How Busy People can become Amazingly Effective in 30 days or less [at Personal level – Part 1]
"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."
Just few years ago I was struggling to be the most efficient as possible.
I was always busy, but my life was not improving. I had not enough time, not enough money.
I was doing things the right and efficient way, so what did I miss?
Have you ever felt this way?Well, I’m here just to share how I solved it.
It took me only 10 years to discover that my efforts weren’t taking me anywhere.
That’s too much time.
Life is short, so don’t lose time as I did!It all started with a friend, who gave a book to me, telling that it would be a game changer.
Heck! I’m too busy, I’ve no time to read a book!
Fortunately, my friend insisted and suggested me to read at least the first 3 chapters: “Then if it bores you, drop it”.
That book changed my life.
Okay, you may think that it’s the usual beautiful story with a happy ending, that works only for other people but not for you.
So I will propose you the same deal.
Read the next paragraph and if you think you’re wasting your time, drop it!
Do you accept the deal?
Efficient and Effective are not synonymous
Firstly I discovered that I was efficient but not effective.
This is the root cause of all the problems!These two words may be complementary, but they are misused synonymous.
That’s what I did for a long time.Here are the definitions from dictionary.com:
- Effective [ih-fek-tiv] adjective: adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result: effective teaching methods; effective steps toward peace.
- Efficient [ih-fish-uh nt] adjective: performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable: a reliable, efficient assistant.
Effectiveness is about doing the “right things” while Efficiency is about doing “things right”.If you want an example, give a look to this 3 minutes video: Are you Hauling Buckets or Building a Pipeline?
As I did, maybe you are concentrated on improving efficiency.
It’s good but it doesn’t get us to our goal.
You can concentrate on the details and optimize each available resource aiming to cost reduction; but that’s the following step after having clearly defined the roadmap to the goal.
In other words, before concentrating on details let’s focus on the goal, understand it, split into smaller steps and write an effective roadmap to reach it.
Okay, you are right, I agree that to be both effective and efficient, which means pursuing the right goal and doing it in the best way, would be the best solution. But we’re only human and it’s not easy to start and do everything simultaneously.
What about you: are you efficient, effective or both?
Well, I had to change my mindset.
I continued googling and discovered that improving effectiveness It’s an ongoing process and new valuable information can be learned daily.
But remember the gold tip: it’s not about the bright idea, but about the brilliant implementation.
Among many valuable books, in this article I only selected 5 of them.
The ones that entirely changed my life at a personal level.
If you want to know which 5 books changed my professional life, you can check it in the second part of this article.
But as you’ve already understood, this is just a start, and the more you learn, the better your life will become.
Back to our 5 books, everyone of them represents a different stage of an effective evolution roadmap.
Day by day, I started to become more focused and effective on my objectives.
Everybody, who want to be effective, shall read them, one by one, taking time to implement the wisdom and the precious tips included.
The Roadmap in a Glance...
Every morning when the alarm clock rings, let's jump out of bed and ask ourselves: Which effective rule am I going to implement today?
[Step 1] Where shall I start?
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes (Wikipedia).
"If you don't know to which port you are sailing, no wind is favorable. "
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It was a friend of mine, who handed me the book by Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad, that changed my goal perspective.
At that time I was co-founder and manager in an 85 people company.
I waked up at 6.00 in the morning, working 12 hours a day and enjoy simple and intimate life at night with my family.
At the beginning my mind refused the content of the book, stating it was outside of my reality.
But I was unable to stop reading.
And like the drop that breaks the rock, the new vision changed mine too, word after word, day after day.
I read the book in a couple of weeks.
At the end, I was demanding for more.
More knowledge, more ideas.
I’ve found why I shall change the way I was and what I was missing was the how.
Well, it took me more than one book to find out.If you are looking for a mini-review skip to next section.
I suggest you to start reading it today.
You may refuse it. You may hate it.
But it’s highly effective and clear.
To summarize what this book taught me: I UNDERSTOOD WHY I DO WHAT I DO.
There’s always a bigger and more challenging plan.
But to reach it we need confidence in ourselves.
That’s what the next section is about.
[Step 2] How can I best prepare myself to be effective?
"They succeed, because they think they can."
Publius Vergilius Maro
The second step of this journey takes me to a book that I read recently.
An amazing story. A useful story.
Imagine if you can use your full mind potentiality, without having fear.
Imagine if you can accept challenges without fear of failure.
Imagine if you are so powerful and so confident that you can change the odds against you and succeed.
No, that’s nothing magic about it.
Rejection Proof is a great book to overcome ourselves. Literally.
We are so afraid of others judgment that we don’t do anything.
We stay in our comfort zone.Enjoy this great Ted Talk, where the Authors share his journey.
Maybe this is a little exaggerated, but it gives the idea...
Rejection Proof is a journey that everybody of us takes against our individuality.
I enjoyed it and had much fun reading it.
"They succeed, because they think they can."
Publius Vergilius Maro
[Step 3] How can I best prioritize?
"Never make someone a priority, when all you are to them is an option."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
When you have clearly understood your goal and have skipped your fears, it’s time to create a framework for reaching that goal.
One Thing by Gary Keller is a great book to shape your path.
To synthesize the message with Gary Keller’s own words:
“Long hours spent checking off a to-do list and ending the day with a full trash can and a clean desk are not virtuous and have nothing to do with success. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list—a list purposefully created around extraordinary results.
To-do lists tend to be long; success lists are short. One pulls you in all directions; the other aims you in a specific direction. One is a disorganized directory and the other is an organized directive. If a list isn’t built around success, then that’s not where it takes you. If your to-do list contains everything, then it’s probably taking you everywhere but where you really want to go.”Yep, here we are getting serious about our goals.
Inbox zero is not our goal.
A perfect shaped to-do list is not our goal.
Our goal is beyond the tools we use. Tools are just tools.
Goals is a vision first.
And the One Thing is about prioritizing, to shape a path to effectively reach that vision.
We have to build our navigator.
It is not perfect but it must be effective.After reading this section, if your goal is still inbox zero, enjoy this scene from “God Almighty” with Jim Carrey.
To understand how powerful is the focus, here’s a test for you:
- Take a piece of paper and draw two horizontal lines
- Measure how long it takes to perform the following tasks one by one:
- On the first line, write sequentially:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
- On the second line write sequentially:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Now let’s repeat the experiment but in a different order.
- Draw two horizontal lines
- Measure how long it takes to perform the following tasks at the same time:
- On the first line, write the first letter, then on the second line write the first number and continue writing the two series one letter on the upper line then one number on the line below, changing from line to line: A, 1, B, 2, C, 3, etc...
Well, this test was studied for explaining multitasking, but it gets the idea of focus too.
If you are not able to prioritize, you will never reach your goal. Never!
Now that we have an effective tool to focus and prioritize, we still need a strong mindset to reach our goal.
Let's jump to next section, to find out how to shape our mind to effectively reach goals.
[Step 4] How can I change my mindset?
"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."
I remember a short and enlightening story.
A master and his student were walking together.
The student asked his master “how strongly shall I look for truth?
The master took the student near a fountain and asked him to look carefully at the water surface.
The student was puzzled but did it anyway.
The master took the head of the student from behind and pushed it into the water.
The student panicked and was trying to get the head out of the fountain but the master was pushing too strongly.
After few seconds the master released the student’s head and he could breathe again.
Then the master said that we shall search for the truth as strong as our lungs are striving to breathe.
This is what is Grit by Angela Duckworth.
Grit is a common trait of successful people.
It is composed by Interest, Practice, Purpose and Hope.
"In the long run, grit may matter more than talent."
After studying Grit on students, the Author explains the secrets of Grit with great examples.
At the end of this book, you will feel boosted!
Like I did, you may feel full of energy to apply to your roadmap to success.
This way, success is no more a matter of luck.
In Coach Carter I've found one of the best exemplification of what Grit is.
Enjoy the next clip 😉
[Step 5] How can I share my vision and leverage my effectiveness?
"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart. "
that life can be meaningful and purposeful only if you are part of the people (or tribe, as Seth Godin call it).
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."
It’s all about having fun working with people and create an alchemy of shared passion and perseverance in everyday life.
Though it seems an easy book it’s the most difficult to implement.
Caring about other people means giving up our ego, and that’s quite difficult to do it.
"If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive."
5 Books Quick Review
Rich Dad Poor Dad [Quick Review]
My goal is to share the deep transformation they generated inside me and how I tried to implement these valuable lessons in everyday life.
Enjoy these mini-reviews of my favorite ebooks as stated in Google Books, which are synthetic but very useful.This book is not only about Finance.
It’s about the mindset it takes to have success.
Money is just a way to measure success. But it's not the only one 🙂From Google Books review: “Rich Dad Poor Dad, the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, tells the story of Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads--his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad--and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.”
Most valuable takeaways
It takes a specific mindset to reach objective effectively.
Just translate Kiyosaki valuable lessons to every aspect of your life and you’ll understand how many hidden opportunities are available all around us.
"Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity."
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Rejection Proof [Quick Review]
Most of the times we aren't even aware that we are victims of the rejection fear.
This book is a true outing of the author with concrete examples and awesome explanation of each progress.
From Google Books review: “Maybe you avoid situations where you might be rejected - applying for that dream job, requesting that pay rise, or asking that person on a date. Jia Jang had allowed his fear of rejection to rule his life. But he decided to take radical action, spending 100 days deliberately seeking out scenarios where he would likely be rejected - from ordering donuts interlinked and iced like the Olympic rings, to asking to pilot a light aircraft. And something remarkable happened: Jia not only learned how to cope with rejection, but also discovered that even the most outrageous request may be granted - if you ask in the right way…”
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
The One Thing [Quick Review]
This book is about focusing effectively to reach goals.
Here's Google Books reviews:
“YOU WANT LESS.
You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of emails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what's the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller pay cheques, fewer promotions-and lots of stress.
AND YOU WANT MORE.
You want more productivity from your work. More income for a better lifestyle. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends.
NOW YOU CAN HAVE BOTH-LESS AND MORE.The ONE Thing is the New York Times bestseller which delivers extraordinary results in every area of your life-work, personal, family, and spiritual.
WHAT'S YOUR ONE THING?”
Most valuable takeaways:
“This book promises to teach you how to...
* cut through the clutter
* achieve better results in less time
* build momentum toward your goal
* dial down the stress
* overcome that overwhelmed feeling
* revive your energy
* stay on track
* master what matters to you”
"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
Grit [Quick Review]
Here is how Google Books defines this book: “In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that – not talent or luck – makes all the difference.”
"The fool who persists in his folly will become wise."
How to Win Friends and Influence People [Quick Review]
From Google Books review: 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Just after publishing, it quickly exploded into an overnight success, eventually selling more than 15 million copies worldwide, and pioneering an entire genre of self-help and personal success books.
With an enduring grasp of human nature, it teaches his readers how to handle people without letting them feel manipulated, how to make people feel important without inspiring resentment, how win people over to your point of view without causing offense, and how to make a friend out of just about anyone. Millions of people around the world have improved their lives based on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. This classic book will turn your relationships around and improve your interactions with everyone in your life.
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It would be useless to read these books one after the other… without taking the time to implement each one in your mindset.
Chapter after Chapter you will find a different approach to life and to everyday challenges.
effective rules [action plan]
Start today with the first book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
Take your time to read and above all to find the best way to implement its lessons in your everyday life.
I warn you, it takes time to do it properly.
But it gets easier every day and in no time you will be ready to start with the second step, and so on.
When the 5 books are over and you want to take your professional life to the next level, you can continue with part 2 of this article.
About the Author Emanuele B
Hey there, my name is Emanuele and I am the creator and editor of effectiverules.com.
I have been avidly learning all I could about Personal Development in the last 20 years and my mission is to share my same path, self fulfillment and peace of mind!