I am always looking for an edge—a faster, more efficient way to get more done. In the race of life, it’s not the giant leaps forward that result in victory; rather, it’s gaining little half-steps here and there that creates the great expanse between you and everyone else. Finding and mastering a few key resources can help give you a massive advantage… in the marketplace and in life.
Of all the resources in the world, what are the most crucial for gaining efficiency, productivity and achievement? Now there are a lot of intangible answers—pertaining to attitude, philosophy, character, belief, faith, expectation, strategies, techniques, ideas, skills, behaviors—and we will reveal these over the many issues of SUCCESS. The objective of this article, however, is to identify the essential tools, technologies and resources to support your greater success.
1. List of Goals. The first step toward achieving your dreams and ambitions is to identify them. Hopes and dreams remain fantasies until you write them down and create a plan for achieving them.
2. Nutrition and Well-Being Plan. YOU are the most important person in your life, and your good health is your most important priority. People often list other priorities such as spouses, children, employees, customers, etc., above themselves and their health. If you are sick, or worse, dead, how good are you going to be to your spouse, children or customers? Take care of yourself first, so you can properly take care of everyone and everything that is most important to you.
3. Friends. We don’t get to pick our family, but we do get to pick our friends, and if you pick the right ones they can be instrumental in helping you achieve more in life.
4. Computer. In the early ’90s I remember saying, “The computer is the biggest disruption to productivity ever invented.” Wow, what a futurist, eh? I recommend getting the latest, fastest, baddest machine there is, fully equipped with the latest software. Now what if everything you did on it was just 5 percent faster than your old clunker? Think where you would be if you achieved just 5 percent more every day? The compounded result over a year would result in tens of thousands of dollars in increased output, thus income— so it is defi nitely worth the investment. Top laptop models: Dell™ XPS M1730, Alienware Area-51® m15x or MacBook® Pro.
5. Personal Reading/ Listening Library. I left college after one semester (not that I am endorsing it) to launch my entrepreneurial endeavors. Yet being a consummate student is the single greatest factor contributing to my success. My personal library of books, CDs and DVDs fills several rooms.
Every extraordinary achiever I meet or interview shares one discipline: being a continual learner. Go go to SUCCESS.com/Store for the very best in personal development materials.
6. MP3 Player. After reading point No. 5, you might be asking yourself who has time to read, listen, watch and study? If you were listening to books on tape or other personal development/ skills improvement material, you could amass the equivalent of two semesters of college each year!
Top models: Apple® iPod, Creative Zen, Sansa® Fuze™ or iRiver Clix.
7. Ergonomic Office Chair. There are a few places where you spend more than 80 percent of all your time in life—in your bed, car and office chair.
SimplyErgonomic.com has a good selection.
8 Great Pillow & Bed. Another place you spend a tremendous amount of your life is in bed. Sleep is essential for vitality, health and high-energy productivity throughout the day. I love my Tempur-Pedic™ ComfortPillow (you can find it at HealthyBack.com). Yes, this is a $125 pillow, but it’s supporting a head full of big ideas, dreams and aspirations, so it’s worth it!
9. Networking Tools. Your networth rarely exceeds your network. You cannot become successful as a hermit; you need people. A few contact management options are ACT!™, GoldMine® and, of course, Outlook® and Entourage® (Mac). There are a few great Web-based contact management systems like Salesforce.com, Zoho. com and Maximizer.com. I also recommend a few other networking resources such as LinkedIn.com, CardScan.com and Plaxo.com.
10. Journal. Straight from the man who taught me this incredibly valuable success principle, renowned business philosopher Jim Rohn: “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, infl uential, cultured and unique individual—keep a journal. When you listen to something valuable, write it down.”
A collection of the greatest ideas, insights and education are chronicled in the journals I have kept over the last 15-plus years—one of my frequently referenced and most important resources.
11. Electronic Bill Payment. Getting set up to have all your bills paid automatically is a huge time-and laborsaver. I cannot stress the importance of paying yourself first as fundamental to your wealth-building plan.
12. Mentor/Coach. Those who seek excellence have a coach. Even Tiger Woods, arguably the best golfer ever, has a coach.
My suggestion: Find someone whose life exemplifies what you want yours to be and ask for some coaching or mentorship.
13. Mobile Device. A complete access to your communication tools is key for high-volume productivity when you are in work mode.
There are many fantastic options. I use an iPhone. I like being able to have my cell phone and my audio and video listening library all in one device. Other options include the Palm® handheld TX, HP iPAQ or RIM® BlackBerry Curve™.
14. Reliable Watch. Being on time is an important success discipline. All of us are busy. Leaving someone to wait is one of the most disrespectful things you can do—it will cost you valuable relationships. It’s just as easy to be on time as it is to be consistently late. Get a good watch and use it.
15. Google Search/Google Desktop. When you think about the resources you use consistently throughout the day, an Internet search engine has to be one of the most frequent.
Google Desktop does the same for everything on your computer—folders, files and e-mail. Find anything anywhere on your computer fast. Download it at desktop.google.com.
16. Workout Gear. Exercise is essential to your plan. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something that makes you sweat and gets your heart rate up for a sustained period of time. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Anywhere anytime, just strap on running shoes and head out the door. Don’t come back for 20-30 minutes a few times a week.
17. Back-up Drive—External or Online. Nothing can wreck your world and bring your entire operation to a halt like having your computer hard drive crash, losing all your contacts, calendar, work history and important files.
For external drives, PC Magazine recommends Western Digital, SimpleTech and Maxtor. There are also great automatic online back-up solutions like iDrive.com, Mozy.com, Carbonite.com, IBackup.com, Xdrive.com, SugarSync.com, or HPupline.com.
18. Good Dress Shoes. What item of clothing says more about you than anything else? Your shoes. It’s true! You can tell a lot about a person by his or her shoes. The quality, style and how you care for them sheds light on your choices and care about other areas of your life. Look down at your shoes right now. What kind of statement are they making to the world about you? Time to go shopping?
19. High-Speed Wireless Router. Who are these people still on a dial-up? That’s a little like using Morse code after the telephone was invented. Get high-speed broadband access—cable, satellite, DSL (or at least No. 21 below)—and then connect to a highspeed wireless router so you aren’t confined.
Those with the best reviews seem to be: D-Link, NETGEAR, Linksys and Apple AirPort Extreme®.
20. Pocket-size Camera. Document and share your entire life journey captured on photos and videos. I recommend buying a pocket-size camera (with video function) that you carry around with you, consistently journaling your experiences.
You can share them with friends and family on services like Flickr.com, Kodak.com, DropShots.com and Shutterfly. com. Top pocket-size camera models: Canon PowerShot™ SD790 IS, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 and Sony’s Cybershot ® DSC-W300.
21. Wireless Laptop Mobile Card. Connect to the world anytime, anywhere. I love my Verizon mobile card. It allows me to be virtual anywhere.
Top mobile cards are Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. You can also make all phone calls (Skype.com, GrandCentral.com, GotVoice.com), faxes (eFax.com) and even mail (EarthClassMail.com) completely virtual.
22. News Aggregator/Reader (RSS). It’s important to stay current on happenings in the world. Keeping up can overwhelm you or command too much of your attention. One of the best Web inventions enables us to personalize news, straining out all the noise and feeding you exactly what you are interested in and what you need to stay on top of your game. It’s like your own personal newspaper. You can set up an interest page at iGoogle.com, Netvibes.com, Pagefl akes.com or a desktop reader like Google Reader, Bloglines, NetNewswire and AideRSS.com.
23. Breath Mints. Hey, someone had to say it! Nothing will repel people from you faster than a piercing vapor expelled every time your mouth moves.
24. Assistant—On-Site or Virtual. Here is why you want to hire an assistant: How much money do you want to earn in a year? Let’s say $200,000. Accounting for a two week vacation, 50 workweeks a year, even at 50 hours a week, your time has to earn $80 an hour. You cannot afford to do tasks that are not worth $80 an hour in value. Paying bills, cleaning, picking up dry cleaning and filing are not $80-an-hour tasks. If you do them, that’s what it will cost you.
You can hire a part-time bookkeeper/personal assistant for $15-20 an hour to perform these lesser-skilled functions so you can stay focused on high-value activities or have time to relax and regenerate. You can find a virtual assistant through the International Virtual Assistants Association: IVAA.org; or through AssistU.com, YourVirtualResource.com or GetFriday.com.
25. Online Florist. A happy spouse is a happy life. Flowers and gifts seem to warm the heart. Good also for moms, mothers-in-law, grandmas, friends, customers, prospects, employees, basically anyone with a heart. Get cozy with your online florist as flowers, dish gardens and gift baskets can be influential communicators.
26. Netflix/Blockbuster Online. Giving your brain and body some reprieve is important for productivity. I even want my entertainment to be as efficient as possible. The online DVD rental services are fantastic. I can easily search and sort through what I want, preselect it and it’s delivered to my doorstep without my thinking about it. I’ve always got a new movie to watch with zero hassle. Love it! Try Netflix.com or Blockbuster.com.
27. Subscription to SUCCESS. Of course! Would you want the publisher of SUCCESS to not believe this publication was absolutely one of the most important resources you could possibly access to give you the competitive advantage in life? In fact, that’s SUCCESS Media’s mission statement: To be the most trusted source for success resources. Also, don’t forget SUCCESS.com for an endless supply of new ideas, resources and support for your success.