I read about 60 books last year. I’m a busy guy, with a full-time job, and a family with two kids. However I did it, I’m revealing the top three reasons I was able to achieve this last year.
For my passion in business, and marketing I started reading the books that I gathered in my bookshelf in the last four years. Yeah, I wasn’t reading them for three years time. Not even completed one book.
Last year, Ryan Allis (Founder of iContact) released his 1,286 slide presentation on everything he’d learned in his 20s in life, entrepreneurship, and the world.
I would’ve read about 300 of the 1,286 slides, but to completely understand it I read the summaries many people wrote at that time. And most importantly I completed the workbook that accompanied the slides. That was already good enough value to me.
Ryan Allis read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill when he was 16, and he wrote down his goal to make $1 Million by Age 21. He ended up building iContact and growing it to a $1 Million worth company by Age 21. I think he missed his goal by about 40 days or something.
The point is that he wrote down his goals and was able to reach them. To quote Napoleon Hill from the book:
Ryan Allis, in his Lessons from a 20s workbook, asked to write what are my goals for the next year, next decade, and for the lifetime.
I wrote them down. I’ll reveal those in another post but to keep to context, one of my goals was to read all the books I bought so far. The physical books, kindle books, and online courses and complete them.
That was a staggering huge goal coz I bought 100 books and courses. However, I worked towards it.
Image Caption: One Of My Bookshelves
I used the following tricks to read over 60 books last year:
I Took a Speed Reading Course
1. Speed Reading Course
The speed reading course that I took was from Udemy: Become a SuperLearner: Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memory. The course taught me a lot of tips on how to read and comprehend the reading properly and store them in your mind with the use of markers and other techniques.
A simple tip to read faster: When you read a book, read the first three words and last three words of a line in one go.
Audible.com is a subsidiary of Amazon and the world’s biggest producer of digital Audiobooks. Their selection includes over 180,000 best-selling digital Audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio subscriptions to popular magazines and newspapers.
Blinkist takes non-fiction books and summarizes them into a concise, and information-rich format — blinks. Blink is a short chapter that contains critical insight from a book. It is readable in less than 2 minutes, so you can read one blink whenever you have a few minutes of time to spare.
You can complete one book in about 10 to 15 minutes yet; you won’t miss any crucial information. They even have an audio narration of the blinks. So it’s super cool for a little yearly subscription.
I use Blinkist in three ways:
To read books that I want to check whether it’s worth to read the full copy.
To read the summaries of books like Think And Grow Rich, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and How To Win Friends And Influence People again and again.
It’s a good way to kill time productively. Every 10 – 15 minutes I wait for transport or wait for someone, I finish one book. Or during a commute, I finish books.
I still have a lot of books to go, and I’m adding more books to the pipeline every day. Like and comment if you are a life-long learner like me! Also, what other tips do you have to read and complete books faster?
Ok, today is my 5th post and the 5th day since I committed to writing one blog post every day. I was procrastinating on writing posts and sharing knowledge for a very long time. For years, I’d say.
Then I found this concept called Tiny Habits framed by BJ Fogg. It was a recommendation to me by one of my mentors Amy Hoy.
That pointed me to this concept called micro-commitments. The idea goes like this: If you set a micro-commitment, then you are likely to follow through and finish the task. That’s how the science of the human brain works.
The concept of Tiny Habits goes like this; you set micro-commitments with a trigger to do every day. Like:
“AFTER I get up from the bed, I will do three push-ups.”
“AFTER I lay down at night, I will think of one thing for which I’m grateful for.”
So, I broke down the Tiny Habit into a Tiny Goal. As I’m on a full-time job, it varies when I can write the blog post.
Should I write it in the morning or the evening, that doesn’t matter. My goal is to get that done within the day.
Another thing I got introduced to recently is setting Key 3s and Big 3s by my sales coach Jeremy DeMerchant of Permission To Sell. His advice me to write down and commit to the Key 3s for the week when I have my weekly coaching call with him.
I took the advice and applied to my everyday life. So I started writing a list of Key 3s for every day.
Initially, I failed with my Key 3s consistently because I always set staggering big goals, which will take a lot of time to complete. It was counterproductive in a way. This week I tried something different. I said I will write tiny goals instead of writing the big goals.
BEFORE: My Key 3 looked like this: (Which made me procrastinate)
Write one blog post, write one outline
Design 10 slides
Do 20 Push-ups
AFTER: My key 3 for a day looks like this: (Which made me just to do it)
Write 50 words for your blog
Design one slide
Do three push-ups
What happens is that these are not a biggie kinda goals for that day. So I end up convincing my procrastinator mind to say let’s do it. The good thing is that the other part of the brain that is my perfectionist will say, “Hey Ahmed, you can do more!”. That makes me complete what I started and eventually
I’m churning out one blog post a day
I have even designed an entire slide deck for my upcoming youtube series.
I end up doing 15 or sometimes even 45 push-ups
It’s true, wait and see me doing wonders with this new tiny habit of mine to set my key 3s every day. It feels fulfilling to have these wins every day. And makes me more motivated towards my “Huge Goals” that I wrote down after reading “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” book by Grant Cardone.
There is a free email course at the Tiny Habits website that runs for five daytime. There will be a personal coach working with you to implement a few tiny habits. So, go ahead and sign-up for it if you want to learn more about tiny habits and also to give it a shot.
If you are not convinced yet about setting tiny habits to get stuff done, you can watch this TEDx Talk by BJ Fogg to get a detailed understanding of the power of tiny habits.
Jamie runs a business, and she wants it to grow and make a full-time income. She started her business out of a passion. She got frustrated about having the worst customer service at the local retail store and went to build her own retail store with the best ever customer service.
She gathered her savings, rented a space, stocked it up and all the things went well, she got customers visiting the store. She happily served the customers, then she hired a few employees. She trained them, she managed her employees and propagated the customer service ideas to them. All was going well.
Now, it’s the holiday season. And she started running a few promotions in her store. Jamie starts her car to go on a vacation. Suddenly she gets a call.
A call from her regular customer complaining about the long queue at her store’s cash counter. He’s really frustrated about the level of service he received from Jamie’s store. Jamie talks to the customer cool him down and rushes to the store instead of the vacation.
When she enters, she found chaos everywhere. Things were not kept properly in the racks. A long queue of customers standing at one of the counters, the other two counters don’t have cashiers. Everything is out of order.
What happened? Jamie is a very cool person. So, she calls her manager Dorothy and asks her what happened. Dorothy said, Jamie, that there was a huge influx of customers.
That’s fine, But Dorothy… “Why is there no cashier in the other two counters?”. Dorothy says that her cashiers were re-routed to the warehouse to pick some things up and re-stock them.
If Jamie would’ve been there, then things would’ve been completely different. The priority would’ve been to clear the queue first, rather than to re-stock. At least Jamie would’ve stepped into the cash counter.
Welcome to the chaotic world. Where nothing happens as you want it to happen. Jamie thought that Dorothy is capable of delivering the level of service that Jamie wanted to provide to her customers.
Jamie starts to lose confidence as she dwells in the chaos. Suddenly her vision of having the best retail store with the best customer service is fading away…
So what are the options for Jamie to have a seamless operation, for everything to be in order, for her employees to deliver her vision to her customers, to make sure your manager thinks like you want them to think, to ensure that proper training has been provided?
Jamie is smart and seeks the help of a business coach. Mr.Business Coach now steps into the business. He understands what’s going on and what her real mission and vision are about her business.
Mr. Business Coach finds that Jamie wanted to travel and take a lot of vacations. He advises that Jamie needs to systemize her business. So that when Jamie steps away, her systems can work in such a way that Jamie can ensure that employees follow without errors. Her job will be to keep the systems up-to-date, train, and to keep her employees happy. And her systems will take care of the customer service and other things.
The coach teaches her how to “work ON her business” and not “work IN her business!”. Working ON the business freed up a lot of time for Jamie, so that she could focus on bigger problems and business growth. And what not, to take the long pending vacation plan.
Systemization also makes the business a rapidly scalable one, Jamie went on to open her store in almost all parts of the city. She now never visits all her stores. Her profits went higher, her customer service goals were achieved regardless of whether she’s present or not.
Finally, Jamie’s dream of building her own retail store with the best ever customer service and also make a full-time income became a reality.
How to systemize your business in 3 simple steps:
Note down the repeated jobs that are there in your business every-day
Write down a step by step procedure on how to do those repeated jobs
Prepare a checklist of outcomes of each of those repeated jobs
Examples Repeated Jobs for Jamie’s Case:
Cleaning the glass door every hour
Check whether all the things are properly placed in the racks
Clean the bathroom every hour
Example Step by Step Procedure to clean the glass door every hour:
Spray on an all-purpose cleaner
Scrub off the stains and dirt
Finish it off with a basic glass cleaner
The door has no water stains
The door doesn’t have any fog
The open/close sign is in place
Stay tuned, I’ll dig into detailed systemization techniques, automation techniques, and using technology to take your business into auto-pilot mode in my upcoming posts. So hit the Follow button and subscribe to my posts.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the Macedonian city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece.
“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” Aristotle
Jay Abraham is an American business executive, conference speaker, and author. He is known for his work in developing strategies for direct-response marketing in the 1970s
“Everything a business does is a process. And as a process, it can be measured, it can be compared, it can be quantified, it can be improved.” – Jay Abraham
W. Edwards Deming
William Edwards Deming was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant.
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” W. Edwards Deming
Peter Ferdinand Drucker was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation.
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker
John Francis “Jack” Welch, Jr. is a retired American business executive, author, and chemical engineer. He was chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. During his tenure at GE, the company’s value rose 4,000%.
“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch
Thomas J. “Tom” Peters is an American writer on business management practices, best known for In Search of Excellence.
“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.” – Tom Peters
The whole point of you starting a business was to get in control of your life, to do something that you’re passionate about. It wasn’t about the money, but about being able to do what you love. What did the heck happen?