You couldn’t live long without it today.

Exactly how much money you need depends on your preferred lifestyle, of course. However, even for a fairly basic lifestyle, a reasonable income is necessary.

None of us want to be poor, of course. Fortunately, we don’t have to be. It’s possible to turn enterprise into money, and money into wealth and riches.

And what do I mean by enterprise? I mean your energy, your resourcefulness, your imagination, your know-how and skills, your ambition, and your determination to make life better for you and your loved ones.

Essentially, you can make your life better simply by making it better for other people.

What is work?

The key message today is that you don’t need to be employed by a commercial enterprise or corporation to earn money.

While being employed is one way to earn money, it’s also perfectly feasible to establish your own business and earn your living by being self-employed.

And in the age of the Internet, it’s never been easier to start a business, even if you have very little money to invest.

Remember also that you can start a business initially as a part-time side hustle while being employed until it’s generating enough income for that business to become your primary means of making a living.

And never forget, for most people, the only way you’ll ever get seriously rich is through your own business.

Certainly, unless you’re a Wall Street investment banker or a lawyer, you’re unlikely to get seriously rich being someone’s employee, trading your time for money.

The key to success in business

The key to success in your own business is to find a way to solve problems for people for profit. That’s the way to turn your enterprise into money. And it’s a lot easier than you might imagine.

Let’s face it, there’ll always be plenty of customers for products and services, some of which are yet to be invented.

People will always have problems, and they’ll always need solutions to those problems.

Remember, every product sold by a company is a solution to a problem, or at least it should be.

Turn enterprise into money

Quotes about workIf you continually educate yourself on skills and know-how, then you can create wealth by seeking out customers for whom you can deliver solutions to their problems and/or provide them with services for which they have a need.

If you can satisfy those customers, then you’ll make money, and quite possibly a lot of money, if you can scale up that business as your customer base grows.

Manage your money wisely, and you can build your wealth too.

Determination, hard work, and an eye for problems to be solved are the main ingredients for business success. Your enterprise really can lead you to great wealth.

You don’t have to be poor

You don’t have to be poor unless you’ve given up and you’re just accepting that being poor is your lot in life. It’s not, and nor should it be.

You’re perfectly capable of generating your income, dear reader.

You just need to do stuff for other people and find a way to add value to their lives. In this case, adding value means solving problems or making their lives easier and/or better in some way.

Help yourself by helping others get what they need

It all comes down to your willingness to find a way to serve others. Simple!

There are opportunities there for you to take every single day of the week if you’re enterprising and ready to solve problems for other people. However, you do need to be fleet-footed.

The best time to start a business might have been last year, but the next best time is right now.

And age is no barrier to starting a business either. Remember, Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he started KFC, and Ray Kroc was 52 when he started building the business we know as McDonald’s.

It can be done, and people do. Why not you? Go on, just go for it! Real riches can be yours.

Good luck!

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How to develop effective time management skills

Time Management SkillsTime Management Skills:

Developing effective time management skills is an essential ingredient for success, and I’m sure you’ll agree. You can’t add real value without making the best use of your time.

However, making the best use of it is not always easy in practice, is it?

So, how good are you, dear reader, at managing your time?

Do you have a reputation for being ruthlessly efficient and productive, or are you someone who’s always struggling to keep up?

When someone asks you to do something in the office, do you accept their request without question and simply add the task to your ‘To Do’ list? If you do, you’re not alone. Many people will do that, in my experience.

Alternatively, perhaps you’re the type who thinks carefully relative to your priorities before you accept such a request. Now be honest. We’d all like to think we’re the latter, when in fact far too many people are the former I think.

Productivity is what matters:

In the world of work, it’s easy to confuse being busy with being productive, but these two concepts are not the same thing at all, are they?

For instance, you can be busy doing things that don’t need doing at all. Whereas being genuinely productive means delivering real results from high-value tasks, which can only be done by someone with your skills.

And let’s face it, reputations are built by being productive, not merely by being busy. It’s the results you deliver, not the energy you expend, that matter most.

Time is your most precious resource:

How often do you hear someone say, “Oh, I would love to do that, if only I had the time.

And yet we all have the same amount of time, i.e. 168 hours per week.

Time is simply a resource like money, although it’s more important than money. I say that because you can get more money, but you can’t get more time. None of us can do that, can we?

So you must learn to use your time wisely. Time is your most precious resource, so you must develop effective time management skills.

High-value tasks must take precedence:

Modern pressures mean it’s easy for us to try to do too many things. We can all be a bit like that, including me, dear reader.

Our lives are cluttered with too many activities, too many objectives, too many distractions, and far too many demands on our time.

The result is that we tend to lose focus on what matters most and in the end we don’t do anything as well as we should have done.

In my experience, in most jobs, you’ll find that 90% of productivity is down to completing the top three or four major activities within that job. What I call high-value tasks.

If you take the top three major activities – the high-value tasks – associated with your job and focus on those to the exclusion of just about everything else you’ll almost certainly maximise your productivity and efficiency.

Most common time management mistake:

The problem is, when we’re working, we seem to find it easier to focus on minor tasks and random actions requested by other people.

We feel obliged to accept requests from others. It’s a common mistake of which we can all be guilty.

Now, while tidying up all those minor tasks might make us feel like we’re achieving some quick wins, we’re usually fooling ourselves.

By the end of the day, we’re usually left with a sense that we haven’t done all we should have done, and that leaves us feeling stressed.

And that’s when we start to think about how we might improve our time management.

We can’t do everything, nor should we try:

We must recognise that we can’t do everything, but we can be selective about what we choose to do.

And if we’re going to get those major tasks of higher value completed, then they must take precedence over those low-value, minor tasks, which can always wait if necessary.

High-value tasks should always take precedence over low-value tasks.

Work smarter:

People often think of time management as a skill that would allow them to work faster. Well, let me tell you this: that’s not the idea at all.

Effective time management skills allow us to work smarter rather than harder.

Instead of getting lost in the minutiae of everyday life, with effective time management skills, we focus on and prioritise those things that will add the most value to our productivity. In other words, we focus on high-value activity.

The law of three:

So. if time management is an issue for you, dear reader, start by taking a good, hard look at your list of daily activities and asking yourself these three questions:

  1. What single task can only I do and, when completed by me, will add the most value to the business?
  2. What’s the second task on my list that only I can do, and when I’ve completed it, will allow me to add the most value to the business?
  3. What is the third task on my list that only I can do and that, when completed by me, will add the most value to the business?

Once you’ve identified your list of three major, high-value tasks, that’s where your focus should be each day before you touch any other minor tasks or accept random requests from other people.

Most powerful time management tool:

The point of work is to deliver results. You’ll deliver the best results if you concentrate on your top three major tasks first.

And never forget that you’ll be judged by the results you deliver. No one cares what you have to do for someone else, they only care about the results they expect from you.

Your time is your time, and you must decide how it is to be used most effectively.

Just because someone asks for a piece of your time doesn’t mean you’re obliged to give it to them at the expense of your productivity. Never be afraid to deploy the most effective time management tool of them all.

And what is the most effective time-management tool? It’s the word NO.

Think of the word NO as a baseball bat.

Whenever someone requests that you do something, NO is how you can whack that request right out of the ballpark.

Be in control of your time, at all times:

You’re not obliged to agree to a request even if someone asks nicely. It’s reasonable to be working to your priorities.

All too often we feel obliged to do things for other people when we should have just said politely, “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that right now for you because I have to deliver this by 5 pm and it’s a priority.”

If our productivity matters to us, and it should, then our focus should always be on our major, high-value deliverables.

Unfortunately, we allow ourselves to be driven by the agendas of other people.

However that’s not good for our productivity, nor is it good for our well-being or stress levels.

People will take everything you’re prepared to give:

I can tell you from experience that other people will take everything you’re prepared to give and a bit more besides. That’s the nature of people.

However, if you fail to deliver what you’re being paid to deliver, then no list of incidental work completed for other people will be accepted as an adequate plea in your defence when your boss wants to know why you’ve failed to deliver your high-value results.

If you’re painting my house, I’ll measure you on the quality and timeliness of your work, not the amount of help you gave to my neighbour by, say, looking after her dog.

What you do for other people is irrelevant to me, should you fail to deliver what I’m paying you to deliver.

Focus on your priorities:

In reality, if your colleagues can’t get something done by you, they’ll simply ask someone else. So let them.

Why worry? Just be very polite when faced with a random request, but say NO firmly. I can tell you this: you’ll have to be disciplined, but it’s a habit worth developing.

We can all be guilty of expending far too much of our energy helping other people achieve their aims, to the detriment of our interests and our ability to deliver high-value results.

To achieve anything of significance in life, we must be focused on our major activities.

We must concentrate on completing our big three major high-value deliverables daily and focus relentlessly on working towards achieving our own goals generally.

The need for balance:

If you’re asked to do something, then it’s perfectly reasonable to say NO, if doing otherwise would prevent you from delivering the results you’re being paid to deliver on time.

Yes, of course, occasionally there will be tasks you’re obliged to accept for whatever reason.

However, mostly being firm in declining such a request is a sign that you’re assertive and in control of delivering as much value as possible.

Another polite but firm response to a request might be something like, “Sorry, I would love to help you with that, but I cannot right now because I have my hands full with the deadline for this project.

As with everything, there is a balance to be struck, of course.

Sometimes it’s in your interest to do someone a favour because one day you might need them to return that favour. That’s reasonable, provided you always retain a primary focus on keeping your main things the main things.

Conclusion:

You should always ensure that you’re making progress towards achieving your big three deliverables and your own goals generally.

It’s perfectly reasonable to have your agenda and a desire to achieve your own goals and add the greatest value only you can add.

If you want to make a difference, focus on your three major activities.

Those activities that only you can do.

And to ensure that you’re doing that, don’t be afraid to use the most effective time management tool of them all whenever necessary. Use the word NO politely but firmly.

Always keep the main things the main things.

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The purpose of life: What’s it really all about?

THE PURPOSE OF LIFEToday, I want to explore the purpose of life. To me, life must have a purpose. Why are we here?

What’s life all about when it all comes down to it?

Should life just be a treadmill of meeting other people’s expectations, or should our aim simply be to lead lives that make us happy?

The purpose of life

What does life mean to you, dear reader?

Do you ever feel that you’re just living life on a treadmill, constantly running to meet the expectations of everyone around you?

Perhaps you worry about what other people think about you. If you do, you’re certainly not alone.

Too many people waste their time worrying about what others think of them.

If only they realised that other people spend little or no time thinking about them at all.

Your approach is just as valid as the next person’s

Most people are too busy trying to deal with their own lives. They don’t have the time to think much about anyone else’s life.

So why not just be yourself and lead your own life on your terms?  No law says you must lead the life others think you should lead.

Your approach to life is just as valid as the next person’s, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you’re free to choose how you live.

Don’t try to be something you’re not

You can only be the person you are. Anything else would be fake, wouldn’t it?

Just be yourself and accept yourself for the person you are. You’re a true original, and you can be truly proud of that.

Remind yourself frequently that you’re better than you think you are and that you’re as good as anyone.

Constantly reinforce your self-belief

If you haven’t got much self-belief right now, then a sensible strategy would be to fake it until it happens naturally. And that will come with the little successes you’ll achieve over time.

Never consciously try to impress anyone else. It doesn’t get you anywhere worth going. Just do what comes naturally to you.

You’re only going to have this one life, so live it on your terms. Enjoy your life for what it is and make the most of it.

Don’t let life happen, make it happen

Never, ever just let life happen to you; decide on the life you want and then make it happen.

It’s important to know what you want, and you should never give up until you get it.

Always be you, but make it the best version of you.

And remember this: an original is always more impressive than a copy. So don’t copy other people. Be original.

Life begins outside your comfort zone

And remember this too: life begins once you’ve stepped beyond your comfort zone. That’s where the real challenges are, and that’s where you will grow.

And you must never stop growing.

So step outside your comfort zone, look those challenges in the eye, and just give them a wink.

You’re more than a match for them all. They should be quaking in their boots.

Go on, live life! Now!

It’s later than you think.

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How to get along with people and make the world better

How to get along with peopleHow to get along with people? It’s a classic problem. We don’t have to like people, but life’s better if we can get along with them. But how?

Life’s great challenge:

Dear reader, do you have problems getting along with other people?

Do you find it difficult to deal with some people as you go about your daily routine?

Well, it’s true; some people can be challenging and quite difficult at times. I’m sure most readers will have had that experience occasionally.

However, in my experience, most people just want you to be nice to them. They want to be respected for who they are and treated with courtesy.

I’ve learned over the years that if you respect people and take a genuine interest in their lives, then generally they’ll respond warmly to you. Not all, perhaps, but certainly most people.

How to get along with people:

Think about it.

We all just want to be treated with courtesy and respect and appreciated for who we are and what we do, don’t we? Certainly, I do. Don’t you, dear reader?

If we accept that as true, then the way to get along with other people is not difficult, surely?

The trick is to treat people with courtesy and respect, regardless of who they are or what they do. Treat them as you would prefer to be treated.

Be kind and considerate to them as individuals, and there’s a good chance that they’ll treat you well too.

You don’t have to like people, but life’s better if you can get along with them. And if you can get along with them and get to know them, then you might just get to like them in time as well.

The world can be a better place:

If we can all get along, then it will make the world a better place.

If we can all be kind and considerate to our fellow human beings, then we could have a world free from strife and tension.

So go on, show people some respect, show them a little appreciation, take an interest in them for who they are and what they do, and above all, never underestimate the power of a thank you.

I always feel better if I think I’m appreciated, and I’m sure you do too. We all do.

So the trick to getting along with people is simply to treat them as you would prefer them to treat you. It works every time for me.

And I’m confident that it will work well for you too, dear reader.

So go on, make every effort to get along with people, and make the world a better place.

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How to Become Wealthy in 5 Years: A Roadmap for Growth

HOW TO BECOME WEALTHY IN 5 YEARSThis article explores how to become wealthy in 5 years.

Wealth building often evokes images of overnight success and incredible riches. While such scenarios may exist in rare instances, they are far from the norm. True wealth, encompassing both financial abundance and personal fulfilment, demands a more nuanced and strategic approach. This article aims to debunk get-rich-quick myths and unveil a practical roadmap for building sustainable and meaningful wealth within a five-year timeframe.

The journey begins with clarifying a definition of wealth.

Everyone’s idea of what wealth means is different. For some, it might be about financial freedom, early retirement, and accumulating assets. For others, it might be achieving a degree of affluence to live comfortably.

Defining your “why” helps you navigate financial decisions and avoid chasing empty metrics.

Next, assess your current financial standing.

Track your income, expenses, and debts. Knowing where you stand is crucial for crafting a realistic plan.

Now, consider the core principles for wealth building:

Part 1: Financial Wealth: How to Become Wealthy in 5 Years:

  1. Cultivate a saving mindset: This is the bedrock of financial health. Aim to save 15-20% of your income every month. Automate a portion into savings or retirement accounts to make it effortless. Prioritize needs over wants and cut back on non-essential expenses. Remember, small savings can snowball over time.
  2. Optimize your income: While saving is crucial, maximizing your income accelerates wealth building. Seek opportunities for salary raises, promotions, or upskilling within your current field. Explore avenues for additional income, like freelancing, side hustles, or investing in rental properties. Diversifying your income streams mitigates risk and creates opportunities for exponential growth.
  3. Master debt management: High-interest debt can cripple your financial progress. Prioritize paying off high-interest debts like credit cards or payday loans. Consider strategies like debt consolidation or snowballing (focusing on smaller debts first for momentum).
  4. Embrace the power of investing: Put your savings to work! Invest in assets with the potential for long-term growth, like stocks, bonds, or real estate. Start with low-risk, diversified options like index funds and gradually venture into riskier ventures as your knowledge and comfort level grow. Seek professional guidance when necessary. And unless you’re already an expert, it will be necessary.
  5. Educate yourself: Knowledge is power, especially in finance. Read books, attend workshops, and consult financial advisors to broaden your understanding of managing money, investing, and tax optimization. Continuous learning fuels informed decisions and empowers you to take control of your financial future.
  6. Live purposefully: Wealth extends beyond material possessions. Invest in your health, relationships, and personal growth. Pursue hobbies you enjoy, connect with loved ones, and engage in activities that bring meaning to your life. Living a fulfilling life alongside financial security is true wealth realized.

Remember, the path to wealth is a marathon, not a sprint.

Consistency, discipline, and patience are key.

Celebrate milestones, but stay focused on long-term goals.

Be adaptable and resilient. Occasionally, unforeseen circumstances may arise, requiring adjustments to your plan.

Seek support from financial professionals and a community of like-minded individuals.

5 Year Plan:

Here are some actionable steps to take within the next five years:

Year 1:

  • Create a detailed budget and track your spending.
  • Pay off high-interest debt and establish an emergency fund.
  • Increase your income by at least 10%.
  • Open an investment account and start with low-risk options.

Year 2:

  • Max out contributions to retirement accounts.
  • Explore additional income streams through side hustles or investments.
  • Diversify your investment portfolio.
  • Seek financial advice and education.

Year 3:

  • Re-evaluate your budget and adjust as needed.
  • Review your investments and rebalance your portfolio.
  • Increase your risk tolerance for higher potential returns.
  • Implement tax-saving strategies.

Year 4:

  • Focus on growing your income streams significantly.
  • Consider larger investments like real estate or business ventures.
  • Build a passive income stream.
  • Help others achieve financial literacy and build wealth.

Year 5:

  • Assess your progress and adjust your plan if necessary.
  • Celebrate your achievements and set new goals.
  • Continue learning and adapting to changing economic landscapes.
  • Enjoy the fruits of your work and share your success with others.

Conclusion No 1:

Wealth building is not a guaranteed formula but rather a continuous journey of growth and learning.

By embracing mindful spending, disciplined saving, proactive investments, and a commitment to personal fulfilment, you can set yourself on a path to achieve sustainable and meaningful wealth within five years and beyond.

Remember, the definition of wealth is personal. Tailor this roadmap to your unique goals, values, and circumstances. Stay committed, learn continuously, and adapt as you journey towards a financially secure and fulfilling future.

PLEASE NOTE: This essay is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Always consult with a qualified professional before making investment decisions.

Part 2: Beyond the Numbers – Integrating Values and Impact

While the previous section outlined a practical framework for building wealth, true financial well-being extends beyond accumulating mere numbers. Integrating your values and considering the impact of your financial decisions are crucial for shaping a sustainable and fulfilling journey.

1. Alignment with Values:

  • Ethical Investing: Choose investments that align with your values, such as sustainable practices, fair labour standards, or responsible resource management. Consider impact investing or socially responsible funds to support positive societal change.
  • Philanthropy and Giving Back: Allocate a portion of your wealth to causes you care about, be it through donations, volunteering, or supporting community initiatives. Giving back not only creates a positive impact but also fosters a sense of purpose and strengthens your connection to your community.
  • Living Sustainably: Make conscious choices that minimize your environmental footprint and promote responsible consumption. Reduce your carbon footprint, support local businesses, and choose eco-friendly products. Living sustainably aligns your financial choices with environmental and ethical values.

2. Building Strong Relationships:

  • Financial Transparency with loved ones: Open communication about finances with your partner, family, or close friends can ease burdens, foster trust, and prevent future financial conflicts.
  • Sharing Your Expertise: Utilize your financial knowledge to empower others. Whether mentoring young adults, sharing tips with friends, or volunteering for financial literacy programs, helping others navigate their finances creates positive ripples within your community.
  • Investing in Relationships: True wealth also encompasses strong connections with loved ones. Prioritize quality time with family and friends, invest in experiences, and nurture these relationships. Strong social bonds contribute significantly to overall well-being and happiness.

3. Embracing Purpose beyond Wealth:

  • Define your life goals: While financial security is important, it’s not the sole purpose of life. Explore your passions, interests, and skills. Develop goals beyond financial accumulation that contribute to your personal growth and sense of fulfilment.
  • Contribute to society: Seek opportunities to use your talents and resources to make a positive impact. Take on leadership roles, mentor young people, or volunteer your time and skills to a cause you care about. Living a life of purpose brings immense satisfaction and enriches your community.
  • Find joy in the present: While striving for future goals is important, don’t neglect the present moment. Practice mindfulness, appreciate experiences, and find joy in everyday interactions. Appreciation for the present leads to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Remember, wealth is not a singular destination but a continuous journey of learning, growth, and impact. By integrating your values into your financial decisions, building strong relationships, and embracing a purpose beyond wealth, you can create a fulfilling and sustainable path towards financial prosperity and personal well-being.

Conclusion No 2:

Building wealth is important, and working towards financial freedom is a worthy aim. However, a more holistic perspective on wealth building will inspire you to create a journey that aligns with your vision for a meaningful life.

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