Should It Be A Meeting?

Did you know most office workers spend at least 45% of their week in meetings? Have you ever had a moment at work when you’ve thought, “Does this really call for a meeting?”

If you haven’t, you should start. Because if you’ve ever been in a meeting that didn’t go anywhere, you know how much of a waste of time it can be.

Not only can they be a huge time and productivity suck, they’re also expensive! Add up the hourly wage of everyone attending, and multiply that by the amount of hours you spend together, and you’ll get a quick idea of just how much money your company is losing.

Want fewer meetings at work? Learn how to say no. Not all decisions require a meeting in order to drive next steps, and too many meetings have way too many people to be effective.

Should-it-be-a-meeting
Familiarize yourself with this flowchart before scheduling another meeting (source: https://shoulditbeameeting.com)
Think twice before scheduling a meeting

There are few things that will kill a team’s velocity quicker than meeting overload. So before scheduling your next meeting, ask yourself a few simple questions:

  1. Does this decision require input from more than one other person?
  2. Does the group need to talk about this together, at the same time?
  3. Do you have to wait until you can find a mutual time for everyone to discuss later?

Unless you answered yes to all the above questions, you perhaps don’t need to schedule a meeting to achieve your goals. Here are some replacements to consider:

  • Email
  • Chat
  • Quick phone call
  • Brief in-person conversation
  • Shared document
Should you need a meeting, take advice from Jeff Bezos

When it comes to getting more out of business meetings, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has it down. Jeff Bezos knows how to run a meeting. Here’s how he does It. He follows three simple rules.

Jeff-Bezos-and-Amazon

“Two pizza” teams.

To avoid these time-wasting gatherings and ensure that his schedule is only filled with meetings that are worth his time, Bezos has a “two pizza rule” that helps him to banish unnecessary gatherings from his schedule.

“We try to create teams that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas,” said Bezos. “We call that the two-pizza team rule.” – Jeff Bezos

If you’ve ever been in a meeting with too many people, you can understand the wisdom in this.

No PowerPoint

Bezos actually banned PowerPoint presentations in favor of memos.

“Somebody for the meeting has prepared a six-page…narratively structured memo. It has real sentences, and topic sentences, and verbs, and nouns–it’s not just bullet points.” “The great memos are written and rewritten, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two.” – Jeff Bezos

None of that means anything if the meeting participants don’t prepare, which is what makes the third rule the best one of all.

Begin Meetings with Silence

Bezos starts each meeting by giving team members a half hour to actually read the prepared memos prior to discussing them.

“We read those memos, silently, during the meeting,” “It’s like a study hall. Everybody sits around the table, and we read silently, for usually about half an hour, however long it takes us to read the document. And then we discuss it.”

“Just like high school kids, executives will bluff their way through the meeting, as if they’ve read the memo,” “Because we’re busy. And so, you’ve got to actually carve out the time for the memo to get read–and that’s what the first half hour of the meeting is for. And then everyone has actually read the memo, they’re not just pretending to have read the memo.” -Jeff Bezos

You can imagine why this is so beneficial. How many times have you made it to an important meeting where, despite your best intentions, you’re simply not as prepared as you’d like to be?

Implementing Bezos’ three simple rules could not only help increase productivity but also make meetings less dreadful and boring. And, let’s face it, nobody truly enjoys PowerPoint anyway.

10 Time Wasters

Time is a very precious resource. The fact is that regardless of how well you manage time, at the end of a day, you will still only have had 24 hours. In one year there are still only 8,760 hours. The key is using your time efficiently and eliminating time wasters from your day. Your attitudes and behaviors effect how you use your time.

By substituting what’s not working for you with a more effective behavior and/or attitude you’re on the road to managing your time.

10 Time wasters

1. Waiting for Inspiration

The work of top creatives isn’t dependent upon motivation or creative inspiration, but rather it follows a consistent pattern and routine. It’s the mastering of daily habits that leads to success, not some mythical spark of creative inspiration.

2. Worrying about what people will say

Most of us worry a little too much about what others think of us. We all want to be liked and appreciated for our many talents, our ferocious intelligence, our good nature, our sparkling personality. But when we give over our power to others and allow that their impressions to become how we perceived, we lose out on who we really are.

Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner.

Lao Tzu

3. complaining

No one cares to be around a complainer. If you want to start attracting and creating the success you desire, you’ll want to stop complainingComplaining can add to your stress levels and the stress of those around you. The first step is to become aware when you are complaining. One of the techniques I use is: Thought Stopping. This is a technique that many therapists recommend for a variety of issues because it works well. When an undesirable thought enters your head, you literally interrupt it with the mental image of a stop sign or the word “stop!” and move on to a different thought.

4. Trying to please everybody

Trying to please everyone will never bring you the approval and love you seek. You absolutely shouldn’t try to please everyone all the time. It’s just not worth it. Not only will you begin to live your life according to someone else’s standards, but you’ll deplete yourself of any sense of happiness. Saying yes to everyone’s requests means you’re saying no to something else.

5. Comparing yourself

You know you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Yet, that’s often easier said than done. Job title, income, grades, house, and Facebook likes, you’re not alone. I often find my self doing it too. We typically compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others. The best way to get over this is to become intimately aware of your own successes. You can control one life—yours. But when we constantly compare ourselves to others, we waste precious energy focusing on other peoples’ lives rather than our own.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

6. Repeating the same mistakes

We feel driven to repeat mistakes from the past in the hopes that this time the situation will work out differently, but it rarely does. To avoid this repetition failure, I suggest the following: Engage in vigorous self-examination. You will have to identify the behaviors you want to change. Understand how your history influences these behaviors.

7. Perfectionism

If you’re a perfectionist, it could be seriously holding you back. Remember, there is nothing wrong with having high standards, but when these standards are too high, they can really get in the way of your work/school, relationships, and enjoyment of life. Because adults with perfectionism are often very critical of themselves, one of the most effective ways to overcome perfectionism is to replace self-critical or perfectionistic thoughts with more realistic and helpful statements. “It’s okay if some people don’t like me. No one is liked by everyone!”

8. Lack of priorities

The wrong priorities lead to bad decisions. Being under pressure because of a lack of priority makes your priorities even fuzzier, choosing the now over what really matters. Take a close look at how you ACTUALLY  spend your time. What are you doing that is moving the needle that needs to move?

Busy isn’t’ a sign of success, it’s a lack of priority.

Chase Jarvis

9. The fear of failure

Many of us are afraid of failing, at least some of the time. But fear of failure (also called “atychiphobia“) is when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals. I do an exercise called “fear-setting” I learned from Tim Ferriss.

We suffer more in our imagination than in reality.

– Seneca

10. Not living your life

I know it’s easy to say we should just stop worrying and live our livesLiving a life where you’re happier and kinder towards yourself is not just about what you can do. But also about what you are already doing. Understand that your life unfolds as your mind perceives it. Cultivate an internal focus of control. Stop existing at the whim of other people, of tragedy, of uncertainty. Develop your personal view and embrace it, let it guide you.

 

Hack Your Sleep With A Sleep Induction Mat

I just got my sleep induction mat from @prosourcefit with super sharp spikes (about 6,210 individual spikes)

A post shared by Blake S. Murphy (@blakesmurphy) on

Sleep Induction Mat

The tiny spikes on this torturous looking mat actually stimulate the acupressure points along your back. When you go to bed, your fight or flight response is still activated, your body’s nervous system is still in a sympathetic mode. When you lay down on a sleep induction mat your body panics for a moment because it can’t really figure out what you’re doing and why there’s some pain. (It’s not unbearable, or painful at all, just uncomfortable for a bit.) Once you adjust for a few seconds your body starts to relax and you just melt into it. Your nervous systems starts calming down and realizes that you’re not going to die. Then your body starts releasing your feel-good hormones. This is all the perfect storm to quiet your mind, let you relax, and let you slip into a deep, restful sleep.

Everybody needs to get quality sleep, and many of us are in need of some help when it comes to getting it. I definitely recommend trying this out if you are having trouble getting to sleep. Did you know 1/3 of your life is spent on sleep? That means 26 years of your life are spent in bed.

Other ways to improve your sleep that won’t cost you anything. No caffeine after 2 P.M. Start winding down two hours before bed. Avoid bright lights in use F.lux on your computer. Sleep in the pitch black room (If it admits light, cover it – Your hands should be invisible in front of you) Avoid big meals before bed.

My Exact Morning Routine

What is your morning routine?

I love my morning routine. A morning and an evening routine are a great way to bookend your day, and the morning routine in particular allows you to prioritize all the things necessary to take care of yourself and your body while your willpower is high.

4:30ish

I wake up trying not to use an alarm. Instead try to wake up naturally at the same time every morning. Complete a morning entry into my custom Evernote Five Minute Journal

5:00ish

I walk to the kitchen and I pour 16oz of water. As I drink this water, I take my morning supplements and there’s currently quite a few – specifically:

-5g SixStar 100% Creatine Unflavored
-2 capsules Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Phospholipids
-1 capsules Sundance Natural’s Magnesium
-1 capsules Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin
-1 capsule Pure Encapsulations – O.N.E. Multivitamin
-1 capsule Natures Bounty Vitamin D3

5:15ish

I proceed to do my 10 minute morning stretch routine.

5:30ish

I will head out the door for my morning run. At a minimum I will run a mile every morning.

morning routine

6:00ish

I will return home and start making my version of Bulletproof Coffee. It consistent of:

2Tbs of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter (which I turn into ghee)
2Tbs of Onnit MCT Oil
1 Tbs of Hazelnut Torani Syrup, Sugar Free
1Tbs of Heavy Whipping Cream
1 raw egg

6:30ish

I will take a cold shower. I will wash my body and hair with warm water. When I’m done with that, I will crank it as cold as it will go. Cold thermogenesis is the practice of intentionally exposing parts of the body to specific levels of cold stress. Years of research now shows this can cause significant increases in metabolism and calorie burning, can increase insulin sensitivity and help control blood glucose levels, reduce systemic inflammation, help with sleep and recovery, and potentially fight certain types of cancer as well as promote overall longevity. I will then stay in there for as long as I can but nothing less then two minutes.

6:45ish

I will get April up for school. I will talk to her about her sleep, dreams, things we are grateful for, breakfast, and the day’s activities.

7:20ish

We will head out the door to drop April off at school. On the way to school we will listen to an audio book that April has picked out. I try to teach her to always be learning. It’s especially effective when you’re commuting. I used to listen to tons of Anthony Robbins audiobooks on my way to work and I learned a lot of things while I was stuck in traffic. Plus it was really uplifting and made me more engaged at work.

7:45ish

I will drop April off at school and I will head to work for the day.

If you have proposed modifications to my morning routine, you want to describe your own morning routine, or you have questions, thoughts, then feel free to use the comments section below!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

While the book stumbles a bit in it’s opening chapter trying to justify it’s attention-grabbing title, the rest of the book is, without hyperbole, life changing.

This book isn’t about throwing everything to the wind and turning in to a useless blob. It is a book about being told harsh truths. It’s about giving f*cks where f*cks deserve to be given, placing your f*cks where they’re going to do you good instead of drag you down. That you are not uniquely talented. That the things you believe are the product of an imperfect mind imperfectly interpreting events. That society has made you entitled and your entitlement is making you depressed. And, most painfully of all, that you can fix it.

I highly recommend it, but if you pass on it, I really don’t give a f*ck.

Check out The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck today:
Want to know what else I’m reading check out the Blake Murphy Book Club

Manage Your Day-to-Day

Manage Your Day-to-Day

This is a brief book with a number of contributors. Since there is no one answer for all people out there, hearing from a number of people their strategies for getting things accomplished is a nice change, compared to numerous single-author single-plan productivity books that are out there. However, there is some consistency of perspective, and some themes, such as reducing distractions, repeat across many contributors. You probably already know much of what is in here, but seeing the ways in which you are not maximizing your productivity in black and white (and red) brings them to the foreground where you cannot ignore them.

This book is an excellent read for those working from home. Or for those within a business who have control over their own time management. If you feel like you’re stressing yourself out over the little things, this book will bring you back to see the bigger picture, and why those little things may be helping or harming your productivity.

Before reading Manage Your Day-to-Day, I would start my day doing mundane tasks like answering email or just looking for something interesting on the internet. Now, after I exercise, I start writing or composing first thing. It makes me want to get out of bed. I rise now about 2 hours earlier than I had in the past. My productivity has gone way up. Due to the short length, I love the fact that I can re-listen to the audio version and remind myself of the nuggets that are found throughout.

Check out Manage Your Day-to-Day today:
Want to know what else I’m reading check out the Blake Murphy Book Club