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Do you know how to raise your Internet Price?

Do you know how to raise your Internet Price?
Internet Priced to sell!

I went shopping this weekend for a new car. I entered a few numbers and in a few minutes I could see exactly the Internet Price for 41 specific cars within a hundred miles of me, and my Inbox started filling up with emails from Internet Sales Managers. I can remember just a few years ago this kind of Internet Pricing didn’t exist, and then a few years on how media pontificators would say you could never sell something like a car, or a house on the net.

Now, I can find the Internet Price for anything: my car, my home, a college education, major surgery, you name it.

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Even me.

Plug in the skills you want, the years experience, optional equipment and how you would like me wrapped and there’s dozens of sites where programmers are listed by their Internet Price, some with pictures as nice as those of new cars. Would that be cash, check or charge?

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If you’re not a programmer, don’t feel too relieved: there are lots of people hard at work to set your Internet Price, and the day your picture will be looking out of the screen with a Click Now to Purchase link is fast approaching.

So how do you raise your Internet Price? How do you – yes you, reading this post right now – compete in a world where anyone who needs one of you can choose from everyone like you? Here’s what won’t work:

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  • Drop your price. American programmers can’t match the price of Eastern European programmers who can’t work for what Indian programmers who are getting beat by Chinese Programmers who go nuts when Open Source programmers do it for free!
  • Accessorize. Add more degrees, certifications, boot camps, post conference workshops, courses, classes, workshops, continued education classes, online classes, night classes, while you supposedly sleep training classes to the end of your name you have to get a oversized business card. So what? Everyone else with an Internet Price has just as many certs as you do.

In my opinion, here’s what will help you raise your Internet Price:

  • Don’t just hold down a job; excel. Slackers are a dime a dozen, and just as replaceable. Whether you flip burgers or man an IT help desk – both jobs I’ve had – how you do what you do matters not just to who you do it for, but hugely matters to your future.
  • Create and share value. Whether you’re self employed or work for a company, the more ways you can create value and share that value, the more valuable you are.
  • Be passionate. If you hate your job, quit! In all my working years I’ve never met someone who hated their job who was worth a damn at it and I’ve never met anyone who loved their job who wasn’t sought after. You know the part where you were told do something sensible, something respectable, something that you will make good money at? It’s a lie. It’s just that simple.
  • Define yourself online. We live at a time when hundreds of millions of people can connect, just by raising their hand and clicking their keyboards. That’s a bigger, more profound change than if tomorrow we can all levitate off the ground any time we want. If you pursue and discover your passions online, you will connect with other passionate people. You can do it by blogging, you can do it be participating in online communities, you can do it any way that works for you. The Internet can set your price and the Internet can make you priceless.

Value, passion and the Internet reverse the trend of treating people like they’re as interchangeable, replaceable and exchangeable parts to be bought and sold at the lowest Internet Price. And I for one am very glad they do!

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

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

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

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”.

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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The power of habit

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 six 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.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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