We’ve all seen the hype about working hard, working late, and totally rocking a
Today I want to share with you three different effortless systems that you can set up in minutes that provide
Effortless System One: Automatic Saving
The first system is one that I set for myself a number of decades ago. It’s really simple in concept and offers a myriad of options. Here is how it works.
In my twenties, I went down to my local bank and had my paycheck automatically deposited into a checking account. Then I had them automatically move money from my checking account to a savings account each time a paycheck deposit was made.
At first I set it up with a small amount from each check. I started with 50 dollars a check. Since I got paid twice a month, this resulted in saving 100 dollars per month.
Since I had been living paycheck to paycheck, this was hard at first, but as I got my first monthly bank statement, there was a big hundred dollar number in the savings column. I liked seeing that, but I was soon tempted to move it back to checking. Thankfully I didn’t. I put the bank statement aside and soon forgot about it.
Month after month my savings number grew. At the end of the first year, I had 1200 dollars in savings plus interest. I now had a little cushion for emergencies and was working for a downpayment for a car.
Here was the cool part. I soon got a raise where I worked and now I was taking home an additional hundred bucks a month. I split the raise in two. Fifty bucks went to savings, the other fifty went to my checking account. I was now saving 150 dollars a month and it was absolutely painless. Raise after raise I did the same thing.
This system worked for me because it was automatic and also invisible. I never had this money in my hand. It was never in my pocket where I would mindlessly spend it. Within a few years I was able to buy a used car for cash with the saving proceeds.
This system worked for me because it was automatic and also invisible.
This type of automatic banking system can be modified in many different ways, with money being transferred to investment accounts, 401ks, and CDs.
In 2019, there are many banks that offer this service and some online ones are actually offering 2% interest on savings accounts (Historically this is very low, but much better than the .25% they have offered in the past few years)
Bottom Line: Spending a few minutes setting a system like this when you are young can significantly change your life as you get older. The effects of saving, paying cash and staying out of debt multiply decade by decade.
Effortless System Two: Automatic Reading
I’m a personal development junkie and I love to read books on habit change, time management, and yearly trends. The problem with books is that they take time to read and the small print can be hard on your eyes. After an hour with some of the tiny type fonts on some of the paperbacks and my eyes are watering.
I discovered a system a decade ago that truly changed my life. I now have other people read the books to me. Known as audio books, companies like Audible offer the latest titles in MP3 format which can be listened to almost anywhere.
I opened an Audible account and then downloaded the books to my phone. Audible now has an app for Apple and Android that automates the process. I started listening on the couch and while out running and discovered I could read (listen) and run at the same time.
While audible was great at home, the real benefit was setting up a system of listening to audio books while I was commuting to work. Since I had a 45 minute commute each way, I was able to get through a standard length audio book in a week or two.
Here was the bottom line. Over the last decade I was able to listen to over 200 business oriented audio books on a variety of topics. This was like getting a college education while stuck in traffic. In fact, there is a website called the Personal MBA that lists the top 99 books on business that can give the equivalent education of a typical MBA program. Author Josh Kaufman says…
The Personal MBA is designed to help learn the art of business on your own terms. Instead of mortgaging your life to go to business school, it’s possible to dramatically increase your knowledge of business on your own time and with little cost – without setting foot inside a classroom.
I listened to many books on Kaufman’s list. The insights I received really helped on my job and in business. But the news gets even better. Audible is great but the books can be pricey. I found another source called Overdrive that allows me to download audio books for free from my local library.
I drove around in my local Southern California area and signed up for a library card in the four surrounding counties. Each county has their own unique catalog. If I couldn’t find the book I was looking for in one county, usually one of the others had it. Now I had access to a huge variety of audio books online, all for free .
The bottom line: With an Audible subscription for current titles and an Overdrive subscription for older books, you can create a learning system that you can take anywhere. Use this system while you are driving, commuting, or exercising and you convert dead time to productive time.
This system has become automatic for me. I get in the car and listen. If you tire of audio books, there are thousands of business oriented podcasts available on different apps and also on iTunes.
Effortless System Three: Time Management Miracle
There have been a few times in life where I’ve heard a tip or solution to a problem that was truly life changing. One of those for me was when I heard about the Power of 48 Minutes back in 2003.
The time management concept is simple. You get a kitchen timer, put it on your desk. Set the time to 48 minutes. Then you turn off all distractions (Cell phone, social media etc). You push the button to start the timer and then do one thing for 48 minutes. When you are done take a 12 minute break and repeat as necessary.
This system only took me a couple of minutes to set up the first time I tried it. I really didn’t think it would work. But oh boy, the 48 minute system literally changed my life.
The speaker who had talked about the system told us that he used it to write a 150 page book in just four weeks, using the program four times a day. This sounded outlandish.
I tried it on my first novel, using it two times in a row each morning before work. This allowed me to get my first draft out in a little over three months.
Pushing the timer button is magic.
The system works because it eliminates distractions and allows us to single task on one and only one thing. I have used this system for years and it really changed my productivity.
The secret is to turn off all distractions and then push the button. Pushing the timer button is magic. This system works because it is simple and easy to set up.
Over the past few years I’ve modified the system a slight bit , to timing for fifty minutes and taking a ten minute break to better align with standard clock markings.
I keep the timer on my desk. I push the button for automatic productivity.
Set Up Your Own Effortless System
All three of these systems are easy to set up, cost little or nothing ,and provide amazing results over time.
In our next post, I’ll show you how to examine your current systems and build efficient new ones that can save time and increase productivity. Stay tuned.