I’ve come to the realization that there are a lot of life hack websites out there with interesting hacks, tricks, good-to-knows and this-may-come-in-handys but many of them fail to bring it all together under one cohesive theme with an end purpose in mind.
The real theme of this site isn’t about random hacks, regardless of how cool they may seem, but rather hacking your health, wealth, tech, and wisdom to design the lifestyle you want. Health, entrepreneurship, technology, and wisdom are tools that can get you there.
So, the real purpose of it all is to help you (and myself) design the lifestyle of your dreams.
So far, I’m not 100% of the way there in achieving the lifestyle I want, but it’s the journey that often makes us appreciate the destination even more. We’ll see what works, what doesn’t and what I learn along the way. And I’ll share that journey with you in hopes that you achieve your goals and dreams.
On to The Report…
Wow, were May and June crazy busy months!
We celebrated 3 holidays (Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day) and 5 birthdays during that time including my wife’s b-day and our daughter’s first birthday.
Not to mention all the other things that went on, some of which I’ll talk about below.
In fact, they were so hectic that I decided to combine the two into one report rather release the May report in July.
Good thing I’ll be taking a vacation in late July to recoup a bit!
Take the Time
In May I finished reading one of the best books I’ve ever read: The One Thing by real estate magnate Gary Keller and co-authored by Jay Papasan.
The book was actually a bonus I had received after signing up for a year-long coaching program/course (more on that later).
If you’re an entrepreneur or you struggle with time management, I highly suggest reading the book.
I’ll attempt to explain what is meant by “One Thing” and what I found to be particularly valuable without ruining the book and giving it all away, so some of the terms I use below may seem out of context, but you should be able to get the basic gist.
One of my main takeaways from the book was time blocking.
Time blocking involves getting a paper calendar or planner (or both) and blocking out large chunks of time to do certain tasks and ruthlessly protecting that time against any distractions. An example from the book is shown below.
The things you can time block are not limited to work related things, they can also be personal.
After reading about it, I decided I had to try it.
I’ve found it to be effective, but it takes some getting used to.
The author suggests blocking out at least four hours a day to focus on your One Thing.
Your One Thing is the most important thing you can do for a particular period of time, and there could be more than one One Thing.
For example, my big picture (main) One Thing is to be able to own a second home in an area where it’s warm all year round. My One Thing for the day (small focus) could be something like writing this report. You can also have a One Thing for other areas of life such as health, relationships, spirituality, etc.
Since I have my hands in a few different businesses I’m finding it difficult to dedicate that much time to one specific task or idea each day. I also need to be more consistent and time block every day, rather than just some days.
When I do time block, however, I find that I am a lot more focused and usually get more meaningful things done, rather than just work for work’s sake.
If I’m to create the lifestyle I truly desire, time blocking will likely be a crucial part of it. Toward that end, I plan on stepping it up and blocking the recommended four hours for my One Thing — even if I have to split it up – and I’m also going to make it a daily habit.
Lifestyle design impact: Designing the lifestyle you want is not easy, especially if part of that design includes earning enough income to do whatever you’d like without having a job working for someone else. If I’m going to be able to live the life I want to live time management and effective use of time are going to be crucial, especially since I’m running more than one business while concurrently running this blog.
It’s critical that I make time to do the things necessary to get where I want to get even if they’re not paying off financially right away. As I alluded to above, that’s tough when you’re working a business or a job that sucks up your time but pays the bills. Time blocking chunks of time to work on things like this website can help me focus more time and energy on things that may not pay off right now, but are more fulfilling and have much more potential in the future.
Fencing It In
Two years ago we decided to put in two small raised bed gardens in order to grow vegetables organically.
I rented a sod cutter to remove the grass and a tiller to break up the soil. I then constructed the raised beds out of cedar because we didn’t want chemicals from pressure treated lumber leaking into the soil we were growing in and cedar is resistant to rot and insects. After that, the beds were filled with garden soil and plants planted.
Later that year, we constructed a rain barrel to collect water for the garden because even though we live somewhat close to a fresh water lake, the price of water and water related services (like the sewer) are a bit exorbitant.
We soon found out we had a problem, however.
Since the city we live in cannot seem to control its deer population, our plants were getting eaten before they even had a chance to mature and produce vegetables. Though we did get some edibles, it was clear that this was going to be a problem.
Since then, I’ve tried different repellents and sprays, none of which seemed to work.
This year I built a fence to keep them out.
I’m happy to report that so far, our plants are doing well. And the deer, well, they can get their meal elsewhere.
We enclosed each bed separately instead of both with one fence because deer are quite adept at jumping and can leap over six feet if they want to. The catch is that since the space enclosed by an individual fence is so small, the deer do not try to jump it as there is not ample landing space. Had we used once fence instead of two, they could have easily leaped in and out of the beds, eating our plants at will.
You’ll notice two shepherd’s hooks sticking out of the one garden at an angle. This is extra insurance just in case they think about trying to leap the fence. The other bed has tomato cages which are enough to deter deer from jumping in.
Lifestyle design impact: Many fruits and vegetables bought at the store have pesticide residues on them, which some believe can cause cancer and other health problems. Buying organic is an option, but it’s usually more expensive and most fresh produce has a short shelf life. Plus, how can you be 100% sure the produce you’re buying is really organic?
The garden was put in 2 years ago to give us immediate access to vegetables we know for sure were grown organically during the growing season. So far, our yield has been lower than it should be due to pests. This should solve that problem, and as always, I’ll keep you guys posted.
If you’ve been following these reports you know that I’ve been working out with a buddy of mine since last fall. This arrangement has been beneficial for both of as we can motivate and push each other.
However, I’ve recently developed tennis elbow in my right arm, likely from curling heavy weight.
Though it has not stopped me from working out, it does affect my performance for certain exercises and is annoying.
As of this writing, I’m still grappling with it.
I’ve been wearing a special compression band around my arm made for tennis elbow a few hours per day and during workouts.
I’ve also found some light exercises that may help kick it out. I plan on doing those for 2-3 weeks and seeing how I feel afterwards. If it’s not much better then I’ll probably head to the doctor.
Lifestyle design impact: Being injured is bad enough but also has a negative impact for those involved in weight lifting or any sport, for that matter. Unless I get rid of the condition I’ll likely not be able to reach my full potential.
Mastering Internet Business
I’ve actually been involved with this since last fall, but I haven’t said a whole lot about it.
I’d been fortunate enough to run into a little chunk of money (about $3,000) when I cashed in an old life insurance policy my parents had bought shortly after I was born. The death benefit on the policy was barely enough to cover a funeral, plus I had bought my own term policy after we had our baby, so I figured it was a no-brainer.
I spent some of the money on running Facebook ads to get likes on my Life Hack Guy Facebook page. I now wish I would have instead used those funds to grow my Facebook group because pages have fallen out of favor recently due to some bad changes Facebook has made but groups are hot right now.
Anyway, I also used some of the money to sign up for Internet Business Mastery Academy, an idea I had gotten from reading Pat Flynn’s blog. I figured if he took the course and then was able to reach the level of success he’s reached, it must be worth it.
It’s hard to do it justice in the limited space I have here, but IBM is a self-paced course consisting of videos, case studies, written material, and audio recordings that show you how to start and run an online business, step by step.
It starts off with a little about attitude and mindset, then quickly moves into how to discover what you’re passionate about and good at so you can monetize those things — it’s not enough to just make money, you need to actually like what you’re doing so its fulfilling.
Once you know your passions, the course then gets into the nuts and bolts of creating a presence online, getting followers, and making an income from it. And there’s more to it, but since I haven’t finished the whole course yet I’ll discuss it in a future report 🙂
As you may know, I already run two businesses that are making some money, but they are not fulfilling for me and do not fit into my lifestyle design plan (It’s critical that your methods for earning money fit your lifestyle design plan) and I’ve always wanted to make passive income online. Doing so would fit in with my plan, so I signed up for the course.
I went through the first parts of the course when I had the time.
Then earlier this year, I discovered that the same people who created IBM Academy were offing a yearlong coaching program that included the course, live webinars, accountability and much more. I then jumped on board the program which started in February of this year.
Though I’ve just recently reached the part of the course where you start to grow your following on Twitter (as they recommend doing toward the beginning) and haven’t made any money from it yet, I’m pleased with the program and the course so far.
The plan is to step it up and use the time blocking discussed earlier to focus on it more and go through the material a bit quicker so I can start generating a little income online.
I also need to leverage the private masterminds that came with the program. The main mastermind is an online group consisting of the creators of the program and the other members, so helping others and asking questions can be valuable. The other is a smaller mastermind made up of 3-5 people so each person gets more individualized attention.
As always, I’ll be posting updates about the IBM coaching program/course and will let you know how things proceed.
Lifestyle design impact: Making significant passive income online is not an easy task, but will enable me to quit my two unfulfilling businesses which keep me trapped in a place I don’t want to live and relocate to a place I actually want to be in.
True freedom is a wonderful thing which passive income can allow one to experience. Though I don’t have a job working for someone else, my businesses suck up my time and do put restrictions on what I can and can’t do. For example, I can go on vacation for a week or two but probably could not spend two months traveling through Europe while still earning enough income. A less exotic example would be the fact that I often have to find someone to cover the phone when I go to the gym. The time-suck I mentioned earlier also prevents me from spending more time with the wife and daughter and engaging in other hobbies and interests I have.
Speaking of my wife, she still has to hold down a part-time job outside the home so we can enjoy our moderately comfortable lifestyle. Both of us would like to see the day she puts in her notice to quit and passive income can make that happen.
Yet another hurdle in the way of achieving our dream lifestyle and relocating to a more desirable area is that we rely on family members to watch our baby 3-4 times a week. While it is very kind of them to do this for free, this requirement puts restrictions on where we reside, vacationing, and other things.
If we brought in enough passive income to have her quit her job and me quit my less fulfilling, time-sapping businesses, we would no longer need to rely on their help, thus granting us the freedom to travel and live where we want to live.