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A Single Habit That Will Put You In The Top 1% Of Experts and Income Earners

A Single Habit That Will Put You In The Top 1% Of Experts and Income Earners
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Ideas, knowledge, skills, inspiration, and more are available to you through the magic of reading. More than any other single habit, reading gives you the power to learn and grow. I have used my reading skills to learn computer skills (WordPress, website design, Excel), history, and finance. To continue my growth, I have set annual goals to read a certain number of books. I’ve already exceeded my 2015 goal to read 30 books.

There are an abundance of benefits that entrepreneurs, authors, CEOs, and other successful people receive from reading. All reading is helpful in keeping your mind sharp. However, reading literature related to your goals will help you be more efficient in reaching those goals. If your goal is to improve your income, focus your reading on books that relate to your career.

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Do You Want To Learn How To Manage Your Money?

As one of the most successful investors of all time, Warren Buffet’s success habits deserve to be studied. His daily routine includes reading several newspapers, business reports, and books. As Buffet has explained in interviews, reading Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor gave him the foundation for his investment model.

Do You Want To Grow Your Business With New Opportunities?

Before he became known for his charity work, Bill Gates co-founded one of the most successful technology companies of all time. Reading and learning new ideas is one of the secrets of his success. Luckily, we can now read Bill Gates’s reading list on his website. Recent book recommendations include Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty and How Asia Works by Joe Studwell. Reading is a great way to learn about new countries and markets.

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Do You Want To Gain Lessons and Encouragement From Great Women and Men of the Past?

Author and marketing expert Ryan Holiday recommends reading biographies. On his recommendation, I read Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow in 2014 and it was outstanding. As Holiday points out, biographies teach us how real people have overcome significant problems. If you have ever felt alone in a challenge, there is probably a biography that has answers (and inspiration) to help get you through the problem.

Do You Want To Get Started With Reading Every Single Day?

Getting started with a new reading habit is daunting for some people. If that describes you, then start small. Commit to reading one page in the morning from a book while you eat breakfast. You can gradually increase it as you start to read more. As a general rule, I read from a book for 25 minutes each morning — it is a great way to start your day with new ideas and inspiration. If you prefer to read in the evening, you may want to read fiction so that you can better relax.

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Are You Bored During Your Commute? Use Audiobooks!

Did you know that Audible.com has more than 100,000 audio books available for download? It is a great way to add books to your daily routine. For example, you can listen to books during your exercise routine. You can also enjoy audiobooks during your commute to and from work. The average commuting time in the US is 25 minutes — that’s nearly an hour of audiobook-listening time you can use each day!

Do You Want To Get Paid Like An Expert By Reading?

In our economy, experts with specialized knowledge tend to be the most highly paid. For example, specialized doctors tend to earn more money than non-specialist doctors (e.g. in 2011, specialized surgeons in the U.S. earned close to $500,000 per year, more than double what generalists earn).

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How can you apply this concept to grow your income through reading?

Spend one hour every day of the year reading to advance your knowledge. To speed the process along, consider starting a focused program of study. For example, you may want to focus your reading on earning a credential such as the Project Management Professional certification. Alternately, you may also decide to read the best books in a given field (e.g. the Personal MBA’s 99 best business books). If you keep up your learning over several years, you will become an expert in your field.

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Featured photo credit: Book/PourquoiPas via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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