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Step II:

E is for Elimination

One does not accumulate but eliminate.

It is not daily increase but daily

decrease. The height of cultivation

always runs to simplicity.

—BRUCE LEE

5.The End of Time Management

ILLUSIONS AND ITALIANS

Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.

—ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY, pioneer of international postal flight and author of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)

It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.

—WILLIAM OF OCCAM (1300–1350), originator of “Occam’s Razor”

Just a few words on time management: Forget all about it.

In the strictest sense, you shouldn’t be trying to do more in each day, trying to fill every second with a work fidget of some type. It took me a long time to figure this out. I used to be very fond of the results-by-volume approach.

Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions. The options are almost limitless for creating “busyness”: You could call a few hundred unqualified sales leads, reorganize your Outlook contacts, walk across the office to request documents you don’t really need, or fuss with your BlackBerry for a few hours when you should be prioritizing.

In fact, if you want to move up the ladder in most of corporate America, and assuming they don’t really check what you are doing (let’s be honest), just run around the office holding a cell phone to your head and carrying papers. Now, that is one busy employee! Give them a raise. Unfortunately for the NR, this behavior won’t get you out of the office or put you on an airplane to Brazil. Bad dog. Hit yourself with a newspaper and cut it out.

After all, there is a far better option, and it will do more than simply increase your results—it will multiply them. Believe it or not, it is not only possible to accomplish more by doing less, it is mandatory.

Enter the world of elimination.

How You Will Use Productivity

Now that you have defined what you want to do with your time, you have to free that time. The trick, of course, is to do so while maintaining or increasing your income.

The intention of this chapter, and what you will experience if you follow the instructions, is an increase in personal productivity between 100 and 500%. The principles are the same for both employees and entrepreneurs, but the purpose of this increased productivity is completely different.

First, the employee. The employee is increasing productivity to increase negotiating leverage for two simultaneous objectives: pay raises and a remote working arrangement.

Recall that, as indicated in the first chapter of this book, the general process of joining the New Rich is D-E-A-L, in that order, but that employees intent on remaining employees for now need to implement the process as D-E-L-A. The reason relates to environment. They need to Liberate themselves from the office environment before they can work ten hours a week, for example, because the expectation in that environment is that you will be in constant motion from 9–5. Even if you produce twice the results you had in the past, if you’re working a quarter of the hours of your colleagues, there is a good chance of receiving a pink slip. Even if you work 10 hours a week and produce twice the results of people working 40, the collective request will be, “Work 40 hours a week and produce 8 times the results.” This is an endless game and one you want to avoid. Hence the need for Liberation first.

If you’re an employee, this chapter will increase your value and make it more painful for the company to fire you than to grant raises and a remote working agreement. That is your goal. Once the latter is accomplished, you can drop hours without bureaucratic interference and use the resultant free time to fulfill dreamlines.

The entrepreneur’s goals are less complex, as he or she is generally the direct beneficiary of increased profit. The goal is to decrease the amount of work you perform while increasing revenue. This will set the stage for replacing yourself with Automation, which in turn permits Liberation.

For both tracks, some definitions are in order.

Being Effective vs. Being Efficient

Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.

I would consider the best door-to-door salesperson efficient—that is, refined and excellent at selling door-to-door without wasting time—but utterly ineffective. He or she would sell more using a better vehicle such as e-mail or direct mail.

This is also true for the person who checks e-mail 30 times per day and develops an elaborate system of folder rules and sophisticated techniques for ensuring that each of those 30 brain farts moves as quickly as possible. I was a specialist at such professional wheel-spinning. It is efficient on some perverse level, but far from effective.

Here are two truisms to keep in mind:

Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.

Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

From this moment forward, remember this: What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.

To find the right things, we’ll need to go to the garden.

Pareto and His Garden: 80/20 and

Freedom from Futility

What gets measured gets managed.

—PETER DRUCKER, management theorist, author of 31 books, recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom

Four years ago, an economist changed my life forever. It’s a shame I never had a chance to buy him a drink. My dear Vilfredo died almost 100 years ago.

Vilfredo Pareto was a wily and controversial economist-cum-sociologist who lived from 1848 to 1923. An engineer by training, he started his varied career managing coal mines and later succeeded Léon Walras as the chair of political economy at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. His seminal work, Cours d’economie politique, included a then little-explored “law” of income distribution that would later bear his name: “Pareto’s Law” or the “Pareto Distribution,” in the last decade also popularly called the “80/20 Principle.” The mathematical formula he used to demonstrate a grossly uneven but predictable distribution of wealth in society—80% of the wealth and income was produced and possessed by 20% of the population—also applied outside of economics. Indeed, it could be found almost everywhere. Eighty percent of Pareto’s garden peas were produced by 20% of the peapods he had planted, for example.

Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Alternative ways to phrase this, depending on the context, include:

80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes.

80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time.

80% of company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.

80% of all stock market gains are realized by 20% of the investors and 20% of an individual portfolio.

The list is infinitely long and diverse, and the ratio is often skewed even more severely: 90/10, 95/5, and 99/1 are not uncommon, but the minimum ratio to seek is 80/20.

When I came across Pareto’s work one late evening, I had been slaving away with 15-hour days seven days per week, feeling completely overwhelmed and generally helpless. I would wake up before dawn to make calls to the United Kingdom, handle the U.S. during the normal 9–5 day, and then work until near midnight making calls to Japan and New Zealand. I was stuck on a runaway freight train with no brakes, shoveling coal into the furnace for lack of a better option. Faced with certain burnout or giving Pareto’s ideas a trial run, I opted for the latter. The next morning, I began a dissection of my business and personal life through the lenses of two questions: Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?

Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?

For the entire day, I put aside everything seemingly urgent and did the most intense truth-baring analysis possible, applying these questions to everything from my friends to customers and advertising to relaxation activities. Don’t expect to find you’re doing everything right—the truth often hurts. The goal is to find your inefficiencies in order to eliminate them and to find your strengths so you can multiply them. In the 24 hours that followed, I made several simple but emotionally difficult decisions that literally changed my life forever and enabled the lifestyle I now enjoy.

The first decision I made is an excellent example of how dramatic and fast the ROI of this analytical fat-cutting can be: I stopped contacting 95% of my customers and fired 2%, leaving me with the top 3% of producers to profile and duplicate.

Out of more than 120 wholesale customers, a mere 5 were bringing in 95% of the revenue. I was spending 98% of my time chasing the remainder, as the aforementioned 5 ordered regularly without any follow-up calls, persuasion, or cajoling. In other words, I was working because I felt as though I should be doing something from 9–5. I didn’t realize that working every hour from 9–5 isn’t the goal; it’s simply the structure most people use, whether it’s necessary or not. I had a severe case of work-for-work (W4W), the most-hated acronym in the NR vocabulary.

All, and I mean 100%, of my problems and complaints came from this unproductive majority, with the exception of two large customers who were simply world-class experts of the “here is the fire I started, now you put it out” approach to business. I put all of these unproductive customers on passive mode: If they ordered, great—let them fax in the order. If not, I would do absolutely no chasing: no phone calls, no e-mail, nothing. That left the two larger customers to deal with, who were professional ball breakers but contributed about 10% to the bottom line at the time.

You’ll always have a few of these, and it is a quandary that causes all sorts of problems, not the least of which are self-hatred and depression. Up to that point, I had taken their browbeating, insults, time-consuming arguments, and tirades as a cost of doing business. I realized during the 80/20 analysis that these two people were the source of nearly all my unhappiness and anger throughout the day, and it usually spilled over into my personal time, keeping me up at night with the usual “I should have said X, Y, and Z to that penis” self-flagellation. I finally concluded the obvious: The effect on my self-esteem and state of mind just wasn’t worth the financial gain. I didn’t need the money for any precise reason, and I had assumed I needed to take it. The customers are always right, aren’t they? Part of doing business, right? Hell, no. Not for the NR, anyway. I fired their asses and enjoyed every second of it. The first conversation went like this: Customer: What the &#@$? I ordered two cases and they arrived two days late. [Note: He had sent the order to the wrong person via the wrong medium, despite repeated reminders.] You guys are the most disorganized bunch of idiots I’ve ever worked with. I have 20 years of experience in this industry, and this is the worst.

Any NR—in this case, me: I will kill you. Be afraid, be very afraid.

I wish. I did rehearse that a million times in my mental theater, but it actually went something more like this:

I’m sorry to hear that. You know, I’ve been taking your insults for a while now, and it’s unfortunate that it seems we won’t be able to do business anymore. I’d recommend you take a good look at where this unhappiness and anger is actually coming from. In any case, I wish you well. If you would like to order product, we’ll be happy to supply it, but only if you can conduct yourself without profanity and unnecessary insults. You have our fax number. All the best and have a nice day. [Click.] I did this once via phone and once through e-mail. So what happened? I lost one customer, but the other corrected course and simply faxed orders, again and again and again. Problem solved, minimum revenue lost. I was immediately 10 times happier.

I then identified the common characteristics of my top-five customers and secured three or so similarly profiled buyers in the following week. Remember, more customers is not automatically more income. More customers is not the goal and often translates into 90% more housekeeping and a paltry 1–3% increase in income. Make no mistake, maximum income from minimal necessary effort (including minimum number of customers) is the primary goal. I duplicated my strengths, in this case my top producers, and focused on increasing the size and frequency of their orders.

The end result? I went from chasing and appeasing 120 customers to simply receiving large orders from 8, with absolutely no pleading phone calls or e-mail haranguing. My monthly income increased from $30K to $60K in four weeks and my weekly hours immediately dropped from over 80 to approximately 15. Most important, I was happy with myself and felt both optimistic and liberated for the first time in over two years.

In the ensuing weeks, I applied the 80/20 Principle to dozens of areas, including the following:

  1. Advertising

I identified the advertising that was generating 80% or more of revenue, identified the commonalities among them, and multiplied them, eliminating all the rest at the same time. My advertising costs dropped over 70% and my direct sales income nearly doubled from a monthly $15K to $25K in 8 weeks. It would have doubled immediately had I been using radio, newspapers, or television instead of magazines with long lead times.

  1. Online Affiliates and Partners

I fired more than 250 low-yield online affiliates or put them in holding patterns to focus instead on the two affiliates who were generating 90% of the income. My management time decreased from 5–10 hours per week to 1 hour per month. Online partner income increased more than 50% in that same month.

Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.

Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective—doing less—is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.

Of course, before you can separate the wheat from the chaff and eliminate activities in a new environment (whether a new job or an entrepreneurial venture), you will need to try a lot to identify what pulls the most weight. Throw it all up on the wall and see what sticks. That’s part of the process, but it should not take more than a month or two.

It’s easy to get caught in a flood of minutiae, and the key to not feeling rushed is remembering that lack of time is actually lack of priorities. Take time to stop and smell the roses, or—in this case—to count the pea pods.

The 9–5 Illusion and Parkinson’s Law

I saw a bank that said “24-Hour Banking,” but I don’t have that much time.

—STEVEN WRIGHT, comedian

If you’re an employee, spending time on nonsense is, to some extent, not your fault. There is often no incentive to use time well unless you are paid on commission. The world has agreed to shuffle papers between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., and since you’re trapped in the office for that period of servitude, you are compelled to create activities to fill that time. Time is wasted because there is so much time available. It’s understandable. Now that you have the new goal of negotiating a remote work arrangement instead of just collecting a paycheck, it’s time to revisit the status quo and become effective. The best employees have the most leverage.

For the entrepreneur, the wasteful use of time is a matter of bad habit and imitation. I am no exception. Most entrepreneurs were once employees and come from the 9–5 culture. Thus they adopt the same schedule, whether or not they function at 9:00 A.M. or need 8 hours to generate their target income. This schedule is a collective social agreement and a dinosaur legacy of the results-by-volume approach. How is it possible that all the people in the world need exactly 8 hours to accomplish their work? It isn’t. 9–5 is arbitrary.

You don’t need 8 hours per day to become a legitimate millionaire—let alone have the means to live like one. Eight hours per week is often excessive, but I don’t expect all of you to believe me just yet. I know you probably feel as I did for a long time: There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But let’s consider a few things we can probably agree on.

Since we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours. If we had 15, we would fill 15. If we have an emergency and need to suddenly leave work in 2 hours but have pending deadlines, we miraculously complete those assignments in 2 hours.

It is all related to a law that was introduced to me by Ed Zschau in the spring of 2000.

I had arrived to class nervous and unable to concentrate. The final paper, worth a full 25% of the semester’s grade, was due in 24 hours. One of the options, and that which I had chosen, was to interview the top executives of a start-up and provide an in-depth analysis of their business model. The corporate powers that be had decided last minute that I couldn’t interview two key figures or use their information due to confidentiality issues and pre-IPO precautions. Game over.

I approached Ed after class to deliver the bad news.

“Ed, I think I’m going to need an extension on the paper.” I explained the situation, and Ed smiled before he replied without so much as a hint of concern.

“I think you’ll be OK. Entrepreneurs are those who make things happen, right?”

Twenty-four hours later and one minute before the deadline, as his assistant was locking the office, I handed in a 30-page final paper. It was based on a different company I had found, interviewed, and dissected with an intense all-nighter and enough caffeine to get an entire Olympic track team disqualified. It ended up being one of the best papers I’d written in four years, and I received an A.

Before I left the classroom the previous day, Ed had given me some parting advice: Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. If I give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials. If I give you a week to complete the same task, it’s six days of making a mountain out of a molehill. If I give you two months, God forbid, it becomes a mental monster. The end product of the shorter deadline is almost inevitably of equal or higher quality due to greater focus.

This presents a very curious phenomenon. There are two synergistic approaches for increasing productivity that are inversions of each other:

Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20).

Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s Law).

The best solution is to use both together: Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.

If you haven’t identified the mission-critical tasks and set aggressive start and end times for their completion, the unimportant becomes the important. Even if you know what’s critical, without deadlines that create focus, the minor tasks forced upon you (or invented, in the case of the entrepreneur) will swell to consume time until another bit of minutiae jumps in to replace it, leaving you at the end of the day with nothing accomplished. How else could dropping off a package at UPS, setting a few appointments, and checking e-mail consume an entire 9–5 day? Don’t feel bad. I spent months jumping from one interruption to the next, feeling run by my business instead of the other way around.

THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE and Parkinson’s Law are the two cornerstone concepts that will be revisited in different forms throughout this entire section. Most inputs are useless and time is wasted in proportion to the amount that is available.

Fat-free performance and time freedom begins with limiting intake overload. In the next chapter, we’ll put you on the real breakfast of champions: the Low-Information Diet.

A Dozen Cupcakes and One Question

Love of bustle is not industry.

—SENECA

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA.

“Saturdays are my days off,” I offered to the crowd of strangers staring at me, friends of a friend. It was true. Can you eat All-Bran and chicken seven days a week? Me neither. Don’t be so judgmental.

Between my tenth and twelfth cupcakes, I plopped down on the couch to revel in the sugar high until the clock struck midnight and sent me back to my adultsville Sunday–Friday diet. There was another party guest seated next to me on a chair, nursing a glass of wine, not his twelfth but certainly not his first, and we struck up a conversation. As usual, I had to struggle to answer “What do you do?” and, as usual, my answer left someone to wonder whether I was a pathological liar or a criminal.

How was it possible to spend so little time on income generation? It’s a good question. It’s THE question.

In almost all respects, Charney had it all. He was happily married with a two-year-old son and another due to arrive in three months. He was a successful technology salesman, and though he wanted to earn $500,000 more per year as all do, his finances were solid.

He also asked good questions. I had just returned from another trip overseas and was planning a new adventure to Japan. He drilled me for two hours with a refrain: How is it possible to spend so little time on income generation?

“If you’re interested, we can make you a case study and I’ll show you how,” I offered.

Charney was in. The one thing he didn’t have was time.

One e-mail and five weeks of practice later, Charney had good news: He had accomplished more in the last week than he had in the previous four combined. He did so while taking Monday and Friday off and spending at least 2 more hours per day with his family. From 40 hours per week, he was down to 18 and producing four times the results.

Was it from mountaintop retreats and secret kung fu training? Nope. Was it a new Japanese management secret or better software? Nein. I just asked him to do one simple thing consistently without fail.

At least three times per day at scheduled times, he had to ask himself the following question:

Am I being productive or just active?

Charney captured the essence of this with less-abstract wording:

Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?

He eliminated all of the activities he used as crutches and began to focus on demonstrating results instead of showing dedication. Dedication is often just meaningless work in disguise. Be ruthless and cut the fat.

It is possible to have your cupcake and eat it, too.

Q&A: QUESTIONS AND ACTIONS

We create stress for ourselves because you feel like you have to do it. You have to. I don’t feel that anymore.

—OPRAH WINFREY, actress and talk-show host, The Oprah Winfrey Show

The key to having more time is doing less, and there are two paths to getting there, both of which should be used together: (1) Define a to-do list and (2) define a not-to-do list. In general terms, there are but two questions: What 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?

What 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcome and happiness?

Hypothetical cases help to get us started:

  1. If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day, what would you do?

Not five hours, not four hours, not three—two hours. It’s not where I want you to ultimately be, but it’s a start. Besides, I can hear your brain bubbling already: That’s ridiculous. Impossible! I know, I know. If I told you that you could survive for months, functioning quite well, on four hours of sleep per night, would you believe me? Probably not. Notwithstanding, millions of new mothers do it all the time. This exercise is not optional. The doctor has warned you, after triple-bypass surgery, that if you don’t cut down your work to two hours per day for the first three months post-op, you will die. How would you do it?

  1. If you had a second heart attack and had to work two hours per week, what would you do?

  2. If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing 4/5 of different time-consuming activities, what would you remove? Simplicity requires ruthlessness. If you had to stop ⅘ of time-consuming activities—e-mail, phone calls, conversations, paperwork, meetings, advertising, customers, suppliers, products, services, etc.—what would you eliminate to keep the negative effect on income to a minimum? Used even once per month, this question alone can keep you sane and on track.

  3. What are the top-three activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I’ve been productive?

These are usually used to postpone more important actions (often uncomfortable because there is a chance of failure or rejection). Be honest with yourself, as we all do this on occasion. What are your crutch activities?

  1. Who are the 20% of people who produce 80% of your enjoyment and propel you forward, and which 20% cause 80% of your depression, anger, and second-guessing?

Identify:

Positive friends versus time-consuming friends: Who is helping versus hurting you, and how do you increase your time with the former while decreasing or eliminating your time with the latter?

Who is causing me stress disproportionate to the time I spend with them? What will happen if I simply stop interacting with these people? Fear-setting helps here.

When do I feel starved for time? What commitments, thoughts, and people can I eliminate to fix this problem?

Exact numbers aren’t needed to realize that we spend too much time with those who poison us with pessimism, sloth, and low expectations of themselves and the world. It is often the case that you have to fire certain friends or retire from particular social circles to have the life you want. This isn’t being mean; it is being practical. Poisonous people do not deserve your time. To think otherwise is masochistic.

The best way to approach a potential break is simple: Confide in them honestly but tactfully and explain your concerns. If they bite back, your conclusions have been confirmed. Drop them like any other bad habit. If they promise to change, first spend at least two weeks apart to develop other positive influences in your life and diminish psychological dependency. The next trial period should have a set duration and consist of pass-or-fail criteria.

If this approach is too confrontational for you, just politely refuse to interact with them. Be in the middle of something when the call comes, and have a prior commitment when the invitation to hang out comes. Once you see the benefits of decreased time with these people, it will be easier to stop communication altogether.

I’m not going to lie: It sucks. It hurts like pulling out a splinter. But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.

Remove the splinters and you’ll thank yourself for it.

  1. Learn to ask, “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?”

Don’t ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You’ll just read unassociated e-mail and scramble your brain for the day. Compile your to-do list for tomorrow no later than this evening. I don’t recommend using Outlook or computerized to-do lists, because it is possible to add an infinite number of items. I use a standard piece of paper folded in half three times, which fits perfectly in the pocket and limits you to noting only a few items.

There should never be more than two mission-critical items to complete each day. Never. It just isn’t necessary if they’re actually high-impact. If you are stuck trying to decide between multiple items that all seem crucial, as happens to all of us, look at each in turn and ask yourself, If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?

To counter the seemingly urgent, ask yourself: What will happen if I don’t do this, and is it worth putting off the important to do it? If you haven’t already accomplished at least one important task in the day, don’t spend the last business hour returning a DVD to avoid a $5 late charge. Get the important task done and pay the $5 fine.

  1. Put a Post-it on your computer screen or set an Outlook reminder to alert you at least three times daily with the question: Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?

I also use free time-tracking software called RescueTime (www.rescuetime.com) to alert me when I spend more than an allotted time on certain websites or programs often used to avoid the important (Gmail, Facebook, Outlook, etc.). It also summarizes your time use each week and compares your performance to peers.

  1. Do not multitask.

I’m going to tell you what you already know. Trying to brush your teeth, talk on the phone, and answer e-mail at the same time just doesn’t work. Eating while doing online research and instant messaging? Ditto.

If you prioritize properly, there is no need to multitask. It is a symptom of “task creep”—doing more to feel productive while actually accomplishing less. As stated, you should have, at most, two primary goals or tasks per day. Do them separately from start to finish without distraction. Divided attention will result in more frequent interruptions, lapses in concentration, poorer net results, and less gratification.

  1. Use Parkinson’s Law on a Macro and Micro Level.

Use Parkinson’s Law to accomplish more in less time. Shorten schedules and deadlines to necessitate focused action instead of deliberation and procrastination.

On a weekly and daily macro level, attempt to take Monday and/or Friday off, as well as leave work at 4 P.M. This will focus you to prioritize more effectively and quite possibly develop a social life. If you’re under the hawklike watch of a boss, we’ll discuss the nuts and bolts of how to escape in later chapters.

On a micro task level, limit the number of items on your to-do list and use impossibly short deadlines to force immediate action while ignoring minutiae.

If doing work online or near an online computer, http://e.ggtimer.com/ is a convenient countdown timer. Just type the desired time limit directly into the URL field and hit enter. The http:// can often be omitted. For example: http://e.ggtimer.com/5minutes (or just “e.ggtimer.com/5min”insomebrowsers)

http://e.ggtimer.com/1hour30minutes30seconds

http://e.ggtimer.com/30 (if you just put in a number, it assumes seconds)

COMFORT CHALLENGE

Learn to Propose (2 Days)

Stop asking for opinions and start proposing solutions. Begin with the small things. If someone is going to ask, or asks, “Where should we eat?” “What movie should we watch?” “What should we do tonight?” or anything similar, do NOT reflect it back with, “Well, what do you want to … ?” Offer a solution. Stop the back-and-forth and make a decision. Practice this in both personal and professional environments. Here are a few lines that help (my favorites are the first and last): “Can I make a suggestion?”

“I propose …”

“I’d like to propose …”

“I suggest that … What do you think?”

“Let’s try … and then try something else if that doesn’t work.”

LIFESTYLE DESIGN IN ACTION

I’m a musician who got your book because Derek Sivers at CD Baby recommended it. Checking Pareto’s Law I realized that 78% of my downloads came from just one of my CDs and that 55% of my total download income came from only five songs! It showed me what my fans are looking for and allowed me to showcase those on my web site. Downloads are the way to go. iTunes sells the song and CD Baby direct deposits it to my account. Fully automated once the recording is done. There are some months I can live off download income. Once I finish paying off debt, it should be no problem to travel as an artist and create new fans all over the world and have a cyber income stream.

—VICTOR JOHNSON

As for “outsourcing” your banking, any company that needs to take checks (cheques) should consider a lock box solution. Just about any bank that does business banking offers it. All checks go to a PO box at the bank, the bank processes the checks and deposits them, and according to your instructions can send you a file of all the checks that are deposited. Normally this can be done in either a flat, Excel or other file type that can interface with any accounting systems from Excel, to Quicken to SAP. Quite cost effective.

—ANONYMOUS

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