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Open Wider

Open Wider

Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee. They create an experience with an environment, complete with accessories, lifestyle choices, and culture.

Home Depot isn’t a hardware store. It’s a solution to your improvement projects, a trusted resource for your redecorating needs, and a supplier for your new home.

There are dozens more cases that come right to mind. If you twist my arm, I’ll list many more. But the point I’m illustrating is this: if you look beyond the basic element of what it is you do, you’ll find a larger playing field, with more options, and more opportunities. But how is this a life hack, Chris? I’m glad you asked.

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See Yourself as a Solution, Not a Role

Do you go to work? Do you have a job? Answer this next one honestly. Do you define yourself by the title you hold?

If you answered yes to these questions, the hack is this: you will go much further in your career if you turn that thinking upside down and view yourself as a finder of answers, a solution to problems, instead of whatever the title is that you hold.

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Are you a customer service agent? What are the boundaries of that role, versus the boundaries of someone who guarantees the satisfaction of every customer you come in contact with? How does being a software developer change when you consider yourself the owner of the end user’s experience? Would you treat your position differently if, instead of a systems administrator, you thought of yourself as the woman responsible for ensuring everyone else’s day went smooth?

Servants of a Cause

The very best implementations of this seem to come when you view yourself as a servant. Someone responsible for every aspect of your masters’ (your customers, your boss, your colleagues) experience, it’s a humbling and yet empowering thing to perceive things through that particular lens.

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How does your current role change when you consider yourself the servant of a cause? Not the servant of a specific individual, but the entire cause. What if you’re a project manager? How can you make everyone you serve happy with their experience under your care? What’s the greater cause you serve? Bringing your projects in on time, under budget, and without defects is great on the books, but not especially rah rah to you or the team. What if you raised a different flag on your project, and instead challenged everyone to complete the project such that things were better all around than when you started the project? How would that be received?

Even in Your Head

Another trick of this is all internal. If you told absolutely no one about your change of thinking on this, but instead, went about your way with all this change of heart inside your head POWERING what you do, I think you’ve already won. It’s all in how you perceive the situation that everything comes around to the way you see it. Open your head wider, and you’ll find solutions that have always been there.

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It works for me.

Chris Brogan is Community Developer for Network2 a guide to internet TV, as well as coFounder of PodCamp. He keeps a blog at [chrisbrogan.com].

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Last Updated on December 30, 2018

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day

This article is the 2nd in the 6-part series, Lifehack Challenge: Become An Early Riser In 5 Days.

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?

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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.

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!

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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? 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!

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3. Make rising early a social activity

While there’s obvious value in joining a Lifehack Challenge in order to get you started as an early riser, your internet 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? 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.

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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. 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!

More Resources for an Energetic Morning

Featured photo credit: Frank Vex via unsplash.com

Reference

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