How To Use Pinterest To Drive Traffic And Revenue To Your Blog- Setup & Tactics

To date, I have generated over 7 figures with traffic and revenue through Pinterest (My profile is pinterest.com/cacd if you want to connect :)) . Facebook has been king of traffic for a long time and Pinterest the queen BUT the tide is turning. Facebook is extremely challenged and more expensive every day.

There is another huge difference between the two and it lies in “what”  Pinterest actually is. Pinterest is less of social media and more of a virtual search engine. Keep that concept in mind as you think through how it can best serve you and what you do.

So for the first time I am going to unpack some of my tips, tricks and tactics. I will start out high level and then get directly into what I am doing and what is working. Here we go :)

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a visual search engine that allows users to find inspiration and discover new ideas. It is for the highly motivated user to accomplish something, as opposed to a passive user who is just researching or collecting data. Users can save ideas, recipes, crafts and more to personalized boards, as well as participate in shared group boards. Pinterest is NOT a social network, but it does use friends and fellow pinners to cultivate a unique and personalized experience for its’ users.

Why is Pinterest important?

In an age where Facebook is constantly changing (and radically declining in traffic) our ways to access and find new and trending content, Pinterest is quickly escalating to the top of food chain when it comes to both curating and sharing unique content. Tapping into the 175 million monthly users and over 50 billion pins allows businesses to reach a new audience by sharing action-oriented content they may not find elsewhere.

How do I use Pinterest for my business?

Pinterest is used for businesses to reach new users with beautiful imagery and content. Sell products, educate your followers and empower them to take action by creating content that is articulate and aesthetically pleasing.

In order to maximize a presence on Pinterest, users must pin other users content in addition to sharing their own. Pinners who constantly “spam” their followers and Pinterest with repetitive content and images will get their accounts suspended.

Businesses using Pinterest need to pin content EVERY DAY to ensure their content is being put into the Pinterest content pool which will make its way in front of new users in the form of impressions. (Jump to the Scheduling Tools section to see how an online platform can help ensure content is being pinned out via schedule.)

The basics of Pinterest

To sign up for a Pinterest account, visit Pinterest.com. Once signed up, be sure to switch your account to a business account by clicking on the three dots icon the upper right hand corner of your account and selecting Switch to Business. You will be prompted to complete several steps and to eventually verify your website.

Once completed, be sure to enable Rich Pins on your account. Rich Pins provide additional info for each pin and a better user experience. There are 4 types of rich pins: app, recipe, article and products.

It is highly recommended to follow the steps from Melyssa Griffin to quickly enable and validate rich pins for your site.

Finding & Curating Trending Topics

Use your knowledge of your own business and niche to help guide your content development––it’s always best to stay true to your audience and mission. You can use the following tools on Pinterest to help identify ways to incorporate your unique content into current trending topics.

1.  Pinterest Analytics

Single click Analytics and Overview to open up your business analytics dashboard.

You will see your analytics dashboards which houses all information for your unique Pinterest profile, the people you reach and the content that is specifically saved from your website.

Your Pinterest Profile

This report details impressions (how many times your pins showed up in front of a user, regardless of clicks or saves), saves, clicks and all-time best performing pins. Underneath the graph you can see which exact pins are performing the best. These may not be YOUR pins, but any pin you pinned to one of your boards.

This is a simple way to monitor trending content- if it’s being pinned from your account in large numbers it’s trending! Curate and develop more content of this nature to keep the momentum going.

People You Reach––> Interests

The People You Reach section of your dashboard can provide valuable information as to the types of content your followers would like to see. At the very least, create your own boards to mirror these interest and begin pinning content to them. You should take it a step further and begin to develop content that easily fits into these categories. That way your followers can keep pinning your content that already fits into their boards.

While every interest most definitely will not fit into your niche as a business, these interest categories can provide fresh ways to write and style your content to appeal to your followers. Keep in mind that this report reflects your current followers, not necessarily your audience as a whole.

Activity From Your Website

This section of reports will probably be the most useful. Here you see all the popular performing content that is developed from YOUR business on your own site. You will not find competitor data here.

Data here represents your top performing pins, sorted by impressions first. You can single click Saves, Clicks, Original Pins and All-time at the top of the graph to see the date sorted that way.

This data represents your most pinned content and what you need to keep pinning and reproducing in new and fresh ways. Keep developing material and ideas in this vein to continue your reach potential.

2.  Pinterest Top 100

Another simple way to develop content that is trending is to follow the Pinterest account, and their Pinterest 100 for 2018 board. This board outlines the top 100 trends for the year which are pretty much guaranteed to appeal to a large audience and bring you pins and clicks.

3. Explore & Popular Categories

Use the Explore feature by single clicking on Explore, next to the Pinterest search bar. This search function brings up current and trending topics in a variety of search categories and is updated throughout the day. Use the trending topics as a basis for developing new content ideas.

Type in “popular” after Pinterest.com in the URL bar to bring up some of the most pinned content. Keep in mind this is not organized into categories like it would be in the Explore search option, but is a way to generate new ideas for content curation and development.

4. Design Tools

There are numerous web-based design and editing tools that have free components, as well as added features for a nominal fee. When it comes down to it, find the program that is easiest to use for YOU. Here are some of the most common free designing software websites:

Canva

Vectr

Pixlr

Pic Monkey

Snappa

Get Stencil

Pinterest Image Basics

1.  Image Size

At minimum, all Pinterest images should be 735×1102 pixels in size. The aspect ratio is 2:3 to 1:3.5. The larger your pin is, the more “real estate” it takes up on the Pinterest news feed and is thus, more likely to draw attention. Longer pins should be no longer than be 735×2060 because images beyond 2,061 pixels will be truncated when viewing on a mobile device.

2. Image Quality

Images should be high quality, high-res and tell the overall story of your post. Many design websites offer thousands of creative commons issues that are free to use, or you can use one of the many free sites geared towards free images such as Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay and Kaboompics.

3. Image Creation

Use your web-based design software to create clean and simple images for every post that you will be pinning on Pinterest. Click here to see a quick and basic image that can be created in 2 minutes. Some things to keep in mind for images with high click probability:

  • Consider creating a set of branded images with your logo that will serve as templates for each post, product or roundup pin.
  • Use the image to serve as the entire backdrop of the pin
  • Always include a logo for your business
  • Use text as an overlay in the negative space of the photo. Ex:

Be sure to include your Pinterest image at the bottom of each blog post that the pin will be linked to, so readers can generate clean pins directly from your website.

Publishing Tools

Tailwind and BoardBooster are two of the most popular scheduling tools for Pinterest users. They offer features such as pre-set schedules, analytics, pin suggestions and board lists that make using Pinterest easy and not time consuming. For the purpose of this instructional, we will be showing how Tailwind make scheduling pins simple in our Pinterest course (coming soon).

 

10 Amazing Web Tools That Will Save You 10+ Hours Per Week

It’s natural for you to feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. This is especially true if you’re starting a business or side project to earn extra income.

I’m a self-confessing tool & app junkie. I love trying out great new tools to become more productive or automate manual tasks.

In this post I’m sharing 10 best online productivity tools that save me at least 10 hours every week and can do the same for you. I’ve put the time each tool saves me per week next to each one.

1. Atext –SAVES 30 minutes

atext text expander

A text expander, like Atext, allows you to create keyboard shortcuts that automatically expand to common phrases or text. When you type in a shortcut, Atext will replace it with the full text so you don’t have to type it out.

For example, you could create a shortcut that triggers your mailing address any time you type “adr” and hit the spacebar. You can do the same with your email signature, an entire email template, and more. I use shortcuts for names, directions, URLs, email templates, commonly used phrases, and dozens of other things.

Atext is for Mac and it’s only $5 for a lifetime license!

2. Calendly – SAVES 1 hour

calendly scheduling app

Calendly is my personal appointment scheduler. It saves a huge amount of time by eliminating the back and forth when trying to schedule a meeting. Simply set up the type of meeting, duration, and your availability. Then, give the other person a link and they can choose a time. Calendly even notifies them with the phone number to call or any other instructions you want to give.

Calendly has a free and premium version. The free version gives you one meeting type (e.g. 60 minute call).

3. Voicebase – SAVES 1 Hour

voicebase-transcription-platform

I haven’t seen many people talk about this one, but it’s one of my secret weapons. Voicebase saves a TON of time, especially when I want to recall a certain part of a recorded conversation.

Ordinarily you would queue up the recording and search for one small part, which requires a ton of tedious work and time. Voicebase removes that struggle by allowing you to search the transcript by keyword. It creates a machine transcription (which isn’t perfect but works great for searching) and it will show you every instance in the recording where you said that keyword.

4. Alfred – SAVES 30 minutes

alfred productivity

Alfred is my shortcut to everything. If you use a Mac, the free version is amazing for quickly locating anything on your computer. Alfred also allows you to program almost any action on your computer with hotkeys or commands. And unlike the Spotlight search, Alfred remembers your searches and prioritizes what you search for most often.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use Alfred:

  • Saved searches take you directly to any of your Google drive folders
  • Search all of your Evernote notes
  • Change system settings
  • Turn off or restart your computer by typing ‘restart”
  • Search the web

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s so customizable and saves lots of time searching for items on your computer and online.

5. join.me – SAVES 1 hour

join.me-screen-sharing

I hate writing out technical instructions over and over again. Join.me has saved me, and anyone I’ve tried to explain something to, hours of time. The next time you’re on a call and need to give instructions, just send the other person your join.me link. You can quickly share your screen and show them exactly what to do.

Out of all the screen sharing apps, this one is my favorite because it’s easiest for the other person to set up. All they need to do is click the personal link you send them.

6. Dragon Dictate – SAVES 2 hours

dragon dictate voice to text

When you just don’t want to type, Dragon Dictate gives your fingers a rest. Dragon is a voice to text software for Mac and PC. It’s far from perfect but one of the best out there. I use Dragon to write blog posts, compose emails and even write out my to do list for the day.

It’s a little pricey, but don’t pay full price for it — you can often find it up to 50% off.

apple voice to text screenshot

If you don’t want to pay for Dragon, Apple’s built in voice to text lets you record 30 seconds at a time and it’s extremely accurate. If you have the latest OS, hitting fn twice should trigger it. Or, go to settings, dictation and speech, and make sure that dictation is on and you have the right mic selected.

7. Outread/Spreed/Spritz -SAVES 30 minutes

outread-speed-reader

It’s tough to find time to read when you’re busy, and even tougher to read when you are distracted. These apps take the distraction out of reading and speed up the process using 2 types of speed reading techniques:

RSVP (Rapid serial visual presentation) flashes one to four words at a time at the speed you want. Think of it like words on flashcards at a few hundred words per minute. Spritz and Spreed use RSVP.

Guided Reading highlights the words at the speed you choose while dimming out the rest.

Spritz has a bookmarklet that allows you to select any article online and set the speed at which you want to read it.

The Outread app for iPhone is excellent. It offers both methods of speed reading and you can sync it with save-for-later reading apps like Pocket. Which brings us to…

8. Fiverr – 1-3 SAVES hours

fiverr-marketplace

Fiverr is an incredible marketplace that allows you to get almost anything done for just $5.  If you can dream it, there is someone willing to do it for $5 on Fiverr. And if your time is worth more than $5 an hour, this will save you literally hours a week.

Here’s a few things Fiverr can help you with:

There are millions of ways to shave hours off your day for just $5. We use Fiverr several times a week and it saves us hours. If you’re new to outsourcing, the best part about Fiverr is it allows you you to dip your toes in risk-free because of the small investment.

I highly encourage you to try Fiverr at least once to see the potential for freeing up hours a week. Start by looking at your tasks you dislike most, and search for someone to do them on Fiverr!

9. Lastpass – SAVES 1 Hour

lastpass-password-management

Lastpass is my password saving app. It makes it easy to manage all of my passwords, but the thing I love most is the ability to share passwords without the recipient seeing the actual password. Once they have a Lastpass account they can easily use the shared password. Lastpass also allows you to revoke a password if needed, at the end of a project, etc.

Lastpass can autofill password forms when you want it to. If you have more than one password saved for a site, simply select the password and username you want to use. Lastpass has a great free version and the premium version is only $10/ year.

10. Buffer – SAVES 1.5 Hours

buffer social media app

Buffer is one of my favorite social media tools for finding and sharing content. I love the extremely easy to use interface and the ability to set times I want to share content throughout the day.

One perk of Buffer is their mobile app gives suggestions for content to share based on the content you’re already sharing. It’s a great way to find high quality content to share and discover new content.

If you use chrome for your browser, don’t forget to download the Buffer chrome extension which lets you easily schedule and share any blog post you read.

What about you? What are your favorite productivity tools? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Featured image “Driving Car” via Splitshire

 

NET OUT: Just Start by Leonard A. Schlesinger/Charles F. Kiefer/Paul B. Brown

We were all taught what can be best described as prediction reasoning.

“Creaction”, a word we made up by combining creation with action.

The future may or may not be like the past, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering how it will play out if you plan to shape. (i.e. create) it.

Act, Learn (from that action), and Build (off that learning), and act again.

Entrepreneurs are not committed to the plan (starting a PR firm); they are committed to the goal.

Prediction reasoning- a way of thinking based on the assumption that the future is going to be pretty much like the past.

In the face of an unknown future, entrepreneurs act. More specifically, they take a small but smart step, they pause to see what they learned by doing so and they build that learning into what they do next.

Act, Learn, Build.

It is the action you take based on the resources you have at hand and never involves more than you can afford to lose, that it, your acceptable loss.

“Action trumps everything.”

It is based on acting and creating evidence, as contrasted with thinking and analysis.

Desire, Take a smart step as quickly as you can, act quickly with the means at hand, stay within your acceptable loss, bring others along, Build.

The ability to act your way into better thinking.

If you have insufficient data, make your own.

You need to discover you are right about there being a potential audience or customer for your ideas (and learn what you need to change if there is not.)

So thinking you have you have to be passionate can take you down the wrong road.

While passion at inception isn’t necessary, desire IS.

But that passion was not necessarily present at inception.

While in the short term, an intellectual desire can win battles with and emotional desire, in the long term, emotional desires carry the day.

Terminal desires can be particularly powerful.

Have the means at hand to get it, and the next step is within your acceptable loss, the most natural thing in the world is to act. In fact, it’s almost unnatural not to.

No matter how scary or unsettling starting a new venture may be, the alternative of doing nothing is worse.

Getting rid of something you don’t want can be a great spur to action.

But the problem is that it is not great enough to sustain you over time.

It is always more desirable to move toward something you truly want than to move away from something you hate, or to move toward something that strikes you as a good idea but you don’t truly care about it.

Why desire is so important:

It is feasible, that is, is it within the realm of reality?
Can i do it, that is, is it feasible for me?
Is it worth doing? Will there be a marker for what I want to sell? Is there potential to turn a profit? Will people appreciate what I am trying to do? In other words, does it make sense to put in all that effort?
Do I want to do it?

Nobody will be committed to what you’re doing if they don’t see your desire for it, your belief in your idea, and your willingness to try to accomplish it.

Whether your feelings have an impact on your ability to create what you want is entirely your option.

Swings of enthusiasm are natural. Taking a break is healthy, and it might help you gain perspective.

As long as you have desire, persist.

If the loss of desire seems too permanent, it is time to do something else.

Act quickly with the means at hand. Assess your acceptable loss. Build on what you find. Bring other people along.
Two major elements to the creative process are the “want” and the “don’t have.”

Who am i? (traits, skills, tastes and inclinations) What do I know? (education, training, experience and expertise) Who do I know? (in your personal, social and professional networks- who can help this idea succeed?

Self awareness is key.

Making assumptions based on nothing beyond what makes sense to you is not the right road to take.

When you are heading off into the unknown, understanding current reality is a very, very, very good idea.

Doing anything in the unknown entails risk.

Decide how much you can afford to lose before you get underway.

Fail quickly and cheaply while learning alot.

They don’t like risk. They accept it as part of the game and work extremely hard to reduce it to a minimum.

Instead of focusing on expected return, or how much they could possibly make, their attention is on acceptable loss, or how much they might lose, should those things not turn out the way they hope.

This gives you a different way to evaluate an opportunity, a way that does not depend entirely on profits.

The amount of money at risk is clearly defined.

What can I afford to pay to take the next step? What am I willing to pay to take the next step?

Guard your time just as much as you guard your money.

Have a time limit- willing to give this idea up to 6 mo’s etc… to see if it will work.

You don’t want your new venture to be an embarrassment, which could affect your self-esteem or fail to represent who you truly are.

Plan to do extremely carefully to make that loss of spending time with them worthwhile.

Be mindful about what you are choosing not to do.

If you fail, you fail cheaply.

Knowing how much you can lose, and trusting yourself not to exceed that amount.

Before you start, assume the new venture has failed spectacularly. Then write down every plausible reason you can think of to explain the failure.

He expects to be successful, but has identified his acceptable loss.

If you adapt to you means, you end up having more options to pursue.

Creaction tend to find ways to reach the market with a minimum expenditure of resources such as time, effort, and money.

Take a prototype to the nearest potential customer and, in an attempt to receive an order, describe in elaborate detail the ultimate features and benefits.

Take a prototype to the nearest potential customer and, in an attempt to receive an order, describe in elaborate detail the ultimate features and benefits.

At any point in your journey, you feel it isn’t going to work out, you quit.

Assessing your acceptable loss: What are my assets? What can I afford to lose? What am I willing to lose in the worst case?

Problems and obstacles are actually assets.

No such things as problems, just opportunities.

Every action you take causes a change in reality (thinking doesn’t)

You realize you never wanted to run a company, only start one.

If you are doing what everyone else is, you don’t have an advantage.

But what if you can’t solve the problems you face. Try this; accept the situation to the point of embracing it.

Bernie Goldhirsh struggled for years trying to start a sailing magazine in the early 1970’s. His problem? There were no resources for budding entrepreneurs to draw on. And so he started Inc. magazine to help people just like him.
Despite how unpleasant something unexpected seems, try this approach next time, “This is really good news.” And then try to make it so.

If you assume everything, even the unexpected, is a gift, it almost invariably will be.

Babson College research shows that there are fewer and fewer examples of entrepreneurs going it alone.

People enroll with you, perhaps even more so than with your vision. That’s why you tell the complete truth. And they will either join you, or not.

Honest selling is a noble profession.

You cannot buy anybody’s commitment.

Rewrite your desires as if it were fully accomplished and successful. What would it look and feel like?

Enrollment is getting people to buy in and be excited along with you. It’s a voluntary, personal commitment on their part.

Selling is getting someone else to do something that you would like him or her to do.

You want both. Sales without enrollment creates a customer, and that’s fine. Enrollment without a sale creates people who talk positively about what you are trying to do. That’s good, too. But when you have both, truly remarkable things happen.

Intelligent action and do what you can with what you have, which describes Creaction perfectly.

In situations that are predictable, predict.

The more unpredictable, the less logical it is to use Prediction.

The less predictable a situation is, the less you should be willing to pay to play.

Desire mediates (offsets) what you are willing to pay to play.

Action always leads to evidence and learning, thinking does not.

Prediction incurs costs that are often overlooked.

Is there a way for me to act in this situation? If there is, the question becomes, “Is there a way for me to act quickly and at acceptably low cost that will get me better or more information or put me in further ahead than sitting and thinking about this anymore?” What would constitute a relatively quick, smart, low cost ation in this situation?

Often you will find yourself at a point in the process where learning is more important than predicting, and you can best get that learning by doing.

Changing the way you approach problems can feel awkward, unfamiliar, and even threatening. Two suggestions: Fully imagine yourself taking the unfamiliar road. See how it feels, Then see if you can be comfortable enough with that discomfort, if it’s there. And as always, talking this through with a friend is a really good idea.

Grow and create new products or services in a marketplace that becomes more competitive by the day.

Organizations default to “Staying on plan” as opposed to building on what they find in the marketplace.

Organizations, like the human body, tend to reject new foreign things inserted into them.

The universe grows seemingly more unpredictable by the minute.

The future is basically unknowable. This is why it makes sense to apply and use “creaction.”

Imitation will probably not be very successful.

No two organizations are exactly the same.

In early phases- keep it low key.

Don’t mislead people into thinking that things will change quickly or that their lives will be different.

Mantra- “Underpromise and Overdeliver”

Pick up a couple of small wins before you go any further.

If you want intelligent initiatives and/or potentially lucrative experiments, Creaction is for you.

Always make the next step you want to take both compelling to the people you are speaking with and affordable.

Ensure that you really want to take the next step. You’re not going to enroll anyone else it it’s not something that is really meaningful to you.

If you are married when it comes to acceptable loss, the question to ask is not, “How much am I willing to lose?” but, “How much are we willing to lose?”

So the steps you take with family generally appear to be more irrecoverable.

In a straightforward business transaction among people who know each other slightly (or not at all), everyone generally understands the nature of the deal. People bring obvious resources to the table, and it’s pretty clear what they expect in return.

You don’t know what is going to happen, and the only way you’re going to find out is to take a step and see where you are and figure out what the next step is after that.

It doesn’t have to be optimal action, at first, just focus on progress.

John F. Kennedy said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change the small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written in the history of this generation. It is from numerous diverse acts of courage and belief that human history has been shaped. Each time a man stand for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

NET OUT: The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance

  • Without the right quantity, quality, focus and force of energy, we are compromised in any activity we undertake.

 

Performance, Health and Happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.

  • To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest. Full engagement begins with feeling eager to get to work in the morning, equally happy to return home in the evening and capable of setting clear boundaries between the two.
  • Finally, professional athletes have an average career span of five to seven years. If they handled their finances reasonably well, they are often set for life. Few of them are under pressure to run out and get another job. By contrast, you can probably expect to work for forty to fifty years without any significant breaks.

 

Principle 1: Full Engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy. Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

  • We must learn to hold ourselves at least equally accountable for how we manage our energy physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually.

 

To maintain a powerful pulse in our lives, we must learn how to rhythmically spend and renew energy.

  • We too must learn to live our own lives as a series of sprints- fully engaging for long periods of time, and then fully disengaging and seeking renewal before jumping back into the fray to face whatever challenge confronts us.

We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity.

  • Creating positive rituals is the most powerful means we have found to effectively manage energy in the service of full engagement.
  • Poweroffullengagement.com
  • Exp. Include- relying on junk food for bursts of energy, smoking or drinking to manage anxiety, furiously multitasking to meet demands, setting aside more challenging, long-term projects in favor of what feels immediately pressing and easier to accomplish, and devoting little energy to personal relationships.

 

(Keep in mind- Managing energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. Performance is grounded in the skillful management of energy. Great leaders are stewards of organizational energy. They begin by effectively managing their own energy. As leaders, they must mobilize, focus, invest, channel, renew and expand the energy of others.)

Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy.

  • They were over training or under training in one or more dimensions- P, E, M or S.
  • Spiritual energy capacity depends on regularly revisiting our deepest values and holding ourselves accountable in our behavior.
  • Cultures that encourage people to seek intermittent renewal not only inspire greater commitment, but also more productivity.

 

We are oscillatory beings in an oscillatory universe. Rhythmicity is our inheritance.

  • 90- to 120-minute cycles- ultradian rhythms.
  • Somewhere between 90 and 120 minutes, the body begins to crave a period of rest and recovery.
  • We are machined-centered in our thinking- focused on the optimization of technology and equipment- rather than human-centered, focused on the optimization of human alertness and performance.
  • “He makes me lie down in the green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” Intermittently disengaging is what allows us to passionately re-engage.
  • When we operate at a high enough intensity for long enough, we progressively lose the capacity to shift to any other gear.

 

Death from overwork

  • It is not the intensity of energy expenditure that produces burnout, impaired performance and physical breakdown, but rather the duration of expenditure without recovery.
  • He began taking a break every 90 to 120 minutes, during which he ate something, drank some water and took at least a brief walk.

 

Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-term reward.

  • We tend to hoard the energy we have and use our limited stores in the service of self-protection. (defense spending)

 

(keep in mind: Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy. We call this oscillation. “Performance Pyramid”- Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-term reward.)

Physical Energy: Fueling the Fire

  • Physical Energy is the fundamental source of fuel.
  • Breathing into a count of three and out to a count of six, lowers arousal and quiets not just the body but also the mind and the emotions.
  • When you awake in the mornings, after eight to twelve hours of not eating, your blood glucose levels are at a low ebb, even if you don’t feel consciously hungry.
  • Sustained performance depends not just on eating at regular intervals but also on eating only as much as you need to drive your energy for the next two to three hours. Portion control is critical.
  • We must become more attuned to what satisfaction actually feels like.
  • If 80% of what you eat fuels performance and health, you can eat whatever you like for the other 20%- so long as you control the size of portions.
  • Eating, breathing and sleeping eight to twelves hours a night is necessary to function optimally.
  • Best of all, catnaps sometime in the afternoon- consistently report that they sustain high energy into the evenings.
  • In a study of eight executives over a nine-month period, those who worked out regularly improved their fitness by 22% and demonstrated a 70% improvement in their ability to make complex decisions as compared to nonexercisers.

 

(Keep in mind: The two most important regulators of physical energy are breathing and eating. Eat five to six low calorie, highly nutritious meals a day… Take breaks every 90-120 minutes.)

Emotional Energy: Transforming Threat into Challenge

  • Physical and emotional energy capacity are inextricably connected.
  • Whenever he felt consumed by frustration, a racy sort of exhaustion set in.

 

Holding Opposites

  • Celebrating what the Stoic philosophers called anacoluthia- the mutual entailment of the virtues. No virtue was a virtue itself.
  • We are, in effect, the sum of our complexities and contradictions.

 

(Keep in mind: Any activity that is enjoyable, fulfilling or affirming serves as a source of emotional renewal and recovery.)

Mental Energy: Appropriate Focus and Realistic Optimism

  • Physical energy = fuel for mental skill
  • The key supportive muscles that fuel optimal mental energy include mental preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management, and creativity.
  • The increased fatigue that results from too little sleep or poor fitness makes it more difficult to concentrate.
  • Thinking uses up a great deal of energy. The brain represents 2% of the bodies weight, yet requires up to 25% of it’s oxygen.
  • “Almost no one gets their best ideas at work.” – Michael Gelb
  • “The greatest geniuses sometimes accomplish more when they work less.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
  • He was less interested in how much time they had devoted to their jobs than the quality of energy they brought into their tasks.

 

The Plasticity of the Brain

  • The balance of stress and recovery appears to be a critical factor in maximizing cognitive capacity.
  • “Every time you learn something new it builds new connections to the brain cells.” – Margery Silver

 

Pessimism, Negativity

  • Ask yourself “What is the worst possible case scenario here?”
  • Be fueled by possibility rather than fear

 

Poor Time Management, Short Attention Span

  • Creative brainstorming, reflection and attending to longer-range planning and writing projects all tend to get pushed aside.

 

(Keep in mind: They key supportive mental muscles- Preparation, Visualization, Positive Self-Talk, Effective Time Management and Creativity. Continuing to challenge the brain serves as protection against age-related mental decline.)

Spiritual Energy: He Who Has a Why to Live

  • When we lack sufficient spiritual energy, we must find systematic ways to go deeper- to challenge our complacency and expediency. In Roger B’s case, the disconnection from a compelling sense of purpose had robbed him of passion and of any clear sense of direction. He operated instead in survival mode, doing what was necessary to fill immediate needs and to get by day-to-day.  All of his energy systems were compromised.
  • Understand the significance of purpose.
  • Gain access to a wellspring of focused purpose.
  • Spiritual renewal, on the other hand, comes from feeling inspired by and reconnected to our sense of purpose and our deepest values.
  • Activities to generate considerable spiritual renewal- walking through nature, reading inspirational books, listening to music, or hearing a great speaker.
  • Concentrate on all service to others, which involves considerable effort and even inconvenience,  but may also provide a profound source of meaning and deep satisfaction.

 

Lack of Follow Through, Unreliability

  • Ask yourself when new challenges arise- “Is this something I need to do myself?”, “When does it need to be finished, and can I reasonably get it done by then?”

 

Defining Purpose: The Rules of Engagement

  • Because we so often lack deep roots- firm beliefs and compelling values- we are easily buffeted by the prevailing winds. If we lack a strong sense of purpose we cannot hold our ground when we are challenged by life’s inevitable storms.

 

Intrinsic Purpose

  • The point is that we feel more passion for and derive more pleasure from doing what we freely choose and most enjoy.

 

A Purpose Beyond One’s Self

  • The third factor that ignites a deeper sense of purpose is shifting attention from fulfilling our own needs and desires to serving something beyond ourselves.
  • “Is the life that I am living worth what I am giving up to have it?”

 

Values & Virtues

  • Jump ahead to the end of your life. What are the three most important lessons you have learned and why are they so critical?
  • Think of someone you deeply respect. Describe three qualities in this person that you admire.
  • Who are you at your best?
  • What one-sentence inscription would you like to see on your tombstone that would capture who you really were in life.
  • A value is ultimately just a roadmap for action.
  • A value in action is a virtue.

(Keep in mind: A vision statement, grounded in values that are meaningful and compelling, creates a blueprint for how to invest our energy.)

Face the Truth: How Are You Managing Your Energy Now?

  • We have argued that full engagement and optimal performance depend on the capacity to marshal high positive energy.
  • Compromised energy, a much higher likelihood of diabetes and heart disease and a far greater likelihood of early death.

 

Gathering the Facts

  • Where are the disconnects?
  • How effectively are the choices that you are making physically- your habits of nutrition, exercise, sleep and the balance of stress.
  • How are your habits of sleeping, eating and exercising affect your available energy?

Perception and Reality

  • “I am overwhelmed with my anxiety” to the more dispassionate “My anxiety is trying to overwhelm me.” In one, we are victims. In the other, we have the power to make choices and take action.
  • Confidence unmeditated by humility becomes grandiosity, egomania and even fanaticism.
  • We often feel most hostile to those who remind of us aspects of ourselves that we prefer not to see.

 

(Keep in mind: Facing the truth frees up energy. Avoiding the truth consumes great effort and energy. Truth without compassion is cruelty, to others and to ourselves. A common form of self-deception is assuming that our view represents the truth, when it is really just a lens through which we chose to view the world. Facing the truth requires that we remain an ongoing openness to the possibility that we may not be seeing ourselves-or others- accurately.)

Taking Action: The Power of Positive Rituals

  • 95% of what we do occurs automatically or in reaction to a demand or an anxiety.
  • Positive energy rituals. Every time we participate in a ritual, we are expressing our beliefs, either verbally or implicitly.
  • Families who sit down together every night for dinner are saying without words that they believe in the need for families to have shared time together.
  • Conscious will and discipline are rooted in the fact that every demand on our self-control- from deciding what we eat to managing frustration, from building and exercise regimen to persisting at a difficult task- all draw on the same easily depleted reservoir of energy.
  • Rituals come from the fact that they conserve energy.
  • Since will and discipline are far more limited and precious resources than most of us realize, they must be called upon very selectively.
  • We have the capacity for very few conscious acts of self-control in a day.

 

The Rituals of Stress and Recovery

  • The more precise and effective our recovery rituals, the more quickly we can restore our energy reserves,
  • The more scheduled and systematic these rituals became, the more renewal they provided.

 

Precision and Specificity

  • Specificity of timing and precision of behavior dramatically increase the likelihood of success. The explanation once again relies in the fact that our conscious capacity for self-control is limited and easily depleted.

 

Doing Vs. Not Doing

  • “I won’t overtreat,” or “I will not get angry” are examples of rapidly depleting our stores of will and discipline. NOT doing something requires continuous self-control.

 

Basic Training

  • Chart the course- put your goals down on paper.
  • Chart the progress- if you are trying to eat a healthier diet, it is critical to have rituals that define what and when you are going to eat, but also have to measure at the end of each day how well you have followed your plan.
  • If you are falling short of implementing a particular ritual of achieving the outcome that you are seeking, it may be that the ritual isn’t grounded in a value or vision that is truly compelling to you, it may be the goal that you had set is simply too ambitious and needs to be implemented more slowly and progressively, no matter what it is- measuring your progress is not a weapon but a learning tool to help you change.

 

(Keep in mind: The more exacting the challenge and the greater the pressure, the more rigorous our rituals need to be. Trying not to do something rapidly depletes our limited stores of will & discipline.)

Purpose as a Fuel

  • Work out at least 3 times a week.
  • Commit to a healthy, high-protein breakfast everyday.

NET OUT: Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

 

Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time right now?

The way of the Essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better.

Determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things that almost effortless.

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.

…”the undisciplined pursuit of more”

When we try to do it all and have it all, we find ourselves making trade-offs at the margins that we would never take on as our intentional strategy.

Deliberately and strategically eliminating the nonessentials, and not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but cutting out some really good opportunities as well.

Focus on what is absolutely essential by eliminating everything else.

  1. Explore and evaluate
  2. Eliminate
  3. Execute

 

We can choose how to spend our energy and time.

Almost everything is noise, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable.

The reality of trade offs -We can’t have it all or do it all.

What do I feel deeply inspired by? What am I particularly talented at? What meets a significant need in the world?

Right thing at the right time.

We must give ourselves permission…

Chose is an action.

Doing less but thinking more.

Certain types of efforts yield a higher reward than others.

Less but better.

Law Of The Vital Few: You can massively improve the quality of a product by resolving a tiny fraction of the problems.

Certain efforts actually produce exponentially more results than others.

Discern more so you can do less.

Essentialist asks – What is the trade off I want to make? What can I go big on?

If people are too busy to think, they’re too busy, period.

Focus is something we DO.

Essentialist – Creates space to escape and explore life.

“The faintest pencil is better than the strongest memory.”

Journaling is super important. >> Action item

Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity. Nothing fires up the brain like play.

The real challenge for the person who thrives on challenges is not to work hard.

Our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritize.

Everything should be a Hell No or Hell Yes. No middle ground.

If isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no. 

If we could be truly excellent at only one thing, what would it be?

How will we know when we have succeeded?

Choose “no” more often than you say no. Say no frequently and gracefully.

-Use the words – You are welcome to X. I am willing to Y.

Sunk Cost basis – the tendency to continue to invest time, money or energy into something we know is a losing proposition simply because we have already incurred or sunk cost that cannot be recouped.

Essentialist:

-If I weren’t invested in this project, how much would I invest in it now?

-What else could I do with this time or money if I pulled the plug now?

-Comfortable with cutting losses.

Endowment effect – our tendency to undervalue things that aren’t ours and overvalue things because we already own them.

Apply zero based budgeting – start from scratch when building budgets.

Stop making casual commitments. 

Pause before you speak. 

Cut out options to make better decisions.

We must summon the discipline to get rid of options or activities that may be good, or even really good, but that get in the way. Every additional moment gained can be spent on something better.

Eliminate meaningless activities and replace them with meaningful activities.

Edit your tendency to step in.

The boundary 0f work has edged insidiously into family territory.

Craft social contracts with difficulty people and situations – “Let’s just agree on what we want to achieve”.

Create buffer zones to create extra space. The future is simply too unpredictable – build buffers to reduce friction caused by the unexpected.

The essentialist makes a one time investment into removing obstacles to bring forth more.

-Be clear about the desired income.

-What is keeping me from completing this?

-Remove the obstacle.

Start small and celebrate progress. Small simple wins in essential areas.

Progress is the most effective motivation.

When we start small and reward progress, we end up achieving more than when we set big lofty and often impossible goals.

Routines are very important. If we create a routine that enshrines the essentials, we will begin to execute them on autopilot.

Every habit is made up of a cue, a routine and a reward.

The way of the essentialist is to tune into the present. They don’t diffuse their efforts with distractions.

What is good for the mind is good for the soul.

We can’t concentrate on two things at once.

What is important right now? Be there.

In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present – Lao Tzu

As ideas become emotionally true, they take on the power to change you.

Focusing on essentialism is a choice.

Clear intent leads to alignment; vague direction produce misalignment every time.

Be really clear about what your team is expected to contribute and what everyone else is contributing.

The more items one pursues, the harder it is to follow up on all of them.

By checking in with people frequently to reward small wins and help people remove obstacles, you will bolster the team’s motivation and focus and will enable them to make more meaningful progress.