9 HABITS TO STOP NOW

by
LAURYN

{ ROCKER TEE | BLACK BELLS }

WELL HI GUYS.

4:17 PM on this VERY FULL Monday ( I just feel like I need a cup of coffee every 10 minutes today…is it just me? ).

Moving right along.

HABIT, HABITS, HABITS!

Some are good…& some aren’t so good. I mean to be honest I have some habits that are very much LESS THAN STELLAR. Let’s be real here.

This is a topic that I’ve wanted to discuss for a WHILE.

As you know I’m a big Tim Ferriss fan. I find his content straight to the point while providing value in a concise way. Anyway, recently when I read this article on his site & knew I wanted to bring some of this content to The Skinny Confidential. His list notes are in bold, my responses are in normal text. Tim says “not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance.”

INTERESTING, NO?

He says: “the reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.”

What I like to do with Tim’s content is pick a few things from each post & apply it to my own life. I find when I try to change EVERYTHING at once, it’s simply not as effective as starting slowly. It’s kind of like waking up early, you know? You can’t go from waking up every morning at 9:30 AM to shifting your wake up time to 6 AM. I mean it’s more effective to start slow with habits. Little by little. Kind of like the tortoise & the hare situation, right?

With that, let’s dissect Tim’s list– while I explain what’s worked well for me. I hope you guys can apply some of these tactics to your own life ( especially number 2 because shit, it’s very much changed my LIFE ).

LET’S BREAK THIS DOWN LIKE A BAD BITCH. READY?

9 HABITS YOU NEED TO STOP NOW | by Tim + Lauryn:

1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers.
Feel free to surprise others, but don’t be surprised. LET IT GO TO VOICEMAIL.

I AM THE WORST AT ANSWERING MY PHONE OR TEXT MESSAGES. I just feel like talking on the phone is not my thing. Ever since I started my business, talking on the phone just seems…pointless. I like an e-mail. With my friends, I prefer to see them in person or talk over DM’s. I think text messages have gotten out of control because it can feel entitled sometimes. Just because someone texts you doesn’t mean you need to text back right away. To be real, I take days to respond. I don’t want to interrupt my creative work flow here. So this would definitely be my number one HABIT THAT’S TOTALLY WORTH BREAKING.

2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
E-mail can wait until 10 AM, after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items.

I dropped this like a nasty vice. Trust me, I was THE girl who checked my e-mail the second my eyes opened. It was just not a way I wanted to live. E-mails are other people’s to-do lists. If I continued to live in my inbox then I would never be able to grow my businesses. For me, e-mails happen after I have set the tone of my day. This includes meditation, writing ‘THE MORNING PAGES’ ( << more to come on this ), drinking TSC Detox Drink, making breakfast, diffusing my oils, listening to a podcast, making the bed, you get it. I need my morning to usually be off social media so I can start the day fresh. E-mails in the morning are a no fucking go for me. At night, I try ( keyword ::try:: ) to be off e-mails by 9 PM. I FEEL LIKE IT’S SUPER DISRUPTIVE TO BE E-MAILING WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO WIND DOWN. This was something I really had to learn. I was doing e-mail at all hours of the day. It was draining. Well, times have changed. I broke up with e-mails in the morning & after 9 PM. A girl’s gotta live. And Michael’s probably bitching next to me so I feel it’s best to GTFO e-mails. Anyone else?

3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time.
If the desired outcome is defined clearly with a stated objective and agenda listing topics/questions to cover, no meeting or call should last more than 30 minutes.

AGAIN, this is something I learned through trial & error. I have someone who helps me schedule my day ( shout out to Emily! ) & I tell her no calls longer than 15 minutes unless it’s a podcast/audio interview ( then we do 30 minutes ). In my opinion, 15 minutes is efficient. We have time blocks on my calendar too. Recently Emily made it so all my conference calls are on Wednesday. This is JUST A LIFESAVER because then I know that’s my phone day. It’s very much annoying when you’re trying to keep your work flow going & you have to interrupt it for a conference call.

4. Do not let people ramble.
Forget “how’s it going?” when someone calls you. Stick with “what’s up?” or “I’m in the middle of getting something out, but what’s going on?” A big part of GTD is GTP — Getting To the Point.

I am such a fan of GTP…IT’S BAD almost. What’s the point? E-mails to me should be two sentences max. Text messages? Let’s keep it short. Calls? Well, see above. What’s the point? I like concise. So as you can imagine I am not a rambler. Even when I’m having a conversation, I prefer to get to the issue & solve the problem instead of just talking to talk. I think as humans we waste so much time not getting to the point. This is a habit that I haven’t had to break, because it’s not a problem to me. I LOVE GETTING TO THE POINT!

5. Do not check e-mail constantly— “batch” and check at set times only.
I belabor this point enough. Get off the cocaine pellet dispenser & focus on execution of your top to-do’s instead of responding to manufactured emergencies.

Read above & you can see I batch my conference calls ( Wednesday ), my e-mails ( three times throughout the day ), photo & video shoots ( usually every Friday ), editing pictures, interviews, & podcasts ( we record once a month in LA- latest one was with Be Well By Kelly! ). This has made my life so much easier. With batching I can take the days off to focus on growing the business. LIKE THE WHOLE ‘WHAT’S NEXT’ QUESTION can actually be executed.

6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers.
There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Do an 80/20 analysis of your customer base in two ways–which 20% are producing 80%+ of my profit, and which 20% are consuming 80%+ of my time?

NOT MY BEST HABIT. For years I tried to please everyone. After realizing this was a losing formula, I stopped. I am not for everyone & neither is The Skinny Confidential. The second I had that epiphany ( about two years ago, in London actually- crazy I remember where I was! ), I felt liberated. I CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE. & that’s ok. I don’t want to please everyone anyway. Communicate with the people who get what you’re doing- move on from the people who don’t get it. Easy.

7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm— prioritize.
If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of letting little bad things happen (return a phone call late and apologize, pay a small late fee, lose an unreasonable customer, etc.) to get the big important things done.

A very successful man once told me he makes a list of 7 things. That list is what he looks at every morning. He doesn’t move forward with anything else until those 7 priorities are completed. This little tip has helped me VERY MUCH grow The Skinny Confidential. To give you an example, today’s 7 things were: write a blog post, pick photos for a shoot, write content for Friday, schedule & strategize for TSC Body Guide, record a podcast intro, return a very important e-mail, & have an hour meeting about the future of TSC.

I always say: as long as I lay my head down on the pillow every night & feel like I’ve done something ( ANYTHING ) to build my business, I’m good.

8.) Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7.
Take at least one day off of digital leashes per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car and I recommend you leave the phone at home if you go out for dinner. So what if you return a phone call an hour later or the next morning? As one reader put it to a miffed co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected the same: “I’m not the president of the US. No one should need me at 8pm at night. OK, you didn’t get a hold of me. But what bad happened?” The answer? Nothing.

THIS IS HARD. But I have realized I need to recharge & give myself a break lately to be my best version of myself on social media. Yesterday? I was burnt out- I took the day off. I watched TV, read, ate, & chilled. Today? IT’S BACK TO WORK BABY. I like to take about 2 Sundays off a month to go cold turkey.

Another thing I’ve realized? I cannot answer every DM, Snap message or e-mail. This was VERY HARD because I’ve built my business for the last 8 years on returning everything. I do my best every day. I answer an hour in the morning ( on the Treadmill, because steps! ) & 30 minutes at night. If I see a question people keep asking: I film a video or do a blog post. TSC FB Group is a good way to get ahold of me & I usually answer all my comments on my IG photos.

9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.
Work is not all of life. Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Schedule life & defend it just as you would an important business meeting. Focus, get the critical few done, and get out. E-mailing all weekend is no way to spend the little time you have on this planet.

BINGO. WELL SAID, TIM. I couldn’t agree more. Business isn’t life. This was a tough one for me too. But at the end of the day you have to be present. I love to put away my phone & focus on what’s in front of me. To be real I am very protective of my energy & time so I try to really hang out with quality people who I love to be with. Easy enough, right?

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

FOCUS IS A MAGICAL THING but to really focus you have to remove the never-ending static/distraction. If you’re having trouble focusing, stop looking at your to-do list or your e-mail inbox. It’s task-oriented & doesn’t really allow for creative time, building, etc. Basically 2018 is my year of focusing on working ON MY BUSINESS, instead of IN MY BUSINESS.

What other ‘HABITS TO STOP NOW’ would you add to the list?

I’m buzzed off an unsweetened almond milk cappuccino so I feel like it’s time for me to get off the computer & work on the latest podcast- which is coming tomorrow. AND GUESS WHAT? Tomorrow’s podcast is all about SEX SEX SEX. EXCITED? Me too.

I hope you all had a leisurely weekend. Leisurely is my new word. Because there’s nothing better than a leisurely lunch. Random, but true.

Chat tomorrow, lauryn x

+ be sure to check out this business post.

++ to get LASER FOCUSED ON YOUR GOALS, write-out your strategic future by design.

KEEP YOUR DESK FLEEKY & CLEAN:

OH, ALSO:

25 comments | Leave a Comment +

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  1. Nas Sabeti

    These 9 tips are GOLDEN. My favorite was not to let other people’s emails dictate your day. Email on your own schedule. So clutch and very helpful for a girl with a new blog!

    Reply
  2. Meghan Burns

    Love this post. These tips are great!! Great tips for anyone wanting to change things and become a better them or just be more productive. Love this!!
    MEGHAN|http://tanlinesanddaisies.com/

    Reply
  3. Alyssa

    Lauryn,
    I loved these. These are so useful for everybody- a newbie professional or a vet in a firm. I’m so tired of being uninspired — I can always come here to get that kick in the ass.

    Thanks again! xx

    Reply
  4. Dee

    #8 is definitely my hardest habit. I sometimes get so pissed at myself for constantly having my phone, even if I have to pee in my own house (I take my phone with me in restaurants in case some creep tries something or I get stuck in a bathroom .. trust me its happened before lol) but I get so mad I throw my phone and I’m like stop obsessing over instagram or snapchat or any other fukin social media!!

    Also, is it just me or every time I see you write “treadmill” I always pronounce it the way you say it in my head LOL

    Reply
  5. Marianne

    You are making such great points. These are such time-sucking and effectivity killing habits. I especially love the idea of not agreeing to meetings with no clear agenda or end time. Too often meetings tend to lose focus of the subject of matter, which won’t make any one better off.
    Thanks for such an inspiring post 🙂 <3
    xx
    http://mariannelle.com

    Reply
  6. Ashley

    I love all of this, but I take issue with your comment about texting. I give my office line to colleagues/people I’m reaching out to for work, and my cell is for family, friends and people that have urgency to get in touch with me. While I’m a huge believer in you are not entitled to an immediate text back, I came to find that taking days to respond (I did this for a long time) is unacceptable and really rude. They would email you if there wasn’t a rush. If your going to “schedule life” you need to text your friends back! It’s one thing to let a friend know you are not a big texter vs. ignoring. That is what feels entitled.

    Reply
  7. Dana

    Ahhhh, I can see you’ve discovered Julia Cameron’s morning pages. That’s probably the #1 thing I’ve done to be more productive. That and my morning walks or exercises. Once my head is clear, the day is better. I agree with all above, I’ve waged some of those wars in my life already. Especially the not answering calls and e-mails as soon as they come in. People (coworkers) had a real hard time with that, but tough. If I’m not at my desk I’m busy. If I’m not at work don’t call because nothing we do is an emergency. It got to the point where I wouldn’t give out my cell number, only my desk number. Ahh, the old days. Anyway, good luck going forward.

    Reply
  8. Kaitlyn

    LOVE this post! I work at a startup and I feel like I’m drowning right now. I’m working all hours of the day and my energy is zapped. Even our largest customer told me on a call today that I sounded stressed out and to relax a bit! I was grateful that he felt comfortable enough to mention that as I’m sure I was coming across that way to everyone else too. That is so bad for business and everyone else around me including coworkers, hubby, and my 18 month old!

    The points around focusing, prioritizing, not letting emails ruin your day or set the “tone” of the day (bc it’s always something “urgent”) are what I need to focus on. I try to batch as much as I can. Ultimately, setting the right expectations helps alleviate a lot of this self-induced stress. But as you know, hard to set expectations when you’re figuring things out for the first time as you go at a startup!

    And if I’m being totally honest, I need to learn how to thrive without the thrill/adrenaline of the chaos.

    I rambled… but thanks for letting me vent ?

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me so thank you!!

    Reply
  9. Tara Creel

    I am working on the “ramble” thing. I don’t like it about myself, but I always want people to get the FULL picture to form an opinion or discussion. In my mind it limits unnecessary questions, BUT I’m also realizing now that I overthink everything, so it’s likely people don’t break down every point like I do haha

    Reply
  10. Jordan Dobrowski

    Absolutely in love with this post. As a freelance graphic designer, some days it feels like I work 24/7 even on “vacation” so this was super helpful and mindful for me!! 💜

    Reply
  11. Erica Perez

    I love all 9 of these habits. I have currently been trying to get myself to start a morning routine to get my day started. This post made a difference. I love how you ask on your podcasts the people you are interviewing their morning routine. What do you with all your morning pages? Do you keep the pages or just trash after a while. Love your podcasts and blog.

    Reply
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