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Work effectively and efficiently

There is a good news. No matter how rich a person is or how smart a person is, he/she has exactly 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86400 seconds everyday just like you do. Having said that, what is the reason you sometimes feel like other people are more successful than you are? In this post, I am going to take a detailed look at what’s behind the curtain and share some of my thoughts and experiences and hopefully to give you some hint. I am also going to share some tools I am currently using to improve my daily work.

As soon as you have goals set up and plans laid out , it’s time to look at your work flow to make sure you are working effectively and efficiently. Many people get confused on the terms, effective and efficient, there is very good article explaining the difference from Daily Blog TipsI am not going to ask you to choose one of effectiveness and efficiency, because in order to become successful, you need to have both.

I will start with a real life example to illustrate the difference. The way I handle my daily tasks is to write them down on paper (of course you can use your cell phone or computer to type them out and I have been using these devices lately as I go green – Save the trees!), to improve the effectiveness, I prioritize them in orders to ensure the more important tasks to be done first. To improve efficiency, I group tasks together. For example, if I need to go out for grocery shopping, I plan my little trip by thinking the driving routines, and group other tasks that can be done along the way to the grocery store. By doing so, I can effectively avoid delays and save time significantly.

The following are some useful tools I personally use to help me organize my tasks and improve effectiveness and efficiency:

For Mobile Devices (Smart phones or tablets):

– Taskos: An easy to use app. It supports voice search and you can also type in your tasks. It has 3 different categories for high, normal and low priorities. It also allow you to add categories (to group tasks together), set up a date (deadlines), share with other users (good for family use) and add more details (such as notices, addresses and phone numbers). Once the task is done, you can simple move one of your fingers horizontally across the screen (exactly like what you do on paper by using a pen) to cross it over. By shaking the phone, all the completed task will go away. Whenever I share my phone, I feel like I have done a lot!

– Calendar: A very nice app. Android phone users can synchronize the calendar in the phone to google calendar. If you have not tried google calendar before, but you are using google everyday, I encourage you to use it right away, trust me, you will never miss any of your appointments in the futures – as long as you have a gmail account, google calendar should have been available to you already. Apple users, apple has a very nice, clean and easy to use calendar app as well, use it today and get your life more organized.

–  Alarm: You might surprise when I bring this app up. Yes, it’s a very common one, but did you use it effectively? Use it as a reminder. I get my boy in bed exactly the same time every night. I can’t tell you enough how important this tool is.

– ebay and paypal: Of course as we are going to talk about how to earn income from ebay in future posts, do not forget to install this apps. They can help me access to your business operations instantly.

         

For Personal Computers:

– Evernote: available at http://evernote.com.Evernote helps me a lot on improving efficiency. This program is available on smart phones, tablets and computers.

1) The first beauty of it is the ability to synchronize all your devices together. It’s a very very handy tool. I went on a field trip to tour the city of Calgary in Alberta Canada and I worked on my phone by taking short notes during the trip. As soon as I am done, I synchronized all my notes with my other devices and worked on my laptop for more researches back home after the trip.

2) The way evernote designed was to help you create note books and in each book you can create different notes, so it’s easy to categorize your projects.

3)  The check box function in the notes can help you keep track of you goals and record the work process.

4) In addition, it allows you to share with other users. My business partners are using this tool to share the information and jobs.

5) evernote also provide a clip function that help you save webpages. If you are like me surfing on the Internet all day long, looking for good articles and would  like to keep them for future reference, you need to try this neat function.

I am using a free version of evernote and the paid version has more cool functions to use.

– Google drive: now google is implementing all the documents, presentations, spreadsheet into one tool called drive (It’s used to be called google doc). I will say evernote helps your the smaller tasks, this one takes care of your formal documents. If you have any experience with Microsoft Office, google drive is an online version of it. Of course it’s more user friendly and easy to share. Microsoft Office might have some very comprehensive functions, but who cares, I am running rocket science here. Google drive can save up to 5GB data as an online hard drive.


Work your goals with plans

Almost everybody has dreams, but the reality is not many of the dreams come true.

Couch potatoes only have dreams, they do not take actions and do not have plans either, which is ok, they are not reading my blog anyway, so I do not have too much value to share with them. I still wish them good luck with their couch though.

People with plan and taking actions are getting somewhere. They make their dreams come true, so they are my teachers and mentors and the ones I want to surround myself with.

In this post, I aim to share my experiences with people who are willing to take actions, but not yet have plans.

Why do you need plans for your goals?

They serves the purpose to keep yourself motivated and helps lower the chances to get lost.

I personally gave up 3 BIG times in my life and wasted literally 5 years of my life, because I constantly lost motivation in early years. Winston Churchill once said,He who fails to plan is planning to fail”. I learned this lesson in deed. I am going to share my story here and hope my failures can help you with your future life.

In year 2000, after graduated from high school, I applied for Business Administration at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo ON, Canada, however as an international student, I was required to hand in my TOEFL score and at the time and I did not quite meet the standard. Instead of trying for another time to write the exam, I chose to enter Mathematics faculty of University of Waterloo (1st time). I then studied computer science for the first two years without liking coding programs at all and changed my major to Statistic and Actuarial Science in year 2002 (2nd time).  I did graduate from Statistics and successfully passed my first two exams from SOA (Society of Actuaries) by the end of year 2003, however without a clear plan, I failed the third exam 3 times in year 2004 and 2005 and stopped looking for a job in that industry (3rd time). Overall I failed big time on my academic studies except for a very expensive university bachelor certificate. It’s not because I started with no goals, but without detailed plans, I had to end up changing my goals all the time.

I am a type of person who is easy to set up goals, get motivated, but easy to give up at the same time without plans. Eventually I realized the importance of making plans and working with them. I made myself a 5 year plan and stick to it so far pretty well since year 2010.

To make the plans working better for your goals, here are my suggestions:

– To make long term goals and also short term goals to keep you on the right track. Long term goals can be for 3-5 years and short term goals can be anywhere from 1 month up to 1 year. After setting up the goals, come up with a detailed plan. A very popular way I learned from experts is to work backwards from your goals. Basically that means once a goal is set up break the goal into smaller pieces along the way and make a plan for each piece, plus, check frequently. For example, I plan to get rid of 30 pounds off my body by the end of year 2014, so I start with this goal and figure out what kind of weight I should expect to lose every month starting from today to the year 2014. After that I lay out all the ways I can use to loose weight, running, on diet, doing gym exercise, etc. That helps me work out my schedule and keep checking my weight by the end of every month. If I did not meet my expected weight, it’s time to work harder and look for more efficient methods.

– Keep motivations alive along the way. People get lazy some times, trust me, it’s human nature and you do not need to blame that. To find efficiently way to keep the motivations fresh becomes the key. Many people choose to drink coffee and energy drink to stay awake and help stay focused, for me, these are not good solutions. Not only because they are not healthy, they are only short team solutions. I used to drink lots of coffee and energy drinks, however since 8 months ago, I found a good alternative way, taking drugs, isn’t that worse? Pardon me, spiritual drugs, I mean books. Good books help you not only on the knowledge level, but also encourage you to work harder and smarter. I come across a decent book recently and I want to share there.

 

The 4-Hour Workweek

Timothy Ferriss

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This book has been on New York Time’s best seller list for quit some time and I am sure lots of you heard it and maybe even read it.


Set up a goal

In last post, I suggested 4 books and they are helping you shift your mindset to get yourself started. In this post, I am going to talk about setting up a goal. With a goal, not only it gives you a better idea to keep track on your process, but you can easily stay motivated when you see you are getting closer to your destination of this journey.

Measurable: Set up a specific goal and make it measurable. “I want to reach financial freedom” in this case is not a good example, because it does not specify how long and what financial freedom means. I would change it to “I want to earn 2 million dollars by Dec 31, 2022 in order to enjoy a financial freedom”. By doing so, it makes it easier for me to follow. by running some simple math, I need to earn average $200k in every single year for next 10 years, which means I need to earn about $16,667 every month. (Of course this is just an example and my actual goal is a little bigger than that)

Do not judge: After throwing out some numbers, many of you will try to adjust it, because you might think the number is not reasonable, or say, not achievable, however there is no need to do so. Why? I will use a little concept I learned from one of Dr. Wynn Dyer’s great presentations. Ask yourself the following questions: 1. “Am I 100% sure that I am able to achieve my goal”; 2. “Am I 100% sure that I am not able to achieve my goal”. By 100%, I mean absolutely no doubt. If you are reading my posts, the chance is you are not satisfied with you financial situation and you are willing to make changes to your life, so most likely your answer to the last 2 questions is no. Alright, if you are not 100% sure, there is a chance to each of two results, why don’t you try very hard to make the result you want the most happen? Therefore, do not judge. Also I will prove this in my future posts when we talk about market research. “Do not judge” is always always true. Trust me for now.

 


Getting Started has never been easy

What is the hardest part of running a business? To get yourself started. No matter how great your idea is, you will need to start from somewhere in order to make it happen. In this post I am going to suggest 4 books that I have personally read and recommend you to do the same. Even you might not have a chance to read all of them. Pick up 1 or 2. I guarantee you that you will learn very good stuffs from them. If you want to purchase them from Amazon with a very compatible price, please simply click on the links in my post, or you can find them at the bottom of the right hand side bars on my blog’s main page.

Start with why: you want to earn extra income on regular base, yes I know, but that is what you want to accomplish, in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you need to understand why. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” , as Mr. Simon Sinek repeated hundreds of time in his book, that is the most efficient way for you to build up your unique brand and make it very hard to be copied by other business owners.

 

Start with Why

Simon Sinek

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Do it now, action takers: You want my best advice? TAKE ACTION NOW! excuse me, but seriously that is where you can stand out from the crowd. You do not just make wishes, get them fulfilled. Even couch potatoes have to press buttons on their remote control in order to change channels. Having a dream is great, but the  key is not to judge or adjust your dream. It’s to make it happen. I read and listened 6 different books (some of them are audio books) from Dr. Wynn Dyer  and his powerful message changed my life completely. I still remember the days I was struggling and Dr. Dyer is the light in my darkness. I can not tell you enough how great he is.

 

Wishes Fulfilled

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

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Live with your passion: Statistic shows 90% of the business failed in the first 3 years. Why is that? Because to survive is very critical. Before you taste the first little bit of success, you often find your patience is falling off the cliff. There is always noise around you. It disappoints you and  talks you out of business. It does its best to throw you back to your couch. Therefore in order to keep yourself motivated and inspired, you need something to keep you up whole night – this thing is called passion. To live your true passion, there is nothing better than that. I was feeling pumped while I was reading Gary Vaynerchuk‘s great book, it’s just like a can of Monster drink.

 

Crush It!

Gary Vaynerchuk

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Get the excuses completely out of your life is the only way to success: I was at a big event in Calgary AB last month. There was guy sitting on the stage as an expert with an investment portfolio worth 14 millions, but I did not care too much about how big his portfolio is. As soon as he told the audience he is a dad of five boys, I immediately realize that he is very respectful person. How many times you hear yourself or somebody around you making excuses? “I am too old”, ” I am not smart enough”, “I don’t have time”, “I have family and kids to look after” blah, blah, blah. Too many excuses stop people from taking actions. Again another great book from Dr.Wynn Dyer.

 

Excuses Begone!

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

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Well, you might ask me, sibo, I just want to earn some extra income, why the hell I have to read all of these? My answer is, to do so, treat the things you are doing as a real business, start with why, get your wishes fulfilled; you have a passion, crush it and get your excuses out the way.  To put it simple, you need to cash in your passion very single day!


It is a trade


It is a trade. What do I mean by that? Well, there is absolutely no magic when talking about earning extra income from ebay and it is also 100% true for any type of business. There is a thing called “get rich quick”, but it does not mean “get rich easy”. You need to work really really hard in order to build up on your wealth if you want to have it done in a relatively short time.

There are two important resources in your life, time and money. When you are young and energetic, most likely you do not have a very strong financial foundation unless you have a rich Dad (or rich Mom maybe), but what you get is tons of time. Tons of them! In order to earn more money, you need to make a commitment to trade your time for money. Once you are wealthy enough to live a life with financial freedom, you can pay other kids to do the jobs for you, in that case, you trade your money for more time to spend with your family.

Please notice though, time is not renewable but money is. There are countless of ways to make more money, but there is no such type of drug you can take to make you one day younger.

If you are reading my blog, there is good chance you want to live your true passion, so all I can tell you and can not tell enough is take action now!!!


Make money monthly on Ebay is not a mission impossible


Many people publish their comments online saying that making money on a monthly basis from ebay is a mission impossible. Most of them focus on high service charges from ebay and paypal, expensive shipping cost through post services, low discount wholesalers, to name a few.

In September 2012, I am going to write a good amount of posts to share my personal experiences on how to make regular income from ebay by using drop shipping. Hopefully my idea can give people who always want to make extra monthly income or live a better life some hint and I wish all of you good luck with this new journey on ebay.

To start, here is my own story:
I woke up a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in October 2004 and tried to find another hot idea on making regular monthly income from the Internet and luckily the website called ebay caused my attention. It did not take me very long to register an ebay account and paypal account and to start selling a toy I brought from China…

Not too long after that I partnered up with one of my best friends from university, who was living in Toronto at the time. He had good suppliers and good products in hand, so I was acting as a sale manager selling his products on ebay. My daily duty was to communicate with customers to help them with questions, follow-ups on purchases, etc., and process orders through ebay, which only took me about 1.5 hours. I did not need to worry anything about packages or postages as all of the shipping and handling was controlled by my friend back east. Life was so good and in my best months, I literally doubled my income (I did have a regular job at the time).

However as my friend was such a good business man and Canada did not offer enough business opportunities for him to grow, he left Canada and went back to China (He came to Canada from China as an international student) in year 2006 and my partnership with him was ended and I started a new day job in early year 2007.

Since then I tried different suppliers locally and also from mainland China, but never had any smooth business relationship and started giving up on my business dream.

Life is so boring all the way till late 2009. During Christmas season, I came across a good idea to sell a good product on ebay. With 15 minutes of my time everyday, I was able to earn $200-$300 per month. “Not too bad”, I was telling myself, however because of the nature of this particular product, my profit only lasted about 1 year.

Year 2010 eventually was the year I started changing my life again and I learned a new tool called drop shipping and it worked perfectly along with my busy schedule at work. It did require some hard work upfront. Overall, I think it worth my time.

Today it helps me quit my regular job and keeps generating $1200 – 1500 monthly income for me. Combining it with other income from my second core business with my business partner, I quit my regular job and I am able to live my passion every day. And I realize that the real fun life has just begun…

 


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