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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 October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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