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This is How a Woman Became a Billionaire and Changed the World

This is How a Woman Became a Billionaire and Changed the World

Elizabeth Holmes may not be a household name yet, but it is soon to be if her vision pans out. At 19 years old, Holmes dropped out of Stanford in the hopes of revolutionizing the blood testing industry. And her vision is finally becoming a reality 11 years later, as Theranos blood tests are becoming available at select Walgreens locations. Of course this is just a start. The hope is to have Holmes’s labs in hospitals, army bases, and “within one mile of every city dweller”according to (www.fortune.com).

So what exactly is this revolutionizing technology? Holmes keeps the actual technology quite secretive but claims they use “the same fundamental chemical methods” as existing labs. Currently, 10 ml vials of blood must be painfully drawn to run blood tests, but with Theranos, one painless finger prick can deliver up to 70 blood tests. Theranos is hoping to make blood testing convenient and painless, so people can detect and treat illness as early as possible. Not only is Holmes making blood tests painless, she is also making the results transparent by giving people access to their own blood test information.

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Theranos technology can save innumerable lives by enabling early detection of certain diseases and by giving people constant access to what is happening inside their bodies. The hope is to have people tracking blood information the same way they track weight, daily steps, heart rate, and sleeping patterns. Anomalies and testing errors will also become easier to detect with more data points making the information even more valuable.

Curious about how you can apply the philosophy of Ms. Holmes to your life?

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1. She makes short term sacrifices for long term gains

An important part of Holmes’s success is that she was able to make short term sacrifices for long term success. Rather than hastily raise money with investors who were eager for quick returns, she patiently waited to attract investors who understood her mission and long term goals. In addition, she was able to retain 50% of Theranos, now valued at over 9 billion dollars, placing her at 110 on the Forbes 400 list. Unlike many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, she isn’t eager to find an exit strategy. Rather, she is eager to continue revolutionizing the diagnostic lab business so that soon everybody can have access to potentially life saving information. This idea seems obvious, but in the moment most people opt for a quick return. Waiting for a reward is difficult, especially when it isn’t guaranteed. But if you can continuously remind yourself of the greater payoff associated with achieving your goals, you’ll be more likely to persevere.

2. She found work that motivated her internally

Although she is the youngest self-made female billionaire, her motivation stems from her desire to profoundly impact humanity not to make money. She believes in using business as “a tool for making change in the world.” This has been said too many times to be meaningful but it is true. The most successful people are motivated by more than solely money. While you may not be able to find meaning in making 1000 copies of a document or entering data, try to understand a way your work contributes to a greater picture.

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3. She automates trivial matters to focus her mental energy on work

Ms. Holmes is a great admirer of Steve Jobs and is known to dress in a black turtleneck each day similar to him. Jobs was known for his black turtleneck look and claimed he liked the “daily convenience and signature style” it offered. While Holmes did not state her reason for dressing the same way each day, other magnates including Mark Zuckerberg also have a signature style partly to reduce the number of unnecessary daily decisions. The idea is the less mental energy you exert towards unnecessary tasks, the more you have to focus on important work.

4. She goes substance free (…. yes this includes caffeine and alcohol)

As noted in Fortune, Holmes seems to follow an ascetic lifestyle. Holmes works 16 hour days, seven days a week, and fuels herself with green juices rather than coffee. She abstains from animal products, caffeine, and even alcohol – a rarity in today’s society. While the majority of Americans wouldn’t consider working before their cup of coffee, perhaps it is worth trying to go a month substance free even if it’s just to prove you can. You may surprise yourself with greater mental clarity by the end.

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Featured photo credit: Forbes via forbes.com

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

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    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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