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6 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder and to help you win life



6 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Let’s start off with some simple facts…

FACT: We all have the exact same number of minutes and hours in a day. You, me, FaceBook Zucky. All of us.


FACT: We waste time we don’t know we’re wasting. Wait, what?!


FACT: There is no huge secret to hacking some of that wasted time. Well, there is. Knowing what it is helps*.


FACT: Thank you for reading this. I’m passionate about it. If you learn some things you can steal back some wasted minutes and turn them into hours, energy and money. No crap.


Minutes Turn into Hours

The very first, un-skippable step to ‘finding’ more time in your life, is to look for it.


Relentlessly. Everywhere. Trust me, it’s there.


I found a lot working in intense jobs. I’ve worked everywhere from bars to corporate cubes to marine construction.


Today, I’m a producer and work in videos and TV, co-host the MyFixitUpLife radio show podcast, write blogs, articles and books, and even run Spartan Race, but my source code—who I am and what I love—is a being a carpenter. And being a good one.


So while some weekend DIY working on the lawn or painting a room or building a pergola can be recreational, when you’re doing it for money (I own the business) to buy food and health insurance and karate lessons for my boy, it takes on a whole new urgency.


Why does this matter to you? Carpentry is an extreme example of every day life, what I call Life_Amplified, or (I’m making this up now because I am a dweeb: ampLIFiEd…anyway. Carpenters—good and bad—manipulate hundreds of things per day, some tiny. Some really F-ing heavy. And we do it in extreme environments with a perpetually ticking clock and budget.


If something weighs 600 pounds (like the steel beam we moved last week) or the stack of deck boards, you want to make damn sure you’re not moving it all over the place. One deck board, who cares? A hundred of them and you’re paying attention. So, the good ones make sure to move things as few times as possible.


And this requires a mindset.


It’s the first part of the secret.


Mind Set


Smarter, not harder is NOT about reinventing the systems of every day life. It’s about adjustments, about doing the things we already do—we have to do—better, faster and more efficiently.


That’s why SNH is hard to see. You’re not looking for one or two big things to change your life; you’re looking for lots of little things that amount to a few seconds here or a minute there. The same way life happens. A little bit at a time.


You’re saying: Are you kidding me?


I’m replying, No.


A minute here or there—every day—is 7-10 minutes at the end of a week. Find a few of those (it’s soooo not hard) and suddenly you have an hour. Find a lot and you have a whole day. Extrapolate that out a month, a year, a lifetime. Gasp, that’s some math right there…


But, really, you have even more. You have the compounded interest of not having wasted energy and bandwidth. You don’t just have time; you have energy you didn’t spend so you have more firepower of YOU to focus on bigger things, to make fewer mistakes because you’re tired and distracted, to be profitable in what you do, to get home in time to make your kid’s game. Se what I’m getting at?


Being efficient is a perpetual motion machine.


EXAMPLE: The kitchen trash.


Where is your trash? ___ Where are your trash bags? ___ One is in Location A, the other in Location B. I’m near mathematically certain you keep the bags under the kitchen sink or in a pantry cabinet. Point is, location is B not just somewhere else but it’s also behind a door, inside a cabinet probably heaped with other crap. (I’m not judging).


Instead, take the roll of trash bags out of the box and put them in the bottom of the trashcan. Put the trash bag in over the bags and use normally. Next time you empty the trash, you have to walk zero steps to get a bag, open zero doors, and futz through zero boxes and cans of under-counter whatever. How much time did you just save?


The 15-Minute Rule

FACT: Everything takes at least 15-minutes.


Think about it. There are a trillion examples, here’s just one: Going to the bathroom in your office building takes 15-minutes.


Not the toilet part, but the hello in the hall, the trip by the snack room, or forgetting what you were doing when you get back to your desk. I’m not saying don’t do those things. Be nice, eat , drink coffee, but know that the second you walk away from your chair, you’re in the 15-minute cycle.


Why is this important? Because no one counts this time. But its still time. And knowing where you keep your minutes is empowering.


Now get back to your desk.


Maybe your mom told you this, or not


Mine certainly did not. I learned it bartending: ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’.


While few of us will venture behind a bar, this is another work example that’s ampLIFiEed. Still, like a bartender whipping and flipping out drinks (a good one, not that numbskull talking to the girl while you wait), we manipulate a zillion things during a day.


EXAMPLE: Phone and phone stuff


If you manipulate lots of things during the day in your life—whether you’re cleaning your house or packing your bag for a meeting—know where your stuff is so you can get it with a ‘no look grab’. Or at least close to it. Fumbling around in a purse or bag takes 10, 20, 30 seconds. If you do that for your phone, wallet, keys, notebook, charger thing—don’t. STOP. Now. Find a #@$%^&* place for it and keep it there whenever possible and practical.


Quick self-defense note, because I can feel what you’re thinking:


This is NOT being OCD, it’s being diesel. Firefighters don’t put the hose back on the truck in a different place every time for a reason. And bartenders don’t put the vodka (yummy, yummy vodka) back in a different place every time they use it. I organize my carpenter’s tool pouch like this. Because I’m not fumbling for my tape measure, I can think about the measurement and my goal. I only have so many brain cells. We all do.


Added benefit: This also helps you notice if something is missing before you need it.


Please, can you please shut up now

Conversations. I love talking with people and hearing interesting stories. I do it for a living. But when it comes to some people….well, you know your co-workers. Or your spouse’s hot buttons. And when time is about to get away from you.


While plowing through a mountain of email sucks sometimes, you’re not getting ahead or even getting paid to chit chat. So if you’re stuck—or better yet, think you might be—in a conversation and want to guard the time you see hour-glassing away, a good way to get control of those minutes is to set a timer in your head for how long an interaction should and can take. Then, within the bounds of decorum, stick to your schedule.


EXAMPLE: When the meeting tails off with small talk about your colleague’s passion for football (shared or not) be nice. However, clipping it off is easier and more delicate when you’ve pre-decided that this conversation is 5-minutes, not an open-ended sports radio rant. Your body language alone will be an aid. You can talk about the game at the bar after work. Work is for working.


Grab the wheel

‘Early is on time’ is not employer bull crap they use to siphon a few more minutes out of you. Being a little early—for work, a doctor’s appointment, whatever—makes you on time because it means you’ve given yourself some breathing room for the chaos the world throws at us. And it makes you better when you’re there. Traffic snarls, a last minute call you really need to take, whatever. Leave earlier than you think you should. Besides, arriving cool and collected is better than arriving freaking out—can the doctor still see me?


Pull up the directions the night before. I’m offensively old and I actually don’t like doing it on my phone. I do it on my phone but I hate it.


Maybe I was a cartographer or Amerigo Vespucci’s nephew in a past life, but I loved the paper maps and map books I used as a young contractor. I’d get lost reading them. The phone works (sort of) better but is heartless. And incomplete. Point is, map the route before you’re sitting in the driveway so you can see the route and know the alternates.



Unless you’re pouring over every detail of my life (of MyFixitUpLife to be precise and grossly self-serving), the thumb swipes and endless novelty of social media are fun, that’s why Zucky has achieved what he’s achieved. But they’re your thumbs. And there’s no question it can be a drain and a drug. If it is, know before you dive in that you’re in charge of it. Set a time limit for yourself. Or make sure you balance out screen time with a paper book that requires you to be engaged for more than a pixel or two million.


There are a million more. Your life is your life. Here’s another one I like.


The dishwasher. A hundred bucks says the majority of us just dump our silverware in the strainer and run the dishwasher, right? Then we sift through them like organizing a deck of cards to put them back in their bins in the drawer—one-by-one!


Save a step: As you load the strainer, organize them there. Knives in one bin, spoons in another, forks in another and so on. When you remove them, you remove a category (the forks), you take them all at once. Zero sifting. Zero sorting. How much time would this put back in your life, 120-seconds at a time?


Recommended Reading…not really…


I have more. How to make a New Year Resolution or exercise and diet hacks you never knew would help, but the point is the mind set. If you don’t look and don’t try, you wasted your time reading this. If you do, bam, you’re one or two (million) no look grabs away from winning life. Outsmart entropy.


I can’t stop

Car a mess? Full of little papers and stuff? You may never keep ahead of the hurricane of kids’ snacks crunched into the carpet, but you can keep it ‘trash-free’. No matter what’s in there—coffee cup, soda can, wrapper—bring that in. You’re going inside anyway. And it keeps the car one layer of clutter cleaner and easier to use. I also keep some car-cleaning wipes in there (I drive a work truck, again, life amplified) to knock down the dust without having to set up an entire few hours to cleaning the truck. I can clean the grime from my speedometer while waiting in traffic.


For us on the job site, SNH means smart tool set-ups that make for easier, better and more profitable work. Failure shows up fast for us—and is a big deal. Nothing weighs much less than 50-pounds and wasted effort is like lighting money on fire.

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So, save some time, free your mind from as much petty busy work as you can and focus on those big moves you want to make. Or just spend more time on or with those you love. How you win life is up to you. The good news is that we all have the same number of minutes every day to do it.


*One more thing: I am guilty of falling victim to every single one of the things on this list.


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Self Improvement

Couple Entrepreneurs: How to Make It Happen With Your Partner



Partners entrepreneurs


Have you always dreamed of having success as an entrepreneur? Thoughts of working for yourself, doing things you’re passionate about, and not worrying about working for someone else may linger in your mind most of the time. If you’re married, there is a chance that your partner has some of the same goals, and that means the two of you could eventually become a pair of successful entrepreneurs who motivate one another, continually work hard, and reach all kinds of goals that will get you both further in life.


How to Make It Work


Although you may like the idea of becoming a successful entrepreneur while your partner does the same, it’s not uncommon to have some concerns about the situation. You may worry that you’re both going to take on too much and not have enough time for one another, but that isn’t always the case. It’s all about prioritizing work, setting a schedule, and being there to support one another through the ups and downs that will eventually occur.


Before working together to achieve goals, sit down and have a full conversation about the goals you’d like to achieve and the role you’ll each take on. Both of you will need to come to an agreement to keep work and the relationship separately while being respectful to one another. You can’t expect to have success with your partner if neither of you are respecting one another or collectively sharing ideas. You’ll need to focus on communication and compromising at times to make things work on a long-term basis.


Prime Examples of Successful Entrepreneur Couples


If you’re in need of motivation and encouragement because you’re not sure how to get your start in a specific industry with your partner, it may be best for you to learn a bit more about some of the successful entrepreneur couples out there. These couples work hard to achieve their goals and they support one another in various business ventures. They put forth the effort that is required of them to consistently achieve their goals.


Chris Sacca is a successful billionaire who once was fired from a job as a lawyer and then moved on to Google where had more opportunities to learn, invest, and become the success he is today. He is now the owner of a successful venture capital fund, known as Lowercase Capital. Although he’s had much success in his career, Chris Sacca’s wife, Crystal English Sacca, is a successful entrepreneur in her own right. She’s spent most of her career creating compelling and engaging commercials as well as digital advertisements for various companies. She’s worked for several of the most popular brands, including Sprint and HBO. In addition to these accomplishments, she works as an art director. While these two individuals aren’t doing the same things, they’re a married couple supporting one another while they each work hard to achieve their own personal goals.


In addition to Chris Sacca and his wife, Stewart and Lynda Resnick are another good example of a successful entrepreneur power couple. They currently have a net worth of 3.9 billion dollars. So, what is it that they’re selling? There is a good chance you’ve consumed at least one of the many products they own and distribute, such as Fiji Water or Halos oranges. The pair met when Lynda started her own ad agency and was assisting Stewart with a project for the business he was running at that time. Over time, they started working collectively together to invest and sell assorted products to the public, many of which are naturally good for human consumption.


Do What You Love and Respect One Another


There are plenty of entrepreneur couples out there. Some are just getting started while others have been in business for decades and continue to achieve a high level of success. Although you may be focused on figuring out your passion and what you want to do to get further in life while making a decent income, it’s important to understand that it’s possible for you to achieve the same level of success as some of these people who are earning millions of dollars each year. Most people don’t become a success overnight but figuring out what you want to do and how you’re going to make it happen is a great way to get started.


In addition to figuring out what you’d love to do for the rest of your life, you’ll need to remember to always respect your partner throughout the process. The thing about these successful couples is that they’re willing to provide support and guidance, they know how to communicate, and they believe in one another. If you don’t have respect, trust, and support in the relationship, it’s going to be difficult to have success as entrepreneurs together.


If you’ve always dreamed of running your own business with your partner by your side, it’s not a dream that is too farfetched. In fact, there are lots of successful couples that are working hard, reaching goals, and living the life they’ve always dreamed of having.

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Self Improvement

How Does Sleep Affect Your Mental Health?



Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep is our body’s repair mode. Our cells, tissues, muscles, and hormones are all replenished during the deepest phases of sleep. This ensures that we are operating at our best the next day.

Experts recommend about seven (7) hours of sleep a day for an average adult. This is keeps you mentally and physically focused. But what happens when you don’t get enough? Is there a link between sleep and our mental health?


The Link Between Sleep and Mood

Even someone who isn’t an expert on the subject can appreciate how active they feel after a good night’s sleep. In contrast, one can feel exhausted, irritated, and distracted after not getting enough the night before. That’s because sleep plays an important role in your mood and performance.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study in which the subjects were restricted sleep to only 4.5 hours each night. After a week, the subjects reported greater levels of negative emotions and mental tiredness. Once they were allowed to sleep normally however, there was a sharp improvement in their mood.

Just as sleep impacts your mood, your present state of mind also has an equivalent effect on the quality of your sleep. If you’re anxious or stressed, your body will release hormones that force you to stay awake through the night, depriving you of much-needed rest. The result is a cycle of stress and lack of sleep.

Research suggests that around 15-20 percent of people who are dealing with insomnia (an inability to fall asleep) go on to develop serious mental depression. While research is still being conducted about the exact nature of the relationship between sleep and depression, there has been enough progress to indicate a strong correlation between the two.

People who suffer from insomnia are at a significantly greater risk to develop depression or anxiety. In fact, the onset of these conditions can be accurately predicted by studying the patient’s sleep patterns.


The Link Between Sleep and Learning

In addition to your mood, sleep also appears to impact your mind’s ability to learn. Three separate processes govern learning in your brain: acquisition, consolidation, and recall.

Acquisition entails receiving information and storing it in your neural circuitry. The second process, consolidation, strengthens the neural connections in your mind so that the memory is stored in an optimally useful form. Recall is when the brain accesses this stored memory when it is needed.

Poor sleep compromises all three of these processes. However, it is acquisition and recall that are most affected by sleep deprivation. Recent research has also demonstrated that a lack of sleep can reduce the brain’s ability to consolidate information it is presented with.

Students take note: inadequate sleep may negatively affect your chances of passing that exam. Indeed, you may even find yourself forgetting how to do simple tasks. If you’ve ever been involved in back-to-back all-nighters during exam week, you may already have experienced forgetting a solution to a simple problem – even after you’d done it half a dozen times!


Dealing with Sleep Problems To Improve Mental Health

If you’re experiencing emotional apathy, anxiety, depression, or irritability, one of the steps you can take before seeking a professional is to assess your sleep situation.

Treat sleep as a ritual. Similar to reading to a child before putting them to bed, a habit that helps one disconnect from gadgets and put their mind in a relaxed mood can go a long way towards ensuring a restful, wholesome, sleep experience.

Making time before going to bed is a good idea. Avoid exposure to bright lights (such as those emitted by computer screens and smartphones). Try not to consume caffeine or alcohol, as all of these can be detrimental to the quality of sleep (and may even prevent the onset of sleep completely).

Obviously, the way you’ve set up your bed (and your entire bedroom) will also play an important role in how well you’re able to sleep. For example, memory foam mattresses are often recommended for individuals who sleep in awkward postures that can cause back pain. For some good reviews, check out The Sleep Judge.

If you can’t get rid of thoughts buzzing around in your head, you may want to listen to some natural background sounds, such as rainfall or wind rushing through trees. This will ease your mind away from distractions, helping you drift off to sleep. If you get the recommended amount, see how replenished you feel the next day!


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