10 Ideas For The Interested This Week

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” — Bob Dylan

You don’t need a system.

You don’t need a “hack.”

You don’t need a motivational quote.

You don’t need luck.

The only thing you need to change your life is to want to more than you don’t want to.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. HOW I GOT MORE DONE, REDUCED STRESS, INCREASED FOCUS, AND MASTERED TIME MANAGEMENT IN 10 MINUTES A DAY

“I scheduled every minute of my work week for the past two weeks and am blown away at the impact of doing so.”

I’ve done a lot of life and work experiments over the years, but I’m not sure any have had as immediate an impact as this one.

In this post I explain how I got more done, reduced stress, and increased focus by scheduling every minute of my work days.

I break down how it enabled me to be more productive, tackle projects I previously avoided, take more breaks, and improve my time management.

RELATED: What I learned from writing down 510 great things that happened to me in the last 34 days.

2. 13 STEPS TO BECOMING HAPPY

“The quality of the attention we received from our primary caregivers can affect the intimacy and sustainability of our adult social connections — which are a major determinant of wellbeing, physical health and even life expectancy.”

The University of California, Berkeley offers an online course in the science of happiness (of course it does) and this Guardian article explains what students learn in the class.

The 13 steps to becoming happy include to recognize gratitude is the killer happy app, happiness has nothing to do with meaningfulness, and that happiness isn’t a feeling, it’s a practice.

RELATED: The one way money can buy happiness.

3. HOW TO PITCH AN IDEA LIKE A PIXAR PRODUCER

“Every Pixar movie has the exact same story structure that you can identify in six sentences.”

You might not pitch an animated movie any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn valuable lessons from this two-minute video.

Dan Pink explains how to pitch like a Pixar producer and suggests a simple fill-in-the-blank formula you can use to pitch any idea — even how to package bananas.

RELATED: Nine storytelling rules from Michael Lewis.

4. WHY YOU SHOULD CATALOG YOUR CREATIVE INFLUENCES

“Committing to writing a list of influences and inspirations can help us clarify our pasts and show us potential paths for the future.”

You may think you know your influences, but do you really?

Quartz explains the power of cataloging your influences and suggests writing down the people who influence your work can help you notice patterns, identify a lack of diversity in them, and give you humility in your work.

RELATED: How Andrew Dice Clay influenced Chris Rock.

5. HOW TO SOLVE PROBLEMS USING THE FIVE WHYS PROCESS

“The purpose of the 5 whys isn’t to place blame, but rather to uncover the root cause of why something unexpected occurred. Additionally, it helps a team create small, incremental steps so that the same issue doesn’t happen again.”

You can’t solve a problem until you understand its cause.

Buffer created its five whys process to help determine that and explains how you can use the system to solve problems in your company, work, or life.

The process involves meeting with anybody involved in the issue and collectively answering a series of five why questions to uncover the root of the problem and its potential solutions.

RELATED: How well you define a problem determines how well you solve it.

6. HOW TO NETWORK USING INSTAGRAM DIRECT MESSAGES

“Search hashtags, click them, look at the account, then see how you can bring them value. DM them, go in soft, bring value, rinse and repeat — two, three, four, five thousand times.”

The real way to unlock value on Instagram has nothing to do with posting selfies.

In this 9-minute video, Gary Vaynerchuk breaks down how to do business development using Instagram direct messages and offers step by step examples of how to create opportunities for yourself using the platform no matter what your goals may be.

But don’t take the wrong lesson from this — like Gary says, the point isn’t to go spam and annoy people. It’s to find ways to provide value to them.

RELATED: How to find the best Instagram hashtags for your next post.

7. YOU DON’T HATE MONDAYS, YOU HATE NOT BEING YOURSELF

“Even on weekends, we avoid ourselves. We’re so used to being someone else, it’s hard for us to be us. So we escape into pleasures. We numb ourselves with drugs, Netflix, or the newest Marvel movie.”

This one might change the way you think about what it means to have a case of the Mondays.

Drake Caeneus suggests the reason you don’t like Mondays may not be about your job as much as it’s a reminder you spend too much time operating in a system where you feel like you can’t be yourself.

RELATED: 15 truths about work-life balance that just might help you find it.

8. 20 MARKETERS SHARE THEIR BEST DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES

“Start small and try many things. Test many ideas quickly and cheaply. Try different messages to different audiences. Play around with your offer, your messaging and your targeting until you hit something that clicks with your customers.”

Sometimes it feels like everybody’s a marketer these days and they’ve all got a strategy to share. But some of them are actually good.

Yitzi Weiner asked 20 marketers to share their best digital marketing strategies and the result is this post which features tips including to dominate a single platform, differentiate your product or service, and review your digital strategy every quarter.

RELATED: 20 ways to become a better marketer.

9. WHAT IS SCHOOL FOR?

“We get so much work, but they don’t teach the time management skills to deal with it.”

This Prince Ea video titled “What Is School For?” is a little tough to explain, but more than two million people watched it in the two weeks since its release and there’s a good reason for that.

It’s a subject worth thinking about.

RELATED: Three things school taught you without you realizing it.

10. HOW TO FIND YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

“There are reasons for people to choose you and your work over other available options and the better you understand these reasons, the more likely you are to succeed.”

Everybody has a competitive advantage, but too often people struggle to recognize theirs.

In this post I explain how to find your competitive advantage and suggest eight questions to ask yourself including if you have a combination of skills most other people don’t and if you have a process most others don’t.

RELATED: Five questions to ask your customers that reveal your narrative.

WHERE I FOUND THIS STUFF

I discovered some of this week’s ideas from the newsletters of Dean Yeong, Greg Roth, DO Lectures, and Postanly — they’re awesome and worth your time.

Image via Suzanne D. Williams.