by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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We always hear that you have to take action, make things happen, grab the bull by the horns, etc. ad nauseum.  And while it is true, there is another side to that coin that gets neglected and I am going to shine some light on that.

People ask me all the time, “How do you get so much done?”  For quite a while I had:

–A full time day job, some occasional travel required
–coached the Racquetball team at ASU two nights a week during the school year (15 years)
–write a blog  (444 and counting)
–Do some Public Speaking
–wrote 5 books
–Volunteer for MADD
–Go on fishing trips with my Dad on occasion
–work out on a regular basis

All of this is juggled around having a successful marriage.  And the secret is….

 What I don’t do.

I know that I cannot do everything I want all the time.  That’s easy.  But I also know that if I say no to things, limit my distractions, and have a written game plan, a lot can get done.  Allow me to elaborate…

Saying No – These days I use one simple rule to help me stay on track.  Regardless of what the invite is for, the thing that pops up to do, or whatever, I ask myself one simple question:  Do I want to do this?  My answer is one of two things, it is either Hell Yes or Hard No, nothing in between.  I no longer do things that I don’t really want to do, that I am excited about and feel has enough value to justify reducing my productivity in general.

For example, I go to one ASU Football game per year with my wife.  She has a season ticket, and has for many years now.  She has a group of friends who tailgate and go to the home games, and even travel to an away game each season as of late.  There is one couple in this group who I really like hanging out with, and we go to there house on occasion for socializing.  But the rest of the people who go to the tailgate and the games I am honestly not a huge fan of.  When someone’s goal is to come to the game to get liquored up and yell at college kids for missing a block from their seat 40 rows off the field, I am not likely to want to hang out with them.  I don’t drink, and intoxicated people are not as much fun as they always seem to think they are.  When one of the guys asked me how my fantasy football teams were doing, I knew I was in the wrong place.  I don’t participate in fantasy sports of any kind, I don’t have the interest or the time.

Many of the guys in this group have been friends for a really long time, like since high school, and as an outsider trying to join the group I am sure they have their reservations about me as well.  And I know that I am by no means the “fun guy” in a group like this.  And that is just fine by me, I do not lower my own standards or change who I am for anyone else.  High school has long since passed…one game a season is plenty.

No Distractions – Tying very closely to the previous point, I do not drink and haven’t since college.  Early college to be precise.  I wanted to be a Pro Racquetball Player, and I trained and practiced all the time.  Total commitment was necessary to get where I wanted to go, and I spent many a Friday night at a tournament or on the practice court instead of out at a party or club with friends.  I had some fun, once in a while, but I limited this quite a bit so I was focused on the task at hand.  I couldn’t afford to waste the weekends get trashed, waking up hungover and laying on the couch all day just to repeat it the next day as well.  My competition my have been doing this, and that is why I surpassed them.  I surpassed everyone but 17 others by the time I got to the Pro Tour.  Reaching the highest levels of the game took every ounce of effort and dedication I put into it, and I knew that during the journey.  Because I don’t drink and go out every Friday and Saturday night, I am in the gym each morning at 6AM, getting work done before most, and work that many won’t even bother to do.  I am not here to follow the masses and aim for mediocrity, I can and will do more.

I don’t own a game console, I don’t play streaming games online.  I don’t watch much of any TV, and gave up most of my cable and satellite subscriptions quite a long time ago.  If you can’t sit in silence and work, maybe you need to dig into what that voice in your head is whispering to you that you are always trying to drown out with music, TV and more…

Have a Game Plan – Having written goals is a huge factor in getting things done.  I include a daily To Do list as well, even simple things like daily tasks on a list help to ensure that I don’t skip over something that I need to do.  Writing a list the night before helps me to hit the ground running and I get more done because of it.

In the big picture, I need to have clearly defined and written out goals.  I know this from past experience, as the more well defined the target, the easier it is to hit that target.  Vague goals of “I want to be rich” or “I want to be in better shape” are far too nebulous to be much help.  But when you define how you can make more money, and what your definition of rich really is, now you have an actionable plan starting to form.  when you join a gym and set a goal of losing ten pounds of body fat in the next 45 days, now you have a goal.  Now you need a plan to facilitate that goal, such as reducing carb intake, lifting weights three days a week and doing cardio a few days a week as well.  The plan needs more work, but you are on the right track with this mindset.

To summarize, you have one life to live.  It is truly yours and yours alone, and you need to take the responsibility of this to maximize it.  Most people cruise through life on the path of least resistance, and they get to the end and have tons of regrets of the things they didn’t do.  They play it safe, they put things off for a tomorrow that never comes.  If you want to hike Machu Picchu, you’d better do that before you have kids and a mortgage and other financial commitments.  You also need to do this while you are physically capable of it, as this hike is no picnic, and for that matter, traveling to this site is not easy either.  Write a list of goals, places you want to visit, things you want to do in life and then start mapping out a plan to make those things happen.  SAY NO to the things that detract from the plans you have laid out.

YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIMEwe all are…so get to work!  If you want to improve your life and leave your mark, you are losing ground every day that you don’t have a focused plan on getting where you want to go.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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