“If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” — Tecumseh
Sunday night is a litmus test.
On Sunday night, do you feel an impending sense of dread, stress, and anxiety as the sun sets on the weekend and your work week approaches?
Or do you feel a building energy and excitement to dip back into your work the following day, solve new problems, and embark on new adventures?
The answer is likely a bit of both. But where you land on that spectrum reveals a lot about your work, your choices, and the direction you’re headed.
Sunday night is a compass — use it to find your way.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE THANKFUL FOR NEXT YEAR?
“The things you have to be thankful for are a direct result of the commitment you made to pursue them.”
I published this post just before Thanksgiving, but its message is as relevant today as it was a couple days ago.
I suggest it’s as important to consider what you want to be thankful for next year as it is to appreciate what you have to be thankful for this year because doing so can help you figure out what matters most and how to get it.
RELATED: What I learned from writing down 510 great things that happened to me in the last 34 days.
2. ORGANIZE YOUR TO-DO LIST BY MENTAL STATE
“Productivity is about mind management, not time management.”
There are a million ways to set up a to-do list, but few take into account the type of mental effort each task requires.
David Kadavy suggests you organize your to-do list by mental state instead of by project and shows how he does so with his own work.
His process includes labeling each task based on seven different mental states including generate, explore, research, and administrative.
RELATED: The “Burner List” will be your new favorite to-do list format.
3. HOW TO USE AN EXPERIENCE JOURNAL TO TURBOCHARGE YOUR WRITING AND EASE ANXIETY
“I never worry about writer’s block because my journal provides me with an endless reservoir of source material. I let go of my deepest anxieties before I hop into bed. The practice of recording my worries has curbed my insomnia. I’ve discovered answers to life, work and creative questions.”
The only thing standing between you, more prolific writing, and a calmer existence may be a $2 notebook and 15 minutes of your day.
Barry Davret explains how to use an experience journal to improve your writing and ease your anxiety.
The simple process involves jotting down your experiences each night before bed and training yourself to be more observant of what you encounter in your daily life.
RELATED: 20 ideas on the craft and process of writing.
4. THE KEY TO BUILDING AN ONLINE AUDIENCE
“It is actually fundamentally, grossly negligent and unacceptable for you to be in a place where you do not reply with a thank you, or a heart, or you meaningfully write something back to every single comment you have right now.”
As someone who makes a living helping people and companies grow their audiences, I highly recommend you watch this Gary Vaynerchuk video if you have any interest building an audience for your work.
In a 14-minute keynote talk, he breaks down the biggest reason people fail to build an audience — they’re too focused on what an audience can do for them as opposed to what they can do for an audience.
RELATED: My ultimate guide to growing your audience.
5. TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS FROM A WOMAN WHO TRAINS GOOGLE EXECS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
“Productivity is about knowing what you want to do, intending to do it, and doing what you wanted to do.”
Google has an in-house team of 16 people who help Google executives learn to become more productive and better manage their time.
Laura Mae Martin is a leader of that team and shares her top five productivity tips including to reconsider your definition of a productive day, make meetings work around your schedule instead of the other way around, and if you’re productive in one way at work use the opposite approach in your personal life.
RELATED: 10 hidden Gmail productivity hacks.
6. HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS BOOK
“Probably the #1 thing that separates those who finish their books from those who do not is having the proper expectations going in.”
If you’re an entrepreneur, executive, or anyone thinking of writing a business book, this one’s for you.
Tucker Max shares a guide to writing a business book that features an extensive breakdown of the process including how to prepare to write, position, and edit the the book.
RELATED: How to write your first book.
7. STRATEGY FOR NON-STRATEGISTS
“Strategy isn’t simply the province of the nerds in the nerdery. It’s everybody’s responsibility.”
All the creativity and talent in the world is meaningless if you’re not able to deploy it in a strategic manner.
Jon Itkin shares seven ways to bring strategic thinking into your work including to make peace with your ignorance, think before you do, and learn after launch.
RELATED: 10 tips to get your social media strategy approved.
8. HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO NOTICE YOUR BUSINESS
“The main reason people pay attention to anyone is because they first make sure others are paying attention to that person.”
The way most people attempt to get attention for their work is wrong and Paul Jarvis suggests a better way.
His four steps to get people to notice your business include to get good (which seems obvious but is often overlooked), increase your network, and have a point of view.
RELATED: Why a boring business is better than a busy one.
9. HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
“Picking the right thing to work on is the most important element of productivity and usually almost ignored.”
It’s one thing to have a productive day, but it’s another to make changes that compound productivity gains over the next 50 years.
Sam Altman focuses on the latter in these tips about how to optimize your productivity.
His advice includes tips about what to work on, physical factors, and why it’s good to overcommit a little bit.
RELATED: Why you should stop trying to optimize your life.
10. HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BEST HABITS
“If we’re not careful, our habits become places to hide from the things we need to do to get where we want to go.”
There really can be too much of a good thing.
In this post I explain how to get the most out of your best habits without overdoing it including how to avoid forever learning and never doing, letting your role models intimidate you, and refusing to quit when you should.
RELATED: The number one reason why good habits don’t last.
WHERE I FOUND THIS STUFF
I got some of this week’s ideas from Postanly, Maxwell Anderson, Brian Medavoy, and DO Lectures — they’re awesome and worth checking out.
Image via Jamie Templeton.