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I’ve been an avid reader since I was 16. One of the first novels I (voluntarily) read was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. That’s a serious read at 450 pages, but I loved it. Around the same time, I also discovered non-fiction books. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene was the first self-help book I read. I immediately got hooked to reading—fiction and non-fiction.

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7 Keys To Reclaim Your Agenda By Dealing With Email

“We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.”

– Seneca

What is the first thing you do when you started working this morning? Chances are high you checked your email. Most people let their agenda schedule their day.

Email is nothing more than someone asking for your time; do not let them steal your time by immediately responding to emails. Before you realize it, you are working on other people’s schedule.

High achievers have a system for checking email that usually revolves around set times. By planning when you check and respond to your email, you take over control. Instead of being a slave to your inbox, you become a master of your inbox.

Never start your day by opening your email. Before you know it, you will start responding mindlessly to emails. When you are done responding, you will wait for the next interruption to answer. Instead, create rules to master your inbox and take control over your agenda.

Keys To Mastering Email

  1. Check your email on set times.
    • Example of a good schedule is: 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the late afternoon.
    • Alternatively, you can check your email once per day, for 30-60 minutes (depending on how many emails you receive).
  2. Only pick times to respond to Email when you are NOT at your best. For instance, I do not check my email in the morning. I use the morning for writing and content creation. In the afternoon, when I am less creative, I respond to emails.
  3. Turn of all email notifications (phone, tablet, pc, laptop).
  4. Be brief with your responses. Email is like conversation. You don’t have to go through your emails 5 times before sending them.
  5. Take care of every email. Either delete, respond, or forward your emails. Never let anything sit.
  6. Once you take care of your email, file them in relevant folders. This way you achieve inbox zero.
  7. When you are waiting for an important email, open your email and skim through your inbox. Only look for the person you are expecting an email from, ignore the rest.

Instead of answering emails in the morning, take 15 minutes to plan your day. Set priorities for your day, and think about what you want to get done that day. Never focus on more than 4 items—the more things one your list, the more chances you will procrastinate. Keep things simple and clear. And take over your agenda by responding to emails when you decide.

 

 

Thanks For Reading!

 

I’m Darius Foroux—an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster.

I publish weekly articles on overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more. Never want to miss an article?

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Work shouldn’t be a means to earn money

A lot of people currently have jobs that they never thought they would have. Often, money is the reason you take a job you are not passionate about (I’ve done this as well). For example, a lot of graduates take jobs in sales because it pays well. With many growing tech companies, you can earn six figures as a sales person. 25 year-olds are making that type of money right now.

While money is wonderful, and will make you happier when you go from zero to 50K, it will not bring you lasting happiness. Studies have shown that money and happiness do not go hand in hand. When you make 10 million dollars instead of 1 million dollars, you are not happier.

This is not new information. So why do people keep chasing money? When you earn money, you go on holidays, you buy nice stuff, a car, a house. Also, when you have kids, you want to send them to the right schools.

Before you know, that job you took to make money years earlier, has turned into a career that you didn’t want. And because you need the money, you’re afraid to take risks. You choose the safe thing—you stick with it. You give up.

If you’re thinking about taking a job just because of money, I’m not saying you shouldn’t. You will learn at every job, so you don’t have much to lose. But after a while, when you’re not learning anymore, you should pack your bags and leave. The only reason people stick to jobs where they don’t learn anything is money. Or they stay because of a promise that they will earn a promotion in the next year. The truth is the promotion might never come, and you will end up wasting your time.

You might not be able to plan your whole career, but when you start something, you should know where it goes. Your career is like a sailboat. Instead of always setting sail and going with the direction of the wind, you should be selective when you set sail.

Decide what you think is most important in your life. There is no shame in earning money—we all have to provide for our family and ourselves. But do not be a slave to money. Live below your means, and stay in control of your life.

Learning vs Money

I think everyone should choose learning over money. You’ll earn more money in the long term when you focus on developing your skills and knowledge. But when money is the decisive factor in taking a job, and you’re not passionate about the work, you will become indifferent to the work. You’ll think, why should spend time improving my skills? You just don’t care about the work. No one blames you; it’s entirely natural to be disinterested about things you don’t like.

It should be the other way around; you should take a job that involves work that makes you excited. Above that, you should do something you’re good at so you can add value. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths—improving something you’re already good at will get you further than developing your weak skills. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on your weaknesses. Developing weak skills are an essential part of growing, as a person and a professional.

But there is a difference in being good at something and doing what you love. Work is about adding value to people and businesses. You don’t get paid just by doing something you love—you have to be good at what you do. This is true for everything, from playing video games, to cooking, to selling, to coding. Being mediocre, doesn’t bring you anywhere.

Finally, rethink the concept of work. We separate life and work too often. Work is considered a way to earn money so that you can live the life you want. But the truth is that you spend a lot of your time at work. So what do you value more, your time or money?

Think of life and work as one. Find work you’re good at, and passionate about—so that you want to improve your work and skills. When you add value to other people’s life, you will earn the money you deserve. Zig Ziglar put it best: “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

 

 

How Do You Make Important Life Decisions?

Throughout the years, we have to make important decisions in life. But instead of choosing consciously, we just pick the things that are convenient or seem like the logical thing to do. You take a job you don’t like because you need the money, and before you know, that will be your career. The same thing happens with choosing your partner—many people decide to marry because they are together for so long. Instead of making decisions based on their beliefs or standards, they go for what is convenient and don’t require much effort. Often, people mistake easy decisions with gut feeling. Convenient decisions usually go against your gut feeling—deep down you know it’s not the right decision.

How do you make decisions?

  • Do you imitate others?
  • Pick classes and degrees that your friends choose?
  • Do you take a job because of the pay?
  • Do you marry because you’ve been together for so long?
  • Do you buy a house because that is what normal people do?

Most people just ‘do’. The result is that they live the life of others. So when you make important decisions in life—think about what you want. Know yourself. And have a system for making important life decisions. Have standards. For example: if you value your health and mental well-being above all, you shouldn’t make decisions that bring that in danger.

That means you won’t take a job that you are not passionate about because a job you hate impacts your mental wellbeing. Similarly, if you value your health, that means you can’t be in a relationship with someone who hates exercise and loves to drink alcohol and eat unhealthy. The reason is that people influence each other’s behavior—you probably take over the unhealthy standards of your partner.

Decide consciously. Set standards. And live up to them. You will save yourself a lot of time, money, and hurt. It’s better to take some time to figure out what it is you want from life. Discover what you value in life and make your decisions accordingly.

 

 

Thanks For Reading!

 

I’m Darius Foroux—an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster.

I publish weekly articles on overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more. Never want to miss an article?

Hop on my newsletter below: