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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

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.

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 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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