Self Improvement

Stop Feeding Your Brain Mental Garbage

Stop Feeding Your Brain Mental Garbage

Less than 10 minutes after waking, I threw up cigar chunks into my master bathroom toilet.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Twelve hours earlier, the groom and I were celebrating his upcoming wedding with a night on the town in historic downtown Leesburg, Virginia. 

As you might have guessed, this night included alcohol and stogies.

We drank and walked and talked and smoked and drank some more. We hopped from restaurant to restaurant, downing wine and beer and whiskey, all the while drawing down a box of cigars purchased at the local tobacconist.

At one point, the groom had me laughing so hard that I bit down on the cigar butt, crumbling the outer paper, which I inhaled, coughed up, then involuntarily swallowed.

I washed it down with a swig of wine—all of it came up the next morning.

Gross, I know.

But it perfectly illustrates the entire point of this article... 

41 Ways to Get Home Early Every Day This Week

The Night Before

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1. Get 7 hours of sleep

2. Lay out daily clothes in advance

3. Block calendar for important work

4. Schedule commute time

5. Schedule breaks

6. Plan to deal with time obstacles

7. Schedule administrivia

In The Morning

8. Exercise

9. Eat healthy food that energizes you

10. Tell everyone when you plan to leave

11. When work begins, begin work (don’t get distracted)

For Meetings

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12. Squeeze meetings together

13. Focus (or leave) meetings that aren’t productive

14. Reschedule meetings that start late

15. Hold stand up meetings

16. Decline meetings where you can’t contribute

17. Add buffer between meetings and tasks

Managing Tasks

18. Schedule important tasks

19. Prioritize urgent tasks

20. Delegate unimportant tasks

21. Delete the rest of your tasks

22. Limit emailing to 3x per day

23. Automate repetitive tasks with apps like IFTTT

24. Bundle similar tasks together

25. Set a timer for your tasks

During Work

26. Begin with the end in mind

27. Minimize distractions

28. Stick to your schedule

29. Delegate

30. Work on what matters

31. Focus with music

32. Work intensely

33. Take breaks often

34. Work when everyone else isn’t

Administrivia

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35. Call instead of email

36. Send shorter emails… get to the point

37. Only read emails where you are in the to: line

Before Heading Home

38. Block time before you leave to clean up your day

39. Reduce and remove clutter in your workspace

Don’t Forget…

40. Add some greenery to your workspace (scientifically proven to increase productivity)

41. Sit, stand, walk, talk, act confidently


About the Author

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Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.

Subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter on personal excellence and business mastery that one client called “The Owners Manual to an Awesome Life.”

Control Your Effort, Control Your Schedule

Control Your Effort, Control Your Schedule

In Orange County, California, the sun warms your skin like a campfire on a cool evening.

I was visiting for business, but accepted these personal pleasures that came with travel.

So, when the opportunity to ride top-down in a convertible along the Pacific coast to Los Angelos arose, I desperately wanted to take it.

3 Science-Backed Daily Habits for a Life of Happiness and Success

3 Science-Backed Daily Habits for a Life of Happiness and Success

Success and happiness are built on layers of science.

Let me explain.

Habit #1 | The Common Element to Irritability and Worthlessness (The Opposite of Happiness and Success)

Nick chucked his controller into the Nintendo, hard.

It bounced off the front plastic and flew to the floor, but he wasn't done. He picked it up in a fit of rage and threw it again, and again, and again. With every throw, his face grew hotter until he looked like a ripe cherry about to pop in the hot sun. He threw that controller over and over with all his might, cracking the plastic until the Nintendo relented and shut down (for good) when he finally destroyed the on/off switch.

3 Immediate Mindset Changes to Drastically Improve Your Life

3 Immediate Mindset Changes to Drastically Improve Your Life

I can attest from first-hand experience that striking out sucks.

It doesn't matter how you do it.

Swinging under a ball for that third strike feels like opening a drain to let all the potential flow out of your body. No base hit. No home run. No chance to be the hero in front of an audience of cheering fans.

30 Days of Daily Planning for a Better Life

30 Days of Daily Planning for a Better Life

The last place I ever wanted to be was on a twin-engine propeller plane in an ice storm.

Yet there I was, sitting in seat 2b, listening to the engines labor to keep 20 tons of metal and humanity afloat. Unlike the constant drone of a jet engine, this prop plane had a chant—a repetitive roar intermingled with a gnarly growl—like a lion voicing his displeasure as he tumbled around in an industrial dryer.

Be the Mentor and the Student

Some days you teach. Other days you learn. Most days you do both.

Be the mentor and the student every day.

Teach others what you learn and learn what others teach.

It’s the best way to grow and surround yourself with lifelong learners.


About the Author

mike_mehlberg.jpeg

Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.

Subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter on personal excellence and business mastery that one client called “The Owners Manual to an Awesome Life.”

The Necessary Ingredient to Leadership, Competitive Greatness, Everything

The Necessary Ingredient to Leadership, Competitive Greatness, Everything

It was a three Advil and two Tylenol kind of morning.

I should have known it would be.

You can’t drink two beers, down three glasses of wine, eat four cake pops, go to bed five hours late, and expect to wake up at six am rearing to go.

At least I can’t.

No, when I woke this morning after a night of food-and-bedtime-debauchery, you could have told me…

10 Things Nobody Can Take Away From You

People can steal so many things from you—your money, your attention, your time.

Here are a few things they can’t:

  1. Your Fire

  2. Your Skills

  3. Your Ideas

  4. Your Effort

  5. Your Wisdom

  6. Your Reactions

  7. Your Perspective

  8. Your Uniqueness

  9. Your Experiences

  10. Your Determination

  11. Your Self Respect

There may be others. Comment if you think of any below👇.

In the meanwhile, take caution. While nobody can steal these things from you, you can steal them from yourself.

Stay diligent, stay disciplined, and always keep building that which cannot be taken away.


About the Author

mike_mehlberg.jpeg

Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human.

The Importance of Living by Simple Rules

The Importance of Living by Simple Rules

Every year without fail, on the first day of school, my Father would remind me to follow three simple rules:

  1. Do what’s right.

  2. Do the best you can.

  3. The golden rule.

This past week, as school started for my own children, I reminded them to follow those same three rules. They got the first two, but when asked to recall the golden rule they said, “to have fun?”

What Children Can Teach Us About Failure

What Children Can Teach Us About Failure

This is my daughter, Allie.

She's my firecracker, my spitfire. She's the epitome of unbending willpower.

Fathering her is a delicate balance between goodnight kisses and unwavering stare-downs over the appropriate number of cookies one should have for dessert.

My boys aren’t like that.

One son is rule-bound and the other finds every way to please us.

But all three share one thing in common; the same thing all children share in common.

They don't worry about being humiliated. They don’t worry about failing.

They just barge ahead.

Two Words That Will Help You Bring Joy to Others

There are exactly two places in the world I feel 100% me.

The first is my home office.

I’ve worked from home for a decade, so have refined every corner of my office for optimal comfort, productivity, and happiness.

Take my typewriter, for example.

It’s my prized Olympia Spendid 66, refurbished and mailed from @mr.mrs.vintage in London. The machines curves and deep navy blue glossy finishes are beautiful. But when I start hammering those keys, it walks right off my desk.

So now, underneath, are four hidden globs of poster putty holding the typewriter within millimeters of my Game of Thrones book set (which is simultaneously on display and positioned for instant reading).

It’s not just the poster putty. Everything in my office is arranged just so. My whiteboard, my pictures, my computer, my chair, my desk. Even my samurai sword is on display, out of reach from my children, but accessible to me for the inevitable zombie invasion.

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The second place I feel 100% me is Hotel Kabuki (@hotelkabuki).

When I walk through the doors of this hotel, unobtrusively located in Japantown San Francisco, I have dreams of buying the place, moving my home office across the country, and living there with my family for the rest of my natural life.

It’s the lobby library, stocked with history books, pop culture references, and classical literature. It’s the vinyl’s in a grid on the wall decorating the front desk. It’s the black and white wall art, squared off modern furniture, fancy phones, and bonsai trees in the garden exercise room.

But what really gets me is the coasters...

For all the grand decorations, coasters seem like a trivial flourish. But the small white round cardboard with its red brushed circle gives a certain zen-like calligraphy feeling, emphasizing a message that I’ve now taken to heart:

“Shine Brightly”

When my brow is furrowed because I’m concerned about how much I’m getting done or thinking too hard about what I’m supposed to be doing next, these two words remind me to keep trying to bring joy to others and to help those near me with what I have and what I’ve learned.


About the Author

mike_mehlberg.jpeg

Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human.

Reset Expectations of What's Possible

Everyone knows it snows in Michigan.

I remember shuffling down the streets of Midland one October, trick-or-treating, with thick ski pants and boots covering my Halloween costume; just a kid with a pillowcase wearing a Chewbacca mask staring out from under a winter hat.

Two feet of snow. In October. And that was in the lower peninsula.

The upper peninsula? That’s no joke.

The people that live up there, lovingly referred to as uppers (pronounced yew-pers), get hammered in the winter.

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Yet, even knowing that, we stopped in awe at a lone sign in the woods. Deep into our seven hour drive, in the northern part of Michigan’s upper peninsula, we stared up at the sky where this sign, 29.5 feet in the air, marked their record snowfall.

When you grow up seeing two to four feet of snow at a time, 29 feet seems unbelievable.

But this sign didn’t lie. It was accurate, and the record it represented has been beaten since.

(Email me a pic if you’ve seen it recently, I didn’t have a camera back then and I’d love to marvel at it’s height again)

This sign, and the extreme snowfall record it represented, reset my expectations of what’s possible. It made me wonder what else I didn’t know, didn’t realize, or couldn’t imagine.

It’s easy to get used to the status quo. But that’s not how to stand out. That’s not how you make the biggest impact. That’s not how to strike awe in your customers.

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Recognizing that, it’s helpful to ask yourself a question—one that will help reframe your expectations of what’s possible:

“What am I continuing to do myself that I’m not good at?”

Think about it. Write it down. Then improve it, eliminate it, or delegate it.

Improve what you’re not good at and raise the bar on what you can accomplish.

Eliminate what you’re not good at and give yourself time to work on more important tasks.

Delegate what you’re not good at and buy yourself energy while allowing for someone more skilled to set the bar higher.

Don’t wait for a sign in the woods. Challenge what you know. Ask yourself this question monthly to reset expectations of what’s possible, what you can focus on, what’s important, and what’s holding you back.


About the Author

mike_mehlberg.jpeg

Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human.

The Real Measure of Success

The Real Measure of Success

I don’t often get excited by bronze statues.

To be honest, bronze statues of basketball players are even less interesting. Despite being 6’4” tall, I’m more of a baseball guy.

But this statue of John Wooden, sitting just outside of Mackey Arena at Purdue University, had me reaching for camera. Not because he played basketball for my Alma Mater (though that is awesome), but because of the Success Pyramid that he developed before being named the “greatest coach of all time” by The Sporting News in 2009.

If you don’t know who John Wooden is, I’m not going to tell you. Look him up. You need to know about him, his legacy, and the principles he stands for.