Time Management Don’ts

  • Most expensive web domain-Insure.com:$16 million
  • Most paid for a car at an auction-1962 Ferrari 250 GTO:$35 million
  • Price paid of ONE parking spot in Manhattan:$1 million
  • Most expensive house ever listed for sale in the US is in Bel Air, California: $250 million

I could keep adding to the list of expensive stuff but I’ll stop and declare nothing on the list comes close in value to time. Time is without a doubt the most valuable asset on earth. But also the most democratic, we’re all equal. Everybody has 168 hours a week. Bill Gates has 168 hours. Jeff Bezos has 168 hours. The guy working the grill at Five Guys has 168 hours.

Time is renewable. You can’t buy more time for any amount of money.

And all your money, won’t another minute buy

-“Dust in The Wind” by Kansas

I’ve become so aware of this I’ve put this quote on my Instagram and Twitter profile

“I have plenty of time left, but none to waste.”

No matter what I allow myself to believe, I do have all the time I need to get meaningful stuff done.

Most of the information you find on time management focuses on the Do’s. But I noticed not much is said about time management Dont’s.

Here’s a few of my favorites.

 

Don’t Check Email First Thing At Work

Email is a great magician. It gives you the illusion you achieved something. But have you? What did you achieve after marking 26 emails “Read”? I would guess not all that much.

A great strategy to avoid getting sucked into the email vortex is to restrict processing email to 3 times per day. The first after an hour after you start working. Right after lunch and an hour before you go home. I’m sure there are exceptions but 95% of us can do this ,we just think we can’t.

 

Don’t Fall for the Multitasking Myth.

Multitasking is the great myth that makes normal people feel like slackers. Scientist are finding more and more proof the human brain only gives the illusion of being able to do more than one task at time. What really happens is some people can switch between tasks faster than others.

Not only is multitasking impossible, it’s harmful to your performance. The more information you try to process the less time you have to give it the attention it deserves. This means you start making poor decisions and overlooking important details.

Focus on one task at a time. Give it your full attention and you’ll find yourself getting more done with a higher quality outcome.

 

Don’t Work Without Taking a Break

Your brain is not designed to focus on anything for an extended period of time. You’ll notice you get distracted more easily after an hour or two, until you’re getting nothing done.

The solution is simple: Take a break.

Get up and walk around. Go outside if the weather is nice. Have a snack. Indulge yourself for 10 minutes of social media.

Whatever you do, let your brain disengage from the task. When you do this your brain will thank you and reward you with fresh ideas and perspective.

A great way to do this is to use a 25/5 work/break schedule. Set the timer on your phone for 25 minutes when you start a new task. Do not stop until you finish or the timer goes off. Reset the timer for 5 minutes for your break. When the timer goes off, reset to 25 minutes of work. Rinse, repeat until you have crushed your day.

Try these three strategies to not only increase your productivity but also discover more time to make a bigger impact on your world.

Don’t forget you have plenty of time left just none to waste.

Guest Post: The Top 3 Struggles of Guys Under 30

I firmly believe we are blessed to grow up in today’s day and age. We have technology that allows us to connect with people globally, advancements in medicine that can cure the worst disease, and countless opportunities even our parents didn’t have growing up. However, it is often overlooked that growing up in today’s day and age can be tough for young guys. I reached out to several of my good friends, some of which have moved to a new city after graduating, for their feedback on what they struggle with and then I narrowed it down to the three recurring struggles that all of them shared in common.

Financial literacy is a huge struggle for not only young guys but also most Americans. A 2016 article featured on Fortune.com stated that roughly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t pass a basic financial literacy test. The best way to increase your basic financial knowledge is to dive headfirst into the countless resources available online. Make it your goal to consume knowledge like no one else! Dave Ramsey is a great option for beginners, along with the Stacking Benjamins and Afford Anything podcast. I highly recommend both, especially if you want to learn more about 401Ks, credit cards, or you are looking at purchasing a home.

“Authentic”, as defined by Merriam-Webster is, “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” My friends I talked to have struggled with not only developing new authentic friendships but also staying true to themselves and their values. It is so easy in today’s age, which is fueled by social media to try and be something you are not or fit in with a new group of friends. That is why I believe it is so crucial to develop a solid set of both short term and long term goals, operate off of a set of core principles, and simply just be yourself. I believe Dave Grohl stated it best when he said, “No one is you, and that is your power.”

The last thing that my friends struggled with was being at peace when things didn’t go as they had planned. Each day we build our own legacy through our actions and how we treat others but we often forget that there is a bigger plan for each of us. So while it is ok to be upset if your tee-time gets rained out, make sure you focus on the fact that it may allow you to spend time with your family instead. It is important to keep a “glass-half full” approach to life. Living a successful life is not just making tons of money and buying fancy things, it is building a legacy built on the positive impact you leave on your family, friends, and co-workers. That is how true success is measured.

I’m curious how other guys under 30 would answer the question. You can leave your top 3 in the comments section.

About the Author:

This the second guest post from Colton Macleod. He’s originally from Huntsville Alabama but moved to Nashville in August to pursue a career as a financial analyst. Colton is 23, single with no kids, which makes him perfect to represent the hopes, dreams and struggles of guys under 30.

9 Components of a Successful Day

  1. Spend less than you earn
  2. Do something nice and try not to get caught
  3. Listen more and talk less
  4. Take a 30-minute walk
  5. Don’t make excuses
  6. Be kind to unkind people
  7. Let someone cut ahead of you in line
  8. Say please and thank-you
  9. Go the entire day without criticizing anyone

14 Daily Do’s and Don’ts

My goal is for A Guy’s Guide to a Good Life to be a holistic look at every part of a guy’s life. Money. Relationships. Career. Kids. Spouse. Faith.

I want to help you develop the morals and ethics that make up your guard rails AKA you conscious. The inner voice that sounds the alarm or says “good job” as you go about your day.

I love talking about these topics, but what about Tuesday? Sure you’re working a grand plan to get promoted at work, but what about the lady who is waiting on you at Chick-fil-a and messed up your order? How does a guy’s guide to a good life apply to that situation? Should it? Are there rules to help a good guy navigate everyday life?

I’ll submit two lists to get the conversation started,. One is all about don’ts and the other is the do’s.

  1. Don’t brag
  2. Don’t be a Jerk
  3. Don’t steal
  4. Don’t cheat
  5. Don’t lie
  6. Don’t expect a free ride
  7. Don’t hold a grudge
  1. Do hold the door
  2. Do say please
  3. Do say thank you
  4. Do help the next one in line
  5. Do tell the truth
  6. Do stay humble
  7. Do remember how hard you worked to get where you are

Think about both lists. 14 do’s and don’ts to help a guy navigate a crappy Mondays or throw back Thursdays. We all need to have a set of values to guide us when the girl working the register at Chick-fil-A gives you an Arnold Palmer instead of half-sweet half unsweet tea. Or the mechanic charges you twice what he said he would.

Every day we’re faced with hundreds of issues we have to figure out how to handle. And how we respond to the inconveniences and irritations tell a lot about our character and masculinity.

Whenever I explode or show my ass because I didn’t get my way, I’m never a good man. I’m a child. That is not living a good life, that’s me making someone’s life worse for the few minutes because they had to deal with me. That’s not cool because like I keep saying, I have plenty of time left but none to waste. But that’s also true of the person who’s dealing with me. I’ve made a small part of their most precious asset, time, miserable. For little or no reason.

Not cool.

It’s Not About Me

That’s the reason to follow the 14 do’s and don’ts. It’s not about me, it’s about the people I come in contact with on every day. Focusing on others is the way you leave a legacy. When I become other people centered the world is made a better place.

I came up with a question to ask whenever I’m writing an article like this or talking with another person. It’s short and nowhere near grammatically correct. It’s actually pretty bad writing but it resonates with me. I get it.

What’s best for you (them)?

Should I tell you that you’re not doing a good job? What’s best for you?

Should I tweet I’ve had a bad experience with a business? What’s best for them?

Should I vent my frustration on an employee who had nothing to do with why I’m upset? What’s best for them?

14 simple do’s and don’ts distilled down to four simple words.

Try it. The next time you’re interacting with another person, think to yourself “what’s best for him/her?” before you open your mouth.

Guest Post: How can older gentleman help the next generation?

Colton Macleod is originally from Huntsville AL but moved to Nashville in August to pursue a career as a financial analyst. He’s 23, single with no kids, which made him the perfect guy to answer a question I’m always looking for help with, how can older gentlemen help the next generation? His answer reinforces what I tell the guys my age all the time, you CAN teach the next generation and they WANT to learn from you. Check out what Colton had to say and I’d love to hear what other young guys have to say on this topic. Leave your suggestions in the comment section.

 

I was recently asked the question, “How can an older gentleman help younger guys like you?” I struggled with how to answer the question because everyone defines “help” in his own unique way, whether that is giving monetarily, providing counseling, or just being a friend. I believe that the best way for a gentleman to leave a impact on a younger guy can be accomplished by connecting with him, teaching him practical life lessons, and leading by example.

I was fortunate to have worked alongside many great people during college. One man, with whom I worked closely while I served as Fraternity President, left a huge impact on me. I had not known him personally, but he was one of the first to reach out to me and began trying to connect with me to help me accomplish my goals. He called periodically to ask how things were going, how he could help, and he also volunteered many times to speak to the chapter and engage with the other members. Even to this day, we still talk regularly!

I didn’t graduate from college with my dream job already lined up. I had talked to several companies, but I knew there was something better out there than what I had been offered. Two gentleman I knew, both very successful in their careers, (one is a bank President and the other is a corporate Executive) spent hours talking to me about different companies and job prospects, helping me rewrite my resume and teaching me about things in the business world that are not covered in textbooks.  They didn’t have to reach out and help me, but they wanted to connect and pass along practical knowledge of the business world as I started my career.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to grow up in a great family. My family means the world to me. When I look at my dad and grandfather, they both lead by example. They practice what they preach, and they stay true to their beliefs. They are kind to others, outgoing, and would give the shirt off of their backs if necessary. As people put it, “They walk the walk.” They focus on being themselves and try to set a great example for my two younger brothers and I. I may be a little biased, but I think they’ve done a pretty darn good job.

All of the people I have referenced have followed three main principles: They have connected with me, they have taught me practical things, and they continue to lead by example. It is imperative that any person who wants to make a difference does all three of these things connect with the younger generation.  It should be noted that all three principles must be followed to truly be the most effective. This is easy to do—just don’t hesitate to reach out! You never know whose life you could impact following these three simple principles!

 

You Learned to be Afraid

What’s the worst bar bet ever? Betting your buddies they can’t name the three most common fears. The answer is:

Arachnophobia- fear of spiders

Ophidiophobia- fear of snakes

Acrophobia- fear of heights

But here’s a bar bet you can win, name the only two fears people are born with? The answer is falling and loud noises.

This means nobody is born afraid of spiders, snakes, or heights. You’re acting out a learned behavior when you white knuckle the arm rest on an airplane.

Fear is a touchy subject with men. Most men don’t want to talk the topic, and most men dang sure don’t like to admit they have fears. But men do have fears. Their fears aren’t so much about spiders or snakes, instead here’s what men are afraid of.

Top 10 Fears of Men

  1. Someone will leave me
  2. Someone is criticizing me
  3. I am disappointing someone
  4. Failure
  5. Someone won’t like what I have to say
  6. Someone will reveal I’m an imposter
  7. The haters are right
  8. Going broke
  9. Asking for help
  10. Losing respect

The tragic part is these fears having being holding back generations of men from being the best version of themselves for no good reason. Remember, other than falling or loud noises, any fear you have was learned. You didn’t come into the world with the fear someone would reveal you’re an imposter (even though you’re not). You learned to be afraid of going broke.

These fears have feed wrong thinking. And wrong thinking has sent you and me to the bench instead of getting in the game. All because we were afraid of something we didn’t have to be. We don’t have to be afraid to ask for help or disappointing someone. We don’t HAVE to be afraid of anything.

Life is too short to live in fear. Don’t let fear hold you back and prevent you from being the best version of yourself.

The Guy’s Guide to a Good Life tip is to look at every fear as defeatable. Don’t allow yourself to fall into fear trap. Stand up to fear.

Try this, the next time you’re afraid to ask for help, ask anyway. You’ll discover they’ll respect you more not less. And you will have taken a giant step to overcoming fear.

Why Do Guys Spend So Much Time Playing Video Games?

Women believe men are mysterious beings. The things men do in the course of a normal day cause women all kinds of concerns. Not only do they have concerns, they have questions:

  • Why did you eat that ghost pepper if you knew it would make you throw up? (answer: a guy never backs down from a dare.)
  • What smells? (answer: you don’t want to know.)
  • Did you really think the Super Bowl ads were funny? (answer:of course. I thought the talking baby with the hidden cell phone so he could trade stock was hilarious)

And the number one question these days: Why do guys play video games?

It’s a fair question when you consider all of the time and money guys spend on video games. Did you know the gaming industry made $23.5 billion in 2015? $16.5 billion was spent on games alone.

This has been going on for a while. The only thing that has changed is the location.

When I was a teenager, I had to go to an arcade when I wanted to play video games. In the little town I grew up in that meant The Orbiter or The Fun House. By the way, I’d be much closer to having my first million if I had back all of the quarters I fed into those machines. Now I know I was making the guy in our town who owned the machines a millionaire.

This was the early 80’s and home game consoles still pretty much sucked. Then came xbox, playstation and nintendo. Now game consoles are super computers. That’s one of the reasons the number of hours guys spend playing video games every week has gone up so drastically: 6.5 hours online and 5 hours with face to face.

BUT I STILL HAVEN’T ANSWERED THE WHY QUESTION.

I think there are several reasons

One is this generation of men, unlike their grandfathers and great-grandfathers, has no great war to fight. No World War II. No Desert Storm. Which means they don’t have an outlet for the warrior they have inside them. Football, basketball, baseball even Mixed Martial Arts are fun and combative but they aren’t a substitute for the adrenaline rush that comes with warfare.

But first person shooter games are so realistic they provide a setting where a guy can experience that which he is wired to engage in, combat, without suffering any of the consequences (pain).

Another reason is guys develop relationships by doing things together. When a guy hangs out with his buddies playing video games, he’s getting much needed relationship time with other guys.

Finally, video games may be how he deals with stress. It’s how he relaxes.

REWIRING YOUR BRAIN

There is a very dark side to video games. Playing too much can actually rewire a guy’s brain by supplying an endless amount of variety. It’s easy because anything is possible for a video game developers. They can make a computer or xbox game do whatever will keep a guy engaged and reaching for his wallet.

All of this means guy’s brains are being rewired to demand change, novelty, and the biggie, constant stimulation. How many of us pick up our phone when a commercial comes on or when we have a free nanosecond? Constant stimulation is rotting our brains.

Here’s the danger.  Ask any compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict and he will tell you they need more and more of whatever their thing is to get the same buzz. That’s why a gamer plays more, moves on to more violent and intense games. Game developers know this and are happy to keep feeding the beast.

The problem is life doesn’t work that way. Success takes time. Delayed gratification is the key to contentment. A guy in his mid-twenties needs to be setting long-term goals but his brain is being rewired to only think about the next 20 seconds, not the next 20 years.

Why is this a big deal? Here’s what one guy said “The excessive use of video games is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.”

And that is why there are so many guys in their twenties and early thirties living in their mom’s basement who don’t think it’s weird. They aren’t ashamed of the fact they have become boys who can shave. There’s even a label for it “prolonged adolescence”.

What I do now?

Guys, like a lot of things in your life, video games aren’t always bad. Play them, hang out with your friends, whatever. But remember this phrase from the Roman comic dramatist Plautus (c.250–184 bc),

‘MODERATION IN ALL THINGS IS THE BEST POLICY.’

Not All Snowflakes Melt

I’m getting tired of hearing how soft, lazy and entitled all millennials are.

This is a sore subject because my youngest daughter is a millennial. She lives at home while finishing her degree which means her male and female friends come to our house to hangout. So I get to be like a National Geographic photographer and observe millennials in their natural habitat

Most of the kids who come to our house are great. Many of them are holding down jobs while going to school. They have informed opinions on current events and enjoy thoughtful discussions with my wife and me. These kids don’t throw a tantrum and accuse me of being mean when I push back. Instead they are able to articulate why they think the way they do.

This is going to surprise you, but a lot of them are conservative. Most of them have a year or so of college left so they are starting to think about things like cost of living and taxes. Two issues that usually mark the difference between conservative and liberal world views. They don’t like the idea of the government taking their money and giving it to those who don’t work as hard as they do. Good for them.

Millennials are usually portrayed as lazy. Not this group of kids. The guys who show up at my house all have a great work ethic. When I ask them to help me with something there’s now whining, no eye rolling instead they hop up ready to work. Same with the girls. All of them know a great work ethic is a key to them building the life they’re dreaming of.

What they don’t have that I do is 52 years of good and poor decisions.

But what’s great about these kids is they know it. They are content to acknowledge they don’t know everything but want to learn. They have a Teach Me attitude. And that’s awesome.

Being a guide, teacher, mentor, sage, yoda or whatever description you want to use is hardwired into every man. Especially those us in the men of certain age category.  We LOVE it when a young guy wants to ask us questions.

This is for my fellow old farts.

We can’t get pissed when they don’t take our advice. Give the young guy the benefit of the doubt. He may be taking what we told him and adding his thoughts, advice from other guys and what he’s read to come up with his plan. And that’s good. Now he’s developed a plan he can own.

The other reasons we can’t get defensive if they ignore our advice is we might be wrong.

Here’s what I’m saying, join me in refusing to lump all millennials into one group. Let’s agree to avoid automatically assuming a kid is a whining, entitled snowflake just because of their age. Instead talk with a millennial when you get the chance. Engage them in a real conversation. Ask questions about their life, their dreams, their fears.

Sure you’re gonna have to suffer through the occasional idiot regurgitating what their sociology professor told them. When that happens put your hand over your mouth and realize it’s the idiot professor you should punch in the throat not the kid. The more millennials you talk to the more of them you’ll find who are kind, articulate, hopeful, funny, respectful, and crazy smart.

Speaking of smart, did you know many scientists think each new generation is roughly 10% smarter than the previous one? So yes, there’s a good chance you can learn something from a millennial. Which is great because not only will you be smarter, you’ll also have performed one of the most important acts this group needs, you’ll have treated them as an adult. Hopefully they’ll make the connection and learn a lesson everybody has to learn: if you want to be treated like an adult, act like one. If you want to be treated like a punk, act like one and the world will oblige you.

Remember, if we want to live in world full of snowflakes that won’t melt, we have to do our part. It’s on us to show them the way.

 

A Reluctant Big Shot

I like being around accomplished men.

  • Smart men
  • Successful men
  • Wealthy men

I do not like being around d-bag men.

  • Guys who make sure you know they went to Harvard or MIT within the first thirty seconds of meeting them
  • Guys who insist on being called “Mr. so and so” by everyone who works for them
  • Guys who humble brag about the high cost of a Ferrari tuneup

Now go back and read the two lists again. Did you notice any similarities?  Both lists are saying the same thing, but the first list is bathed in humility. The second list is bathed in cheap cologne.

The first list is made up what I’m calling reluctant big-shots *. Men who have influence because of their performance not because they set out to be a big deal.

How do you tell if a guy is a reluctant big-shot? Compare him to:

  • Walter Cronkite
  • Warren Buffett
  • Sam Walton- (Don’t judge him on what Wal Mart is today because it’s a shell of his dream. Read his autobiography to learn about the real Mr. Sam.
  • Zig Ziglar

Then there’s the Ron Burgandy’s of the world

 

These guys had a goal to become a big deal just for the sake of being a big deal. The Ron Burgandy’s of the world like it when it others think they are a big deal. And they like it even more when people tell them they are a big deal.

Telling the difference isn’t hard, but it can be hard to describe how you know the difference. You just know.

Like the old E.F. Hutton commercial, when a reluctant big-shot talks people naturally listen. When a Ron Burgandy wannabe talks he has to remind people they should listen to him.

How to be a reluctant big shot

The French philosopher Blaise Pascal asked, “Do you wish people to speak well of you? Then never speak well of yourself.” Or to put it in simple terms, refuse to blow your own horn.

A reluctant big shot should be a goal of every modern southern gentleman because we’re all built to be a guide to others and reluctant big big shots more chances than ron burgandy’s

 

*I stole this phrase from Kurt Vonnegut who used it to describe Walter Cronkite

5 Secret Success Skills for the Modern Southern Gentleman

Every man wants to succeed, our struggle is deciphering how. Do I go to college? Is grad school a necessity. Or do you follow Mike Rowe’s plan and learn a trade like welder or electrician? (BTW, I am a huge fan what Mr. Rowe is doing and covet his voice).

Good news and bad news.

First the bad news, I have no clue if you should go to college or learn a trade. Both are good choices but you’re going to have to figure that one out on your own.

The good news is I’m going to let you in on a secret. 5 secrets to be precise. These secrets will set any man who takes the time to master them up for success. Doesn’t matter if you’re a welder, roofer, engineer or salesman, these secrets will help you succeed. In fact any ONE of them will get you going, but there’s a compounding effect in play here. The more of these you master, the higher your chances are to become the successful man you want to be.

(If you’ve found a job but you’re having trouble getting promoted, this will help you.)

Public Speaking

Ask the average man what he’s most afraid of and number one is prostate exam but public speaking is a close second. I can’t help you with exam but I want you to know you don’t have be afraid of public speaking. People (employers, bosses, the opposite sex) view men who are good public speakers as confident and trustworthy. Learn how to speak in public and you’ll be able to promote and sell anything- from products to a worldview to a religious system and yourself, which translates into better jobs, promotions and opportunities.

Most guys are terrified because they don’t think they came up with anything to say. I’ve been a public speaker for over 20 years and I’m going to let you in on a secret I wish someone had told me when I started. There qualities that make people want to listen/watch a speaker are confidence and enthusiasm. Your success as a public speaker is less about the content of your presentation and more about how you present yourself. A study was done and discovered the ways a public speaker communicates with his audience, 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% words. The secret to public speaking is stand up straight, smile and act like you believe in what you’re saying.

Congratulations, you are now better than 80% of all public speakers.

Writing

If you can’t speak well, you can write well. Good writing is not just using proper grammar, it’s the ability to organize thoughts into a coherent stream. Every guy needs to learn how to write something longer than a text or tweet because nothing will get a resume or job application thrown in the garbage faster than misspelling and grammatical errors. There are tons of websites dedicated to helping you identify and correct basic grammar. One of my favorite is the Hemingway Editor.

Bonus Tip: Go pickup a copy of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead and read chapters 14-19.

Organizing

You can’t succeed in life if you spend all your time looking for your keys, debit card or phone. Here are a few rules to get and keep you organized

If you take it out, put it back
If you make a mess, clean it up
If you open it, close it
If you take it off, hang it up

Networking

Before you turn up your nose and say “I’m not kissing anyone’s butt for a job”, STOP. If that’s what you think networking is, you’ve been reading way too much false news and blogs written by losers living in their mom’s basement. The fact is we live in a world dominated by ideas and innovation born out of collaboration and it’s kind of hard to collaborate by yourself. It’s mission critical that you make connections with others.

The How is simple: always look for ways to add value to the lives of others. Do that, and you’ll have more connections than you can handle.

Critical Thinking

Do you believe everything you see on the internet? Is your credit card statement a list of infomercial product purchases? If the answer is yes, you need to develop the ability to consider the vast amount of information you come into contact with every day. Learn how to not only decide if something is true but also if it’s important and how does it relate to other information you’re seeing.

The how is to look for the other side of the story because there’s always two sides to the story.

What about you? Got any success secrets you want to share with us? Leave in the comments.