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Editing Your Life

Editing Your Life

I’ve been working with a lot of editing lately: removing dead space and clicks and “ums” from audio podcasts, clipping off the unimportant or blurry in video footage, trimming useless or hard-to-understand words out of posts and articles. It strikes me that editing is an important part of maintaining a productive and effective life.

  • Edit Your Commitments– We tend to take on lots of recurring tasks in our lives, and then we stay slave to them, simply because we said yes at some point. Maybe you’re coaching a softball team years after your kids have moved on. You have some sense of obligation, but you’re not really in love with the duty. Find a way to say no with grace. Trim back all the things you’ve committed to, as gracefully as you can (so as not to hurt other people’s feelings), until you’ve found more time for the things that matter most.
  • Edit Your Consumption– How many magazines and newspapers come to the house. Do you read them all, cover to cover? Compare that to how much time you have to do the things you say matter to you. Can you see where a few of those magazines could stop being renewed? How about TV shows? Can you limit your alotted time to 1 hour a day max? How about 3 hours a week?
  • Edit Your Hobbies– I have MANY friends who fall prey to this one. They are creative, and they express it in as many ways possible. Do you play guitar, scrapbook, draw, make movies, write fiction, bake, and build robots? Is there a chance that the phrase “the enemy of great is good” is at play in your life? Meaning: if you cut a few of those hobbies out (even for a four month trial), would you find even more time to focus and improve the few you leave in place?
  • Edit Your Expenses– A large cup of coffee at a nice coffee shop might be $3.00 US. But that’s not a lot to spend on your first great cup of joe in the morning, right? 3×5=15.00 a week; 15×50= $750 a year. That’s a new Mac Mini and a free iPod in exchange for those three dollars a day. Are there places where saving a bit more will help you fund your dreams?
  • Edit Your Holidays– We put lots of energy into what goes on around the holidays. We feel obligated to send cards, obligated to buy gifts for everyone, obligated to observe the rituals of our culture in the most traditional of ways. But what would happen, truly, if you politely chose to do otherwise? What if you sent cards early to the relatives with whom you normally exchange gifts and said, “We love you, and appreciate seeing you around the holidays. Your gifts are always generous. We have all that we need or want. Instead of a gift, would you have us to dinner one night? That would make us happier than anything that comes wrapped with a bow.” Be graceful, as people have emotions wrapped tightly in gift giving, but see whether you can edit SOME of this back.
  • Edit Your Ambitions– Sure, Buckaroo Banzai was a nuclear scientist, brain surgeon, test pilot, and leader of the band the Hong Kong Cavaliers, but are you ready to take on all the various ambitions you’ve set out for yourself? Review your sense of where you want to go in life. Does it make senes? Why do you want to be a vice president? Why do you want to start your own company? Make sure you’re still in alignment with your goals, and question deeply whether they match the life you’re leading.

Obviously, the point isn’t to edit out things you love. If I’ve hit on your favorite thing in the world up there in the list, leave that one in place. The point is to really stare deeply into the life you’re leading right now, take stock, and determine just how much of what you’re doing is excess that could be edited to make room for the material that matters most. I encourage you to try the exercise, and if you’ve any ideas on what else to edit, share with the readers. Lifehack.org is about you, so your comments make these posts better. What can you edit?

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— Chris Brogan takes time out from editing to produce podcasts and video casts at Grasshopper Factory. Something needs editing at [chrisbrogan.com], but he’s not willing to admit it, yet.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

When you become an early riser, you’ll experience a lot of benefits including feeling more energized and having more time to do what you want.

If you’d like to become an early riser, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your oft-ignored alarm clock.

So how to become an early riser?

Here are five tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper to early morning wizard:

1. Choose to Get up Before You Go to Sleep

You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.

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No more!

If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before.

Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually, your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!

Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day[1] to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.

2. Have a Plan for Your Extra Time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day?

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If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed.

You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!

3. Make Rising Early a Social Activity

Your internet or social media buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.

Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning. But wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am?

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The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.

4. Don’t Use an Alarm That Makes You Angry

If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning?

I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a back up for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.

When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!

5. Get Your Blood Flowing Right After Waking

If you don’t have a neighbor, you can pick fights with at 5am, you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head.

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Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)

If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!

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Featured photo credit: Nomadic Julien via unsplash.com

Reference

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