Daily Routine

This is a cornerstone of my daily routine. I'm more productive in the morning vs. any other time of day. By the way while most days I wake up at 4 AM I don't hold myself strictly to 4 AM. Sometimes I wake up at 4:30 AM or 5 and occasionally I sleep in if I feel really exhausted.

It's not healthy to push yourself up if you haven't had enough sleep. Some days you might go to bed late and it's more important to get ample sleep so you're at your best for the entirety of the day.

So, I wake up at 4. I then:

Water trick - Immediately upon waking up I usually go into the restroom and splash water over my head and on my face. The reason I do this is because it immediately wakes me up. It's really, really effective.

Meditate (30-45 mins) - I also do this because the first activity I do upon waking is to meditate. This is the most ideal thing to do first thing in the morning in my opinion. It really sets you up for the rest of the day. I meditate for reasons much more important to me than increasing my productivity, but this is also an effect of doing so. Right now I prefer 45 minutes, but once I can get to the point of blogging/running my own company full time I'd like to increase that. As it stands I need to get to work (GM at the family business) at 8 AM.

Write (2-3 hrs) - I take my time getting up once I'm done meditating to really relish the feeling of peace and quiet. But once I'm up, I immediately go to the computer and begin writing. Occasionally I'll replace this with updating something on my website since I do everything myself right now. But for the most part on the majority of days I write for the entire time. I do not check email yet, social networks, my rss feed, or any other websites I follow. I wait to check these things after I'm done writing around 7-7:30. I'm currently alternating between writing my next (weekly) blog post and my first book which will be completed this month.

Work (7:30-4:30) - At this point I get ready for work, and if my kids get up before I leave which happens on most days, I get them started for their day (my oldest is almost 3 and his brother is 7 months). I then head to the office and only get time to work on my blog during breaks (and I squeeze in time if I finish early). But at work, being the GM, things that I've done to increase my own productivity while at work have been to delegate tasks to others, only check my email once an hour or two and to cut down time on menial tasks like packing, processing and charging credit cards. Throughout the day I may have ideas for articles, a book idea, an upgrade to my blog or something else. When I do I pop open my Evernote (my favorite program for housing all of my ideas), which I keep open on my desktop at work, and quickly write the idea down.

Dinner and Time with Family (4:30- 7:30/8 PM) - This time is reserved for my family. Occasionally when sitting at the kitchen table I'll pop open my iPad (which I use with a Bluetooth keyboard to write- which I LOVE) and write a bit, maybe read an article or two or something. For the most part though, electronic devices are off and I am 100% fully in the moment of enjoying my meal and then enjoying time with my sons. Bedtime is around 8 PM. It takes a while on some days for both of my sons to fall asleep, and sometimes my youngest wakes up multiple times throughout the night. This can be really difficult, but we just make it work. It's temporary and I keep my focus on long term vision which helps me push forward everyday.

A few notes:

Driving - When I'm driving, I'm often listening to audio books. I often consider this my "dharma talk" time, since my spiritual practice is so important to me (and what I write about as well, so it gives me ideas) and I'm not an actual monk living in a monastery listening to dharma talks each day so it's important for me to get that daily dose somehow. I read around 3 books a month like this. I often re-read books 2-3 times to fully absorb the information. Sometimes I just practice mindfulness while driving, I call it driving meditation. This is a very rewarding practice.

Restroom - Honestly if I'm sitting in the restroom I pop my phone out and do something productive (no, not that...) like read an article or look over my book progress. Either that or I pull out this little pocket book I keep on me which I call "The Book of Mindfulness". It has little phrases which are meant to send the person into a state of mindfulness. In this case I'd be practicing following my breath.

Putting my baby son to sleep - If I'm walking him around putting him to sleep at night then I practice walking meditation. In fact I try to remember to practice walking meditation anytime I'm walking. Doesn't happen, but it helps to stay conscious of it (the physical presence of the book in my pocket helps me remember to do this). The reason I do things like this is because I'm constantly conscious of the fact that while a monk has all 24 hours in a day to devote to their practice, I have mostly just moments strewn throughout my day (aside for the morning). At least for now, I'm excited to eventually be able to blog full time and control my schedule better. Also, as my kids get older, particularly once my 7 month old gets to be 1 1/2-2 years old, things will become even easier.

Weekends - I tend to get more time here. I'm home when my boys take their nap, I don't have to go to work and occasionally my wife drives in which case I pop out my trusty iPad/keyboard combo and get to work. I don't always do this though, if we're going to do something fun I keep it bagged and put my complete attention on enjoying the experience with my family.

I used to do a bunch of things in the morning. I really tried to pack it in. This wasn't a good idea as I'd just end up distracting myself and getting less done. By revisiting my priorities and realizing what was most important (meditating and writing) I've greatly improved both my meditation practice and my writing ability, quality and quantity written. Two weeks ago it hit me that I wrote some 6000-7000 words in that one week despite having work, two kids, my wife and other responsibilities to attend to each day.

I originally got the idea of waking up at 4 AM (and immediately meditating) from an article I read (which I mention in the blog post I linked above) that mentioned the sleep schedules of Buddhist monks. I was putting my kids to sleep at night, getting up as soon as they were asleep, and getting to work until 2-3 AM since I was always a night owl (I had the hardest time waking up early a few years ago). I saw the article as an opportunity to get more time and better quality time as well.

I also recently watched an interview Oprah did on her "Super Soul Sunday" program with Deepak Chopra. Apparently he does the same. That is, wakes up at 4 AM and meditates. He meditates for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the late afternoon/evening.

Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

If you really want to work smarter, you need to start by sharpening your most powerful productivity tool.

It wasn't too long ago when I was back in college ripping all-nighters and popping Adderall just to code up some stupidly simple programs, that I found myself asking the same question.

I know I should be finished with this assignment already, but instead I'm sitting here sloppily tracing through the same blocks of code, wasting time trying to recall my train of thought, and peeping up every 5 seconds to check out the female who just passed my workstation.

Ultimately, I was effective (sort of), but my efficiency was depressing. I felt like I was working 10x harder and longer than what my assignment warranted.

So like any normal person, I started looking near and far for productivity hacks to boost my performance. I tried them all (pareto principle, pomodoro, to-don't lists, etc.)

I'd be lying if I said I didn't see a teeny tiny improvement, but I was still light years away from what anyone would consider 'productive'.

Oh well, guess I just need to keep working harder. Time for another Addy XR & Red bull cocktail!

Hang on a sec...

How did this happen? I used to be the kid in high school crushing 2+ hours of homework in a 15 minute homeroom session and passing with flying colors!

Granted college assignments were a bit more difficult, there wasn't that much of a disparity.

Something's fishy here...

So I started to really analyze my performance and pay attention to what it was causing me to trip up.  It didn't take long for the answer to become painfully obvious...

I became mentally freakin' deficient!

Brain fog, sluggish cognition, difficulty concentrating, lack of thought clarity, fleeting mental endurance, unreliable recall, second-rate working memory - I was putting up with the works when it came to mental inadequacies...

I'm not rockin' the rest of my life like this, I want my smart back!

So I made it my mission to do just that. Personal experimentation, extensive research and hundreds of books in cognitive neuroscience, mindset development, cognitive psychology, nootropics, self-development, etc. later, I learned a few things.

Allow me to share three of them that stood out to me:

I wasn't alone in this.

The more I observed and spoke with my peers about this problem, the more I realized that it was not so uncommon. It seemed as though everybody was struggling with these same productivity and cognition issues. The only difference was that for the most part, they accepted that this was just how they were supposed to operate and that was that - I wasn't as convinced. 

The brain is plastic.

No not plastic like a toy, plastic like a malleable material. Our brain has the remarkable ability to alter and develop its own physical structure throughout our entire life. It's called neuroplasticity and it is a big deal.

I used to think, like most people, we were stuck with the brain we were given. Not even close. You can improve your focus, memory, processing speed, creativity, power output, EVERYTHING! This was great news for me.

This also means you can weaken these brain functions when you don't take proper care of your brain - which is precisely what I had brought about.

The brain is powerful beyond measure.

We have inside of our heads 3 pounds of the most astounding, dynamic, and complex material we have ever discovered in this universe - and we've discovered some pretty crazy stuff. This thing completely engineers the human experience.

It doesn't take a genius to see the positive correlation between cognitive functioning and productivity...

People, our brain has more possible connections than the estimated number of atoms in the universe (notice I said possible connections - before you go calling me a crackpot)...

We have the capability to generate even more neurons, build and strengthen neural connections at will, and dramatically enhance neurotransmission, and we humans fuss because we can't muster up enough mental power to efficiently complete an absurdly infinitesimal task...

I can dramatically intensify my brain power and I'm sitting here playing with a plastic tomato???

We have already embraced the idea of strengthening our body for maximum physical efficiency, which is a great thing by the way, but have neglected the importance of strengthening our brain for maximum productivity.

Now I'm not calling anybody dumb here, I'm saying our brains can do better. We as humans are operating severely below our cognitive potential!
So with that said, here's a 'productivity hack' for ya: start working harder at being smarter.

And when I say smart, I'm referring to your mental capacity, mindset, creativity, cognitive performance, etc.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. - Abe Lincoln

When you approach a task and you are equipped with sub-optimal tools, it's going to take you 2x, 3x, 5x, 10x, 100x more effort than it should.
When you really boil it down, the brain is the be-all and end-all of a human's true effectiveness. And while many are recklessly trying to produce results (like I did depriving myself of sleep, popping neurotoxic amphetamines, and downing brain crippling energy drinks), they are ruining the prized asset that is directly responsible for achieving those results at a high level.  

You can apply all the productivity hacks in the world, but if your brain is unfocused, stressed, foggy, forgetful, despondent, unmotivated, inept, disengaged, fatigued, etc.,  all your energy and time is going to amount to a hill of beans.

So before you go scrambling to try another flashy productivity tactic, devote some effort to sharpening your cognitive faculties. Here are three places you should start:

Stop abusing your poor brain

As much as I wanted to blame outside forces for my drop-off in cognitive performance, it was all on me. I misused the crap out of my brain. And if you overtax your brain, don't get enough sleep, ingest neurotoxic substances, smoke, overeat, don't drink enough water, chronically stress yourself out, then you are too!

You wouldn't let your vehicle keep running constantly without ever changing the oil, replacing the breaks, swapping the tires, etc. because you not only want it to last, you want it to run in tip top condition. Your brain is the same way, except on a much larger and significant scale.

It's unfortunate societal conditioning has taught us that many of these brain damaging practices such as little sleep should be held in high esteem. Often when I tell people I get my 8 hours I get a response along the lines, "you must be lazy, you sleep so much." What kind of BS is that?

We are putting ourselves at a tremendous disadvantage before we even step up to the plate.

The good news is that by simply doing away with the poor practices that are frying our brains, we will be causing a significant jump back up to our normal cognitive functioning.

Take care of your dietary deficiencies

Most people's dietary patterns these days are not very brain health friendly. Deficiencies in critical vitamins, minerals, and fats are very common and are the source of many issues with cognition, behavior, and emotions.

For example, if you're not an Inuit, there is a good chance you aren't getting enough Omega-3s, which come primarily from fish. These fatty acids are essential to brain health with deficiencies causing impaired neuronal growth, shabby synaptic plasticity, and inefficient transmission of crucial chemicals in the brain. Needless to say, figuring out what you are deficient in, and correcting that deficiency, either through a more strict diet or supplementation, can quickly elevate your cognitive performance.
A few of the world population's common brain health related deficiencies include:

    Omega-3 fatty acids
    B Vitamins
    Vitamin C
    Vitamin D

Flow on demand

Now that you've listened to my rant, I'll leave you with a tip that's a little more along the lines of a productivity hack.

I think we can all agree that we're much more efficient when our brain is not constantly distracted. Unfortunately, we have unknowingly trained our brains to seek out distractions from things such as jingles from our phone and pop up email notifications to get our dopamine fix.

The reason we are so distracted is not because we all have ADHD disorder and are incapable of concentrating without drugs, it's just that we have simply developed distracting habits.

The state our brain is in at any particular moment has a profound effect on our performance. So we need to clock out of the multi-tasking, scatterbrained state, and clock into the mental state of flow.

Flow is the optimal state of consciousness for powering through the task at hand. You may know it as being fully in the zone. Some describe this as a feeling of ecstasy where everything else, including their identity, disappears and they are left with a utterly heightened level of performance.

The cool thing is, entering the flow state is not as random as people think, you just need to have the right conditions:

Have clear goals with immediate feedback - establishing a singular overall goal as well as a set of broken up goals that allow you to better measure and improve performance in real time.

Prime your mind for deep focus - put your phone in another room, close out anything that doesn't help you achieve the goals from above, and put yourself in solitude (whether by secluding yourself physically or by putting in headphones).

Make your task risky - you need to appeal to your brain's survival mechanism so it automatically elevates its alertness and converges its resources into resolving the possible threat while ignoring everything else. You can add your own risk by establishing clear, adverse consequences for poor performance. Just don't beat yourself up!

This may take a little practice, but once you find your sweet spot, entering the state of flow on demand will be the single most significant performance enhancer you could utilize.

So like I said, if you really want to work smarter, you need to shift your focus away from productivity hacks for a second and optimize the underlying mechanism implementing them - your brain.

Richly Energized Life

Let’s start by defining what energy is at the core with something I learned from an incredible, life transformational program I attended this past January: ULTIMATUM. The seminar is led by the wizardly Donny Epstein, a man who Tony Robbins has accredited for having created some of the most powerful, revolutionary methodologies for personal transformation.

At the seminar, Donny said, “Energy is the context to all content.” What does that mean? It means that every single thought, feeling, action, concept, idea, creation, emotion, and decision we make is influenced by the amount of energy available to us.

Energy is the unit for all creation and life. We need physical energy so that our body can function properly. We need emotional energy for rapid changes in behavior. In fact, emotion is a code-word for energy in motion. We need mental energy to create and formulate higher order thoughts, concepts and a vision for our life. We need the energetic of Soul for the knowing and expression of our unique gifts, to connect with others at a core level and receive their gifts, to connect with our purpose and calling, and to experience the fabric of all creation.

Now that we have this basic understanding of what energy is, we can look how energized we are in three simple ways: energy poor, energy neutral and energy rich.

When we’re showing up as energy poor, we’re in break down mode. We can’t even sustain the level of life we’ve been living. We may be losing money, our health may be declining, our relationship or personal identity may be falling apart. And our sole focus is on survival.

Then there’s an upgrade to energy neutral where the focus is on maintaining status quo. There’s no profound progress nor changes…and if any, they’re just ones within our comfort zone as opposed to radical changes and progress where we must step out to instability for growth. Energy neutral is okay, comfortable, and good.

Then we zoom out to energy rich where abundance is our natural state of being. We see so many possibilities and opportunities everywhere. We are able to sustain a baseline and take the actions necessary to support radical growth and progress…creating a newer, higher level baseline. Life is amazing, outstanding, incredible, wonderful, a beautiful gift, a blessing, and epic at this state. Inspiration, victory, love, joy, passion, and excitement are all states of energy richness.

Inspired to show up with energy richness and unlock your super saiyan? Here’s 9 practical strategies to living a richly energized life.

1. Oxygenating your body

Our physical body needs oxygen. Without it, we can die within minutes. Unfortunately many of us don’t even know that we’re not receiving enough oxygen to sustain richly energized states of being.  Sitting hunched over for 8 hours a day as we work on our computers supports a posture that makes it difficult to breathe deeply and nourish majority of our cells with oxygen.

Fortunately…I’ve got a spectacular solution for this: 1-4-2 breathing method daily. I first learned about this method through a Tony Robbins seminar and immediately noticed vibrancy throughout my body after a few minutes of using this breathing.

2. Drinking natural spring water

Think drinking tap water is ok? Think again. Tap water is flooded with arsenic, aluminum, fluoride, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs. In disbelief? Read this educational article by Dr. Mercola.

Just like most of us aren’t receiving a rich amount of oxygen, we’re also chronically dehydrated…and a lot of this has to do with the quality of water we’re drinking. Did you know that nearly 40% of the bottled water we think is spring water is actually tap water?
As for the water that may truly be natural spring water, there are chemicals leaking into the water from the plastic, especially when the bottle is heated through sun exposure and exposed to light (this includes florescent lights in grocery stores). Now, our bodies are about 60% water…and just like oxygen, water is an essential element needed for a richly energized life…let alone any life. My recommendation is to drink natural spring water. You can do what I do and order Mountain Valley Spring Water in glass packaging (glass because nothing leaks into the water). I’ve been using them for the past 7 months and have been very happy with the quality of their water and service. You can also have some fun with it and find a local natural spring.  Just make sure to fill up in glass or another safe container!

3. Creating a results-focused plan

Knowing the results that are most important to us laser focuses our energy, time and attention to best creating that result. The issue is I, like many of us, was brought up in a “to-do list” culture. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a to-do list; what I am saying is going off to-do lists keeps us focused on the activity as opposed to the results…and that can limit us from seeing greater actions and resources to attain our results.

I think Tony Robbins has developed an outstanding strategy for this: the RPM plan; results-focused, purpose-driven, massive action plan. Clarity is power and hen we make a clear decision on the result we want, our reticular activating system supports us in subconsciously bringing our focus to everything that’s relevant to achieving our result.

When we know what we want, we can consciously use our WHY (the purpose) to call forth emotional fuel to breakthrough any obstacles. Viktor Frankl, the famous Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust surviving author of “Man’s Search For Meaning” has said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

The last part of RPM is MASSIVE ACTION! Now when we’re in full tilt do, do, do mode…we know that we’re taking the most strategic actions to best achieve our result, as opposed to just getting busy in the habit of doing things.

4. Belly laughing with great company

Have you ever laughed so hard that milk came out your nose? Or maybe you spat your drink out? Aren’t those the greatest laughs? Maybe not the pain or embarrassment that comes with it, but the deep belly laughs that generate the humor of that moment.

Laughter is medicine and it’s very contagious. If you want to experience how energizing it can be to laugh, next time you’re feeling sluggish start a laughing contest with a friend.

Even try this…begin with fake laughing as hard and loud as you can with a friend. Eventually, both of you can’t help but realize how silly and funny it is and you’ll both start to really build up the laughter. Sooner than you know it, you’ll be belly laughing and you’ll be fueled with energy as your body releases endorphins that uplifts your mood, increases bonding, stimulates your organs, and improves your immune system. Add belly laughter into your daily rituals and you’ll live a richly energized life.

5. Upgrading your nervous system

Our nervous system is the processing system and software for our life. It sends messages from our brain to every single cell, tissue, muscle, and organ in our body. It processes information from both our outside and inside world. It’s what gives us our perceptive abilities to differentiate what we feel, see, taste, hear, and smell.

When there’s disconnection in our nervous system, there’s a disconnection in our full expression of life. And today we live in a world where we have more information flying at us with greater speed and quantity than ever before. We feel more overwhelmed, anxious, stressed and fearful from the silliest things when our ancestors were focused on running away from man-eating tigers.

One of the best things we can do today for our health and life is to upgrade our nervous system. And one of the best ways I’ve discovered we can upgrade our nervous system is through the healing modalities created by the man I introduced initially, Donny Epstein. In fact, receiving Network Spinal Analysis care and using Somato Respiratory Integration exercises supported me in overcoming anxiety. I consistently use SRI daily and receive NSA care, and every time I do so…it feels like I’m getting an iOS update for my nervous system so I run smoother, better, more effectively and efficiently…and ultimately live a richly energized life.

6. Planting and gardening

Assuming you’ve got a healthy garden that’s free of GMOs and pesticides…the foods you grow and eat out of your garden are going to be significantly more nutrient-rich than the foods you’ll find at a grocery store. How? For one, you can trust the quality of the foods from your garden since you’re involved in the planting and growing process. You also can pick the food when it’s most ripe…unlike most major food vendors who pick off earlier so they’ll last longer in the grocery stores. Picking the food when it’s ripe ensures that it has peak nutritional content.

Gardening also adds a spiritual aspect in our relationship to food and nature. We facilitate and participate with a process of life, and in the consumption of our food…we feel the bond with our food.

Now you may be thinking you can’t garden because you don’t have an outdoor garden. Fortunately one of the easiest ways we can get involved with gardening happens in the comfort of inside our home…and that’s through growing sunflower seed sprouts. If you have patio space available you can bring pots to plant greens like kale, arugula, butter lettuce, and collard greens. You can also check the Internet for any community garden spaces.

Beyond the the nutritional and spiritual benefits of gardening, assuming we garden outside…we’re able to be exposed to more sunlight and gain more Vitamin D. an essential vitamin for a healthy, energized life that most of us are actually deficient in.

7. Group sports and exercise

To exercise alone is great, but to compete in group sports is powerful for expanding our boundaries of fitness. With competition, we are challenged to show up with more physical and mental energy…calling forth greater strategies, communication, team work and hustle from ourselves to win the game. There’s also a strong factor of accountability that makes it more fun and engaging as we play and train.

For me, I love to play soccer. If you’re interested in trying something new, I recommend participating in a Spartan Race. They’ve been growing famous for their epic obstacle courses, fun challenges, and the group camaraderie and teamwork built into a festival-like experience.

8. Having accountability partners for goals

Want to increase your chances of accomplishing your goals by over 25%? Get an accountability partner. According to a study done by Forbes magazine, people who shared their goals with others had over a 25% chance of achieving their goal as opposed to the group who didn’t share their life goals.

Having accountability partners has been one of the greatest success strategies people have used throughout time. I personally have multiple accountability partners I check in with on a daily basis. A key thing I’ve learned when choosing accountability partners is to pair up with someone who’s dedicated to living an epic life and who shares similar values as yourself. When you know who this person is and you’re both game for teaming up together…make a commitment to show up honestly and fully, as well as inspire and challenge each other to be greater consistently.

9. Expressing Gratitude

Gratitude is the best medicine. When we feel grateful, we feel rich. Sir John Templeton, one of the richest people in history, said that the secret to wealth is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

When we look at the science of how gratitude changes our biochemistry, Dr. Masaru Emoto studied how emotion affected the molecule structure of water. What’s most interesting is seeing the beautiful crystalline features of when water is blessed with love and gratitude. Consider the effects of what emotions does to water into a bigger perspective. Our bodies are made of over 60% water, and after seeing the images from Dr. Emoto…imagine how powerfully gratitude can change our body and life on a molecular level.

It’s been proven that emotions turn on and off certain gene expression. Now, add this with the knowledge from Dr. Emoto’s research and you can really see the wonderful benefits that feeling and expressing gratitude regularly can have on your life.

Gratitude is one of the most energizing emotions we have available in our range of emotions. One of the fastest ways we can feel gratitude is to use questions to direct our focus. For instance, what are all the things grateful for right now? Try the experiment on focusing, feeling, and expressing gratitude to yourself and others for 15 minutes every morning and evening. You’ll see just how quickly you’ll have a richly energized life.

Now that you have these 9 epic strategies for living a richly energized life, I want to invite you to a challenge:

Focus on at least one strategy a day for the next 9 days.

And do it with at least one person…so you’re incorporating accountability already!

Some Life Tips

  • Turn on interior lights when you are away in the evenings. Make sure that your main entrances, porches and front walkways are well-lit. Criminals generally chose homes that are in dark or poorly lit areas; it is because there they can easily do their work without being noticed. Same rule apply for parking. Park your car in a well lit area and no one will ever dare to touch it. 
  • Also, criminals are less likely to attempt to break in if they think that people are around. That's why you should leave some lights or the TV on. If you're staying in a hotel room, try placing the "do not disturb" sign on door so it looks like you’re in there, even when you're not. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings while using ATM. If the machine is poorly lit, or is in a hidden area, use another location. And never count your cash while standing at the ATM. 
  • Always keep the grass and bushes trimmed that are right in front of your windows and doors. They can provide a shield or hiding place for criminals to work without being seen.  Also trim the branches of trees that can be used as by the criminals to climb up to your second floor windows. 
  • If you can see your own vehicle in rear view mirror, then it means that they are positioned incorrectly. Mirrors should be positioned in such a way that no part of your car appears in them. This is necessary to cancel out the blind spots.  
  • If you're travelling with a companion, make sure each of you has some cash and a credit card on hand in case you're split up or one of you is robbed. If you're alone, keep a backup credit or debit card in a separate pouch from the one you'll be using most often. 
  • If you suspect that you are being followed while driving, take four consecutive left or right turns. If the vehicle is still behind you then it’s time to call the police. Don't panic and don't start speeding.
  • Instead of speeding, slow down if you are at some crowded place. Slow people and vehicles are hard to tail, and risk the exposure of the operative, because they now have to stay near the target. 
  • Keep your car keys near your bed at night. In case an intruder break into your house, you can set off the car alarm. In most cases this should be enough to scare away the intruder.
  • Don’t think that keeping your wallet in front pocket will make it safe from pickpockets. Experienced pickpockets can easily steel your purse, even from front pockets. Instead use money belts that can conceal under your clothing. And try to leave most of your cash at home or hotel.
  • Be cautious of strangers starting up a conversation with you, asking for directions, or showing something to you. They are likely creating a diversion so they can pickpocket you. 
  • If you have to kick down the door during an emergency, don’t use your shoulder. Instead kick it near the keyhole or latch with your heal. Also keep in mind that you can never kick down a door which open towards you. 
  • When booking flights and hotels online, enable private browsing. This may sound strange, but travel sites often track your visits and will raise the price simply because you’ve visited before. 
  • Always scan your passport, driver's license, and personal identification and save it in your smartphone. This way, you'll always have it on hand worst even if the real documents get lost.

20 Habits for Working at Home

I've been working from home, and leading teams remotely for many years.  Here are some of the things I've learned during that time.  I hope you can find some benefit from it...

1. Start your day off right. Get up, have breakfast, take a shower, put on something other than pajamas, etc. – you get the idea. Remember, how you treat yourself on the outside reflects what you are thinking on the inside. Be good to yourself and it will show in your communications. Remember, when you work from home you only have your voice and tone, so everything you say and do will be scrutinized.

2. Create a dedicated work space with a door you can shut.
You need a place where you do work that you can leave at the end of the day. To work from home successfully, you need to maintain a strong mental focus on what you do. You don’t want to have your work everywhere around your house, and you definitely want a door you can shut when needed.  It’s also a good idea to conduct a home audit to assess those often overlooked projects that need to be done in your home or workspace.

3. Buy a headset with a good mute function. You want the headset so you can still have both hands-free while on the phone. A good mute function (i.e. it works, and others cannot tell when you switch mute on) will be an asset for you. It’s critical that your co-workers do not hear other noises in the background. That can disrupt important meetings and build resentment that you are at home.

4. Use a cordless phone. It’s hard to sit in the same spot in your house all day. Also, people who work from home generally work more (i.e. during times when others are commuting, etc.), so you need to be able to get up, stretch, do some things around the house, etc. A cordless phone, including a headset with a good mute function, is key.

5. Use two monitors with your computer. There are studies and articles that show adding a second monitor will boost your productivity 20-30%. It’s totally true. A second monitor is critical to anyone who wants to work from home.

6. Leverage a web cam. One of the things you can do to regain physical presence in your communications is use a web cam. A web cam plus an instant messaging tool allow others to see you and for you to see them. This is critical in building rapport and communication with others. I highly recommend at least your team (if you manage one) and the person you report to have web cams.

7. Partner with your Team Leader (i.e. who you report to, some people use the term “boss”). The person you report to is a critical component in your work from home success. You should meet with this person once per week via phone to review what you have accomplished in the previous week, and what you plan to accomplish next week. It’s also critical that you make yourself available to this person whenever necessary. If they are going to trust you to work from home, you have to be transparent and accessible to them.

8. Develop key relationships with your team. You need eyes and ears in the office because you don’t have them. If you have effective work relationships with team members, work with them to support you while you are remote. Calling team members just to check in (i.e. without a specific need) is a helpful way to do this.

9. Master your phone system and conferencing tools. Phone conversations, conference calls, and voice mails are three critical tools in your work from home toolbox. All three of these tools allow you to inject tone into your communications, something that is lacking in email and IM. Each of these scenarios is an opportunity to create memorable communication experiences with the people you work with. Most phone systems have additional, rarely used features (like scheduling voice mails) that you can leverage to your advantage. Be sure to check the Dot Connector 10 Tips to Improve Your Voicemails for other ideas to help you.

10. Master your instant messaging (IM) program. IM is a useful tool for communicating with folks quickly and orchestrating events in the office. Need someone to jump into a conference room to join a meeting? Use IM to coordinate that. Knowing the full capabilities of your IM program can help you leverage it effectively. Be careful, however, not to use acronyms and abbreviated words too frequently. Not everyone will know what you are saying, and when you work from home, you need to be a clear communicator, not a confusing one.

11. Master your email program. Email will be a lifeblood of your work at home expereince. However, it’s important to remember that if you “match the medium to the message” (i.e. email is not appropriate for every message) in your communications, there will be times to use email and times not to use it. Check out the Dot Connector Email Management Series to get control of your email.

12. Leverage a screen sharing program. There are several tools that let you share your screen with people in the office, and vice-versa. This is a crucial technique for participating in meetings, as you can follow the presentation slides on your screen or present your slides just like you were in the room. These tools also help you train others on how to use other tools, websites, etc. and vice-versa.

13. Go back to the office regularly. It’s up to you to define how frequently you need to revisit the office. Some folks go back twice a year, some every quarter, and some even go back monthly. It all depends on your unique situation. However, it’s critical that you do have face-to-face time with people you work with.

14. Be memorable when you are in the office. Be animated in discussions and meetings, walk around the room in key meetings, and volunteer to give presentations to large groups. The key is to create experiences and situations where the people you work with will remember you when you are not there. Also, by doing this you create visuals in people’s minds that can augment your lack of presence in your communications when you work from home.

15. Go out to lunch. You need to leave the house. Going out to lunch is a great way to take a break, interact with other people, and refresh your mind for the afternoon. It is great to save money on lunch by eating at home, but forcing yourself to go out will help freshen your perspective.

16. Drive conversations. You have to tell your story, or someone will tell it for you. It’s critical that when you work from home, you make your point in discussions and meetings. People will forget that you are on the phone. They will talk over you and sometimes not hear what you say (especially if you are on speakerphone in a conference room full of people). Therefore, it’s critical that you are assertive in your speaking and focus on getting at least one major point/idea in each discussion.

17. Match the timezone of your co-workers and Clients. To make the transition to work from home easier, it’s important to match time timezone of your co-workers and Clients. For example, if they are primarily in the Eastern time zone, work and take breaks similar to business hours for Eastern time.

18. Stay organized. Staying organized is another key to successfully working from home. If you get too disorganized your productivity can drop exponentially, since you don’t have co-worker interactions to help change your attitude and boost your focus. Keeping accurate to-do lists and a strong mental focus can help you stay focused and organized.

19. Send hand-written cards to people. Not only is this a great thing to do in general, but for people who work from home it’s a critical tool. This is another way to make up for your lack of presence in the office and make yourself memorable to your co-workers and Clients. When you work from home, it can be easy to slip into “doing mode” and forget the intangible communication tools you would use if you were in the office: asking how people are doing before you “talk business,” saying thank you when someone does something for you, and reaching out to people just to see how they are.

20. Match your sense of urgency to your co-workers and Clients. It’s very easy to be “over urgent” when working from home. Issues sometimes seem bigger than they are. Sometimes it seems you are getting inundated with co-worker communications. Your workload can seem insurmountable. When you get these feelings, it’s time to get organized, re-prioritize your work, take a break, and have a discussion with someone in the office to get a sense of the “vibe” there.

The Study Method

The two types of courses are knowledge courses and Math related courses.

For courses that are heavy on memorizing knowledge:

Use the memory palace or Method of Loci, to commit new information to memory faster and reduce the repetition needed to remember it. To understand concepts faster, try to relate it to everyday things and try to teach it. To review everything you learn and only study what you have forgotten, use flashcard apps that have the forgetting curve algorithm built in, like Anki.

1) The memory palace method, of Method of Loci, is a fantastic way to store hundreds of pieces of information. Joshua Foer's book Moonwalking with Einstein is a good book to read on how to utilize a memory palace. The general principle is to have a layout of place you know well (like your home) and put information in different places.
The reason why it works so well is that our brain is built to remember spatial memory (memory for orientation and environment). For example when you walked into your high school or college the first time you probably had no clue where stuff was. But after a few days it was second nature. There wasn't really a time where you had to sit down and study the entire campus for hours to nail down where everything was. Your brain just memorized it without too much effort. Even after years without going to a place you could probably still remember the layout of the place.

So using this method you can not only remember the information but recall it at will. If you need the name of something, you can simply walk down your memory palace and find the name without any external cues. This comes in handy when having to answer free response questions where there are no multiple choice answers to jog your memory.

To actually memorize a piece of information, take the name of the concept and try to make an image out of it. For example, in General Chemistry 2, we learned about Van der Waals Interactions so to remember that I would place it at the front of the Science building at my college and imagine a Van hitting a Wall. Then out of the back molecules would fall out reminding me that it is the force between molecules.

Even though initially it will take more time to brainstorm the images, the amount of repetition needed to remember information will sharply decrease. Instead of rereading a definition 12 times to make it stick, this will reduce that to once or twice. You could do this without laying the images in a order, but putting them in a memory palace really cements the knowledge and gives you the ability to instantly recall any definition at will.

2) The memory palace is good for remembering definitions and facts but understanding a concept is different than just remembering a name. To understand concepts try to find at least 10 metaphors for that concept. Try to relate it to things you see in real life.

Try to teach the concept, for example, try explaining it to your friends and seeing if they understand. If you can teach it, you mostly likely understand it. I make Youtube videos for concepts I don't understand because trying to teach it to someone else always reveals the gaps in your knowledge. Then I go back and once I can fully complete a video I understand it.

Also, always ask questions. If you think you understand it try to see what else could happen. Taking an example from chemistry again, we understand that raising the temperature will cause water to boil. But what happens if you decrease the pressure? It will cause the water to boil at a lower temperature. That's what you should think about for concepts. If I change variable X what happens to Y. When you ask these questions you will realize that even though you thought that you understood a concept you actually didn't.

3) Flashcards are good for reviewing your memory palace. Use smartphone flashcard apps such as Anki, which are built in with the forgetting curve algorithm. Why I suggest flashcards is due to the fact that they can be studied anywhere. A common complaint is that we lack the time to study in large blocks so this solves that problem. Throughout the day, there are plenty of moments that we are not being productive; waiting for class to start, waiting in line for food...etc. These small pockets of time can be used to study just with your phone which is accessible at nearly all times and convenient. All these small times can add up to 2 hours of studying or more when you thought you had none. Also since it's built in with the forgetting curve, your only studying what you have forgotten so you're maximizing efficiency.

For courses that are Math related:


Do hundreds of problems. Do every problem in your book and be able to explain every single one. When we practice, we don't only do it to get better; we do it to also see the potential mistakes we could make. Every mistake you do while you practice is one less mistake you'll make on the test. Even if you understand the concept of something in the class, it takes practice to see mistake you made on a test. Even if you understand something, there's always a situation that you makes you implement that concept in a way you hadn't thought about, which is not what you want to encounter on an exam. Every time you make a mistake, record the type of mistake and reread that list before an exam so you'll see all the potential places you could make an error.

10 Ways to Learn Faster

If the goal is not just the understanding and use of the information, and you need to remember it and to be able to recall it after, there are some ways to improve the process of learning, which can help you spend the time more efficient.

Short basic info:

The brain creates connections between neurons, but they are short-term until person gets some sleep. After the sleep they become stable, and after some time after learning they start fading. They become easier to access every time person repeats this info, or tells about it, or even thinks about the information and manipulates it in mind. Emotions make the connections stronger as well. Brain uses up to 1/4 of glucose in a blood, that's why good nutrition is also important.

So, the main rules are:

1. Build a model of information.
You need it to keep the hierarchical relations clear, and for better understanding of causal connections. So, if you forget some specific fact, you are able to guess it and to recall it faster, having the analogies for similar phenomenon (keep in mind that the last method of analogies doesn't work in some areas of knowledge).

2. Emotions help to memorize.
Find some funny pictures on a topic you studying, have fun of some controversial facts, or history of investigation of the problem - it is usually full of jokes, stories about scientists and their relationships, etc. It is useful to eat some sweets while learning (have a lollipop, or a sugar candy, but not a fat dessert, which will take a lot of time for digestion; you need just a small amount of glucose, it will also help you keep concentration longer).

3. Have a good sleep.
Even if you are extremely short in time, it is better to have at least 2-4 hours of sleep, instead of using this time for additional repetition. This is, maybe, counter-intuitive, but proven by many experiments. The sleep makes your new skills and knowledges stable, sleep deprivation makes them fast-fading.

4. Repeat info.
Create the short one-phrase thesis after each paragraph you read. Try to retell yourself every chapter or paper after reading. It is also useful to discuss some basic ideas with classmates, but don't be engaged in this activity for too long: it may not be useful, if you are only listen to people, or if all of you have poor understanding of the topic under discussion. If someone makes a mistake, or having a problem with the whole model, discuss and clarify it immediately, check it in books, otherwise your mind will recall the most recent info on this question, and you will make the same mistake after.

5. If you need to learn a lot of info, make short notes.
Avoid making them with too many details - if you are trying to keep it short and clear, it gives you the chance to re-think the info, which is the best way to remember it, and also you will find things easier and faster. I recommend doing it with pen and paper, and use 3 different pen colors (gives you additional emotions, helps to keep structure and highlight important points). Some people have strong motor memory, and they may be able at first to remember the process of writing, and second - the information they wrote. Also it takes more time to write, than to type, so you have more time to think and formulate your thoughts clearly and precisely.

6. Do not starve, have a good nutrition.
You can eat up to 70% of carbohydrates while learning - it is an energy-consuming process. Avoid extreme low-carbo diets. Also B1, B6 and B12 may be useful, and you won't have risk of hypervitaminosis with these vitamins. When person is starving, the brain lacks of glucose more than any other part of the body, so hungry person puts much effort and gets lower results.

7. You can allow yourself aerobic training every day, even if you don't have much time - it will improve your health and vigilance. But if you are short in time, avoid hard anaerobic workouts, because after it you spend a lot of resources to recover, need more sleep, etc.

8. It was shown in a lot of experiments, that if person A wants to be ready for exam in a month, and person B in two weeks, a week after learning some info person A remembers it better than B. So, the motivation matters!

9. There is a habit of our brain to concentrate more on a beginning and ending of the paragraph, chapter, string, etc. If you start loosing focus and find yourself just mechanically reading the text in a middle of paragraph, change your activity for 5-10 minutes - have some physical activity, play with cat/dog, etc. 45/5 minutes, or 90/10 is OK for most people to spend on mental/physical activity.

10. The last, but not least: mechanical repetition of the text is useless. To renew the neural pathways keep trying to extract more info from the same source, than previously - point new details, find similarities and differences between parts of your model, classify them.

Productivity Tips for Developers

1) Excel at being Lazy.
A good developer knows exactly how to use his/her tools to maximize the amount of time spent creating a solution.  If you can counjour up a magic key press that loads in your project, cleans the build then rebuilds your solution in half the time, then it's worth your while to do it. You might only save 3 key presses, but at 10ms each that's 30ms extra thinking time to be ready for the build being finished.

The best solutions, produce the maximum amount of output for the least amount of input, but without sacrificing quality (In other words, don't cut corners in the process)

2) Automate everything you can.

If you can put it in a shell script, then do so, tools like grunt, gulp and plethora of others go a long way to helping with this, but don't stop there.  Why not for example get your git hooks to automatically run a grunt task when you check something in?

3) Step away from your code for at least 5 minutes every hour and a half

An hour and a half works for me, others may vary, but take regular breaks, even if it's just to walk across the office and stare out the window at an empty sky for 5 minutes, it gives your brain a chance to calm down a little and perform a pseudo semi reset on itself.  If you spend to long concentrating on a singular thing you'll get the programmers equivalence of writers block, I call it "Code Blindness" , don't know if that's a thing or not though.

4) If your stuck, don't try to solve the problem

If your up against a bit of code that's defeating you, or you just can't quite see how you can make the latest crazy requirement work, then don't try to solve it.  The human brain breaks down under pressure, irrespective of how well you believe you are at "Handling Pressure", always have at least 2 to 3 other bits of code you can work on, generally something like maintenance tasks or low key projects that don't require too much thought.

You'll often find, that your cognitive process will churn away in your subconsciousness and solve the problem on it's own, in it's own time eventually leading you to just being able to sit down and solve things in a short space of time.

5) Keep note paper and a pen/pencil near by at all times

Kind of related to number 4, but not always.

You NEVER know when your going to get a penny drop moment.  I might be a major vision about some crazy new technology that the world sorely needs, or it might just be a novel way of re-writing an algorithm you created 2 weeks earlier, that you can now re-write to be more efficient.

What ever it is, you need to record it.  Be prepared to take notes when ever, wherever.

I go through notebooks like their going out of fashion, and I have (Had until I started scanning them all in to my PC) drawers full of the darn things, I've been jotting down notes, ideas potential future solutions for most of my career, and often when I'm looking for a solution, I'll find inspiration just by picking some notes at random and reading through them.

A great elegant solution inspired by your notes, helps satisfy point number 1, which often leads to being able to help with number 2, many of these inspiration moments are coined in steps 3 and 4, and recorded in step 5, which goes around full circle back to step 1.

8 Ways to Organize Your Time Wisely

One of the best ways to use your time wisely is to have a plan of action. We  used to call it an OpPlan for Operations Plan. If you know what you’ll  be working on tomorrow, you’ll develop the mindset of productivity to  get er done. It also keeps you from thinking about work during your  “off” time.

Here are some great tips to do at the end of your work day. Set aside  a few minutes when you’re done with work to make sure these things are  in order. When you get up the next day, ready to work, you’ll already be  ahead by having this lined out.

1. Put away and tidy all of your work materials so they are ready for the next day.
No one wants to walk into a cluttered office to work. This steals  your work time because you need to get it organized before you can even  concentrate on work. Take care of this at the “end” of the work day so  it’s all set up when you return to your desk the next morning.

2. Look over the next days task list so you have an idea of what’s ahead. Adjust it if necessary.

If you plan your week ahead of time there should be no question as to  what you need to tomorrow. However, if you like doing things on a day  to day basis, this is a good time to plan tomorrow’s work.

3. Review the work you did today. This is where a running “I did  this” list comes in handy. If you’ve written down everything you  accomplished throughout the day, you can go over this list and find out  how well your day went. It’s likely you forget a lot of the small things  you did during the day. If they are written down, you’ll remember them.

4. Celebrate your success. If you finished your task list and had a  productive day, then give yourself a pat on the back or a special treat.

Even small milestones deserve to be treated as something special. If  you start doing this you’ll want more of it. Just give yourself  something special each day that you finish your tasks. It needs to be  something small, but meaningful.

If you’re working on a big project you’ll want to give yourself a  bigger treat when it’s complete, but don’t forget to reward the small  steps either.

5. Perform daily or weekly maintenance on your computer.Set aside time for this every day or every week. Do not do this  during productive time. These things can generally be done while you are  on social networks or while you’re reading a book. If you need to  organize files you’ll want less distractions, but running virus programs  or disk defragmenting can be done while you read or straighten up your  office for the next day.

6. Plan tomorrow if you haven’t already done so.This goes along with #2 listed above. It’s best to have a weekly plan  broken down into daily tasks, but if that’s too strict for you, then  plan each day at the end of your work day.

7. Unwind. The work day is done, leave it at the office, even if it’s  your home office. Enjoy some you time or time with family. Only work  after work hours if it is absolutely necessary.

8. Do a final check of email, social sites, paypal or any other  business transactions. This is also a good time to check your website  stats and things of that nature. I recommend you do this weekly and not  daily, but it will give you a good idea if you need to focus more time  on traffic and such.

By doing theses steps ahead of time, you will find yourself much more likely to have more time the next day.

Happy, Lively, Youthful, and Energetic!!! Everyone wanted to be, but how?

Even if you visit parlors/saloons thousand times and color your hair, your age is going to show up. Even if you follow trendy wears and cargo pants; you will fall short of breath at staircases and even forget you have done trekking in college days.

So what to do? Yes, something is possible, here is how.

SHIFT+ DELETE - Clean Up Your System:

Do you have old messages and phone numbers in your mobile, piling up year on year? Delete everything immediately …what about your mind, is it same as that? Old days, old arguments and poignant memories...SHIFT + DELETE. Don’t you need space in your memory to save fresh and new things? Clean up and update your system.

Watch Your Company, Have Positive People Around You:

With whom you have the friendship, the one who always complain about something or everything OR the one who thinks about, everything around them is unfair, and how everyone is behaving badly. Will these people hammer you, now and then with their pessimistic views? Instead, prefer the company of optimistic, fun and frolic people. Oh yes, check where you stand, at first place.

Learn New Things And Keep Yourself Active:

Learn...at every phase of life. It’s real fun while learning new things. Learn whatever you like. Learn every small thing which you do not know earlier. Do not spoil brain by keeping it empty and inactive. You know, empty mind is the devil’s workshop. Does try a game or puzzle; write an article, poem, and journals, analyze solutions for problems or something which will keep your brain active.

Follow Your Passion:

What do you like doing from mind and heart? List them down and do it passionately. Do you like nasal voice of Himesh Reshamiya or even Justin Bieber (Personally, I do not like or hate them)? Listen and dance to his tunes, don’t ever care what others saying. Do you like drawing and painting, then do it now. You might not become famous like Leonardo the Vinci or Picasso, still do wait for your masterpiece. Just do it!!!

Be Stupid & Have Fun - Never Let The Kid Inside Of You, Die:

Do you feel pleasure in eating spicy and anti-diet food (chat, panipuri, Bhel, red-and-juicy ice balls or Buddhi ke baal in Indian Context), once in a while? It is fun, right!!!

Even small things, which you like, do it with your heart. Do not ever spoil this opportunity, by this foolish thought that we are too old or mature enough to do it.


Laugh...And laugh out loudly...At least once a day. Laugh at yourself first before others. Keep everyone around you, smiling and laughing. Do spend time laughing with your near and dear ones.

Unload The Burden Of Guilt & Hurting Feelings:

Is something is going on and on your mind, filling up tears in your eyes? Have you felt victimized or hurt? Take it out...Take it out all guilt and poignancy. Do you want to make a confession or afraid of saying sorry to someone? Say sorry TODAY, it will make you lighter; do not stay with guilt anymore. Why hurt yourself?

Wear "I Don't Care" Attitude:

You get hurt from people, circumstances and words sometimes, okay! But leave it then and there; do not carry the burden forever and thereby choking your life. Whoever caused this hurt had hurt you only once. Why peel out yourself like onion by thinking same every time? Guess, “I Don’t care” attitude can work very well here.

Connect With Your Near & Dear Ones:

How many days passed by, you have not spoken to your dear ones?

“Hey Pops, you look dashing in this T-Shirt/Shades, how many killings you intended for?”

“Oh Mom, please wear this Dress/Sari, it looks great on you?”

Have you ever asked about well-being of your parents/siblings and their friends? Do you know about their Vacation-Kitty Parties-to-Bhajan plans?

Express Love:

There are people with whom you are in love, let them feel so from your side. Saying “I Love You” is easy, try it. Do not want to say it or afraid, still touch or take his/her hand in your hand. It can go without saying, right.

Return to Your Home:

Return to your own home, where including live creatures, every wall, curtains or even a small garden on your terrace is waiting for you. Do not forget the warmth of your home as it is the source of all the energy for staying alive and going ahead.

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Harder

I always was looking for ways to motivate myself to work hard, "no pain no gain" I used to say, reading motivational quotes and etc.

Until one day I found the formula I am going to share with you that helps me to motivate myself and doing things in EASY, NATURAL and FUN way.

Human motivation really can be explained very easily: it is the pain-pleasure principle by Fried.

We tend to move toward the things we like, love doing, good feelings we experience and we will move away from the painful staff, things we don’t want to do and the bad emotions we experience.

The secret is to make those “hard” things and make them fun and enjoy the process.

When you can`t see the difference between what you love doing and what you call work then you don`t have to motivate yourself, you have do NOTHING because this process happens automatically.

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both. ”
James A. Michener

1. Create compelling Vision

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.
Dalai Lama

Everything that we want to create or achieve starts with a thought! In order to create result in the real world you must first see it inside your mind. Vision will motivate you automatically because it is something you “want” and not “have” to do.

All successful people have one thing on common-they are all visionary.

Create a vision of how you want to be, see yourself as the person who completed the task. Fell like you are there right now. See yourself as a better person, more disciplined and with a new belief that you can do it and you will do it!
Vision will excite you and will make you so enthusiastic that you will start to work hard effortless.

2. Burning desire

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”
Napoleon Hill

The second component is your biggest resource, and you already possess it, you have it inside you and you always had and this is your burning desire. Notice that N. Hill is saying BURNING DESIRE and not just desire because when you unleash this power nothing can stop you in this world.

This is your WHY, why you want to do this job or task, how it will make you feel, what is the PURPOSE of doing this, why this is important to you? Answer this questions and you will unleash the biggest force you have and then doing things will be effortless.

3. Emotional state

The thing that makes us to act is the way we feel in the moment. If you feel tired, bored and unhappy probably we will not want to do nothing. But when we feel energized, excited, passion and enthusiasm we are unstoppable.

You must learn to control your emotional states because emotions are the fuel that make you going and working hard. When you are in state of passion and enthusiasm you don’t need to motivate yourself to work hard you are just want to do it and no will power is needed.

Emotions are the fuel of the human spirit and you must fuel yourself with the positive emotions. Every day practice to experience emotions like: enthusiasm, pride, certainty, love, excitement, sense of purpose and etc.

Just remember a time in your life when you were enthusiastic about something and feel this emotion inside your body. The more you do it the better you become in doing it.

4. Power of Language

"Simply by changing your habitual vocabulary—the words you consistently use to describe the emotions of your life—you can instantly change how you think, feel and how you live"
Anthony Robbins

Sometimes we hear a great speech by great orator like J.F Kennedy and we are moved by his words. But we often forget that we move ourselves by the words we use. Can you feel the difference between the following phrases: “I should do it”, “I need to do it”, “I will do it”, “I must do it!”?

If you like most people then the first phrase really didn’t moved you emotionally, but the last one was the most compelling, it has more emotional juice and you want to take action now!

For most people, just changing one world completely will change what something means to them, and therefore how they feel and act.

There is no power  in words like “should”, “someday”, etc.Someday never comes!
Use words that have energy, words that when you say them you feel pride and a sense of purpose, commitment and urge to act now!

Pay attention the words you are using and replace  low energy words with high energy words and you will want to  take action automatically!

5. Make it fun and enjoy the process

Did you paid attention how small kids are learning? They are playing! Yes, they are learning by doing fun things. Our brain is wired to avoid pain and move toward pleasure.

When you are forcing yourself to do something like working hard you are creating pain inside the brain and it want to avoid this activity.
One way to make some activity or task more fun is to ask the question:
“How can I do this task and enjoy the process?”

Maybe you can do it with friends, or family members, put music you like, maybe you can move physically like dance, change your environment, go outside to nature or seat near the ocean. All of this will stimulate good feelings inside of you.

It really doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is that you enjoy the process and link pleasure to this task and thus will want to do it and be forced by someone or by yourself to do it.

One good example is the way I do call to my clients. Sometimes I have 20-30 calls I need to make and I am not always want to do it, so I figure out a fun way to do it. I go to my gym and while walking in the treadmill I am making the calls. It is so fun I have a lot of energy because I stimulate my body and they can hear it in my voice!

Manage Your Energy Wisely

I had a time in my life that I was responsible for the growth of a startup in London, was giving consultancy to an eCommerce and working on my side project, all at the same time.

I knew that if I wanted to keep doing everything and not lose my sanity, I would need to manage my energy wisely.

By doing some research and experimentation, here's what worked best for me:

Eat a Breakfast Low on the Glycemic Index

What do you eat for breakfast? How does it make you feel during the day? Does it give you a boost of energy but then after a few hours you're begging for your bed?

If your energy levels start to drop at 11am, can you imagine how it will be when you arrive home at 7pm after a long day of work? How can you find energy to work on your side project in that situation?

That's why it's highly important to eat a breakfast low on the glycemic index.

 The glycemic index or glycaemic index (GI) is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food's effect on a person's blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level. - Wikipedia

Low Glycemic Index foods release glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, providing you a steadier source of energy.

Think of it as like a fuel for your body. Low GI foods provides you fuel that's used gradually during the day, while high GI foods burns most of your fuel to accelerate in the beginning, and leaves you short of it during the rest of the day.  
Here are a few suggestions of low-GI foods for your breakfast:

    Yogurt Smoothie
    Low Fat Cheese
    Whole Grains
    Natural Peanut Butter
    Wheat Bran Based Cereal

But especially, make sure to get the sugar out of your breakfast.

Take a Coffee Nap

If you can, taking a coffee nap of 15-20 minutes can give you a quick boost of alertness.

British researchers, Horne and Reyner, discovered that drinking coffee just before taking a power nap can be much more effective than regular naps.

Caffeine requires roughly 30 minutes to take effect, so it  kicks in just as you're waking.
Just be careful to not drift into the slow-wave sleep stage, which could give you the opposite results: grogginess and disorientation. If you sleep more than 30 minutes, you could end up in this sleep stage. So keep your nap at a maximum of 30 minutes.

Do it just once

Is there anything that you do many times a day? Answering emails or checking social media for instance?

Following the same line, is there anything that you do multiple times per week? Going to the supermarket or meetings could be that?
If yes, one good solution is to chunk your time. It will require some willpower to deal with your email just once a day, but you will get used to it eventually and also discover that people will not die if they have to wait a few hours or a day to get your response. Sometimes they will even figure out the answer themselves.

If you cook your own dinner, one good tip is to prepare food in bulk. This way you won't need to cook everyday.This tip will save you not only a lot of energy but also time that can be used on your side project.

I've learned this productivity trick. So, it's fair to give him the credit for this one.

1 hour of preparation could save you 10 hours of work

When you seat in your desk to start working on your side project you should already know exactly what you are going to do.

If you need to figure out what to do, then search for the information that you need, to then finally get started... it will require a lot more energy from you.

In some cases, you will simply skip it because you won't have enough willpower to go through all this.

What should you do to avoid it? Preparation!

Organize the information that you need when working on your side project so you can easily access it.

Write your to-do list early in the morning or before going to bed. Don't wait to do that when you should be working on it.

Use bucket lists. If you have one idea, don't fall into the trap that you will remember it later. Have a place where you can write it down and have easy access later. This way you won't waste your time trying to remember what was it about.

Organize your environment to help you produce your best work. Turn off your phone when you enter this environment, buy a printer if you constantly need to print stuff, leave the books that you will need to consult nearby, buy a comfortable chair and so on.

Cut down what you can survive without

That's probably the hardest part. If you want to focus on your side project, you will have to accept the idea that some things will have to change.

Have you been too social lately? Well, now you will have to become a little more anti-social.
Just go to the parties that you can't say no. Like your best friends birthday for instance. For the rest, just say politely that you are involved in a important project with a crazy deadline and that hopefully you will be able to get back to the social live soon. The last part is not true. But who cares?

Do you have many hobbies? Well, it's time to choose just one and leave the others behind for a while.

Do you like to watch TV? Sell it on Ebay.

It's time to focus. Less is more. And if you are serious about your side project, it should be in the top of your list.

Always remember what drives you

Even if you put into practice all that I've mentioned in this answer, there will still be days that you will feel tired and without energy to work on your project.

The only thing that can help you in these day is your "why".

Why are you working on this side project? What drives you to make it happen?

Write it down and read it everyday. Especially before start working. There's nothing like a good why to put you in movement.

Do not sacrifice your night of sleep

I know this was already mentioned in other answers, but I can't leave it out of my list. Because without this one, all the other tips above will have little value to you.

That said, my recommendation is: If you need 7 hours of sleep to feel rested, then don't sleep less or more than that.

A few important things to bear in mind:

Avoid bright lights late at night

Nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that your body produces to make you feel sleepy.
Watching television, checking your emails, playing games on your mobile, and all those things you love doing late at night are ruining your sleep. Avoid them at all cost.

If you have to use your computer for whatever reason, I suggest you to install Flux [6], which is a tool that adapts your screen brightness to the time of day.

Avoid "social jet lag"

If you go to bed at 10pm during the week and wake up at 6pm, and then on the weekend you go to sleep at 2am and wake up at 12pm, then your Monday will be a disaster. You will feel like you have just traveled to another completely different timezone. That's why it's called "social jet leg".

Start a sleep ritual

If you take more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, then you need to do something about it.
When you practice a night ritual constantly, your brain will start to assimilate the idea that it's time to switch off [8]. My ritual is the following: Brush my teeth, write on my journal and read a book. It doesn't need to be complex. It needs to be constant.

One last word

Don't try to do everything at once. Choose 1 or 2 of these points and try to implement them. When you start to see the results, then move to the next. It will take you some time to get there, but if that means being able to launch your side project, then I guess it's worth the effort. Isn't it?

Villains In Our Life

Being able to think is what separates us from remaining creatures on this planet. Unlike remaining creatures, our actions are based on our thoughts and sometimes our actions are based on our thoughts.

If any action gets accomplished, there will be three elements behind it.

(Karta). The person who does the action
(Karma). The action itself and its bounded ramification.
(Kriya). The type of action performed / work done.

Karma plays very important role in our life. Because which ever action we do, there will be a result of that. The result may vary with time or intensity.


If you put your finger in a current passing electric board, you will get shock. Here the result is instant. The company where in you work if you gossip about your team leader to your colleague who you assume as your friend, may report that to your team leader adding his own masala, which may effect your salary hike. You don't know why you didn't get appropriate hike. In this case the result is not instant and the cause of the result is not known to you. But if you do some work, you will have to face the consequence.

Now let's dig a bit more.

Before one commits any action, the karta (the doer) will have a desire to do that action. The desire is came from a thought generated in his mind attached with an emotion. So, it is the whole process of making a thought into result. Consequently, the effect will also gets amplified as a single thought passes various stages. As the thought gets strongly generated and an emotion gets attached to it you will engage yourself more into that. So, if you want the result of the action, work towards it, if not, then control yourself when the thought comes. Simple as that.

So, you can do karma in three ways:

(Manasaa). By thought or by will. You may think to build an education startup which facilitates video classroom lessons in regional language for students studying in govt schools or you may think to kill someone for who your gf dumped you.

(Vaacha). By your voice. You may save a person from committing suicide by explaning the value of life or you may abuse somebody.
(Karmana). By your action. You can kill a small insect just for sake of fun or you may inspire your friend to hurt his neighbor just because he is more clever than him or you may donate your last semester books to a poor student.

Whichever way you do, it has an effect little or more. If it's more (i.e.,its by action) then you have to face the result. But if it's less and you recognized that the result will harm you then you may control it. (By mansaa, vaacha). Sometimes, you cannot take back your word, by the time you want to, the action could've been done already. So, the only option you left with is by manasaa (By your conscience/thought). This is the basic idea of realizing the importance of thought. So, what you think is what you say and what you say is what you do. In other words, you thoughts determine your actions and vice versa.

In this Indian culture, we've identified six characteristics / thoughts of emotions, could produce adverse effects if enough care is not being taken. There are called  (group of six villians) which are present inherently in our bodies.

1. Kaama - Lust

Those who crave with lust won't feel shame or fear. They have no control over what they are doing.

We are living in a world where the physical things are celebrated more. Even if we don't want it, the content of obscenity is right in front of us. If you involve yourself into this then this will freeze your mind and ruin your life. When you are young and capable, you may think this is highest form of happiness you could experience with your body, but later on, you will end up with misery because physicality won't last forever. Do not let it grow into your mind more than needed.


You will start thinking that every living body around you is only for you and you won't give a damn that there is a life within them.
Your thoughts will conquer your mind and want to experience pleasure even though its not demanded by your body .
You cannot do anything else your spiritual energy will go down, your memory power will decrease and start to feel drowsy.

How to deal with it:

Try to avoid the unnecessary content as much as possible. Stay away from it.
Understand that every creature in this world has gifted with the ability to reproduce. Pleasure is not the goal for two bodies to meet. It's just a byproduct. The offspring is the main intention of two parents to come together.

2. Krodha - excessive Anger.

The best man will get anger for just a second and becomes cool. In an average man, anger will last up to approx 1 hour. Below average man will have anger up to one day. A worse man will remember what has done to him until his death and will take revenge. This man don't even know how to forget.

Getting angry is necessary to make certain things happen. But it has its own limitations. When somebody try to betray you and you know whats happening, you get feeling of anger and question him. If a public service does a fraud you have to get angry and question them, if needed fight legally to get the right things done.

But if you excite yourself for every small thing in your life and get angry every time on people around you then that would ruin your life and you will be left with nobody.


You will find that the people around you are meant to be annoyed by you all the time and you cannot talk nice.
Sometimes unable to control your anger you will show your emotion on your family members.
You will be reluctant to listen.

How to deal with it:

Meditation is a great medicine. Try to think before you act. Realize that you have no right to hurt others. Getting excite yourself won't lead to solution of your problem.

3. Lobha - Greed /covetousness

Greed causes anger. Greed causes excessive desire. Greed causes illusion and chaos. Greed is the reason for all sins.

Greed is necessary to get somethings in life. Greed while you doing business, or negotiating while buying or selling something - iam not talking about this greed. This much greed will always be there.

But if you won't control it there, it will conquer you and make you to do anything to get your part. You may come to know about people who kill someone for their property. This excessive greed is not at all good.

How to deal with it:

He is a true scholar who sees other women as his mothers, others wealth as piece of grass (of no value), other creatures as himself (and not cause any kind of hurt).

This planet is a home for lot of creatures along with us. You cannot have everything. Instead, try to donate or give away something. You will awake inner happiness.

4. Moha - Addiction / strong attachment

Fascination, love, likes these are things in life which will make us happy. But if you take them too seriously then they will take you to another level of "not able to live without them", then you will become unknowingly addicted to them and you can't see anything.

The thing about moha is it starts with love/fascination /strong like and transforms into a monster.

You can see many stories of kings who ruined their life by getting addicted to women, drugs etc.

Addiction can be anything. Facebook, a beautiful girl or handsome boy, drugs, alcohol, cigar etc. This addiction will spread like a huge tree and eat up from inside.
Even if you get into that, it is easy to get out of it in the initial days. Once it roots strongly in you, you cannot come out of that.

How to deal with it:

Stay away from what's not good for you. Friends who encourage you to step for sake of fun, say no boldly. Life is about to prosper, not to suffer.

5. Mada - Pride/Identity

Every person will be selfish upto certain level. Every person will feel great about oneself and take pride of what they've accomplished, and take it as a boost to do excellent thing sin the future. But if you take yourself as the master and remaining others are nothing infront of you then you will have no value of life.

This mada starts as confidence and if not controlled properly, transforms itself into strong pride and you will be reluctant to listen to others. So you will feel yourself as god. This fog will cover your intelligence and eventually you stop learning. This is of several types.

(Vidyaamada). Pride of wisdom/knowledge. You may see some scholars who have excellent talent and knowledge won't be reachable to other people. They think of themselves as masters. It won't help anybody and their wisdom will be good for nothing.
Dhanamada. Pride of riches. Rich people showing their status, leading luxurious life. These people will treat poor as slaves and imagine themselves as kings. If their money is gone one day, they will be of no value.
Padavimada. Pride of position. Leaders and people who has power showing pride. Once they fall off, they will know the value.

How to deal with it:
Understand the difference between confidence and over pride. Learn to appreciate small things. Be nice to people.

6. Maatsarya - Envy/ Jealousy

We tend to compare ourselves with others. We try to lead our life better than others. This comparison is good for growth.

But when you see others getting things that you cannot get, you will eventually hate themselves even though they didn't do any harm to you. You will do anything to destroy them. This feeling will freeze your intelligence and you can't see anything except their failure.

Mahabharata is a great example how an entire clan was destroyed just because of this jealousy.

How to deal with it:

Learn to appreciate what you have. Always be satisfied with what you have. There are many people who doesn't even get proper diet in this planet and suffer from deadly diseases. You need to be grateful . If you want something strongly, fight for it instead of turning yourself into this filth and suffer.


Our thoughts will decide who we are and our character. Our character decides what we do. And what we do will decide what we get. If we pay enough attention to that we will experience victory of our own self, because that is the most dangerous villain in our life.

Shankaracharya said:

The inner evils called Kaama, krodha , lobha moha , mada and matsara will stay within you and can wake up anytime to steal precious stone called your wisdom and freeze your mind. So always be careful, be careful.