On our way to our favorite lake path this morning a sound pierced the air that brought an instant smile to my face and an extra pep to my Daisy’s four little paws (See My Favorite Way To Simply Enjoy Life).
The sound was like a mixture of clown horn and sixth-grade clarinet wrapped up in a blanket of insistent impatience.… ah yes, the Canadian geese are back.
Sure enough, as we rounded the corner onto the path, I could see their large avian bodies dotting the banks of the neighborhood lake.
I can’t help but feel the return of the geese are an optimistic symbol that a page has been turned and I’ve entered a new chapter in my life.
For many that chapter began a little more than a week ago when the year changed. Thousands vowed to live better lives with new year’s resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, quit drinking, get out of debt, spend more time with family, get organized… you know the drill.
Well I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions this year, but I did attend a personal growth conference over the weekend and feel the urge to make some positive changes.
I learned some useful tips and added a few tools to my box for enhancing my life and being more productive. I will explore more of these in coming weeks but thought I’d share my biggest takeaways from Marc and Angel Chernoff’s Think Better, Live Better conference.
With the coming of the geese, maybe it’s time to incorporate some of those changes into my world.
Three Life Hacks I Learned From Think Better, Live Better
1. Stop Letting The Email Inbox Rule Your Life
Today for the first time in… years probably… I started my day without checking my email first thing. In fact, as I write this post, I have been up for many hours now and still have not checked my email. And much to my surprise, the world is still spinning.
Also as expected and as foretold by several masters presenting at the conference, I’ve been much more productive and in control of my day.
Mike Vardy of productivityist.com advises setting boundaries with all of our time, and especially setting boundaries on our email accounts.
Vardy says to “be ruthless with boundaries.”
This means that I do not need to check my email inbox first thing in the morning, thereby letting it rule my day. Furthermore, I do not need to keep constantly checking it throughout the day.
Kendra Wright of HeyKendra.com suggests scheduling an appointment in your calendar each day for checking email—and only check it at those times.
Wright’s philosophy is that “if it isn’t on your calendar, it won’t exist.”
Consistent and diligent use of a calendar is key to being productive according to Varti and Wright.
2. Pick A Goal And Work On It With A Partner
I’ve heard before that an accountability partner is a huge asset in attaining goals.
Marc and Angel Chernoff of marcandangel.com are shining examples of that concept.
While they happen to be husband and wife, that’s not necessary for a good accountability relationship.
The Chernoffs offered practical advice for establishing and maintaining an accountability partnership.
“Write 10 questions to yourself, i.e. ‘Did you write an hour today?’ and then each day the other person asks you if you did them,” said Marc Chernoff.
They advise checking in with your partner each day and asking if you met the goals in the 10 questions and then meeting once a month to go over your progress.
The folks at asianefficiency.com took that idea one step further and suggested setting up a reward/consequence system with your partner.
One of their gurus said that he and his girlfriend promised to streak naked through their apartment complex if they had not accomplished their particular goals. Apparently this was just the incentive they needed because all goals were met.
3. Simplicity Is Best
An overriding theme for the conference was that of simplicity and minimalism. With guest speakers Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com and Courtney Carver of bemorewithless.com on the roster, that was no big shocker and was in fact the main reason I was even there.
Becker and Carver did not disappoint.
In fact, my biggest takeaway from Think Better, Live Better is that I am on the right track with my simplicity journey.
I felt like Moses carving on the rocks as I took notes from Becker’s talk. Just some of his amazing words of wisdom…
“We exist for far greater things than the accumulation of possessions.”
“We keep expecting money to do something it was never designed to do.” (i.e. happiness, security…)
“Because of technology, the trivial is so accessible it distracts us from what matters.” (i.e. checking in with Facebook and email constantly instead of being present in the moment)
And one of my favorite simple wisdom nuggets from Carver…
“When you want to know what matters in life, get rid of everything that doesn’t.”
Listening to and getting to meet and actually talk with Becker and Carver were definitely highlights of my conference experience.
I’m sure I’m on a little post-conference buzz right now that will fade as daily life creeps back in.
I’m enough of a realist to know that I won’t be incorporating all of the dozens of really good ideas and hacks I learned.
For now, I’m thrilled to have just been exposed to all the brilliance and positive energy. If some of those tips settle in for long-term, then I am a lucky girl who is living better because of it.