TIP #11: Simplify your Technology

This is one of those tough things, specially for a person that drool over technology, and useless shine stuff. During years I had bough useless junk just for the reason that it is shiny and had circuits. I have hacked computers, PDAs and more. All that I learned is that until you simplify your technology, you will have a lot of fun playing with it, but not necessarily being really productive.
Kindle, iPad, iPod, iPhone, Headphones with microphone, Noise Cancelation headphones, Voice Recorder, Camera, Android Tablet, Laptop, Moleskines (5 actually), pens (3), USB Pen Drives (5), Cables (too many)
This list is the backpack contents of a client of mine, before we begin working together. That was the I need, I wish, I have in case of… Simplify your technology, not only you are spending an incredible amount of hours dealing with keeping update, sync and more, but you are spending on an incredible amount of money on redundant equipment. If you like iOS, use only iOS. if you like Android, same. Unless your work requires, use MacOS or Windows or UNIX. You don’t need to carry all of them with you. Stick with one, and learn how to use it really well. Most people that have many devices have them because they had never learned to really use them well.
After we work on simplifying her technology approach, this was the backpack content:
Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Headphones with Mic (A good ones, instead of a cheap ones) (Software for Voice Recorder, Camera), 1 Moleskine (divided appropriately), 2 Pens (Current use and Backup), 1 USB Pen Drive, No cables, unless the trip is longer than 1 day.
Big Difference.
i.e. As this writing, I carry most of the time, my iPhone, my iPad, Logitech k810, Kindle PaperWhite, a Pen and 10-15 Index Cards (Plain White and Levenger Ruled) That’s the full set. The ultraportable one is just the iPhone. I can do almost everything there.

Working at 4:00A.M. to eliminate distractions

For years I was convinced that I was a night owl. I struggle in the mornings, and thrive at nights. Last year in the name of productivity, (and desperation) I decided to test waking up at 4:00 A.M. to work. I was like many struggling with lack of focus, concentration and a day full of distractions, and was exhausted at night.
What began as a test out of desperation, looking for something that I had lost, quickly turn into one of the most interesting tricks I had discover in productivity.
Our house sleeps until around 7:00 A.M. Thats the time my 4 year old daughter wakes (or get waked up) and I need to get her ready to go to school. My old routine was simple, I wake up at 6:30 A.M., shower, dress and get coffee and do my daily review. Then I went and get my daughter ready.
When I decided to change the rules of the game, and begin waking up at 4:00 A.M. I discover that I could shower, dress and get coffee to do my daily review between 4:00 A.M. and 4:30 A.M. It was exactly there, that the best came, I was basically free of distractions, between 4:30 A.M. and 7:00 A.M. but even better, I had just sleep 7 to 8 hours and was totally fresh. In other words, I was in prime condition, and had two and a half free hours of silence and no interruptions.
I could not believe my luck, I had discover two hours of really quality time, without interruptions, and highly focus time. In many days I can accomplished more on those hours than the rest of the day, same as you will accomplished if begin doing this.
I understand that you are a night owl, as I was. I understand this will not work for you. For years I tried to get those hours at night, work hard all day, have my family time, wait for them to go to bed, and try to work after that. The problem was, that in many days I was simply exhausted. Even that I push trough, took me hours to accomplish the stuff I was looking forward to accomplished. The next morning I began the same race, and continue walking the world, simply exhausted.
These days, I go earlier to bed, sit in my desk at home at 4:30 A.M. and work for the next two and a half hours in silence and without interruptions and distractions. In many days, I accomplish more on those two hours, than the rest of the day. Not only that, on a bad day; you know those that you feel that you did nothing, I was really productive the first hours of my day. On a good day, I feel unstoppable.
Think for a moment what you can do with two hours of no distractions, stop snoozing television at night and go to bed. Wake up earlier and discover a couple of hours of full focus and without distractions, then begin working on that really important thing.
If you are wondering how I do it everyday, let me leave you with a little trick: “Negotiate your wake up time at night and avoid doing it in the morning” at the morning your brain is clever and will found a way to convince you to not do it.