16 Things You Can Do To Be Better at Everything

How To Stay Organised & Focused

The last 6 months has been an insane journey and change in pace of work and life at home. My company was acquired and our entire go to market strategy changed back in August 2021. We went from digital agency and ecommerce holding co to a Blockchain gaming and development studio. 

The change was coming for months before hand but with acquisition deals you need to be silent while the legal teams sort the fine details so Ive had to be in the shadows a bit waiting for the green light to go.

I will say this learning and application has really been a challenge with the change, so many new areas of development and unexplored areas in Blockchain it can be overwhelming to absorb the information.

But Ive found the anchor points that allow me to run a global company, manage multiple teams, be a great leader and be an amazing partner to my girlfriend at home. This takes balance and it takes communication.

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I wanted to help share some thoughts on what I did that helped when I was going through the mad dash of setting all that craziness up.

Follow this to make everything in life run a little smoother for you, your home and your office.

They are the ones that you need to do in order to optimise for that kind of level of success.

1. Saying NO to Distractions

A change in what I focus on has forced me to say NO more often than YES. This is to protect my time and allow me to have time to think and time to stay focused.

When you wear a lot of hats and manage a lot of people it gets careless to keep taking on new things. Its hard to take on management of new staff without expanding your supporting management roles.

I now carefully consider what I commit to and invest time and energy in. Saying NO has been a very powerful action. Consider everything before you say YES.

2. Strict Calendar Hygiene

I run everything on calendars. I need to allocate time for my support roles to provide guide and validation on their activities and performance, I need to actually "Do" some work and I need time to think and absorb my day.

I will schedule everything and make it clear to everyone who depends on me when Im free and when Im in deep dive mode.

At home we run a really well oiled calendar of bills, appointments, birthdays and even down to when the garbage bins go out each week.

Im building a new house on top of all this and its really overwhelming how much goes into that but I am also very lucky that my girl is taking point on the contractor management.

Without my calendar Id be in a tornado every day spinning out of control.

3. My House Runs Like A Business

In my house we run it like a mini business, theres finance meetings, task WIPs and schedules with calendars and a very streamlined weekly to do list. Being busy professionals we need to be organised or little things slip through the cracks.

There is a lot of love and normal people activities as well haha but we keep the utilities, chores and expenses all operating like a lean agile business. My girlfriend is a wizard at running the finances and any contractors we have attending the house as we are building a new house at the moment.

We both have roles and we both support each other the best we can with what ever our role is, and these roles switch sometimes Im the money man and sometimes she is the money man in the house.

Our household share calendar is pretty organised we know what needs to happen the coming week and who we need to meet and when. We have a lot of contractors around, friends and family and we are both very busy so we use the power of calendars to keep an organised week.

Our communication is very clear on everything operationally for the house to function. It might sound very cold business business talk but its really like 3% of our time together making it run so in the long run we enjoy more time together and have less surprises and issues as a family unit.

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4. Build strong systems and processes

I document everything and design for what If I get hit by a bus tomorrow who will do this task. This design of making a task repeatable is powerful, I can hire a new person and give them a process and have them do that process with very little input and guide form a team member because the process is so clearly documented.

I build as many systems as makes sense. Not to over compensate but to increase efficiency.

This works if you build it into your teams onboarding that systems thinking is how you work.

5. Art of Delegation

I often feel like I am doing everything. While there is a bigger team at play it just feels like I do everything. But the reality is I cant do everything and I shouldnt do everything.

Over the last 2 years Ive been improving my art of delegation. This has been wildly successful and allowed me to do more at scale. I used to be scared to pass things over to others because I thought I was the only one who could do it but the truth is anyone can do anything.

Learn to delegate early on and be a master project manager to really achieve scale. Do things yourself if learning what it is and then you can delegate far better by having done it first hand.

Keep clear expectations, deadlines, and deliverables and delegation will be your new super power.

6. Hire Operators

Personally I want a team of operators who do not need constant compliments for doing their job. I gel with those who listen, take notes, do the work and then communicate clearly. I really struggle with people who need to be hand held all the way through the job, no one did that for me and I don't accept it.

If team members are proactive, clear when they need help and try before they call for help Ill back them 100%. But I wont suffer fools.

Now hiring is as simple as we need x and we are hiring for x with these desirables. In the interviews if the desirables are visible we hire and give them enough room to make the role theirs.

There is something to be said about independence and self starters in todays workforce its a rare trait. I look for those who can excel at being autonomous but they are also team players. They use initiative and are problem solvers.

7. Choose a great partner

I have a regret with one of my previous business. It was a business I spent a lot of time and energy on building it into something special. I wasnt the best partner I could be.

Looking back I wasnt giving it 100% every single day and I know it was a real drain on energy todo it at that level every single day but I should of. Ive had time to look back and I realise I wasnt doing everything that I could of even though we had divided up the roles and resposnibilities so we had clear ownership of specific parts of the business.

Its sad for me now onto business number 8 and thinking back. I was thinking about if I had been more active with this and I handed over this things would be different. In reality everything happened as it did and we cant change that.

We were really flying high we had so much success I just took the foot of the peddle and took my eye off the prize before we go to the peak of the mountain. The dynamic between the two business partners was perfect, we had an operator and a strategist or as the Defiant Ones Netflix special say an Innovator and a Levitator.

You need to have a partnership where you're supporting each other and sharing the same values. Radical transparency in your communication and that delivers on honesty. And a shared vision of your goals in the future.

8. I have a small friend circle

I used to have so many friends that my free time was consumed by meeting people, catching up, birthdays, weddings and all the extra things they were doing that I never had time for me.

This changed when I took a good look at who I was really having meaningful interactions with. I used to be a in a prized position with access to celebrities and trending events festivals and the like. It's interesting to see who shows up for you and who's nowhere to be seen when you need things.

After distancing myself from people and just investing in 5 or 6 people I valued, life became a lot easier to manage socially. I know if I call someone they will take the call and give me something meaningful when I need it and I'll do the same for them.

Trust is there built by years of friendship and support back and forwards. I might be in this amazing position in life doing extremely well in business but I can count on being held accountable if am a shit friend or not doing things that I said I would. Without that responsibility I might turn into someone Im not and I respect being held to a standard.

Surround yourself only with positive people that add to your life. They challenge you, they hold you accountable to your own personal goals. Avoid yes men and takers. I would encourage you to thin out your friends circle and see how much more you can help your close friends.

9. Complete Easy Win Tasks

One of my quick win tips is to do 3 small things each day that you can do to give yourself some sense of achievement. I usually do this in the early morning,

Ill walk the dogs, task complete 15 mins (1)

Ill sweep the back patio of nuts leaves and other scrap complete 5 mins (2)

Ill also do the dishes or take out the trash to big bins complete 5 mins (3)

And there you have 3 wins already in less than 30 mins.

Starting the day with 3 wins already sets me up for a great day. In a role where I get hammered all day the easy wins help balance the day. You don't win everything all the time so taking those easy wins is a big plus.

This is one tip I give to everyone who struggles to organise themselves and feels a little out of their depth at the role. You win with little effort and you change your mindset by actually doing something.

Sometimes I like to just aim for little wins. Little wins drive motivation, and they build momentum. And that's what will help your teams to stay on course. But one of the challenges is being comfortable with that rather than just focusing on the big goals.

10. Breathing for Focus

The key to clear thought is in breathing. I dont go full blown yoga guru weird noise breathing or anywhere close to that. I find a moment to set myself in a calm relaxed state, I start breathing through my nose taking in deep breathes and exhaling over and over again, keeping a nice stable pace for about 60 seconds.

Then I sit back gather my thoughts while breathing normally and recalibrate. This puts me back in a creative space and helps me focus.

Try it.

11. Change Your Networks

I feel bad saying this but there was a time I looked back at my closest friends circle and realised they had not changed in 10 years and were still doing the exact same thing that they were doing way back then.

While I had evolved and had move forward. Im not a god or an amazing example I just am driven and have goals to hit. But it became clear I had to find people who shared the hunger and the drive to do more and be better.

If I didnt search for that change in network I might not of grown as fast and as far as I have. I crave challenge and activity for my mind. Im not comfortable being comfortable but im more comfortable being uncomfortable if that makes sense. I crave challenge.

When I found that network of similar minds everything went into overdrive, my hunger for excellence grew, my focus improved, my knowledge and capability increased and I felt as if I levelled up big time.

Really savvy people are often very successful and they drive you to compete on a higher level. They unlock ideas for you and you start to mimic their modalities of life and how they operate as well.

Look around and see if you need to have a social circle and a professional circle of friends. It will change your life.

12. Social Media Diet

The more I use Facebook the more I shake my head in either disgust or confusion. The internet is wild but why havent we found a better way to protect users and prevent all the negatives that social media is pushing onto young people.

Im so against Facebook for how they treat businesses and their hammer first banning process with no recall is a joke. They harvest our data and make millions on it but provide nothing in return, where is the incentive for a user to be on facebook outside of easy to connect with friends.

I limit my social media intake and try to avoid useless scrolling. Now I make much more use of the search bars for finding what I need.

If anyone wants a billion doller business its going to be dismantling facebook. Create the social network the people want with toggles for ads, news articles, friends, family, sports etc and reward users for loyalty to the platform.

I use these platforms weekly:

  • Instagram - a good blend of social and work for me. Its still got a lot of issues but its a very seemless user experience
  • Snapchat - great for family and friends plus the AR filters are bananas
  • LinkedIn - my #1 business information sharing and learning platform.
  • Medium - excellent for business communications and getting breakdowns on businesses
  • Discord - groups announcements and moderating my communities
  • Facebook - just for friends msgs and some of the memories that appear. The only good features.

You don't need social media but its good to be there when you want to and make it work for you. Facebook is one I rarley use it as it was built for and more for how I want to use it.

13. Sobriety

Im one of those weirdos who doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't gamble, no to drugs and Ive been this way since 1998. I don't find any logical reason to partake in this and get nothing from it.

But I cringe thinking what would be life be like if I was drinking, smoking and taking drugs. I can feel the body ever so slightly getting older. I don't think I could even if I was tempted to. This I feel has helped me stay on point and be as active as I am.

14. Regular Fitness Weekly

I often wonder if its just me that feels this way but if I go a week without doing exercise, lifting weights or just jogging on the spot I feel like Ive decreased in strength and size. Its the weirdest feeling and I cant shake it.

The benefit is that I will move heaven and earth to get in at least 2 sessions a week, if I can get more Ill go for it but I need that feeling of exhausting excess energy to feel like Ive earned my weekend.

I used to have a large shed around 200sqm and filled with all the exercise machines and weight stations a man could want for his home gym. Since moving from that house Ive been crammed in a very small 4m x 2.5m patio space outside my house. This is a real challenge.

But I make do with what I have, I get into the workout and have a little soft music on in the background just to keep the background noise.

But the beauty of exercise is the quiet time in my mind to think, plan, review and file everything thats on my mind.

Through the 30-60 mins I get to workout Ill run through the day the week and whats on my mind. I really find it therapeutic.

I also highly recommend fitness profile @BullyJuice for home workout tutorials and workout inspiration. Absolute legend thanks to him for what he does.

Bully juice ab workout

15. Taking The Open Road

My mind is always busy with a million things, and the odd occasion I get stuck with a technical challenge and cant get passed it. When this happens I'll take a drive usually around sunset, I get in the car and put the windows down and just drive.

There is no destination in mind, I just get on a highway or freeway and drive. If I can Ill drive towards the sunset. The wind on my face helps change mindset and switch gears. Most times this works when i get back Ive got a new angle to look at the problem and can make it work but I need that open road driving with the wind in my face change.

During summer months this is one of my fave things to do. In Perth we have wild sunsets all purple, orange and golden. #perthwa

16. Music Lifts All Moods

The final thing that has helped me is music for moods. If I have a need to change my mood i go to one of 2 methods for the music I listen to.

Im also a headphones guy, my days of blasting tunes as loud as I can with the boombox are long gone haha.

Music use case 1 - When I have sometime difficult and with a hard deadline I need music thats loud, fast paced and usually heavy like rock, metal or some fast beat to keep my tempo up and force me to do just this thing until its at a point I know its good to ship.

I used to be distracted by the music but have earned to use it as a barrier to everything else and just focus in on the task at hand.

My girlfriend thinks Im crazy when Im in this focus mode having wild music blasting while working on intense attention to detail tasks.

Music Use Case 2 - I need to reign my mind back in sometimes because its so active and the cogs are spinning non stop. Some really good calm vibes and chill tunes help me come back to a relaxed state. Some faves are Fat Freddys Drop, Groove Armada, Flume, Reggae, Funk, House , Low Fi tunes.

End of tips.

Takeaway

Ive done a lot in a short space and have been somewhat successful by doing it my way and leading by example. Please take these tips as my experience in managing fast growth and high stakes deliverables. I like to deliver quality work and manage with respect going up and down.

If I can give you the key from my learnings its in communication and organisation. The rest will fall in place if you have clearly communicated to teams and partners and set yourself up for success by organising your week.

I hope this helps and you take away something helpful. Thank you for reading.

 

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