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Sherbert Hoover's Ultimate Efficiency Guide: Working at 100% Productivity And Making $$$

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by Sherbert Hoover, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    95% of the tools that promise to make your life more productive and efficient are crap. They may seem amazing for a period of time, but mark my words, they will let you down. Luckily, you have Sherbert Hoover here to steer you in the right direction. Come with me, disciples, and let me explain to you the tricks of the trade to decrease stress, increase productivity, better your life, and embrace minimalism.

    DECREASE STRESS

    You could be an efficient, well-oiled machine on the outside, but an anxiety-riddled shaky wreck on the inside. I know this because I am most of the time. To combat this, I've utilized the following principles to lower my stress levels and maintain level-headedness whenever possible.


    • Exercise and movement work wonders. I'm not talking about going out and squatting ass-to-grass. I'm talking simple exercise. Remember, one of the facets of my path to ultimate efficiency is embracing minimalism. I walk, every day. Each morning around 8am I walk with a few co-workers to a nearby coffee shop and back. About a half mile total. Around 10am I take a break and spend 20-30 minutes walking around downtown, usually around one to two miles, depending on the temperature and weather. At about 12pm I am home for lunch, walking my dog for 15 to 20 minutes, about 3/4 to one mile. At 2pm I take another afternoon stroll. Do you see a pattern here? Every two hours, I'm moving around. Once or twice a week I run a 5k in the morning as well, just to get the blood pumping. When I'm working at home, I stand. I also use the app Just 6 Weeks for bodyweight exercises and am on my second run-through of it.
    • Meditation once per day for 10+ minutes. When I get to work, the sun hasn't come up. I drive up the parking garage to the roof and park, then fire up Headspace on my phone. I have tried both Headspace and Calm, and prefer the former. I close my eyes, fire up a meditation session, and let it take me away for a few minutes before starting my workday. I have been doing this since November, and cannot define how it has changed my stress level for the better. I pay $13 a month for a subscription. You should, too.
    • Getting a pet is an incredible stress reliever. This takes some time investment to get your pet trained properly, but the dividends pay off immediately. I have a 5-pound hypoallergenic bear cub of a dog. When I come home stressed about the day, he jumps up onto the chair to greet me, paws in the air reaching for my hands, dancing circles around me until I put my bag down and lay down on the ground to let him shower me with kisses. The stress melts away.
    • Don't be afraid to put ideas on the back burner. Every quarter I do an inventory of all the current web projects I have. Four folders sit on my desktop: Current, On Hold/Future, Archived and Completed. Each folder has sub-folders for each project or idea that I've started. Typically, at the end of a quarter I have 10-12 projects in my Current folder, and another 8+ in my On Hold/Future folder. I go through each current project and see which ones have the greatest benefits in the short term, or the strongest attachment. They stay. Everything else goes into On Hold/Future. Any On Hold/Future project that no longer interests me is Archived to look at on year-end. Rinse and repeat.
    • Drum. I currently do this when I'm driving by myself. The steering wheel is my drum kit. I also have a pair of sticks in my office that I utilize when I'm the first one in in the morning. This serves the dual purpose of being a creative outlet and a way to alleviate stress and anger through beating on things. I've been drumming for fifteen years, and cannot recommend it enough.
    • Get enough sleep. In college, I tried to maximize my output by decreasing my sleep to six hours per night, or four full average REM cycles. It worked great for a couple weeks, and then I completely crashed and burned. Some people can do it. I'm not one of them. Odds are you aren't either. I need 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function at 100% for the following day. I've tried sleep apps and tricks to enhance my sleep to no avail. Here are my mainstays: Ambio for relaxing sounds to drown out exterior noise, a 65-degree (18.3 celsius) room with a single night light, and bedding from Parachute.
    • Find someone to talk to. I can't recommend getting married enough. It's wonderful to know that there is someone always available to vent when things are stressing me out, to calm me down when my anxiety peaks, and to have deep conversations about things we want to change in our lives. If marriage isn't on your current goals list, find a friend you can do some of these things with.
    • Drink hot tea in the morning and evening. My morning combination: Yeti 20oz Rambler Tumbler, Imperial Dragon Cast Iron Teapot, Maharaja Chai Oolong tea. In the evenings, I switch to a matte cup and Jade Citrus Mint Green tea. In the future, I plan on switching from Teavana to more local options.

    INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

    I've tried hundreds of programs, apps, methodologies, and ideas to work at peak productivity. Most of them don't work long-term. Here is my current arsenal of tools and tricks for working at maximal productivity in my day-to-day life. Your results may vary:


    • Evernote has replaced Microsoft Word, Stickies, any other text editor, and fancy planners and To-Do List apps (Todoist, Wunderlist, etc). It is one of the most used programs on my Macbook and on my Galaxy S4. I use it for meeting notes, grocery lists, novel drafts, blog post editing, article creation, to-do lists, coding lesson notes, mind mapping, and so much more. I've only scratched the surface of Evernote's capabilities. I have Evernote Premium, and have extended it through 2017.
    • Google Sheets has replaced Excel, Mint, QuickBooks, and several other spreadsheet-useful programs. I have sheets in my Google Drive (I spend $2 a month for 100GB of storage in my Drive) that track my business expenses (categorized by tax category), monthly personal expenses, investments, budget forecasts, automobile repairs/upgrades, travel rewards, weight logs, home research, price lists for future purchases, current website portfolio, and so much more. I dropped Mint after realizing I was becoming disconnected with my personal finances. I dropped QuickBooks when it became too complex for my small business. I dropped Excel when I started editing spreadsheets on the go.
    • If This Then That has been a useful tool for me over the past two years to automate mundane tasks and handle backups and other ancillary needs. Some of the things I've automated have included getting a notification if it's going to rain the following day, saving my contacts to a Google Sheet, backing up all photos I take to a Google Drive album, syncing Facebook profile picture changes to Twitters profile image, any many other "recipes".
    • Pushbullet is an extremely powerful program that I utilize for one thing only: text messages on my computer. As I don't currently have an iPhone, I can't use iMessage to respond to texts on my Macbook. With Chrome, however, I have installed the Pushbullet extension, and the app on my Galaxy S4. Now, whenever I get a text message, a notification pops up on my computer and allows me to respond to the message instantly. No more checking my phone every five minutes while I'm deep in posting another extended thread.
    • Hootsuite allows me to schedule out social media updates, and is vital to my business. With several ORM clients, each with their own social media networks, and projects that each have Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, and more, Hootsuite gives me the option to schedule updates on time intervals, and even makes suggestions for posts and lets me batch schedule them for future timeframes. I have one client's Facebook page set for twice-weekly automated status updates until the end of 2017. Lately I've been using it for my personal social media as well, using the Streams option to cut through the ads, sharing, and clutter that is so prevalent in Facebook and Twitter feeds and allowing me to get to the meat of the content I actually care about. I spend $10 a month on Hootsuite Pro. You should, too.
    • Fiverr I have been utilizing for four things lately. 1) Quick logo design. One seller, gigblast, provides two good-quality logos within 48 hours for $5 based on any custom parameters. 2) Data entry. I bounce around between providers for this, but when I need a quick spreadsheet of something and my time is worth more than the involved research, I outsource it to someone for $5 and call it a day. 3) Short article writing. I've been using NatashaNixon's services for a bit now. $75 or so gets me 16 well-written 400-word articles on any mix-and-match topics I need within a week. I edit where needed, and use them for quick blog posts on client/project sites or guest posting. 4) Article re-writing. Emeraldawnn does $1 per 100 word article re-writes in perfect English. I've spent over $1,000 on rewrites from her in the past year. For $100 I get ten 1,000-word articles expertly spun. I'm looking into a part-time VA to replace all these tasks and then some. More on that in the future.
    • Put a value on your time. I value my time at $50 an hour nowadays at peak productivity, and $20 an hour during downtimes. This article took me three full hours to write and prepare. That's a $150 article. I think it's worth it. I use an app called Ibotta to make cash off my groceries. I've made a little over $200 already in the past couple months. I think my total time spent on it has been five hours. That's $40 an hour, but during my downtime, so I consider it worth it. Don't drive on top of dollars to chase pennies. If you put a value on your time, you will easily cut out over half of the things you're working on that are hemorrhaging money.

    BETTER YOUR LIFE

    Every day I think of something new I can implement to make my life better. Usually, these concepts end up falling off the map and out of my routine after a few weeks or months. Here are some that have been extended mainstays in my principles:


    • Expand your linguistics. I have been using Duolingo off and on for over two years for learning new languages. I'm confident in my Spanish skills, and am currently working through French. German is waiting in the wings. While I don't feel 100% conversational, I do feel as if I can properly read an article in Spanish and understand the majority of what is being said. Duolingo also utilizes the concept of decay, meaning that every now and then I need to go back and do quick refresher lessons to keep the concepts fresh in my head. It really works.
    • Learn more code. I started learning coding through Codecademy, and have since graduated to Treehouse. Treehouse uses video lessons with simultaneous workspaces to give a true hands-on project approach to learning to code. I'm working through learning in-depth HTML and CSS for my web projects, and SQL for my 9-5 office job. When I'm feeling confident, I'll be moving on to Python, Ruby, and eventually PHP/Javascript and beyond. Treehouse is $25 a month. I probably spend about 10 hours a month in lessons. It's definitely worth $2.50 an hour for professional video lessons.
    • Read productive and enjoyable subreddits. I have subscriptions to some wonderful subreddits that have really helped me out. Here are a couple that you may not have heard of before: Bodyweight Fitness, Educational GIFs, GIF Recipes, Personal Finance, Productivity, DIY, Meal Prep Sunday, and Entrepreneur Ride Along. There are too many wonderful subreddits to list in this thread, so I won't, but if you've never been to any of the above linked, I encourage you to sort by the top posts of all time and do some reading/watching. I also use Reddit to check on subs such as me_irl, aww and blackpeopletwitter to gather good images to show my wife once a month. In the evenings, I use Baconreader to read some of the top Askreddit threads of the day to my wife to help her get to sleep.
    • Do good deeds often. I have a coffee shop I go to daily. Every week I go to lunch someplace new. I always tip well, 100% or more. I spent over two years in a customer service position and am fully aware of how much a quality tip can change the tone of someone's day. Every month I bring doughnuts in for our department to enjoy. I'm teaching a few of my co-workers how to do ORM and find clients. I always have two to three pro-bono local SEO projects going on simultaneously for friends and family members. I lay down ground rules to keep this from backfiring, and it has worked for four years without a single complaint. I make it a point to meet someone new every day. Good karma circles back.
    • Spend money on the things that separate you from the ground. This means tires, desk chairs, shoes and mattresses. This is a common suggestion, so I won't go into further detail about it, but I will recommend Casper mattresses. Your body will thank you in the long run.
    • Keep your surroundings as close to spotless as you can. If you take nothing else from this thread, let it be this. Maintaining clean and organized surroundings has helped me more than anything I have written about in any of the above sections. A place for everything and everything in its place. My apartment is always clean, as I spend 10 to 15 minutes each morning straightening things up, making my bed, cleaning up the dog's toys, and putting away any clutter. My car is a 2008 closing in on 100,000 miles, but at least once a month it is mistaken for a 2015 model year of the same make. My office at work? My high level of workplace cleanliness is the reason I was promoted last year to managing efficiency of the department by request of the CFO.
    • Travel. Again, this is something that comes up in everybody's list of "ways to improve your life". Travel. The best time of my life was when I left the United States for the first time and spend nine days in Jamaica at an all-inclusive resort. My wife and I have plans in the next five years to drive the Pacific Coast Highway (I live in the Southeast US), see New York City, visit Paris and Rome, take a cruise somewhere tropical, and spend a few weekends at getaways within a few hours of home. A short-term change of scenery is always warranted, but not everybody has the ability to drop everything and spent two months in Southeast Asia like all these travel bloggers insist.
    • Don't jerk off so much. Few things are such fruitless time wasters. Say you masturbate once a day, and with the porn you spend time searching for, the total daily time is 30 minutes. That's three and a half hours a week. That's 182.5 hours in a year. That's over a full week of time over the course of a year, completely gone for the pursuit of jizzing. If you cut it down to even once a week, that frees up 80+% of that time, and in combination with lecithin and zinc, you'll be spraying buckets.

    EMBRACE MINIMALISM

    My world completely changed when I started getting rid of things that were of no use to me. My stress level decreased, my productivity increased, and my life got better. I'm constantly throwing things away, recycling, and donating. My wife isn't the biggest fan of it sometimes, but she understands. I'm not saying to cut your possessions into what fits in a backpack by any means. There are other ways to embrace minimalism without becoming a Tibetan monk.

    My desktop background is a heavily darkened image of my college campus I took from a mountaintop. I use the same image for my phone wallpaper and lock screen. It's unobtrusive and consistent. My wardrobe staples consist of three pairs of Dockers khakis in black, tan, and grey, ten H&M long-sleeve button downs in different colors and patterns, a few polos, a nice hoodie and a nice jacket, several pairs of MeUndies, Costco socks, these shoes, these shoes, and these shoes. I've also got about a dozen T-shirts, two pairs of jeans, a black suit, a navy suit, and some gray Converse. Everything else I've donated. I won't need to buy clothes for at least a year, and even then it will only be to replace worn out items listed above.

    My project websites are white and fast and not flashy or animated. My ringtone has never changed. Pictures I take are consistently filtered through and sorted. I have left behind thousands of dollars in useless applications, programs, and subscriptions simply because they were becoming clutter. The only things on my nightstand are a lamp, a box of tissues (I've got allergies), and my phone when I'm sleeping. My closets and pantries are perfectly organized. Once a month, a closet is chosen and I spend an hour getting rid of things I no longer have a need for. There is a place for everything, and everything has its place.

    Minimalism has taken ahold of my lifestyle in many ways without interfering negatively. Here are a few choice articles and discussions about embracing the positive aspects on minimalism:



    SOME ADDITIONAL LINKS

    Here are a few additional related bookmarks I've saved over the past year or two relating to the topics that have been discussed:



    IN CONCLUSION

    This has been a lot of text. There's been a lot of links. If you made it this far, remember that none of what I posted is definitive. What works for some will not work for others. What works for you probably won't work for me. I'm sure there will be people writing this guide off as shit, and I completely understand, as it's not for everyone. Some people think they have it all figured out. I've churned through more productivity concepts than you've probably heard of (Pomodoro, Kaizen, Scrum, Todoist, GTD, the list goes on and on). These are things that have truly helped me overcome stress, worry, and burnout, and have helped me supercharge my life. These are things that are assisting me in overcoming my OCPD and anxiety issues. These are things that are putting me in control without being completely hands-off, and efficient in the face of a growing mountain of tasks. This thread should be taken as an insight into one person's opinion, and what has worked for them.

    I in no way even scratched the surface of everything that makes my productivity machine run. But this just took three hours for me to write, compile, link, and format. I hope you got something out of it. And if you didn't bother reading and are just looking for a TL;DR, here you go:

    TL;DR: Decrease stress, increase productivity, better your life, and embrace minimalism, and you'll increase your productivity and efficiency more than you've ever realized.

    Thanks for reading.

    Your friend,
    -Sherbert Hoover

    This entire post is available on my shitty blog here if an archived version is ever needed.
     
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  2. JK2005

    JK2005 Registered Member

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    A+++++ to most of the info in this! Well Written, and Very true! Thanks
     
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  3. Luka19

    Luka19 Power Member

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    thanks for sharing such a great post, good job
    did not know about the Headspace, from now on gonna use it for training my mind!
     
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  4. Eternal1912

    Eternal1912 Power Member

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    That's a great thread Sherb! I will definitely try Duolingo and some of the apps for productivity you shared. ^_^
     
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  5. jamesjk1

    jamesjk1 Senior Member

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    Excellent write-up. Need to implement many of them, though that picture doesn't help my case much... :rolleyes:
     
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  6. SEO FOX

    SEO FOX Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Wow... Superb images and info too
     
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  7. M4XW3LL

    M4XW3LL Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great write up! I would help you getting the featured image for your next guide if my chest wasn't so hairy.
     
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  8. blackice6666

    blackice6666 Regular Member

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    Really nice post! I think that the importance of mental and physical wellbeing is really underestimated.

    BTW: Is that pic photoshoped?
     
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  9. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Nope, it's a custom-modeled image I ordered from Tittygram. Real people, real writing. Note that the link I just posted is a referral link, as it gets you 10% off your order. My avatar was done the same way.

    EDIT: Removed the referral link.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  10. Boriss

    Boriss Supreme Member

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    What happened to BHW?

    More and more amazing posts.

    Thanks Sherbert for this contribution.
     
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  11. blackice6666

    blackice6666 Regular Member

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    Thats a great business idea!
     
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  12. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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  13. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Great share once again mate, should make it into a WSO and sell it on W.F
     
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  14. oblivion19

    oblivion19 Senior Member

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    This is beautiful. Good job for putting so much effort in this. I love how much effort you put in to take charge of your life. With issues like OCD, ADHD it takes more out of a person to stick to his schedule, routine, projects and you amaze me in how you go about to make sure you do it.
     
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  15. Aatrox

    Aatrox Supreme Member

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    So impressed with the image that I didn't even read the post before writing this. That's dedication!

    EDIT: Just glanced trough the post. Lots of resources you provided. Most of use could learn something from you. Awesome man, thanks!
     
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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  16. Eternal1912

    Eternal1912 Power Member

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    Hey man, you said that you wake up early? How early exactly? :D I have real issues in waking up early. I want to wake up around 6 am during the week but I can't move my head from the pillow until 7:30.
     
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  17. Nonilol

    Nonilol Elite Member

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    Yeah I really feel like bhw has improved over the last months.
    Makes me feel bad though, I haven't shared anything big here yet.

    Nice to have you here Sherbert, I only glanced over it but looks like a great guide.
    Thank you!




    Consider getting dawn simulator (basically an alarm clock that simulates sunlight)
    It really helps to get up & you'll feel much better in the morning.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  18. asap1

    asap1 BANNED BANNED

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    Nice post, this was something different.
     
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  19. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    I appreciate all of the kind words!

    I wake up at 4am almost every morning. On the weekends it's usually 5am. I'm out the door Monday through Friday for work at 5:45am, and pull into the office at 6am. This gives me plenty of time to wake up, shower, and get ready, as well as help my wife get ready for her day. Between 6:00 and 7:00 I'm the only one in the office, and from 7:00 to 8:00 there's only one other person, so my productivity is at its highest levels then.

    I didn't always used to be an early riser. When I worked at a casino I would sleep in until 10am after working until 2am or so. My efficiency was at an all-time low at that point in my life, but I was still in college full-time and was raking in cash money tips part-time, so I didn't really notice or care.

    The hardest part about waking up at 4am is going to sleep at 8:30.
     
  20. Eternal1912

    Eternal1912 Power Member

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    Thanks for the information Sherbert, I must find a way to wake up at 6 am to boost my productivity but I often go to sleep after 23:00 pm, which makes it harder.

    Nonilol, thanks for the suggestion i'll check it now :)
     
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