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Why Slowing Down Makes You an Expert Faster

Why Slowing Down Makes You an Expert Faster


    What is the similarity between Tony Robbins (motivational speaker), David Allen (productivity guru), Darren Rowse (professional blogger), Jamie Oliver (television cook) and Jillian Michaels (well-known fitness trainer)?

    They are all very successful in what they do – and they are also top experts in their own field.

    How did they reach this status?

    Did they just read a book on a topic and decide that they automatically go-to experts in their own field? Or did they one day just announce to the public that they are gurus?

    No…they didn’t.

    What about you then: Do you wish to be an expert? Do you think that you can start a blog, write a couple of “6 tips” articles and announce that you are an expert? Can you reach an expert status overnight – by doing something haphazardly and hoping that someone will notice you?

    If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are on the wrong track. In fact, you will never reach that recognized “go-to person” status in your field if you keep this mentality.

    Goodbye book signing tours and goodbye TV appearances; you will be left in the dust of mediocrity with other wannabe experts.

    The missing elements of expertise

    For some reason, many people want to reach to expert status overnight. They are not willing to work their asses off to reach that “go-to person” status. Rather, they want to take shortcuts; they want everything faster and easier.

    Another major issue on their path to being an expert is the lack of focus. They hustle around and they think that they have to specialize in every possible aspect of their field. Otherwise they feel they are going to be left on a level of mediocrity.

    Even if they start to focus on one area only, quite soon they move back to their original patterns – being generalists rather than specialists.

    Just shut up…and do the work.

    I’m willing to say that if your mindset is right, then reaching expert status someday is going to happen.

    When your mindset is right, you understand that you are committing to a long-term project. This is not a sprint — it’s not even a marathon. No…it is going to be a 100-mile run.

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    With the right mindset, you have to also have the courage to stay on your path with solid focus. This helps you to gain valuable experience over time.

    Finally, you also understand that you cannot set any deadlines as to when you will become an expert. It will happen eventually – with enough time and experience.

    What is required to become an expert?

    So how do you become an expert then? What is required if you want to reach the “go-to person” status in your field?

    The short answer is: Time. And lots of it.

    I’m not just talking about spending “X” amount of years of doing everything possible and then burning yourself out. Instead, I’m talking about taking slow, consistent, fearless and focused action.

    Now you may be asking: “What does slow, consistent, focused and fearless action mean?”

    It means that instead of trying to do everything in your field, you slow down and start focusing on a certain subset of the expertise; you take consistent action on things others are not willing to do.

    To break down the components in the previous sentence, consider these points:

    1. Slow: This is a long process, so learn your theories well. Then apply those theories to real life scenarios and test them out. Add your own personal tweaks to the mix. Create your own systems and theories – don’t just take everything for granted. Let the material to sink in well into your head. You are going to study a lot: reading books, watching videos, listening to live lectures or teaching others. There is no reason to rush – just take your time. This is a 100 mile run and not a marathon, remember?
    2. Consistent: Build your expertise on a daily basis. If you are able to do this, over time you will learn a great deal about your industry and your specialty within that field. Consistency keeps the momentum alive.
    3. Focused: Don’t try to master each and every area of your field. Instead, be superior in one particular area. For example, if you want to become an expert in Internet marketing, knowing everything about PPC, affiliate marketing, article marketing, building niche sites or building an e-mail list is not reasonable. Instead, pick one area and become a recognized expert in that particular topic.
    4. Fearless: Do what others are not yet doing or are afraid of doing. For example, if everyone else in your field is running text-based blogs, you can start creating videos or podcasts. If the rest of the community is afraid to do public speaking, step on the stage and start sharing your knowledge with others. Many times if we take bold action on things that we feel uncomfortable with, the rewards are going to be bigger than if we had just stayed inside our comfort zones.
    5. Action = This one is pretty self explanatory, but is still worth mentioning. Instead of just studying about your topic, it is also important to test and implement what you have learned. Test your knowledge by answering questions (on podcasts, videos, question/answer sites, etc.) or by teaching others (seminars, workshops, community colleges, etc.). Implement by turning a theory into practice – then report your findings to the world in the form of a blog post, case study or a free report. It’s the action that counts. That is the only way to create new experiences and ideas which could be once again be tested and implemented even further.

    Now that you know what it takes to become an expert, my questions to you are:

    • “Are you still willing to become an expert? Or do you see this as too tedious and too long of the path to take?”
    • “Are you willing to slow down, put 100% focus on a specific area of your field, and realize that this is going to be a long journey?”.
    • “Is becoming an expert overnight just unrealistic?”

    If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you are on the right path.

    It’s time to roll up your sleeves.

    Although the path to becoming an expert may be long, use these steps to move towards to your goals:

    1. Find your speciality.

    The first thing to do is to find the overall area you are passionate about.

    Is it cars, is it model airplanes, is it internet marketing or is it personal development? Only you know an answer to that.

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    For example, when I looked at my bookshelf it was evident that I had plenty of books related to time management. That’s what I was (and I still am) passionate about. Later on that topic was narrowed further, and now my focus area is time management for work-at-home dads.

    The reason why I decided to focus on that specific area was because I’m a father myself and I’m passionate about time management. Since those two topics coincide with each other, it was natural for me to focus on that particular area of time management.

    If you are still unable to figure out what your strengths are, you can take a DISC test to find that out. I took the Anthony Robbins DISC test and it literally changed my life. The results were very accurate and it showed me what areas I should be focusing on (and yes, time management was one of them).

    Action Steps:

    • Take a DISC test (Note: Although you are going to be registered to Anthony Robbins e-mail list, this test actually showed my strengths and I’m very grateful for that. In that sense, giving my e-mail address was a secondary thing.)
    • Brainstorm ideas: What are you passionate about? What do you love to learn about? Doing some brainstorming will help you to put your ideas and thoughts into a visual format on the paper

    2. Start a blog

    One of the great ways to build your expert status is to start a blog.

    There are many online courses out there that teach your blogging. What I recommend is that you find a teacher who has a proven track record of running a successful blog (Corbett Barr, Darren Rowse or Derek Halpern are the ones to name a few) and follow his/her teachings.

    Blogging is a great way to teach others about your subject, gain more expertise and grow your audience. Also, creating a blog may lead to other major milestones on your way to becoming a “go-to person”, like book deals or even TV appearances.

    When you start a blog, you don’t necessarily need to publish new content on a daily basis. In fact, there are many successful bloggers, who have a slower publishing schedule, and yet their blogs are very successful and they have a massive following.

    Instead of publishing mediocre stuff on a daily basis, focus on the quality content instead. In fact, every time you publish a post, let it be epic shit instead!

    Action Steps:

    • Join a blogging course
    • Focus on quality, not quantity on your blogging

    3. Study every day

    You need to keep your skills up-to-date, and also you have to learn new stuff on a daily basis.

    To learn new stuff, read books related to your topic, watch videos or listen to podcasts.

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    It is also worth remembering that studying other material (not just related to your industry/area) is a great way to feed your creativity. All of a sudden you may come up with ideas and topics which could be explored further.

    Action Steps:

    • Dedicate a time block for studying – for example 30 minutes to 1 hour every day. This can be reading, watching or listening.
    • Find the 5 biggest blogs regarding your niche and subscribe to their RSS feeds. Learn what topics they cover and participate to the discussions
    • Install iTunes client and look for podcasts in your field
    • Don’t just focus on the literature of your field – read other materials as well

    4. Write every day

    Not only should you study every day, but you should also write daily too. Writing is also a great way to learn more about the topic.

    For example, when you turn an idea to a text format (a blog post, e-book, report) you may need to do some further research. This forces you to check the facts and learn more about that topic.

    Action Steps:

    • Dedicate a time block for writing (for example 1 hour/day)
    • Choose the part of the day when you are less likely to be distracted (and when you are alert enough to focus).

    For example, I wake up early and write almost every morning before going to work. I’m productive during the morning hours and our home is quiet, so I can concentrate well on my writing.

    5. Experiment

    Not only is it important to study and write, but also to experiment with the knowledge you have. This in turn leads to other valuable innovations, which improves your experience level even further.

    Action Steps:

    • Spend time testing and experimenting with all the theories you have learned in practice
    • Take enough time to experiment with a theory to see if it works or not – then report your own findings (blog post, report …)
    • Create case studies: Demonstrate how something was changed after applying this particular theory in practice

    6. Strengthen yourself

    Although you need strong technical skills as an expert, there are other set of skills that you should master too.

    These skills are related to your personal time management and presenting skills.

    Action Steps:

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    • Learn some basic time management skills. When you work, you should focus enough on the tasks at hand and avoid distractions if possible. Also, knowing what parts to focus on is important so that you are not wasting time on unessential things.
    • Learn about public speaking. There will be times when you have to teach your expertise in front of the crowd. By learning about public speaking, you make a good impression on your listeners. Amazon has plenty of books related to this topic. A more effective way to learn about public speaking is to take a public speaking course or join Toast Masters. Only practice will make you better at speaking publicly.
    • Finally, taking action is also a great way to get more self-confidence. Rather than sticking to theories, actually do something – take action! This is a great way to boost your confidence.

    7. Teach others

    One of the best ways to learn a new topic is to teach others. With the help of the internet, it is possible to teach others online – you aren’t restricted to just teaching physically in classrooms.

    You teach others by doing guest posting, videos, podcasts, webinars or teleseminars. Once you are comfortable with these ways of teaching, you can start speaking on stage, in classrooms or at your industry events.

    Action Steps:

    • Write guest posts on other blogs
    • Create videos or podcasts on your blog where you teach about your topic
    • Have webinars and teleseminars with other experts in your market
    • Offer your training at community colleges
    • Conduct workshops
    • Perform public speaking presentations to a smaller groups first, then bigger ones
    • Consult via Skype

    8. Ask from others

    Asking is a powerful way of learning more and you should take advantage of this method.

    For example, I have realized that interviewing others is a great way to learn more from experts in my industry.

    Asking has also another great benefit: When you reach the top experts in your market, you are going to be on their radar and it may be easier to form new important relationships with the top players in your market.

    Action Steps:

    • Interview the top experts in your market by e-mail, podcasts or on videos and publish the material on your blog.

    Conclusion

    Becoming a recognized expert is not a sprint, not even a marathon – it’s a 100 mile run! That’s why you have to be dedicated and committed fully to this journey. For example, I have been studying time management since 2007 and I still have plenty of things to learn.

    So how do you know when you are an expert? You will realize this when others start noticing you and what you do. Little by little you’ll begin to be asked for interviews and opinions. Let others acknowledge that you are an expert rather than you declaring it yourself!

    Remember, there is no deadline in becoming an expert. It will happen gradually over time.

    Over to you: When did you realize that you were an expert in your field? How long did it take you to reach this status?

    (Photo credit: Slow Down Sign via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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    Last Updated on June 17, 2019

    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

    40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

    Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

    There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

    Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

    It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

    For Getting Things Done

    1. OmniFocus

    This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

    Download it here.

      2. Forest

      Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

      Download it here.

        3. Things

        Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

        Download it here.

          4. 30/30

          Recently covered here at Lifehack

          , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

          Download it here.

            5. Any.Do

            A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

            Download it here.

              6. PocketLife Calendar

              This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

              Download it here.

                7. Asana

                We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                Download it here.

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                  8. ToDoist

                  This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                  Download it here.

                    9. FlowTasks

                    From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                    Download it here.

                      10. Calendars 5

                      This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                      Download it here.

                        11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                        A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                        Download it here.

                          12. Due

                          A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                          Download it here.

                            13. Checkmark 2

                            I use this app

                            for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                            Download it here.

                              14. TeuxDeux

                              Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                              Download it here.

                                15. Wunderlist 

                                Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                Download it here.

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                                  16. Nirvana

                                  For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                  Download it here.

                                    17. Priorities

                                    An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                    Download it here.

                                      For Building Habits

                                      18. Productive

                                      With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                      Download it here.

                                        19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                        You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                        Download it here.

                                          20. Streaks

                                          This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                          Download it here.

                                            21. Remember The Milk

                                            Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                            Download it here.

                                              22. Day One Journal

                                              When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                              Download it here.

                                                For Files Organization

                                                23. Evernote

                                                Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  24. Pocket

                                                  You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                  Download it here.

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                                                    25. Sync.Me

                                                    This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      26. Droplr

                                                      One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        27. Dropbox

                                                        Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          28. iDolly 

                                                          In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                          Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            29. Soulver

                                                            It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              For Working Smarter

                                                              30. Captio

                                                              A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                31. Drafts

                                                                A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                  This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                  Download it here.

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                                                                    33. Doodle

                                                                    This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                      I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                        A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          36. GoodReader

                                                                          This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            37. LogMeIn

                                                                            Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              For Improving Security

                                                                              38. 1Password

                                                                              There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  40. Truecallers

                                                                                  Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                    More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                    Reference

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