Archives For Productivity

[A guest post written by my friend Jonathon Knepper]

You’re familiar with the saying you are what you eat, right? Well, another saying we should be familiar with is, “You are how you start your day.”

Over the past few months I’ve spent over 100 hours researching, reviewing and reaching out to entrepreneurs to see what their morning routines look like. I always knew that a morning routine was something that could benefit me, but I just wasn’t sure where to start. Since some BIG changes are coming my way – mainly a new baby daughter any day now – I knew my window was closing.

My desire to start a morning routine, love of learning by example and a weird quirk that has me always making projects out of goals, created the perfect storm for a morning routine ebook – Win YOUR Day: Insights, Inspiration & Data From 100+ Entrepreneurs to Improve Your Morning Routine & Daily Productivity.

Below I’ve outline the top 5 morning routine building blocks plus included an infographic that outlines some of the most important stats. Enjoy!

Top 5 Morning Routine Building Blocks

  1. Nourishment

Even though everyone surveyed did not have breakfast, it should come as no surprise that food/drink we’re at the top of the list. The research aligned with what reports like those from the Huffington Post have found- about 90% of people eat breakfast each day.

Your first meal after not eating for a while has a big impact on your metabolism. Beyond that, it can also greatly impact your productivity and more.

The biggest surprise came via the most common drinks: hot water with lemon (including Benny), green smoothies and ice water. The top three foods mentioned were eggs, yogurt and granola.

  1. Physical activity

The spectrum of responses were vast. From 7 minute workouts and jumping up and down for bone health to full-blown gym routines, entrepreneurs are a creative bunch. Regardless of what you decide to do:

  • Makes sure it’s enjoyable and fun.
  • If possible try to combine something else with your exercise, like listening to a podcast, learning a language, etc.
  • And remember that even 15 minutes of light exercise per day can increase your lifespan.

For someone like me who rarely finds time to make it to the gym, this was a huge breakthrough. Before, I was always down about my exercise habits. Now I feel more hopeful and positive about what I am able to do. If you’re struggling to exercise regularly, I’d suggest you look into this free, customizable 7 minute workout app from Johnson & Johnson.

  1. Reading

“I read something thoughtful, philosophical or spiritual. For example, I’m re-reading The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer in 10-15 minute increments most mornings.”Jason

Beyond improving your knowledge, reading (even fiction) had some surprising benefits. Did you know reading literature can improve your ability to understand what people around you are thinking? Neat!

  1. Checking Email

This was hands down the deepest divide amongst entrepreneurs. People like Harrison (and myself) check it first thing:

“I tend to always check my email first thing to see if there is anything of urgent matter to attend to. I feel that skill was ingrained in me while I was working at corporate office at Target, where you would look over the emails, and prioritize based on highest urgency to lowest.”

While others like Rajiv avoid email and alerts to start all together:

“Around April or May of 2015, I decided to not check my email until after 2-3 hours of being awake. Now my phone stays on ‘do not disturb’ until 9 AM.”

Whatever side of the line you land on, just be sure your morning routine works for YOU.

  1. Planning & Goal Setting

Provided you haven’t been living under a rock and have read your fair share of the GBL blog, you’ll already have some knowledge on goal setting. If not, brush up on past articles.

For the entrepreneurs with a planning/goal-setting ritual, it was an important part of their morning:

“I find [that planning] especially really helps me focus on the day ahead. Once I see everything I need to do in writing, I can begin to tackle everything.” – Joe

Learnings From 100+ Entrepreneurs [Infographic]

The infographic below points out some of the biggest takeaways from examining over 100 morning routines. If you like the quotes above or the data below, I invite you to check out Win YOUR Day on Amazon. For a limited time you can download it for $1!

Jonathon Knepper is a digital strategist, efficiency nerd, hot sauce fanatic and lover of great eats. When he’s not working (and sometimes when he is) you can find him traveling with his wife, daughter and soon to be newborn daughter. You can learn more about him on or connect on Twitter.

Do it

Is that flowchart talking to you?

Is there something you should be doing? Yes. Do it. No? Don’t f****** lie. <—-Click to tweet

You know there is something you should be doing, but you’re not. Or you are just kind of doing it.

Yes it’s easier to go to your favorite time wasting websites. It’s easier to eat out instead of cook at home. It’s easier to snooze instead of waking up an hour early. It’s easier to not exercise. It’s easier to avoid doing the thing you should be doing.

It’s easier to be in your comfort zone instead of doing something outside of it.

What should you be doing, but you’re not?

In my younger days, guess when my house would be the cleanest? When I had something I should be doing! That was my way to procrastinate.

This flowchart has been in my head because I get tempted to do nothing. It’s just easier! However, doing the easy thing will get me nowhere.

I need that reminder because I’ve been working on a project. Probably the biggest project I’ve ever worked on so far. I want to deliver tons of value and help others achieve a goal that I’ve been able to accomplish.

I’ve spent weekends and any free moment working on it. I’ve had to be slower to reply to emails. I know I haven’t given as much attention to the blog as I would like. I have lots of cool projects I want to do, but it’s not a priority for me right now. I’ve had to tell myself not now.

Sure I’d love to have a lazy day, watch a movie, and be a couch potato, but I can’t afford to waste time now. That flowchart is reminds me when I need it.

What group are you in?

It’s October. There are two groups of people at this moment.. One group that realizes it’s October and only three months left in the year. They should be starting something, but they’ll start in January. That’s what January is for. Next year will be their best year yet!

Another group should be doing something and does it. They want to start something now. Maybe it’s a goal. A goal that could change their life. They don’t want to wait till next year. They’ll get a three month head start on that first group.

The first group has lots of people who will live same old comfortable life the rest of the year. January always signals a fresh start, but every January seems to be like a broken record. The same resolutions and the same goals. This time next year, they’ll be in the same situation waiting another three months to start over again.

The other group is much smaller, but has the ones who want it real bad. They know now is the best time to start. They may have been in that first group before, but now are wiser and smarter. When January comes, they’ve already built some momentum while the first group is just getting ready to start. They also want next year to be their best year yet, but know there’s still time to do something this year.

What group are you in? What group do you want to be in?

Three months left in 2012

That is a lot of time to start something or do something life changing. Don’t waste time doing nothing. You could develop an iPhone app. Start your blog. Write your first book. Lose weight and look great. Do three 30 day challenges. Start new habits. Eliminate bad ones.

If you read 10 pages a day, that’d be 900 pages. That’s 4-6 really great books. Books that could teach you a new skill or inspire you. I’m talking non-fiction books. Sorry no Fifty Shades of Gray.

In 2010, I trained for my first half marathon in three months. I went from overweight and out of shape to the best shape of my life and achieving something I always thought wasn’t possible for me.

I’ll finish this big project in about three months at this rate.

There’s so much you can do in three months! Don’t underestimate what you can achieve in three months.

Is there something you should be doing? If it’s no, you know what the answer likely is. Don’t lie to yourself. Use that flowchart to guide you.

What do you want to achieve before the end of the year? Share with us in the comments and let us help you stay accountable.


P.S. You may be wondering what the big project I’m working on. 

It’s a full course on how to develop an iPhone app through outsourcing. I get so many emails about it, I figure it was time to create a course about it. I’m going to share everything I know about it. For me, outsourcing apps has changed my life and I want to help you develop your first iPhone/iPad app. 

If you want to be in the first class and get started now and not next year, head to App Academy and sign up. It’ll be launching soon!

P.P.S Thanks to everyone who’s downloaded and supported Gratitude Journal 365. The reviews have been amazing.

Now there is a lite version, which is free to download! If anyone wants to try it out, now they can. 

Can you help me spread the word? Takes a few seconds. Just click to tweet below. 

Gratitude Journal 365 Lite is now free to download. Try it out and see why so many are loving this app. <—-Click to tweet


(Photo credit: Found it on Reddit)

Couch Potato

The topic of productivity is a popular but frustrating one for some.

There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t see a post about how to be more productive. I know I’m always clicking on it and you likely are too.

How can we sleep less but feel more awake? How to do a 10 minute workout and lose weight? How do we just get shit done?

For some of us (myself included), productivity is something we still haven’t mastered. We keep looking for solutions!

I know what I should be doing to stay productive, but actually doing it is completely different. I still got a lot accomplished in 2011, but I know my productivity needs major improvement.

I believe anyone in the top of their field knows what it takes to be productive. They can do more in six months than some do in six years. They’ve developed a system of getting shit done and use automation to decrease the time they spend on work that’s not as fun.

What is their secret? How do they do it? Why is it such a pain in the butt for the rest of us?

What exactly is productivity?

Productivity isn’t measured in how long you work for.

It’s measured in the results you achieve in relation to what is required to produce it.

Being busy all day long doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. You can be busy shuffling papers, cleaning your pencil jar and finish one important task, but it doesn’t mean you’re productive.

For example, Jim and Bob both turn in their five page sales report at the end of the day to their boss. For Jim, it took five hours. Bob just took one hour to get it done.

Who’s more productive?

Bob of course. Same results but it just took an hour to get it done.

What if Jim found a way to get it done in an hour. However, Bob had his secretary type up the sales report, while he made five extra sales calls.

Who’s more productive? Bob is. Delegating it freed up his time to make sales calls and earn more money.

That’s what productivty is about. Trying to find that sweet spot where we can get the same results but spend less, or even no time on it. Then we have more time to work on things we love, or enjoy life.

That’s how some get more done in a day than others in a whole week.

The secret isn’t as guarded as the recipe for Coca-cola of Colonel Sander’s fried chicken. The answers are out there. Everyone has access to it.

It’s trying about trying different things, finding what works best for you, seeing your results, and then doing it consistently.

So how do we get get results in the most efficient way? How do we stay on task and not get distracted? How to we create more hours in a day?

That’s the big question. That’s why there’s an endless amount of productivity tips online.

  • Lifehacker  has a long list of posts just on the topic of productivity.
  • Craig Jarrow has a great blog called Time Management Ninja with ways to help win the battle over wasted time.
  • When I look in the Apple App store, I see so many different apps on how to stay focused, get more done, and stay organized.

That’s why virtual assistants are gaining popularity. Delegating work that’s not as enjoyable or time consuming gives us more time to do the things we love.

I’ve been using a virtual assistant service called Zirtual since last September and it’s nice to be able to get help with certain tasks and free up my time.

I’ve had Erik, co-founder of Zirtual, (what’s up!) help me figure out how to get married in Vegas, do research for blog posts, tell me how to bottle sauce, help research potential vacations, and research how to buy a mattress just to name a few.

Sure I could do all that myself, but that’s not the point. The point is those are tasks I can delegate so I have more time for other things.

They’re a startup in San Francisco and have all US college educated based VA’s. Check them out if you’re looking for a VA and tell them Benny sent you!

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