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How To Be In The Right Place At The Right Time More Often

How To Be In The Right Place At The Right Time More Often

    Ever wonder how some people seem to have all the luck? Whether or not you believe in luck, there’s something to be said for being in the right place at the right time. For example, say we were walking together and saw a sign offering $5,000USD to any responder who could write a 250-word article on a topic revealed at the start of a 20-minute time window.

    We’re both decent writers and the price is right so we follow up on the sign. Within minutes, we’re each sitting before a computer. The monitors blink on, the countdown starts, and our assigned topic is displayed. “Write about the development of cold-hardy peach varietals.” I stare at my monitor, deflated. I type a few lines about liking peaches but that’s it. Today wasn’t my lucky day.

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    Your story is different though. You know the guy who developed the premier cold-hardy strain of peach tree. You know enough about the topic to produce a satisfactory article in the given time and walk away with a check for $5,000USD. It’s your lucky day! But it wasn’t really luck, was it? We were both in the same place at the same time with the right skills to make the most of the situation. You just happened to have that extra bit of information that allowed you to succeed while I lost out. Why does that happen? How was it that you had the right information at the right place and at the right time? Why were you lucky?

    Your good luck, as well as the luck enjoyed by most successful people, can be attributed to the combined force of three simple elements:

    1. Proximity

    “You cannot catch a fish without being near the water.”

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    The people you think of as lucky often put a lot of effort into being near as many pertinent opportunities as possible. In my example, we both had a shot at getting lucky because we weren’t just two idiots reading a random sign. We were skilled writers looking at a writing opportunity. We were both close to the opportunity. Not just in skill or location but in timing as well. Most of life is less random than my example. You can put yourself in the right place at the right time more often by identifying an area in which you have the necessary skills and knowledge to capitalize on sudden opportunities.

    Questions: What are you doing to make timing right for you? What area have you put yourself in a position to “get lucky” in? Is there a skill you can improve for knowledge you can gain that will allow you to better capitalize on opportunities you discover?

    2. Practice

    “The fish not caught on the first try is larger when finally caught.”

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    Ask any professional athlete about a shining moment in their athletic experience and they’ll tell you that “luck” came only after long hours of practice. Wide receivers practice catching the ball thousands of times for every touchdown catch they make. Web developers create hundreds of applications before bringing the perfect one to market. And you? You read (possibly) millions of words before arriving at this article. In every case, the practice that precedes the instance of “luck” is just as important as the crowning moment itself.

    Questions: Have you given up on practice only to wonder why you’re not improving in your field and experiencing the same luck as others? What steps can you take today in order to hone your senses and polish your skills so the next opportunity can be turned into a lucky moment?

    3. Persistence

    “If you do not fish often, the fish have little chance to bite.”

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    One sad truth of existence is that most people give up long before they should. Being in the right place at the right time involves being in a lot of places at a lot of times that might seem inconvenient or even painful. You’ve heard that luck favors the well-prepared but what about luck favoring the tenacious? Ever successful (you might say “lucky”) person I know has come very close to giving up many times. They’ve looked failure directly in the eyes and said, “not yet.” Sure, they’ve closed businesses, lost clients, and left relationships. But they never stopped trying. They never gave up.

    Questions: Do you have a tendency to give up on things too early? Think of the last project you gave up on. What might have happened had you stuck with it? Are you currently giving your everything to the project or relationship at hand?

    Ever wonder why some people seem to have all the luck? By paying close attention to your proximity to opportunities and following through with practice and persistence, you may soon become one of the people we look at and wonder how you got to be in the right place at the right time. Just luck, right? =)

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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