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I have pieced together the following 5000 words encompassing over 100 tools, resources, apps, habits, hacks and tips that I use to assist with making my life more efficient, more successful and just basically better.
I have seen some extraordinary results from utilising many of these tools and I am grateful for this platform to be able to share this with you. I would love for you to share with me what is making your life easier too! Feel free to comment on this post or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve broken this post into SIX sections. I’ve started with habits, as I have always thought ‘What’s the point of having great tools if I don’t use them properly?’
Habits & Practices
Morning alarm hack – I’ve learned to stay awake and not hit snooze, however it was a process to get there. One trick that a number of my friends use is to leave their phone on the other side of the room, forcing them to get out of bed and turn it off. Once they’re up, there’s a slim chance that they’re going back to bed!
Airplane mode over night – Thank you to SEO beast and all round high achiever Ben Pottinger for this one. Before going to bed, I often set my phone to airplane mode, so when I wake up, I avoid risking being reactive and being distracted by any notifications. I’ll turn Airplane mode off once I’ve either left the house or completed those important morning tasks that need to get done.
Morning Routine – A crucial habit. At different times I’ve included making the bed, exercise, stretching, list of what I’m grateful for, duolingo, affirmations, visualisations, goals, meditation, journaling and specific questions amongst other things. The best way to plan a morning routine is to first understand what is important to you, what is going to bring you happiness in both the short and long term and what you are going to achieve on this given day.
The first 2 hours of every day – I find that spending those first two hours every day (our most productive hours) on my most important task not only catapults my progress in that task, after the morning routine, it further sets me up for a very productive day. If I have an extra busy day, it may only be half an hour in the morning, as long as it gets done. I once used the first 2 hours of each day for 7 days to rewrite a business plan. 14 of my most productive hours later, 10,000 words were re-written and it was also out best version of the plan.
I turned off Facebook notifications & banned the newsfeed – This is a game changer. Part of my personal development was to cut out what was getting in my way and focus on what was going to get me results. Part of this ‘cutting out’ shift included dramatically limiting Facebook time as I was spending up to an hour per day being reactive watching videos and reading things that were useless to me. It took me 2 weeks to reach this point of staying off my newsfeed, and now I don’t go through my notifications until the odd Sunday, where I can catch up on the dog videos that my girlfriend and others have tagged me in if there’s nothing else pressing. By the way, if you need help getting off your newsfeed, try an app such as ToDoBook.
Journaling – This is excellent for understanding my thoughts. Clearing things up in my head the meaning that I have attached to any previous events and what I want to do with that moving forward. It’s also great to have something to look back upon. In the future I’ll write a book, and the journal will be a useful source of information for it.
Set Deadlines – If a deadline isn’t set, when will you achieve that goal? Anything from what time you’ll leave the house to completing your biggest projects, put a time limit on it and get it done.
$5 Challenge – Every time a Fiver hits my wallet, it goes straight in the other pocket. I saw someone do this on Facebook recently. He had saved up quite an impressive amount of money in just 12 months.
Gary Vaynerchuk Videos – If I ever need a boost, I just watch and listen to this man with a work this like no other. Need a push? Watch this vid.
Life Tab – A handy little Google Chrome extension that opens as the homepage as a daily planner with a quote and the capabilities for you to set a theme for the day, state your daily goal, list your secondary goals, check things off such as exercise and meditation and add any other notes.
Stickies – A great way to run several To-Do Lists on your desktop that also conveniently sync with your phone through the app ‘AirSync’.
Dafont – Need a font? Head to Dafont. There are thousands upon thousands of fonts, so you’re bound to find something that works.
Facebook/Messenger – Facebook & Messenger are great for communication, spreading a message, promoting your business or finding help with anything. I just ensure that I’m avoiding ‘Being Reactive & Scrolling News Feed’ mode.
WhatsApp – Takes group chats to another level
Notes – My To-Do Lists, my book note keeping list, books to read list, daily routine list, grocery list, movies to watch list. This app is so simple and so easy, and that’s the beauty of it.
Google Drive – This was another game changer. To have one document that every member of the project can access and work on simultaneously is incredible. The phone app is great too, I used to access my DJ schedules whilst at events.
Dropbox – Perfect for when a document is formatted a certain way and needs to stay that way, or the work being done involves many files and utilising many different folders.
Cloudwards – An awesome tool for discovering the best Cloud Storage, Web Hosting and/or VPN services for your specific situation and requirements.
Mac Calendar – After 2012, I stopped purchasing the beloved Debden paper diary. It was time to get electronic so I could access my schedule at any time. The ability to have multiple colour-coordinated calendars is excellent. I love the alert feature too.
1Password – Sick and tired of spending time either finding that password or going through the rigmarole of resetting your password? This is the answer. Once setup, one master password that will allow you access to everything.
Evernote – An app that is spoken of in very high regard. I am still dabbling with this however I see the potential. It’s a way of combining everything – notes, reminders, group chat, documents. It will even recognise the text on images and re-create the text into a version that can be edited.
Link your email accounts to your smartphone Mail – Email to your heart’s content! It’s surprising just how often I find myself needing to email whilst on the run.
BetterSnapTool – For operating multiple windows with ease, eg lining up two windows side by side, or setting up 4 windows – one in each corner of the screen. BST literally snaps the windows into place, rather than having to click, pull and drag windows all round the screen until satisfied.
Rescue Time – This will break down the time you spend in front of the computer. The only caveat is that I spend a lot of time on Facebook for work and it can’t distinguish work from staring at a newsfeed. Perhaps if it could measure Facebook newsfeed separate to Facebook messenger and Ads Manager? What’s your suggestion?
Speed up track pad – Thanks Noah Kagan for this tip! It took me 5 minutes to get used to it. This will make you more productive as you will spend less time dragging your mouse to what you want to click. It’s amazing. For Mac: System Preferences > Track Pad, then drag ‘Tracking Speed’ all the way to the right.
Airdrop – My girlfriend showed me this recently, and I’ve been showing everyone that I can since. It has never been easier to send items between phone and computer. No more emailing to myself! Finder > Airdrop. From the Phone, Send item icon > Airdrop.
VLC – It’s that program that doesn’t care what format your visual clip is in, it will play it.
Find My iPhone & Tile – A no brainer. Make sure that it’s always turned on on your phone. I also have a Tile. This device hangs on my keys. If I lose my keys, my phone can track them. If I lose my phone, I can double-press the button on the Tile on my keys and my phone will beep, even if on silent.
Night Shift – Between 9pm & 6am my iPhone is set to ‘Night Shift’ which means that the screen colours are ‘warm’. The purpose of this is to ease the artificial light late at night before sleeping.
Gone With The Wind – I recently learned this Hack through a Tim Ferriss follower. If your iPhone is almost full (you’re receiving the ‘Almost Full’ message) attempt to rent the movie ‘Gone With The Wind’ and it will free up 2gig. Amazing. It has something to do with clearing the cache.
Conserving phone battery:
1.Turn off auto background app refresh
2. Ensure that Auto brightness is activated
3. Enter Low Battery Mode, close apps, turn off Bluetooth and wi-fi .
Company – When starting a new venture, I much prefer to establish it as a company (or just amalgamate a current company). My personal assets are protected by limited liability, and it makes sense when writing off all those business expenses.
Insurance – You never know what can happen. At least consult a lawyer and an insurance company.
Mailchimp – I’ve used this for a number of projects to store & email our Outsett database. If you download our lead magnet, you’ll be automatically added to our database. If you’re running Facebook Lead Ads, you can connect your direct data capture to Mailchimp through third party app Zapier.
WordPress – Matt Mullenweg is a genius. WP powers around 25% of the world’s websites. Great for ease of use, SEO and for setting them up so your clients can access and change items such as adding new images or updating stocklists, and posting blogs. This website is built with WordPress. If you want to hire a pro to build your WordPress website, head to Tondo Digital (they built this site!).
Squarespace – This is the easiest in terms of launching your own website and looking like a pro. Great looking templates, very easy to use. No coding required.
Wix – Customise your website from scratch. Click & drag to you heart’s content, no coding required.
Fiverr – Personal favourite. If you need anything that isn’t physical, this is where you turn. Logos, data entry, legal documents, social media drip feeding for SEO, you name it! Everything starts at just $5 USD.
Freelancer – Another site to get anything done. This is for bigger tasks, and the chance to hire someone for ongoing work.
Upwork – Similar again, this is great for hiring freelancers for ongoing work.
Hotjar – This service has the ability to show you where your clients are moving their mouse on your landing page, so you can work out why it may be not be converting as well as it should be, or which areas of the page are getting the most attention etc
Keynote – The Mac version of Powerpoint. This was excellent when I was involved in projects where we created Pitchdecks, as well as modules for an online course.
Screenflow – Not only did we use this for our course, I also use this to record anything that I’m being shown how to do for the first time so I always have a reference should I need assistance.
Garageband – Free and awesome. I use this to put the WPN podcast episodes together.
Zoom.us – An alternative to Skype when Skype decides to play up. This product is very reliable and seems to work really well, even around a poor connection.
Auphonic – Masters sound extremely well. I use this for my podcast episodes. Would work for anything audio.
Grammarly – This will correct any issues wherever you type and not just in Word. It goes to great detail as well. The free version is excellent too.
Sumo – Makes for creating easy and effective pop-ups in the form of lead captures. The issue now is that Google are penalising websites with pop-ups. It’s about working out what is more important to your project: SEO results or higher email conversions. When working on Outsett, Josh had the pleasure of a Skype call with founder and genius Noah Kagan to talk strategy.
Set Facebook Account to Aus / your home country – I was lucky in that it seemed to happen automatically for me. Setting up ads on some clients’ Ad Accounts is annoying to say the least if I am not only having to calculate what the time will be in Aus when I want to boost a post, but then calculating the dollar amount back to AUD. Warning: When transferring from US to AUS, your current data will most likely be lost. I’m sure that someone has worked out a way around this by now.
Facebook Business – This is great for keeping everything together and managing multiple Ad Accounts from the one place.
Ad Account Admin & Page Admin – I learnt this the hard way. If you want to create ads for someone else’s page and use their payment method, you’ll need to not only be made an admin of the page, you’ll also need to be made an admin of their ad account (Ads Manager > Ad Account Settings > Account Roles > +Add a User)
Facebook Advertising – This is probably the most important advertising that you can do for your business and allegedly only around 5% of businesses do it? So take that unfair advantage and run with it. Also, make sure that you’re testing at least 4 ads so you can get the best bang for your buck. Even $5 a day is plenty to test out which of your ads are performing the best.
Ad Words – Take the tie to get the hang of Adwords. Alongsie Facebook Ads, you can become a marketing machine. There are some great tutorials out there too. Check out Jerry Banfield. YouTube advertising is part of Adwords, so also consider this as part of your strategy.
Teamviewer – If you’re ever working with someone remotely and they need to access your computer or you need to access theirs, that can happen with Teamviewer! This will work as long as both computers are connected to the internet. I once had an IT expert iron out some technical issues without the need for us to meet face-to-face.
Xero – A great may to manage your books. I connected this with my business bank accounts and then learned how to do my own books. I had someone walk me through the process and was then able to pick it up pretty quick. If you don’t have anyone to show you, Xero (as well as a heap of other users) have vids on YouTube.
iMovie – Great for editing and adding text to vids that will get some traction on social media.
Separate Bank Account for GST & Business tax – Most small businesses learn this the hard way. They’ll have their first great year (whether year 1 or later where they turn a decent profit) only to have the taxman take his cut. If you turnover 100k, nearly 10 of that is already GST let alone any other tax, so get into the habit of transferring it (or automatically transferring it) into a separate account so you don’t view it as your money.
Heads of Agreement: Get one signed early – We made the mistake of spending 3 months with our potential investor before having a HOA signed. It was for the Sports betting Company that we were looking to create. We sent off our simple two page HOA, and it came back two weeks later as nine pages. Unfortunately no one in his or her right mind would sign that agreement, it was so one-sided. Lesson learned.
Instagram – This can be quite quick in terms of building an audience. The most important point? Use 30 hashtags on every post (save them in your Notes for easy access). Don’t use the most popular hashtags, as you want to sit in ‘Most Recent’ for as long as possible and the popular hashtags are pumped out from all round the world every second.
Wordswag – This is how we create many of our social media (especially Instagram) designs. It is so simple to use. Check us out on Insta to see some of our creations.
Hootsuite – When it comes to scheduling your social media, this is your answer! Connect 3 accounts for free, or pay the small monthly fee if you have more. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn can all be connected!
Grum – The main limitation of most SM scheduling tools is that Instagram doesn’t allow third party applications to post to it (eg Hootsuite will prompt you to post at the set time, and allow you to even paste the text that you had saved). This is where Grum comes in. They use virtual assistants to post to Instagram for you. Don’t forget the hashtags!
Crowdfire – This is great for following unfollowers. Once you hit 7500 followers, you can’t follow any more accounts. Rather than unfollowing those accounts that were great enough to follow you back, you can just unfollow the people that aren’t following you back! There’s loads of other features to explore as well.
Pages – A great app for managing your Facebook Pages from your phone! If you want to be known as the company that ‘Typically replies within minutes’, turn on notifications and this is your answer!
Adverts Manager – Manage your Facebook Ads campaigns from your phone! Convenient.
Frametastic – I love using this app for creating a collage of images to then boost on Facebook. For example, photo albums can’t be boosted (most of the time, anyway) so my solution is to post a Frametastic collage of a bunch of the best images with a link to the photo album in the post and comments, and then boost that.
Snapchat – With 2.5 billion snaps sent per day in such an intimate form, Snapchat can be a great way to share the informal side of your operation with your biggest fans. This is for the behind the scenes stuff. Humour is also great. Check out Melbourne DJ Press Play’s account: ‘woobs11’ He has built up over 10k followers and he’s hilarious.
Canva – I used this one to create The Ultimate Idea Generator (click here to get your free copy). I also use this to create Facebook cover images. There are so many capabilities with this software and it makes design super easy!
Stem – A Melbourne start-up from a couple of legends. Think HeyTell meets Twitter! It’s all about the audio snippets. It’s new too, so get around it early and dominate the space for your niche!
Anchor – The American version of Stem, worth a look to get some ideas from many of the users on there.
Reading – Reading and specifically learning is crucial. A very successful friend told me the other night that he commits 1 hour every day to learning. I’ve found that the best way for me to get through books is to do the following:
- Commit to a minimum of 5 pages per day
- Listen to an Audiobook (or useful Podcast) whenever I am driving or doing household tasks
- Take notes (using Notes on my phone, or Evernote) of all the best lessons, quotes and further learning that I come across whilst reading
- Write a short report at the end of the book of the main lesson(s) learned
My Top 10 books at the moment:
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
- The Game by Neil Strauss
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
- A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
- Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
- The Big Leap by Guy Hendricks
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
- Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley
Plus our eBook of course! Get your free copy of ‘The Ultimate Idea Generator’ HERE
Articles – If you come across a great article or email, drop it into your Instapaper.
My latest 5 articles sitting in my Instapaper waiting to be read are:
Instapaper – Speaking of Instapaper, what is it? It’s a nifty little browser add-on that makes it extremely easy to save articles, emails and basically any links to a list for later. There’s the capability to sort everything into folders and archive read stories as well. The free version is excellent.
Speed Reading – This compliments getting through the minimum 5 pages each day. Check out Tim Ferriss’s incredible 2009 post on how to Speed read here, and his latest video on the topic here.
Watching – I like to be inspired, and of course there’s times where an entertaining TV show is called for. Netflix is great.
Learning – Cosmos, Cowspiracy, What The Health
Inspiring – Undefeated, I enjoyed this so much that I purchased a ‘Manassas Football’ hoodie online
Interesting – Zeitgeist, Making a Murderer
Listening – I have adopted the habit of listening to a ‘Focus’ song on repeat for hours for concentration.
My songs of choice:
Clubbed to Death – Rob D (Matrix Soundtrack)
Happy Pills – Limitless Soundtrack
ILYSM by Steve Aoki & Autoerotique
Tunnel Vision – Original Version by Hybrid
Podcasts – That little purple square on the iOS device opens up a world of knowledge. Android have versions too such as Stitcher, or just find them online.
TypingStudy – This is where I learned to touch-type. Commit to 1 lesson per day and you’ll notice a big difference within two months.
Spotify – This is where I thrash my focus songs. Not just those songs, but all sorts of songs. Creating playlists is fun too. This is a must have!
Audible – I’m on the 1 Audiobook per month plan, which at times can even be hard to keep up with. There’s a fantastic range of audiobooks on here, perfect for the car or whilst doing routine tasks.
Some recent audiobooks that I have enjoyed:
The Big Leap by Guy Hendricks
Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill
80/20 Sales & Marketing by Perry Marshall
I like to mix it up between biography/story style and content heavy books and always non-fiction. I am happy to read a fiction book that I can learn a lot from. If you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it. Please write it in the comments.
My favourite Audiobook (and probably book) of all time is still The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.
iBooks – Great for saving ebooks & audiobooks from alternate sources. And concert tickets too.
Headspace – First my two cents on meditation: Everyday we are constantly adding information to our brains. View everything that you learn as a book being stored in your head, that you can go to again and again to use that knowledge. For example there’s a book on cracking an egg, a book on kicking a football, a book on solving an equation etc.
Once you have added a heap of ‘books’ of knowledge, not having any form of meditation practice would be like going to the library thayt looks great from the outside, but as soon as you enter, there are books lying everywhere, not sorted into categories or even on the shelves.
Meditation helps one to place al of their information neatly on the appropriate shelves.
So when one needs to access a ‘book’ of knowledge from their mind, they know exactly where to find the information. It creates order and calm, and leads to greater concentration and understanding. I strongly recommend downloading the Headspace app and taking part in the 10 minutes per day for 10 days free trial and then deciding if meditation is for you or not.
I also recommend experimenting listening to Theta waves whilst meditating.
Blinkist – An app out of Germany that has just surfaced offering audio and text summaries of a huge range of non-fiction books. This is great for recapping on books that you’ve read and need a refresher so you don’t forget the valuable lessons learned. Also, there’s a guy called Niklas Goeke who does 4 minute book summaries. Check them out here.
Duolingo – Learn a great range of languages with this amazing app. I have done about 400 days of Spanish (249 of them as a streak – 1 tutorial every day without missing a day). I can now read and understand some basic Spanish, and speak it a little too.
Jefit – Like anything, nearly always what we measure will have 10x the results of what we continue to ‘wing’. This app has been very useful for my work outs at the gym. My workouts are saved in there so I always know what exercise I’m doing next, the results of the previous time I completed that exercise and a timer to ensure that I don’t get caught daydreaming for minutes between sets.
Flossing – Author Neil Strauss is convinced that we live on average 7 years longer if we floss. I am starting to hear this quite often. Tim Ferriss has also posed the question: Is it correlation or causation? And believes that perhaps the type of person to floss has other organised routines and habits that will collectively add length to their life. Either way, floss once per day.
Screen cover on iPhone – I have dropped many phones over the years, more than once and from great heights. I have only ever cracked a phone screen once. It was a 3-week old iPhone 4S, that fell out of my jumper pocked on carpet when I was leaning over. The fall was about half a metre or more. The moral of the story? Go to the shopping centre to one of those little phone stores and have them put a protective screen on your phone. And of course always get an outer cover too.
Shazam – Solves a lot of arguments and just adds a lot of value and convenience to my life. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with this app, this allows you to find out the name of almost any song instantly just by recording a snippet of it.
JBL Bluetooth Speaker – I was given once of these as a gift and it’s an absolute beauty. It has solved the issue of watching content on my laptop with low or poor sound quality. It’s small and compact so it’s also perfect for the beach.
Slim6000 – For those long days when one phone charge isn’t enough to get you from start to finish. This will be particularly excellent for events such as the spring racing carnival and music festivals.
Zoom H6 – An incredible recording device that I use to record the podcast episodes. Thanks Tim Ferriss for the recommendation!
I will use this post as something that I can refer to again and again as I revisit and refresh everything mentioned. I invite you to work your way through it, experimenting with anything mentioned and/or recommended. I’m confident that there is at least one of these tools, products or habits that will be a game changer for you and do let me know what that is! If you have any of your own hacks, tools, products, habits that you’re getting results from and would like to share, please leave a comment or contact me at email@example.com
Remember, ask better questions. You’ll receive better answers.
Get your free copy of our eBook ‘The Ultimate Idea Generator’ HERE