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This entry was co-authored by Trish Rodriguez, Marketing Manager at Taxumo, a tax filing platform for freelancers, entrerpeneurs, and self-employed professionals.
Let’s face it. Tax filing should be easy for everyone to do and accomplish. But with the current Philippine tax filing system, it can be a real struggle for entrepreneurs to comply with tax requirements, while running a business.
Otherwise, they risk being run after by the BIR, and having to pay hefty penalties and surcharges.
Fortunately, there is now a way to do the whole process online, and no, it’s not via eBIR Forms. With the latter, you would still have to manually calculate your taxes and input your data entries.
On the other hand, you can opt for Taxumo: an end-to-end online tax solution that automates the whole process so you wouldn’t have to worry about it.
In this article, we dish out the difference of filing taxes manually, versus doing it online with Taxumo. Read on!
You finally did it—you’ve completed your tax return forms. After spending a good hour figuring out, answering, and double-checking everything, you giddily go to the nearest BIR office to submit your documents and pay your taxes.
After spending a few minutes in line, you finally reach the window. After taking a quick look at your paperwork, the clerk said:
Accurate or not, I’m willing to bet that a similar scenario happens a lot during the course of a regular day at the BIR.
The bottomline is, filling forms the manual way has a higher risk of error.
I should know, I tend to get anxious filling out forms. As if I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get something wrong (happens often, sadly).
To help taxpayers sidestep this dilemma, the BIR came up with a solution that will lessen the risk of mistakes and ensure a higher accuracy in filling out tax returns.
Enter: eBIR Forms
What is eBIR?
In a nutshell, the eBIRForms Package is a computer software made by BIR which Filipinos can use to prepare their taxes. Instead of the manual process of completing forms (which has a high risk of error), the eBIR software allows users to enter their tax data as well as validate, calculate, save, edit, print, and submit their tax returns.
The highlight is the software’s ability to validate the data entered by the user, as it automatically calculates the information provided
Who needs eBIR Forms?
Taxpayers, employers, freelancers, and more—anyone who needs to accomplish their tax returns. The eBIR Form software contains 36 forms which covers all sorts of tax filing needs (see table below).
Here’s a quick list of individuals who need to use eBIR forms:
Accredited Tax Agents (ATA)
Real estate agents and real estate developers who are one-time transaction taxpayers
LGUs (Barangays are an exception)
Corporations reporting to the government
Accredited principal and secondary receipt/invoices printers
Cooperatives belonging to the government
People filing for a “No Payment Return” (they fall under business income or mixed income)
Registered National Electrification and Local Water Utilities Administration cooperatives
The following can manually file their “No Payment Returns” (exempted from eBIR forms mandate)
Persons with disabilities
Employees getting income from multiple employers
Qualified employees for substituted filing RR 2-98 Sec. 2.83.4, as amended (but chose to file their ITR for the following reasons: foreign travel requirements, loans, scholarship, etc.
eBIR Forms Coverage
The eBIR Forms software includes 36 BIR forms that covers the following regulations: Income Tax Returns, Excise Tax Forms, VAT Forms, Withholding Tax Forms, Documentary Stamp Tax Forms, Percentage Tax Forms, ONETT Forms, and Payment Forms.
It’s identification used by the Philippine Postal Corporation to document postal transactions local and abroad.
Where is it used?
The information reflected in it is used to confirm and verify the person’s address and personal information.
Who can apply for a Philippine Postal ID?
Any Filipino currently living in the Philippines or abroad (but was in the country during time of application).
Foreign residents are required to be living in the country at least 6 months prior to application.
What’s different with the new and improved Postal ID?
The security features on the latest Postal ID has been improved. Similar to other recently revamped government-issued IDs, it now boasts of several layers of protection and can even be verified using a smartphone app.
Key Features of the New Postal ID
Card features a security hologram of a mailman that is viewable at various angles
All information and biometrics of the ID holder are captured at the postal office only, ensuring all personal information are legit and valid.
The new postal IDs are printed at one main location to prevent duplication.
Using the Postal ID Verification app, you can scan the embedded QR code (similar to other regular smartphone apps) to verify the cardholder’s identity
The Automated Fingerprint Identification System is used to verify the person’s fingerprint by matching it with the one stored in its database
What is the validity of a Postal ID (and for how long)?
The Philippine Postal ID is valid for 3 years for Filipinos.
Foreigners currently residing in the country can use it for one year. For foreigners with Special Retiree Resident Visa, the validity is for 3 years.
New Postal ID Application Requirements
To apply for the new Postal ID, applicants need to present both an original and xerox copy of the following documents:
Duly accomplished Postal ID Application form
Proof of Identity (provide one of the following)
NSO or Local Civil Registry-issued Birth Certificate
Should the applicant cannot provide any of the above proof-of-identity requirements, they can instead submit any TWO of the following documents. One should bear the person’s signature and photo:
Voter’s ID, Tax ID, Senior Citizen ID, Seaman’s Book, Police Clearance, PRC ID, Philhealth ID, PAGIBIG ID, OWWA ID, NBI Clearance, Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID, Company ID, School ID, Marriage Certificate, Elementary or High School Form 137, Confirmation Certificate, Transcript of Records (College or Post Graduate), Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, BIR ID
Proof of Address (provide one of the following)
Utility Bill (Electric, Cable, Internet, Landline, etc)
Certified True Copy of Real Estate Tax receipt
Certified True Copy of Lease
Barangay Certificate of Residency (must be issued 3 months prior application for Postal ID)
Postal ID Requirements for Foreign Residents
Foreign residents who want to apply for a Postal ID will need to bring the following documents:
Duly accomplished Postal ID application form
Proof of Identity
Passport (must be issued at least 6 months prior application for Postal ID)
The following documents showing proof of stay in the Philippines (must be issued at least 6 months prior application for Postal ID)
Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV)
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
Long Stay Visitor Visa Extension (LSVVE)
Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card
Proof of Address
Utility Bill (Electric, Cable, Internet, Landline, etc)
Statement of Account from Hotel, temporary residence certificate (within 3 months of PID application)
Barangay Certificate of Residency temporary residence certificate (within 3 months of PID application)
For renewal or replacement of your Postal ID (w/o changes in biographic data), you need to provide the following:
2 Copies of completed Postal ID application form
Basic or Improved Postal ID card
In the event of loss or theft of Postal ID, you can request for a new one by submitting the following:
2 Copies of completed Postal ID application form
Notarized Affidavit of Loss
New Postal ID Application Fees
Here are the amounts you need to prepare when applying for a Postal ID.
Postal ID + Delivery
Total Postal ID Fee
For rush requests, the processing fee is 650 pesos.
Note that rush Postal ID requests can only be made on the following post office branches:
Manila Central Post Office (Liwasang Bonifacio, Intramuros)
Quezon City Central Post Office (NIA Rd., Brgy. Pinyahan, Diliman)
Makati Central Post Office (Gil Puyat cor. Ayala Ave., Malugay)
Parañaque Central Post Office (Ninoy Aquino Ave., Brgy. La Huerta)
Las Piñas Central Post Office (Las Piñas City Hall, Real cor. Pamplona St.)
Valenzuela Central Post Office (Valenzuela City Hall, Maysan St.)
How to Apply for a Postal ID (Application Process)
The entire process of Postal ID application is quick and easy and can be summarized into 3 main steps:
Bring and submit all required documents in the post office.
Get a copy of the application form and complete all required fields.
Upon submission of your documents, proceed to the nearest ID capture station so they can take your photo and fingerprint data. Pay all the necessary fees.
That’s all! You just need to wait for 15-20 working days for your new Postal ID to be delivered to your home address.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a rush application option (you can get the ID within the day or next business day) but you have to pay a bit extra.
How to Apply for a Postal ID Online
To be clear, it’s not really an online process per se. You merely have the option to download and complete the Postal ID application form in advance.
Upon downloading the form from here, complete the required fields and visit the nearest Post Office branch to complete the remaining steps (see above).
Postal ID Release and Delivery
Expect to receive your newly minted Postal ID in the following days:
Metro Manila – 15 working days
Other Major Cities and Municipalities – 20 working days
Island Provinces and Remove Barangays – 30 working days
What happens to your old (valid) Postal ID?
Your old ID will be honored as valid until it expires. If you present it before it expires and apply for a new PID, you’ll get a small discount:
Total (including delivery)
How to upgrade your old (valid) Postal ID into the new Postal ID card?
You just need to complete a PID application form and bring it to the nearest Post office along with your existing Postal ID.
Should you have any questions about the process you may reach out to PhilPost via the following numbers:
Other Helpful Information:
Even with the revamped Postal ID, you still can’t use it as a valid ID when applying for a passport.
The Postal ID Privilege Program works like other regular discount cards. You can avail of discounts and promos at any partner merchant when you present your Postal ID. You can check out the full list of partner merchants here
You can apply for the new PID at any post office branch
The Latin word, “Fidere”, which means “to trust” is where the word “Confidence” originated.
Self-confidence is trusting in oneself and in your ability to engage the world in an adequate and successful manner.
Let that sink in for a bit. To be self-confident is to be ready to take on life’s challenges and opportunities, and be responsible for the results whether good or bad. Confidence is the mindset we use to tackle “known” situations or circumstances that we encounter.
I say “known” because when we encounter a new or unknown situation and we’re unsure if we can do it, that’s when “Courage” comes in.
For example, if you were tasked by your manager to present the annual report to the board of trustees, your trust in your skills and abilities to do the job well is what you’ll need to succeed.
You know what to do, you just need the right combination of abilities and mindset to perform the task well. That’s self-confidence.
On the other hand, if the task above was given to you the first time—if you have completely zero ideas how to do it—then you’ll need the courage to take on the task first. It’s similar to when jumping off a cliff for the first time. You’ll need courage to do this new and unknown endeavor.
After a few jumps, you’ll gain self-confidence from the initial experience. You’re now in familiar or “known” territory.
To summarize, here’s our definition of self-confidence:
Belief in yourself that you can and deserve to succeed
You trust yourself to have the mindset and skills to succeed
Why is confidence so important?
Because confidence leads to action, and our actions lead us to success. Without confidence, we’re always hesitating, missing opportunities that would’ve otherwise have been perfect for us. Simply because we’re too scared to fail and lack the trust in ourselves.
Mindset (thoughts and beliefs) + Action (skills and abilities) = Confidence
Anything worth giving a shot in life requires confidence. Big or small, the results will vary greatly if you execute your action with confidence versus without it.
16 Ways to build and boost self-confidence
1. Don’t mind the external noise
Too often we hesitate on doing something simply because we’re too conscious of what other people might think. It’s that awful “Ano na lang sasabihin ng iba” mentality all too common among us Filipinos.
I remember asking a colleague why she wouldn’t take the Civil Service exam (she wanted to try a government post). Her answer, “Baka di ako pumasa e, ang dyahe naman nun”.
A few years later, she still hasn’t taken it, which meant she still can’t apply for government jobs. I’m pretty sure she can pass, in all honesty. But she didn’t share the same vision. It’s the fear of failing and made-up illusions of people talking about her flunking the exam that prevented her from getting what she wanted.
Real talk: People don’t give a damn about what we do as much as we think we do. Each one is too busy minding their own lives, too busy being conscious about themselves. We should not fall into the same trap. We should be busy cultivating our skills and talents, taking risks, grabbing opportunities, winning and losing—with little care about what others might think.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to control where your life is headed. If you’re too scared of failing and taking risks because of what other people will say, then you’ve essentially handed over the reins of your life to others, rendering you motionless and stuck along with them.
But don’t take my word for it, take it from one of America’s most influential leaders, Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote this famous piece:
The Man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Fun fact: NBA superstar Lebron James writes the title of this piece on his shoes every game.
Whether it’s dressing up nicely, minding your manners, having a positive demeanor in general, etc., it’s important that we give effort into looking like the best version of ourselves. The way you see yourself plays a big role in how others perceive you.
Why do you think people call it “power dressing” when someone wears formal/corporate attire? Because it helps the wearer feel more confident and powerful. It’s one of the tricks you can employ to summon confidence at work.
We feel good when we look good. And feeling good about ourselves is one important element of confidence. Here are some quick tips you can easily implement ASAP:
Take pride in your work. How you think and feel about what you do sends a strong message to the people around you.
Shed old, limiting beliefs. Have the courage to take the next step towards your goals.
Employ the mindset of successful people. Learn how they do it. Read books and articles about them.
3. Be Grateful
Gratitude brings forth numerous scientifically-proven benefits to everyone. It enhances our empathy, reduces aggression, improves psychological and physical health, opens the door to meaningful relationships, and improves our self-esteem.
Rather than express our grief and bitterness over things that you don’t have, why not be thankful for the things you already have?
If you feel bad not getting that promotion, pause for a bit and reflect. Assess the reasons why you didn’t get it, adapt and improve, then try again.
Just think of the thousands of people out there who would kill to get your job. Be grateful for having a healthy mind and body, there are millions of people not blessed with the same. Before you feel envious of your neighbor’s large house, think of the hundreds of people who don’t even have roofs over their heads.
Am I saying it’s wrong to feel bad and want better stuff and experiences? Absolutely not. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have the finer things in life. Just don’t be bitter if you can’t get them right away.
Do it for the right reasons. Be happy for those who have what you desire, then do your best to achieve the same. Be thankful for each day that you are given, for it’s another chance to prove yourself and enjoy life.
4. Harness the power of positivity
This is not about being overly hopeful and abnormally positive about everything. It’s about having the right attitude and outlook on the things that you do.
A person waking up and telling himself, “Oh man, another day”, in a bored or worried tone will likely be less productive and satisfied at work compared to someone who woke up and said, “Yes, another day! One more chance to prove myself and reach my goals”.
Energy thrives on a positive mindset. That state of “flow” wherein everything “just clicks” will never happen if you’re in a negative, low-energy state.
And this positivity and energy will reflect in your person’s aura. People notice it. And it’s a great confidence booster.
“What’s on the other side of fear? Nothing.” – Jamie Foxx
In the book, “The Magic of Thinking Big”, author David Schwartz shared two steps on how we can conquer our fears:
Identify and isolate the thing you’re afraid of.
Determine what you need to do to overcome that fear
He suggests that we take action and be decisive, as hesitation only makes fear greater. If you think about it, fear exists only in our heads. Two people can look at one relatively safe activity (wall climbing, skateboarding, mountain climbing, etc.,) but have completely opposing views about it. One might consider trying it while the other might dismiss the idea simply because his fear got the better of him.
I’m not saying you go be a daredevil and try out stuff that scares you. While that may have its pros, it’s simply not doable for everyone. And that’s fine, really. In the topic of self-confidence, mastering fear is really all about identifying your fear and coming up with ways to manage it.
If you think “being brave”, “determination”, or “willpower” is the answer—think again. Sure, they are useful, but it doesn’t really provide you with specific steps on how to effectively manage your fear. God knows it didn’t help me when a friend shouted, “Kaya mo yan pre!” the first time I tried to park my car at our office when I was a newbie driver.
I shouted back, “Pumunta ka kaya dito, silipin mo kung tatama!”
My point is this: More often than not, we can overcome most of our fears by being logical about it. The key is to identify the actual thing that scares you about something, then ask yourself which steps to take to finish the deed.
6. Get to know yourself
What are your strengths? Your weaknesses, areas for improvement? What are you good at, what do you love doing, what gets you excited?
Because only when we know who we truly are do we actually start our journey towards our life’s fulfillment.
As Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.
7. Get rid of Excusitis
“Parang uulan, bukas na nga lang ako magjo-jogging”.
“Di ako nag-volunteer mag-report, konti lang alam ko sa Excel e.”
“Ayoko mag-business, di naman ako business/entrepreneur-person”.
“Di muna ko mag-aapply sa promotion, baka di ko kaya yung position”.
Ever felt regret over something you failed to have or achieve simply because you didn’t give it your 100% effort?
It happens to the best of us. It’s hard to admit it, but none of us are immune to “Excusitis”. It’s a “sickness” that pops up every once in a while, and unfortunately, too often for some. It’s when we look for excuses to not do something, placing the blame to some mundane or external reason.
The most successful people I know and have heard of are the ones who are immune to excusitis. Take, for example, people with a rags-to-riches story. It would’ve been easy (even understandable) for them not to dream big and reach for their dreams simply because they were born into unfortunate circumstances.
But they didn’t let their situation decide how they will live their lives. Instead, they summoned tremendous discipline, hard work, faith, and grit—to overcome their challenges and become the successful people they are now.
8. Turn defeat into victory
Oprah was once fired as a TV reporter because she was, “unfit for TV”. Steve Jobs got kicked out of the company he built. Colonel Sanders endured several hundred “No”s before eventually finding success with Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Did you know that His Airness, Michael Jordan, did not make it into the varsity team when he was a sophomore? And J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, was living on welfare while she was raising her child (as a single parent) when she was writing the first few chapters of the worldwide bestseller.
These are titans of their own respective fields. But each one had their own struggles and hardships before finding success, they knew defeat was not the end of the road.
It was merely a roadblock towards their goals. And with each roadblock they overcome they became stronger and wiser. Until they finally reached the finish line.
9. Focus on the solution, not on the problem
“What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny”, says leadership expert and bestselling author Robin Sharma.
The quote reminds us that we should focus our efforts on solving the problem, not merely thinking about it. Otherwise, we’ll remain stuck in a loop, forever in a bind of what-ifs and what-could’ve-beens. These are the people you know who never seem to live in the present, always mumbling, “If only I did (insert action that they failed to do)”, ”If only I didn’t lose my job”, “It should’ve been me who got that promotion”, and more.
What these people don’t realize is that dwelling on the problem isn’t gonna make it go away. Identifying solutions and taking the necessary steps towards fixing it do.
10. Start small
Every start of the year we make resolutions that almost always never sticks. Why? Because often, we make grand promises, going all out, our willpower driving us towards completing these big goals. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, in reality, we’re setting up ourselves for failure. How exactly, you ask?
Because a goal too big requires a tremendous amount of commitment, discipline, and hard work. And unless we’re up to it, we’re only bound to hit the fence just a little while after starting our grand endeavor.
Say your goal is to climb the country’s tallest mountain. Will you give it a go right away? Of course not, you’ll “practice” on smaller ones and gradually “level-up” until you have the necessary skills and experience to climb the highest peak.
And this applies to many of the ambitions we have on life. Progress is a great motivator. By starting small, we get “small wins” which progresses towards loftier successes. The momentum from these wins will help us get to our biggest goal.
11. Think Big
Thinking big means not being afraid to go beyond our comfort zone. To be unafraid of hitting your highest potential.
Say you have a side hustle of selling electronic stuff online. After a few months, you realize it’s getting you more income than you imagined. And while the idea of expanding is exciting, it also scares you, because you’re getting into unfamiliar territory, one that requires more effort and commitment. Same goes for applying for a promotion, switching to a more lucrative job, or dreaming of owning a house.
Will you go for it? Well, if you’ll follow the words of some of the famous personalities we’ve mentioned here… you should.
Ray Croc had a lofty ambition of having the McDonald brothers’ burger joint in every corner of America (and later on, the world). Socorro “Coring” Ramos went through several setbacks in her quest to build National Bookstore. The late Henry Sy Sr. went from a lowly shoe boy to owning the biggest shoe store in the country.
And even if you don’t find success, what’s important is that you had the courage to take on the challenges. They will mold and develop you into a better, wiser version of yourself. So that the next time you give it a go, you’ll have better chances of reaching your goals.
Norman Vincent Peale, best-selling author and one of the pioneers in the study of positive thinking in America once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.
Aside from making you look more confident, smiling triggers the movement of the muscles on our face, the action leading to a release of endorphins, known “feel-good” chemicals in the body that reduces our stress levels and help us feel more positive.
Plus, it makes us more approachable.
13. Speak clearly and deliberately
Knowing how to communicate and present ourselves well is a key trait of confident people.
Think about that one confident person you know, for example. Recall how they talk and communicate their ideas.
How they seem to grab your attention and make you want to listen to every word they say. That’s the magic of knowing how to speak and express ourselves well.
Develop your communication skills, both verbal and written. It’s a useful ability to have both in your personal and professional life.
14. Be genuinely interested in what other people say
Greet people with enthusiasm. Listen to their stories. Empathize. Say their name often. Be sincere and make them feel important.
Why do this? Because people will connect better with you if they see your genuine interest to what they say. They will open up more, respond to you more seriously, and you’ll have better chances of gaining their trust.
And while you might have opposing views, you will gain their respect simply because you showed that you were sincere and willing to listen.
15. Keep a journal
The benefits of keeping a journal or keeping track of your life’s daily goings are numerous.
Aside from making sure you stay within the course of your goals and targets, listing down the things that happened in your day helps you become a more mindful person. It can help you focus on the good things, letting you appreciate all the things that life has to offer.
Writing down your thoughts also aligns with the “Progress Principle”, one that states that making progress in meaningful work is one of life’s best motivators.
16. Do one uncomfortable thing every day
“If it’s uncomfortable, you’re growing”, says serial entrepreneur and CEO of Sumo (an online company) Noah Kagan. He was also employee #30 at Facebook before he found his own company.
He once challenged his friend, best-selling author, and popular blogger James Altucher, to ask for a 10% discount at a coffee shop.
And while it may sound easy, actually doing it is harder than you might think.
James went ahead with the challenge, which of course was very uncomfortable to do. He was rejected, yes, but for some weird reason, he felt good afterward.
“I had my coffee and didn’t think much about it. But then when I left it sounds like a cliche but I literally felt the sunshine slightly burning my face. It was comforting. The air touching me.”
“Going outside the comfort zone put me in THE ZONE. THE ZONE is much bigger than the comfort zone. I want to live in the ZONE even though it’s scarier.”
The goal is not to succeed, it’s to learn to not be afraid of rejection. To build a strong mental foundation and develop a more rejection-resistant mindset.
Because as we’ve mentioned earlier, fear will stop you from achieving your true potential. The exercise of doing things that scare you or make you anxious is one way of developing your mental muscles, so you can look at fear straight into its eyes and not flinch.
I’ve always thought that some people are simply more disciplined and focused than me.
In my last “normal” job, the first two hours were my most productive. After lunch (the dreaded “siesta time”), I groggily sifted through new tasks, voicemails, and emails from clients.
More often than I’d like to admit, I’m pretty much on doze mode around this time. Productivity will only start to pick up again around the last two hours of my shift depending on the amount of work I had to finish.
Sometimes, I felt guilty not being able to sustain my productivity at work. I wondered why some colleagues don’t seem to experience the same kind of struggle.
Was it really because they were more “masipag” than me? More disciplined? Were they really impervious to good old, “siesta time”?
I’ll be honest, I really wanted to get the most out of my days. To be as productive as I can possibly be. I tried numerous tips and techniques over the years. A couple of ones stuck but I generally slipped back to old habits.
No matter how much I try, I can’t recreate that same level of intensity and focus I produce during my peak hours. On most days this is fine and all, though I genuinely wished to improve to squeeze out “more productivity” from each minute.
In the last few years, I’ve come across several interesting studies on the subject. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what productivity really is all about and what we can do to achieve peak performance as regularly as possible.
“Productivity hinges on mental energy, a sense of motivation, alertness, and buoyancy.”
These 4 factors (mental energy, motivation, alertness, buoyancy) play an important role in achieving peak productivity.
We’ve all had days when we were a “machine” in terms of output. We felt that surge of energy and motivation and it sustained us to plow through all tasks.
The feeling afterward? Absolute satisfaction.
Some people might recognize this state as “Flow” (made popular by the book of the same name by Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). And while it’s not exactly productivity per se, it’s one critical element for achieving a productive state.
It’s the “sense of motivation and buoyancy (buoyancy being defined as an optimistic, cheerful disposition)” that was mentioned earlier.
As humans, that’s where our focus on the topic of productivity should be. To know and be aware of the stuff that can help us trigger that productive mode. To truly understand what makes us tick and what doesn’t.
On the next section, we’ll look at productivity beyond its usual definition and see how some of the most productive and successful people take control of it.
Habits of Productive People
At one point of his career as a filmmaker, Casey Neistat shot, edited and posted one YouTube video—Every. Single. Day.
Ask anyone who produces content for YouTube and I’m pretty sure they’ll tell you that maintaining a daily vlog demands too much from the creators’ time, energy and resources.
Heck, even coming up with a couple of hundred of words a day for an article can be a hardship for me sometimes. And I’m just in front of the computer.
To know that someone shoots video, edits them, and posts them daily on a consistent basis (they’re high-quality videos too if I may say) is absolutely awe-inspiring.
In the book, “Tools of Titans”, Casey shared his schedule during this ultra-prolific period of his career.
4:30 AM – 7:00 AM – Wake up to finish vlog edit from the night before
7:00 AM- 7:45 AM- Process, upload, design final video
8:00 AM – Video goes live on YouTube
8:00 AM-ish – Go for a run or hit the gym
9:30 AM – 6:30 PM – Work at the office (he’s the CEO)
6:30 PM – Hurries home to give his baby a bath
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM – Spend time with family
9:00 PM until he sleeps – Edit some more video
I know what you’re thinking—the man’s a machine. I can’t help but be impressed with his work ethic and passion for what he does.
On a productivity standpoint, few will be able to match his diligence and output.
But is this what being productive truly means? To squeeze in as much work as you can within a limited scope of time?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at the routine of someone who is also known for his prolific output but doesn’t actually work the whole day.
This person who is basically a household name when it comes to horror and suspense books: Stephen King.
In an interview conducted by Game of Thrones author George R.R Martin, King revealed how many pages per day he can write:
Martin: How the f@!% do you write so many books so fast? I think, “Oh, I’ve had a really good six months, I’ve finished three chapters.” And you’ve finished three books in that time.
King: …When I’m working I work every day — three, four hours, and I try to get those six pages, and I try to get them fairly clean. So if the manuscript is, let’s say, 360 pages long, that’s basically two months work. … But that’s assuming it goes well.
Martin: And you do hit six pages a day?
King: I usually do.
In the world of writing, few can beat the prolificness of Stephen King. As of this time, King has written 59 novels, 6 non-fiction, and 200 short stories.
At the ripe old age of 71, it will appear that he can write at least one book a year.
And any good and well-established author will tell you that writing at such a high level of quality and pace is absolutely impressive (for context, George R.R Martin has written 22 novels so far).
As someone who currently writes for a living, I’m amazed at the consistency and discipline of King. Because while he doesn’t have the brutal schedule of a Casey Neistat or a Gary Vaynerchuk (another “go hustle” guy), no one can argue that the King of Horror (pun intended) is one of the most productive writers of all time.
So what does King do after hitting his 6-page quota? Recalling what I read from his excellent memoir, “On Writing”, he spends the rest of the day mostly reading, spending time with family, and watching baseball games on TV.
If Stephen King considers writing 6-pages as a measure of a productive day, to Warren Buffett (once hailed as the world’s richest person), it is reading 500 pages of books and other material. CNBC reports that the “Oracle of Omaha” spends 80% of his day reading.
You might be thinking: “500 pages of reading per day? That’s ridiculous!”
My response: Depends on how you look at it. His job is to analyze and make investment decisions after all, so it does make sense that he fills his brain with as much data as he can to make solid investment choices.
To normal, regular Joes and Janes like most of us, his routine might seem weird, amusing even. How the heck did he become rich by simply reading?
Exactly what he read and how he applied it we’ll never know, but you can’t argue with his results.
In fact, his best bud and fellow billionaire Bill Gates also read a ton (1-2 books a week) and goes on a “Think Week” twice a year, spending 7 days completely disconnected in a secret forest hideout to reflect and think about important matters and do lots of reading.
Three completely different people. Three absolutely different routines. Each one a master at their own craft. One unifying trait: Each one has their own unique way of being ultra-productive in their own respective fields.
This highlights the fact that what other people consider a productive day is vastly different from what you and I perceive as one.
And this to me is the most interesting and important thing to consider when trying to deconstruct productivity.
If you think about it, it all boils down to two steps:
Identify the tasks and type of work that directly affect your main responsibilities and goals.
Simple enough, eh?
True—but as with most great things we want to accomplish in life, the idea is simple, but the execution is not easy.
Sure it can be easy to set goals and write down to-do lists but it’s the “doing” part where most of us struggle.
So how do we cope? What can we do to combat procrastination and its minions? Are there ways to optimize our days for maximum productivity?
On the next section, we’ll look at some of the most widely recognized productivity tips and how some well-known individuals incorporate it into their lives. Hopefully, you can pick up a tip or two that will give your productivity a much-needed boost.
16 Tips, Hacks, and Ways on How to Become More Productive at Work and Life
1. Make lists
When not tidying things up, Japanese author and Organizational Guru Marie Kondo uses lists to tackle the day’s to-dos.
In one interview she said, “I make a very detailed to-do list … I usually start with the ones that can be finished easily, without much thinking. I do one thing at a time and then move on to the next thing. For tasks that require more thought, like writing an article or newsletter, I’ll block out time in advance. Things like writing articles and talking to the media, I do myself. I leave the day-to-day back and forth, like responding to online requests, et cetera, to my team.”
Her answer is also parallel with some of the popular productivity hacks: time blocking, delegating tasks, and “Get Things Done” 2-minute rule (do easy tasks first that take less than 2 minutes). She also takes plenty of tea breaks, always making a cup after finishing a task or whenever she starts to feel tired.
2. Take the first step and go one at a time
Anne Lamott’s wonderful “Bird by Bird” shared a memory from her childhood when her brother was in tears in their kitchen table, overwhelmed by a school project. His task? To write about various types of birds. It was due the next day. Her father walked in and put his arm around his brother’s shoulder and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird”.
From a productivity standpoint, this scenario strikes a chord with what most of us feel whenever we begin or plan to take on a task or a project, whether personal or at work: Anxiety.
That feeling of dread when we think about the amount of stuff we need to do to complete the entire thing. To me, it’s one heck of a kryptonite. When tasked to finish an article like this one, I can’t help but feel a wee bit of overwhelm seep into my bones and seem to paralyze my fingers.
How should I start? What’s my angle? How many words will it take? When can I finish this? This and other questions pop up as I stare at the blank Google Docs screen.
However, I’ve since learned to accept that this is absolutely normal. It’s that “lizard brain” of ours acting on instinct, taking over the reins of our emotions and handing it over to its favorite jockey, Mr. Worry.
After that initial feeling of anxiety and hesitation, I remind myself of that Nike slogan and go at it like a bricklayer placing the first piece of block in its place.
It’s funny how I sometimes build up worry in my head only to find out later that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. By identifying the first step and doing it, I’ve conquered the initial anxiety of writing a long piece.
Eventually, you’ll gather momentum until you hit the “Flow”.
3. Tame that Monkey
Tim Urban’s piece, “Why Procrastinators Procrastinate”, is my favorite explanation of how a procrastinator’s brain works when are presented with a new task. In a nutshell, Urban reveals that a non-procrastinator’s brain is driven by a “Rational Decision Maker”—a logical-thinking pilot who knows how to prioritize and think long term.
Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban - YouTube
A procrastinator’s brain, on the other hand, also has its own Rational Decision Maker—but it has a co-pilot—the Instant Gratification Monkey.
When the Rational Decision Maker says, “Alright, time to finish that report!”, the Instant Gratification Monkey tugs on his shirt and says, “Before you do that, let’s check the latest NBA scores first. After that, let’s open YouTube to check out that new smartphone which has 10 cameras in it.
Two hours and 17 YouTube videos later, you realize it’s lunchtime and decide to do the report in the evening instead.
And while it sounds cute to have an imaginary pet monkey inside our brains, they bring nothing but problems to our productivity.
The second part of Urban’s piece reveals that in order to combat procrastination, you should have clearly defined next steps (which I first read in David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”) and resist the monkey’s attempts to disrupt your attention.
By being aware of what’s going on inside your brain when you’re about to engage a new task, you’ll (hopefully) realize that it’s really within our power and control to stop procrastination dead in its tracks.
4. Eat that frog
In my previous job, I’ve always dreaded calling my client and having them do something urgent about their retirement plan. These folks are company owners, CEOs, and managers—they run a tight ship and hate getting bothered (and are not shy about letting you know about it). Plus, New Yorkers are a busier bunch compared to folks from other states.
So should an unfortunate thing happen (whether it’s their employees’ fault or ours) and I need to let them know, I get really anxious about it. The feeling starts to creep in as I sit down and start my day. “Oh boy, I have to call John today and tell him about the thing.” I remember making all sorts of excuses to myself to delay the inevitable call, doing all sorts of tasks (usually not urgent) simply to avoid an uncomfortable discussion.
This continues until after lunch, until I can delay it no longer. At some point in the conversation they will sometimes say, “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?” My avoidance of the inevitable almost always leads to even more problems.
Productivity expert and author Brian Tracy recommends this solution: “Eat that frog!”.
It’s based from a quote made by Mark Twain who said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
By doing the most difficult and important thing first, you’re setting yourself up for a truly productive day. No matter how the day ends, you can rest assured that you did the most crucial task in your list. It can be something that will really move a project forward, or a critical step that will let you inch closer towards your goals.
5. Eisenhower Matrix
Made popular by US President Dwight Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Matrix is essentially a chart showing how tasks should be categorized.
It helps you decide and determine which task to prioritize by urgency and importance. The goal is to put emphasis and focus on urgent and important tasks, schedule the important but not urgent ones, and either delegate or ignore those which do not fall under the first two categories.
When faced with a list of things to do, we tend to pick the ones which are easy. While not really bad per se, it increases the tendency to postpone doing the truly important matters first. To combat this, use the Eisenhower Matrix to identify high-priority tasks then apply the “Eat that Frog” rule.
6. Use the Pomodoro Technique
One of the best productivity hacks that I’ve stuck with over the years is the Pomodoro technique. Its name literally means “tomato” in Italian, because it was based on those kitchen timers that looked like tomatoes.
The gist is that when under a certain time pressure, we heighten our focus and increase our effectiveness. You utilize this artificial pressure to get in the zone and get in the flow. The idea is no different from the countdown timers on quiz shows on TV. Like, will you really think about your unpaid Meralco bill if you have to answer the 1-million peso question in 10 seconds?
To use this technique, you just set a timer (20 mins in my case) then do nothing but work for that period of time. When the alarm rings, take a 5-min break.
Rinse and repeat.
I usually take a longer 30 minutes to an hour break after around 4 Pomodoros (one 20-minute set is equivalent to one Pomodoro).
Before you say anything, I say you try it first. With the right mindset, this could dramatically boost your output especially if you’re someone like me who easily gets distracted and can’t seem to focus easily like others.
Gene Schwartz, a legend among copywriters, does a similar approach, though it isn’t as regimented as the Pomodoro technique. He sits down, sets the clock for 33:33, and works until the alarm rings.
He allows himself to do anything he wants, the only rule is that he doesn’t leave his chair. Sometimes, he admits, he just sits in front of the alarm until he gets so bored he proceeds to write.
7. Apply the Pareto Law
Also popularly known as the 80/20 rule. This one stresses the importance of identifying the area in your work that you should really be focusing on and applying effort into.
For example, let’s say you decide to sell electronic gadgets and accessories online. After a month in operation, you noticed that your sales of Bluetooth earphones dwarfed those of your other products by a mile.
The demand is great, you feel like you’ve hit some kind of niche among your customers. In this situation, it’s a no-brainer to increase your stocks of Bluetooth earphones and minimize (or even eliminate) your other wares that don’t sell well.
You also focus your online marketing on your best seller, increasing its promotion and doing all sorts of advertising to get more eyeballs into your product. It only makes sense, after all.
Why waste money and time on other products when you already know what people want?
This is the 80/20 rule in action. In our example, you identified which product (20% of your total lineup) brought 80% of the sales. Once identified, you gave it focus in order to increase your sales.
The Pareto law teaches us to identify these imbalances in our lives and think of ways to utilize and profit from them.
At work, determine which tasks take much of your time but actually make up only a small part of your big goals.
Look for ways to optimize your actions or schedule your day so you can get the same results using less effort and time.
8. Go with Plan B (a.k.a something productive to do)
“Magdala ka ng payong baka umulan”. Not wanting to look for the damn umbrella (I always misplace it), I ignore the advice and go out with nothing else but..
“All speech is vain and empty unless it be accompanied by action.”
What drives you?
What motivates you to a point that you’re willing to do anything for your cause?
If you’ll ask the greatest Greek orator of all time, Demosthenes, the answer is payback.
Demosthenes was born into a wealthy family. Unfortunately, his parents died when he was but a kid.
And just like your classic telenovela plot, his aunts and uncles found a way to get all his riches, leaving poor Demosthenes to fend for himself at a young age.
As a young kid, Demosthenes was frail and sickly. He was denied of the customary gymnastic education because of this.
He didn’t have the strength to work hard labor like others, nor did he have the talent to entertain people.
Life has been hell since his parents passed away.
But just like the underdog hero we root for in movies, giving up wasn’t a choice. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he used his misfortune as fuel to pursue justice.
To claim back what was rightfully his.
In order to win the case against his guardians, Demosthenes started to learn rhetoric. Back then you can act as your own lawyer, present your case through speeches and convince the jury of the people to take your side of the argument.
However, he was never great at speaking. He lacked the confidence. Worse, he had a speech impediment. According to Plutarch, Demosthenes had “an inarticulate and stammering pronunciation” that disrupted his normal speech.
Can you imagine someone trying to become a speaker who can’t even pronounce words clearly? That’s like asking someone to play the guitar using his feet.
The fire of vengeance and justice in his heart was too great, however, that no amount of challenge is enough to stop him from realizing his goal.
Aside from learning a great deal about the law as a logographer (he wrote speeches for private legal suits), he also vowed to improve his speaking skills. He was so intent in doing this that in fact, he shaved off half of his head so that he’ll be too embarrassed to go out and procrastinate.
He locked himself in an underground study and practiced speaking in front of a large mirror.
To strengthen his lungs, he recited verses while running.
To get more power in his voice, he spoke over the roar of the waves by the seashore.
To overcome his speech problems, he swallowed rocks and practiced speaking with them.
Now I don’t know about you, but if a man swallowing rocks to conquer his speech problems is not a sign of motivation, I don’t know what is.
Back to Demosthenes:
At the age of 20, he finally filed suit against the relatives who stole his wealth. Through the wisdom he gained through his occupation and his newfound oratory skills, he and won the case and succeeded in retrieving a portion of his inheritance.
But while he achieved the justice he rightfully deserved, it was just but the beginning of his marvelous journey towards becoming one of Athens’ most inspirational speaker.
His voice mobilized the country against some of its greatest enemies.
He would go down in history as Greece’s most powerful orator.
A quick look online yields the result: “The reason for people’s actions, willingness, and goals”.
Pretty much sums up how everyone interprets it. But is motivation really that simple?
This is exactly what author Dan Pink wanted to find out when he wrote his best-selling book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”
He explains that there are 3 types of motivation:
Motivation 1.0 – The drive to satisfy basic needs: Food, shelter, and security. We work to satisfy these elements.
Motivation 2.0 – Rewards and Punishment style. The so-called, Carrot & Stick method. “Next person to finish the job in an hour gets free lunch!”
Motivation 3.0 – Presumes our need to create, grow in knowledge and improve our world.
In Demosthenes’ case, his drive to get better in order to get justice and improve his world (and later, others) serves as a perfect example of Motivation 3.0.
But does this mean that Motivation 1.0 and 2.0 are useless? Absolutely not.
Each type serves its own purpose, each one has its own pros and cons. And in order to understand this better, we need to know about the 2 main types of tasks:
Routine tasks. A job that requires a fixed set of instructions. The results and goals are known even before the task get started. Stuff like going to the gym, finishing a report, and washing the dishes are some examples.
Tasks that require a higher level of thought and creativity because it can’t be accomplished by following a set of steps or rules. Finding the cure for cancer, writing the next great novel, coding an app, creating artwork—are some examples.
Motivation 2.0 works well with Algorithmic type of tasks. Here’s an example.
My wife asked me to buy some groceries the other day. Feeling lazy, I told her I’ll do it the next day. In response, she threw a Motivation 2.0 curveball:
“Diba kahapon ka pa nagcra-crave sa macaroni salad? Meron dun malapit sa bandang fruits and vegetables.”
With my taste buds excited, I gave in. I’m the donkey and the damn macaroni salad was my carrot.
And that’s how extrinsic goals work in Motivation 2.0.
However, it can be dangerous when applied to Heuristic tasks because of the following reasons:
May promote cheating and shortcuts
Encourages short-term thinking
Reduce performance and quality of work
Kill intrinsic motivation (internal)
Prevent creativity from flourishing
Think about it: If the boss always used rewards to motivate people, how do you think they will respond to new tasks when there’s no bonus involved?
“No thanks, that’s just additional work for me”
“Why the heck would I want to do that? What’s in it for me?”
If you’re that boss, receiving these types of responses hurts. It sucks. However, you’re also to blame for their attitude. By always promising a reward when they finish a task, you conditioned them to operate only when there’s a prize involved. Which shouldn’t be the case all the time.
Research showed that high performance can’t be triggered by external goals. Instead, it comes from Motivation 3.0—our core desire to be the master of our own lives and live with purpose and meaning.
When Demosthenes swallowed rocks to combat his speech problems, do you think he did it for the money?
Nope, I don’t think so. Sure it may have been a factor, but I would argue that it was his burning desire for justice that ultimately drove him to take extreme measures to improve himself.
He was a logographer, after all, there was money in his profession. If all he wanted was to become rich, he was already on the right path. Why go through all the trouble of learning how to be a great speaker?
Because as the story showed us, his desire to bring his corrupt relatives to justice and take back what was rightfully his was his ultimate motivation to transform himself.
Intrinsic goals are the pillars of true motivation.
Dan Pink identified 3 factors that need to be satisfied in order to achieve a Motivation 3.0 mindset. They are:
Autonomy – Ability to direct our own lives and choose our own actions.
Mastery – The desire to get better and improve our lives.
Purpose – The desire to do something bigger than ourselves. To become of service to others.
When we’re operating based on these 3 desires, good things happen.
Obstacles crumble. Our paths become clear. Suddenly, we’re unstoppable.
This, my friend, is what real motivation is all about.
During one of his stand-ups, comedian Dave Chappelle shared that he has a cookie jar at home filled with punch lines. Sometimes, he said, he’ll pull out one and challenge himself to come up with a joke that can make use of that punchline.
The following is my own take on Chappelle’s cookie jar. But instead of jokes, I’m filling it with a hundred of the best quotes to inspire and motivate you. Think of these as little nuggets of wisdom to give you that extra nudge on those days when you’re feeling down and weary.
Hopefully, it inspires you and makes your day a wee bit better.
100+ Inspirational Motivational Quotes:
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. ― Robert F. Kennedy
If plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters. – Chris Guillebeau
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out. – John Wooden
If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. – Jim Rohn
The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. – Bruce Lee
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. ― Paulo Coelho
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
I never dreamed about success. I worked for it. – Estee Lauder
Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning. – Robert Kiyosaki
You cannot afford to live in potential for the rest of your life; at some point, you have to unleash the potential and make your move. – Eric Thomas
If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it! – Jonathan Winters
The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do. – Swati Sharma
It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele
Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed. – Bob Riley
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. – C.S. Lewis
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie
You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events. – Joel Osteen
Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. – Og Mandino
It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs. – Jillian Michaels
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. – Francis of Assisi
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius
When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there. – Zig Ziglar
The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. – Michelangelo
If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles. – Wayne Dyer
The secret of change Is to focus all of your Energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new – Socrates
Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now. – Denis Waitley
Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself. – P. T. Barnum
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou
It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. — Aristotle Onassis
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. – Steve Jobs
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. – Mahatma Gandhi
I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. – Florence Nightingale
If we have the attitude that it is going to be a great day it usually is. – Catherine Pulsifer, Og Mandino
Good things happen to those who hustle. – Anais Nin
The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately. – Unknown
Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire. – Patti Smith
Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand. – Oprah Winfrey
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? – Sheryl Sandberg
It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old. They grow old because they stop pursuing dreams. – Gabriel García Márquez
I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count. – Muhammad Ali
You gotta run more than your mouth to escape the treadmill of mediocrity. A true hustler jogs during the day, and sleepwalks at night. – Jarod Kintz
You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic. – Stephen C. Hogan
What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us. – Julia Cameron
Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes. – Zig Ziglar
The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up. – Robert Tew
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – Arthur Ashe
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined! – Thoreau
Don’t think about your errors or failures; otherwise, you’ll never do a thing. – Bill Murray
Many people think they want things, but they don’t really have the strength, the discipline. They are weak. I believe that you get what you want, if you want it badly enough. – Sophia Loren
Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of standing still. – Chinese proverb
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. – John Wayne
Persist – don’t take no for an answer. If you’re happy to sit at your desk and not take any risk, you’ll be sitting at your desk for the next 20 years. – David Rubenstein
It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Mine’s a pretty simple strategy: there’s not a lot of talent here, but there’s a lot of hustle. I have to be in every place I can, and be busy. – Ryan Seacrest
Opportunities don’t happen. You create them – Chris Grosser
The hustle brings the dollar. The experience brings the knowledge. The persistence brings success. – Ross Simmonds
If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill
Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. – John D. Rockefeller
He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him. – Dutch proverb
Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen. – Michael Jordan
The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there. – Vince Lombardi
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. – Theodore Roosevelt
When I was young, I observed that 9 out of 10 things I did were failures. So I did 10 times more work. – George Bernard Shaw
Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. – William James
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. – Stephen King
Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success. – Swami Sivananda
The best revenge is massive success. – Frank Sinatra
If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success. – James Cameron
Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed. – Abraham Lincoln
The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way. – Dale Carnegie
Invest in your dreams. Grind now. Shine later. – Unknown
I’d rather hustle 24/7 than slave away 9-to-5. – Fat Joe
It’s simple arithmetic: Your income can grow only to the extent that you do. – T. Harv Eker
The trouble for most people is they don’t decide to get wealthy, they just dream about it. – Michael Masters
Hustle until you no longer need to introduce yourself. – Anonymous
It always seems impossible until it’s done – Nelson Mandela
What’s on the other side of fear? Nothing. – Jamie Foxx
A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one. – Mary Kay
Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future. – Charles Kettering
It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult. – Seneca
I read somewhere that if you pray for rain. . . don’t complain about the mud! – Hyacinth Mottley
There’s a positive side to any situation, even if you don’t see it right away. – Nealey Stapleton
A problem is a chance for you to do your best. – Duke Ellington
I aspire to inspire before I expire. –Pravinee Hurbungs
Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and..
Did you know that half of small businesses fail in their first four years? Planning is such a crucial step to reducing the risks of managing an enterprise. Turn your business idea from something abstract and uncertain into a successful venture. It starts with drafting a good business plan.
Here’s your definitive guide to writing a business plan that speaks for itself.
A business plan is a written document that details what a business is, what direction it will take, and how you’ll get it there.
Practically speaking, the business plan evaluates your business’ viability. As the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) puts it, the document allows entrepreneurs to find out whether or not their business idea will bring in more money than how much it costs to start and run it.
More than just a document, the business plan helps business owners to figure out the key aspects of an enterprise, including the following:
Business goals and strategies to meet them
Competitive edge and how to leverage it
Potential problems and how to solve them
Funding required to start the business
Equipment, facilities, and manpower needed for operations
Who Needs a Business Plan and What Is It Used For?
Every aspiring entrepreneur who will spend a great amount of money, time, and energy to earn a profit needs a business plan.
Business planning is a crucial part of starting an entrepreneurial journey, no matter how small or big a business is. Never skip this step—as they say, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Here are some examples of business types that benefit much from business planning:
Founders of startup businesses seek funds to begin their new venture. Business plans help them persuade investors and lenders to provide the funding they need.
For startups, a business plan explains the nature of the new venture, how it will achieve its goals, and why the founders are the best people to lead the company. The startup business plan should also specify the capital needed to jumpstart the new business.
Not only do startups gain advantage from a business plan—existing enterprises need it, too.
But business plans for growing businesses serve a different purpose. Usually, a business plan helps a middle-stage business raise funds for additional facilities, equipment, manpower, and others needed for expansion. This document also defines strategies for growth and allocates resources based on strategic priorities.
Growing businesses also use business plans to communicate their vision to various stakeholders such as customers, business partners, potential investors and lenders, employees, and suppliers.
For such needs, a business plan for existing businesses lays out the goals, strategies, metrics to evaluate success, responsibilities, and resource allocation.
Social enterprises may not be as profit-driven as other business types, but that doesn’t mean they need business planning any less.
A social enterprise needs to prepare a business plan to achieve its social objectives and keep empowering the communities it’s supporting. This document is what government agencies and donor agencies require and evaluate when approving grants for funding a social project.
A social enterprise business plan determines the social issue that a business idea will solve, its beneficiaries, products or services, target market, and sales projections, among many others.
Like social enterprises, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can also use business plans to source funds for their campaigns and projects.
A nonprofit business plan discusses the problems an NGO is trying to solve through a certain project, as well as how it will do that and how much resources are needed.
It also helps the organization and its board members to prepare for risks by making projections on how likely the activities will push through and how the current sources of funds will continue to yield a certain level of revenue. Most importantly, the business plan defines the Plan B if the original plan ends up failing.
Business Plan Format and Its Components
How does a business plan exactly look like? There’s no recommended universal format for business plans. Ideally, yours is customized according to the nature of your business and what you’re going to use the plan for.
However, all business plans have sections in common. Here’s a quick walkthrough of the six components that make up a business plan.
1. Executive Summary
Like an abstract of a college thesis or a foreword of a book, the executive summary is meant to provide a brief overview of the document. It presents the highlights of a business plan in a page or two.
The executive summary the first thing that readers see, so keep it short yet engaging and compelling enough to make them want to view more details in your plan.
2. Company Profile
The company profile is your chance to introduce yourself and your business to people outside your company. It’s also called the company summary, company information, business description, and business profile.
This section quickly answers the five Ws and one H of your business: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Think of it as your business calling card. Being the shortest section of the business plan, the company profile provides a quick overview of the business—who the owner and founder is, management team, business goals, business address, product or service, and what makes it unique.
3. Operations Plan
The operations plan explains how you’ll run your business, focusing on the different aspects of manufacturing your product. This section includes the following information, among many others:
Type of business (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or non-profit)
How the product is made or the service completed
Necessary materials, equipment, and facilities to manufacture the product or complete the service
Any subcontractors needed
Quality control system
4. Organizational Plan
Your people should play a major role in your business plan, just as how they’re important to your business success. The organizational plan includes a chart that shows how your company is structured according to key departments or functions such as administration, production/manufacturing, marketing, and finance. This organizational chart not only presents the levels of authority in a company but also clarifies who is responsible for which people and function.
Aside from the organizational chart, the organizational plan also includes these details:
Number of employees to hire
Responsibilities of each job role
Qualifications of workers who will perform each role
Salaries and benefits per job assignment
5. Marketing Plan
The marketing plan and the succeeding chapters are the heart and soul of your business plan, explaining the things that will make your business work. This section details how you plan to promote your product or service in the market.
Specifically, the marketing plan covers the following:
How the product or service will work and how it will benefit customers
Target market and its profile
Strategies for packaging, advertising, public relations, and distribution
6. Financial Plan
A critical section in your business plan, the financial plan helps you assess how much money you’ll need to start or grow your enterprise and identify your funding sources to get your business off the ground and sustain its operations. This is where you’ll provide financial estimates that cover at least one year of running your business.
Investors and lenders specifically look for these financial details in business plans:
How much you’re going to borrow, what you’ll use the loan for, and how you’ll pay it back
How much profit you’re expecting to make (through an income statement and balance sheet)
How you can finance your business operations (through a cash flow statement)
Whether to keep the business going or close it down to cut losses (through a break-even analysis)
Should You Use a Business Plan Template?
Business plan templates identify what information to put into each section and how it should be structured.
They provide instructions to guide entrepreneurs through the process. This way, nothing is missed out while writing the plan.
Thus, using a business plan template is a great idea, especially if this is your first time to prepare a plan for starting or growing your enterprise.
Helpful as it as may be, a business plan template doesn’t make business planning 100% effortless. While it provides the outline that makes writing the plan easy and quick, you still need to do your homework.
For example, a template won’t compute the financial projections for you—it’s a task you have to complete either on your own or with the help of a professional.
So before you use a business plan template, manage your expectations first and be prepared to do a lot of math!
8 Free Business Plan Templates
Yes, you read it right—you can download free online business plan templates. Some of these templates are designed for a specific niche, while others offer sample business plans for a wide range of business categories and industries.
Start off by choosing any of these free templates that suit your business planning needs.
DTI has a wealth of useful information for micro, small, and medium businesses in the Philippines. Of course, it’s free to access since it comes from the government.
On the DTI website, simply look for the Business Planning section and download the business plan format in a PDF file. This document not only lists down all the information to be included in every section of a business plan, but it also provides guide questions per section—making business planning easier for first-timers.
If you want a more detailed discussion of what should go into each component of your business plan plus sample scenarios, check the DTI’s Negosyo Center e-book that fleshes out things for small business owners.
The Balance is an online resource for small business owners. It has a free business plan template that’s simple and easy to understand for beginners, with instructions on how to use it. Broken down into sections, the simple business plan template tells you what to include in each component of the plan.
Simply copy the free template and paste it into a word document or spreadsheet. From there, you can start drafting your business plan with the template as a guide.
This website features a collection of over 500 free business plan samples for various industries, including restaurants, e-commerce, real estate, services, nonprofit, and manufacturing.
Under each category are links to many sample business plans for specific types of business. Each sample comes with a plan outline, too. For example, under the Services category, you’ll find sample plans for businesses like auto repair shops, advertising agencies, catering companies, health spas, photography studios, and more.
More than 500 free sample business plans are available at the LivePlan website, so you’re likely to find one that suits your business best. The samples allow users to know how other businesses structured and worded each component of their business plans. You can copy and paste the sections into your own plan.
To download a full business plan sample, you’ll have to sign up by submitting your name and email address through the website.
PandaDoc offers free business plan templates for NGOs, startups, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, hotels, and salons. These documents can be downloaded in PDF format.
But if you want a customizable template, you can download the PandaDoc template for a 14-day free trial. This template allows you to edit the document, choose a theme that matches your branding, and add pictures and videos.
The website also has free templates for executive summaries and business letters.
If your business has a simple concept, then a one-page business plan template is ideal to use. This downloadable PDF file is a very simple outline made up of a few sections with questions that you have to answer in just a short sentence or two.
In his book, “Leaders Eat Last”, Simon Sinek shows why leaders who put the interests of their team and employees above their personal and organizational agendas are the ones who thrive and become successful.
The title of his book was inspired by how the US Marine Corps behave when they are about to eat:
Low-ranking cadets are served first while senior officers eat last.
This rule isn’t written in any of their rulebooks. They just started doing it out of their views on leadership.
Great leaders place the interests of their people before their own. By showing genuine care and respect for them, a leader gains their cooperation, trust, loyalty, and motivation in a natural way.
Michael Jordan once said:
“Earn your leadership every day”.
It serves as a reminder to leaders out there that respect and loyalty are not imposed unto others, it must be earned.
Having the right set of skills to lead a group of people, a company, or organization is critical towards the success of its endeavor.
A company may have all the necessary tools, talent, and resources to operate but without the guidance of a good leader, it is almost always bound to fail.
Take, for example, a basketball team.
A team can be packed with superstar players but without a great coach (off-court leader) and a main man on the court (think Jordan, Johnson, Bird, Bryant, James) who leads the other guys, they will still fall to less-talented teams lead by a great player and a solid coach.
The success of a team relies on several factors.
And the most important thing is to make sure all those factors are met. It’s the leader’s job to establish each player’s tasks and actions clearly, so that every move is executed perfectly and in harmony with one another.
At the same time, he has to show them what it takes. He leads by example. He displays excellence with each move.
He inspires them. He looks after his people and makes sure they operate as a single unit.
A laser beam so focused it drills through any barrier with might and intensity.
“Teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one.”
– Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski
Just like how a maestro conducts an orchestra, a leader guides and directs each person and action towards achieving a common goal.
14 Qualities and Characteristics of a Good Leader
1. Honest and displays integrity
“Build a culture that rewards—not punishes—people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.”
― Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Transparency is one trait that isn’t practiced much in organizations.
Too often, management hides its workings behind curtains, scared that its employees might see through the incompetence or problems that the company might be experiencing.
It’s the classic case of keeping people in the dark because we either don’t want them to know about something or afraid to make them scared of any trouble brewing.
An effective leader takes the opposite mindset and understands that radical honesty is essential in keeping everyone on the same page.
Everyone gets a sense of where the boat is heading.
By showing that you have nothing to hide, you’re promoting an atmosphere of transparency which will inspire your team to do the same.
So what will happen if you keep your team and employees in the dark?
I’ll use good ol’ Popoy and Basha’s story to explain (saw my wife watching it the other day).
In the movie, “A Second Chance” Popoy (John Lloyd) never told his wife, Basha (Bea) about the financial problems that their company is having.
Even when they were almost bankrupt, he kept mum about it. Never discussed anything with his employees. He tried to show them that everything was A-OK.
But as the secret spilled out, not only did he lose Basha’s trust, he almost lost the entire company too. His employees rushed to the door upon knowing about the financial hell hole they’re in.
Everybody left, save for one intern.
The fact is, even if lying was done with good intentions, feelings will still eventually get hurt and trust will be broken.
In the end, you’ll be hit in the face with the very thing you’ve been trying to avoid: losing your people and the company itself.
Sure, being honest about things is not easy. It’s always a pain to deal with difficult conversations.
As management expert, Ben Horowitz said, “That’s the hard thing about hard things.”
But remember, you’re the leader. They look at you for guidance. They will listen. You’re in the best position to tell them about it.
So just do it. Whatever happens next, you can rest your mind in the fact that you remained true and honest to your people. And they will respect you for that.
2. Able to inspire and motivate others
The best leaders are the ones who effortlessly inspire action and loyalty from their people.
When we see someone on TV doing a worthy cause for others, we feel compassion and generate positive feelings towards that person. And if it’s an endeavor we strongly connect with, we almost feel the need to get up and support that person’s case.
We’re triggered—in a positive way. These are leaders who show up and do the work. They lead by example, not words.
3. One team, one mission
A team’s mission should be the one thing that occupies a leader’s mind and spirit.
“Yes!” should be the only answer when they ask themselves at the end of the day, “Did we move the project forward? Did we do something today that moved us closer to our goals?
However, remember that you work with others and they need guidance and support too in order to function at their best.
Everyone has their own stuff to deal with. People are not automatons. They have feelings, they have needs. Some have issues.
Some complain. And all these need to be dealt with swiftly and accordingly if the whole group is to make some progress. And it’s the leader’s job to address these.
A great leader should know how to manage the delicate balance between managing the crew and steering the ship towards the destination.
4. Knows how to communicate well
We are in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us. Or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time.
— Al Pacino, “Any Given Sunday”
Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King Jr. Barack Obama. The Dalai Lama. Nelson Mandela. Winston Churchill.
What do all these leaders have in common? That’s right—they are amazing communicators. The best of the best.
Whether it’s a personal conversation or a public declamation, these icons knew how to communicate their thoughts and ideas with intelligence, respect, and empathy.
One of the top skills a leader should teach himself is the art of communicating well.
Why? Because a leader’s skills, talents, and wisdom will be rendered useless if he’s not able to express himself clearly and convincingly.
Do you think MLK Jr’s “I have a Dream” speech will be as convincing if he didn’t say it with the same level of passion, clarity, and impact?
Or what if the Dalai Lama was afraid of public speaking? How will his wisdom and teachings reach the millions of people who want to hear it?
If you haven’t heard the guy deliver a talk, I recommend you check it out. For a spiritual person, he’s very warm and funny. And that makes his talks so much more engaging and fun to listen to.
The late Steve Jobs was known for his showmanship when it came to unveiling the latest Apple products.
The annual Apple event was so popular back then it drew thousands of live spectators and millions of viewers online.
Nowadays, current Apple CEO Tim Cook still does a decent job spearheading the event every year.
However, it no longer has the same magic and excitement as before.
Jobs’ ability to communicate and speak well was one of his best traits. And it’s what he used to motivate his people and persuade consumers into supporting Apple.
This quote from Chris Anderson, the man behind TED Talks, perfectly summarizes why Jobs’ communication skills were crucial to the success of Apple’s products:
“As a leader–or as an advocate–public speaking is the key to unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, sharing knowledge and insights, and promoting a shared dream.”
5. Balanced and fair
As a leader, you will be tasked to make a decision on a lot of issues. Sometimes, it will involve passing judgment on the members of your own team.
When it comes to employee-to-employee disputes, for example, your decision should be based on facts and credibility, not on who you favor more as a person.
People can see through our actions. They’ll know if you’re being fair or not. If they sense you’re not being fair, you’ll risk losing their trust and loyalty.
In their heads their thinking, “It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a good job here. It’s still all about politics after all.”
And when they start acquiring that belief, expect two things to happen:
First, they would stop doing their best work. Why would they? They won’t be recognized for it.
What’s the use of giving your best if your superiors are always favoring only the people they like?
Or they could just leave. There’s no sense in staying. They know your ship is bound to sink with all the unprofessionalism and mediocrity.
As a leader, you always have to take the neutral side. Be impartial. Recognize and reward those who do good work and help those who are struggling.
Those being lazy and toxic deserve the ax. If you don’t remove the rotten tomatoes, you’ll risk losing the good ones.
6. Accountable for their actions
A great leader never passes blame to others. She is accountable for her decisions and actions.
Because if the leader themselves are always making excuses, what message do you think are they passing to their subordinates?
To me, honoring the agreement that you made is the best definition of being accountable.
It’s the willingness to answer for your actions, decisions, and choices.
In Filipino, we often hear the phrase, “Ginusto mo yan e”. It echoes the concept of what being accountable means.
More importantly though, being accountable as a leader will build a culture where each person is held responsible for their actions.
It shifts everyone’s perspective from a victim mentality to pro-activity.
The 33rd U.S. President, Harry S. Truman popularized the phrase, “The buck stops here”.
What does it mean? He wants people to know that as a President, he has to make decisions and accepts full responsibility for them.
When your people pick up on this, they’ll be inspired by your mentality and be accountable themselves.
It’s a leader’s dream to have people who work at their best simply because they hold themselves accountable for their actions. And in doing so, the quality of everyone’s work is improved.
7. Knows how to delegate and empower
There are 3 reasons why leaders should know how and when to pass on the responsibility to others:
It allows the leader to get some work off his or her plate and focus effort towards expansion and other more important tasks
It builds a culture of trust and empowers their subordinates to take on more demanding and meaningful task. It will help them take on bigger and more important roles, allowing them to “level-up” and acquire more skills.
It avoids micromanagement, where each move a person makes is tracked and managed by the leader. It’s bad because you’re showing you don’t trust the person’s capabilities while also taking most of your time and energy. Resources that could be put to more important leadership tasks. It prevents your subordinates from thinking, “Ayaw ipagawa sakin ni boss e, baka di ko daw kaya”. Or this one, “Lagi na lang pinapakialaman ni boss trabaho ko kahit wala naman mali sa ginagawa ko.”
Not something that you’d like to hear from your employees, right?
Ever wonder how Google became one of the best companies in the world?
The answer: They built a culture that promotes both creativity and innovation. A place where anyone can openly make suggestions and feedback without the fear of being ridiculed.
This increased interaction and engagement produces plenty of awesome ideas that could increase productivity, profits, and even the overall well-being of the employees.
9. Knows how to empathize
The best leaders aren’t the ones shrouded by enigma.
Not the ones who always seem to talk from a higher place. The best ones are the leaders who know their employees well and genuinely cares.
Empathy is a term that gets thrown around a lot. But what does it mean exactly?
It’s the ability to truly understand and share feelings of another person.
Why do this? At its core, it’s all about building trust. To quote the author Simon Sinek once more:
“These little considerations for others have a building effect. The daily practice of putting the well-being of others first has a compounding and reciprocal effect in relationships. ”
Knowing what exactly each person is going through allows you to understand what troubles them. In the process, you’ll be able to identify how to help them.
Leaders who bark orders to their employees might get them moving right away, but that relationship exists out of “because you’re the boss” mindset and not of genuine willingness to contribute for the greater whole.
In the long run, those who lead with empathy has a vastly better chance of taking the company to the next level. This is because these leaders encourage openness.
People won’t be afraid to be truly honest. They will be motivated because they have a boss who is willing to go the distance with them.
A leader needs to believe in himself before he can convince anyone to believe him.
It’s like building a house. It may look like a normal house from the outside. But without the proper foundation, it will crumble amidst external forces easily.
Say you’re speaking with a salesman and asked him to demonstrate his products. You notice his voice is trembling and his hands shaky. Clearly, he’s nervous.
He sounds as if he’s not sure what he’s doing. You can’t help but doubt his credibility. In turn, you end up doubting his product’s credibility.
Have you ever had an indecisive boss? Maybe someone who’s always not sure what to do next?
If you have, let me ask you, “Would you entrust your future and livelihood with that person?”
No, I didn’t think so.
Effective leaders need to display confidence in their words, decisions, and their actions. People need to feel that the person leading them knows what he’s doing.
Can you imagine riding a ship being led by a captain who looks as if it’s his first time to set sail?
11. Has a “Can-do” attitude
“Yes, we can” was Obama’s famous campaign slogan. He rallied behind these words, offering Americans a chance to experience a true, positive change.
Like a true leader, he motivated followers and convinced non-believers as well by conveying a “Can-do” spirit—a steadfast belief that anything can be achieved through togetherness and solidarity.
As a leader, showing your people that you are a person of courage inspires them to do the same.
Instead of merely reacting to problems, you’re always looking for the next step.
“What can we do about it? How will we fix it? How can I help?” These are words of a true leader.
He acknowledges the issues but has his eyes set towards fixing them.
A can-do attitude is a mark of a person willing to take on bold steps to carry his people to the next level.
Instead of being afraid and playing it safe, he takes on new challenges and strives to always push forward to be better.
12. Focused and driven
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill.
I will not be outworked, period.
You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things — you got it on me in nine categories.
But if we get on the treadmill together, there are two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple…”
-Oscar-nominated actor and Grammy award-winning musician Will Smith
13. Flexible and Responsive
“Pivot” is a popular term among start-up companies. It refers to the ability to change directions and goals if another path proves to be more ideal.
It’s about responding to challenges in the most efficient and effective way possible.
For example, if a software company realizes that their flagship program isn’t getting the traction they expected, perhaps they can check out all other possible options and switch to a new path where the potential to succeed is better.
And it’s not only in company direction should a leader be flexible.
Managing people and dealing with the daily operation requires lots of creative thinking and problem-solving.
This requires a growth mindset, a philosophy not bound on steadfast visions.
So consider that before believing or trying any of them. Although for most hacks whether effective or not, the fun is in trying. Just make sure that you won’t put yours or anyone’s safety at risk when trying.
A life hack is a unique idea, technique or shortcut that enables you to be more productive and accomplish more things in a shorter amount of time.
YouTube star Wengie or Wendy Huang who has created around 80 videos discussing life hacks on her channel describes the concept as “any method of doing something that either simplifies or makes your life easier in some way.”
In this article, we’ve compiled a number of smart and easy-to-do life hacks that’s perfect for busy FIlipinos. Hopefully these tips do improve some aspects of your life or at least make them more bearable.
1. Always keep a small piece of card like with your identification, person to contact in case of emergency, and allergies inside your wallet.
It’s the last place people would think you’ll keep your money in. Its small size also allows you to bring your emergency money around with you without being found out.
4. Create a place for keeping small documents when traveling. If you have access to a ziplock bag, you can follow the hack below. If you don’t, you can apply the same hack to the compact-sized plastic envelopes you can find at bookstores.
16. Have two wallets. One that you can bring out in public and use to pay for small transactions. And a real one to keep all your cash in, that you will hide for safe-keeping.
17. In case of overbooked flights, agree to give up your seat. The benefits you’ll get in exchange may vary. But if you’re lucky, they might even give you a ticket to the same destination redeemable by a certain period for free!
Reheating rice or noodles using the microwave can be tricky. Some parts absorb heat more quickly, so you end up with a dish that’s half warm, half cold. But you should be able to get more evenly heated food with this hack.
24. So it’s a “Netflix and chill” kind of evening but your beer is not yet chilled to your liking? Wrap a wet paper towel around the beer bottle, put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes more, take it out and enjoy!
27. Trying to go zero waste but can’t bring yourself to purchase those 16-hour cold water bottles? Fill half of your plastic water bottle with water then freeze sideways. Once frozen, you can fill it with water and have a cold drink to bring with you. Perfect for super hot days!
“The first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog.” – Mark Twain
Before you get any weird ideas on what palaksilog (palaka-itlog-sinangag) tastes like, the “frog” that the famous author mentioned above is but a symbol.
So please, put poor Kermit down.
Twain meant to point out that by doing something ridiculously difficult in the morning, nothing should faze us for the rest of the day.
World-renowned productivity and time-management expert Brian Tracy put his own twist on it:
“The “frog” is the single most important task that you have to do in the day. So what should you do? Eat that frog.”
Fun fact: He made “Eat that Frog” the title of his book
It’s usually the most difficult task, that thing that we procrastinate on the most.
What are they?
Maybe it’s that presentation that your boss asked you to finish last week. That in-person meeting with a difficult client. A trip to the gym. Renewing your driver’s license. Fixing the leak in your faucet. Taking your car out for repairs. Finishing an article on a deadline (true story).
So when Mr. Tracy said that we should “eat that frog”, his point was this:
Do the most important and urgent task you have for the day.
So that no matter how the day ends, you know you put in the effort and moved the project forward (if you can’t finish it in one go). You worked on that thing which required the highest priority.
This and 34 more time management tips await below to help you reach peak productivity—so that when your boss asks how that report is going you can confidently say:
The term itself is pretty self-explanatory so we’ll skip to the most important thing about it:
Learn to spend your time effectively and efficiently.
Proper time management is essentially a skill. A tool that you use to make the most out of your hours and days. A method to make sure you’re clearing your most important to-do’s and moving towards your long-term goals.
It’s not about spending tons of hours working and giving up on the “chill” time. It’s quite the opposite, actually.
Done right, time management will actually give you more time to spend doing things you love outside of work.
It’s about working smarter, not harder.
Remember, busy is not the same as effective. You can have two employees work separately on the same project but get completely different results.
The efficient employee can complete the entire project at half the time (and better quality) it took the “busy” employee to finish.
How did he do it?
Well, it’s all laid out for you on our Time Management tips below. But before you skip ahead, let’s take a quick look at it’s crucial in both work and personal life.
Importance of time management and benefits
Here’s the TL;DR version:
To help you get the most out of your hours and days
Helps lay down your priorities for the day
Helps you schedule things you’ve been wanting to do
Helps you accomplish more in less time
Gives your day a structure that’s set for maximum effectiveness
I’ve been working from home as a full-time content writer for almost a year now. It’s been awesome.
But any freelancer will tell you that while it sounds amazing to have all the perks and freedom to work from home, the reality is that it’s quite hard to manage our working hours effectively.
I mean c’mon, there’s the TV. Netflix awaits. I’ve just re-watched Dave Chappelle’s stand-up for the nth time instead of finishing an article for my personal blog.
The other day, I got sucked into YouTube’s rabbit hole, listening to all sorts of tunes from decades ago. “Quick soundtrip muna”, I said to myself.
An hour later, I’m still staring at a blank page in Google Docs. As if on queue, I received an email from my client, “Hey, just wanted to check how that piece is going.”
Time management is a commitment.
It’s easy to fall off the saddle. Every morning is still a struggle for me to sit down and do the work.
Setting up a quick to-do list the night before helps me find my way as I chug along like an old steam locomotive with caffeine as coal. And it’s just one of the many hacks you’ll see later to help you “win the day”.
I remember months ago when I was still trying to figure out an effective way to manage my workload. I had to.
It was a brave new world working full time from home. I had no idea how it works. It was hard.
So I decided to read books and articles about it (an excuse to slack off again, ironically)
Tens and thousands of words later, I’ve tested and applied some of the tips that appealed to me the most. And it’s been a game-changer.
So even if I still “waste” an hour reading books or watching an episode of Black Mirror, I know I can quickly get back on track and finish whatever task I’ve set for myself that day.
Looking back, I realized that I’ve been using some of these tips even when I was working at a corporate job.
Things like planning ahead, task-batching, and setting daily targets, were some of the “hacks” I’ve been doing for years.
Remember, it’s about being effective and efficient with your use of time.
Forget those people who “humble-brag” about being their busyness.
Sound like someone you know?
“Sobrang busy ko kahapon grabe di ako nakakain ng lunch”.
“O.T ako araw-araw grabe tambak ako ng client tasks”
Hey man, I get it. It happens. There are days when you really have to dig deep and hustle like a maniac.
For example: The occasional ASAP task from the boss. A panicked client calls begging you to finish a report within the day. Or maybe you got back from a quick vacation leave and now have to power through the work that piled up.
But to have to do it every day?
Nah. There’s something wrong with their process.
It’s not impressing anyone, really.
It actually reveals a lot about how they make (poor) decisions and disregard (or complete lack of awareness) for the importance of prioritizing your time and energy.
If you think about it, being busy sucked them into an endless void of work. It robbed them of the chance to take a step back and ask themselves this important question:
“Is this the best and most effective way of doing this?”
Most of the time, we think there’s only one way of doing things.
Maybe it’s what we’re used to or feel most comfortable with. Maybe it’s been the way things got handled even before you came into the picture.
Or maybe there’s in fact another way to do it but we find changing our methods too much of a hassle. Or too lazy to get up and get the right tool for the job.
If it ain’t broke, why fix it—right?
Well, your methods on how you manage your time might not be necessarily broken.
But there’s a high chance that there’s still some room for improvement.
With the right mindset and diligence—plus the tips below—you might just be able to see a significant boost in your productivity and time for yourself and family.
Abraham Lincoln once famously said:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”.
A sharpened axe (effective time management) will cut through tasks like a hot knife through butter.
The woodcutter who bags the most number of chopped timber is not the one who has the most time, strength, or willpower to swing at the tree’s trunk.
It’s the one who sharpens the blade of his axe first till it becomes so sharp it can cut a fly in half.
So that each swing brings a deep cut to an otherwise “tough” tree bark. An imaginary tree bark representing your day’s work.
Done right, these tips will help you improve the way you work and manage your time.
So stop asking yourself why that damn tree (your tasks and goals) never seem to crack.
35 Effective Time Management Hacks, Tools, & Techniques
Here are 35 ways to sharpen your axe and cut down that bastard faster than you can say “Timbeeeeeeeer!!”
Part 1: Block out distractions
#1. Turn off the internet
Whaaat?! You’re kidding, right? I need it for my work! Before you hurl your laptop at my general direction, time for some context first.
By “turning off the internet” I mean to say that you should schedule the minutes/hours that you’ll need it.
See, the internet is one heck of a rabbit hole that sucks people in and spits them into a Shaider-esque time-space warp where minutes and hours magically disappear.
Without setting limits, “research” will look like work for the first few minutes. But…
..that is until Google throws in a juicy link you simply can’t click. And on and on you go, deeper into the rabbit hole.
Until hours later you realize you ended up not in Alice’s Wonderland but on the same place where you started: A blank page. Hurray!
Seven-time New York Times bestselling author Neil Strauss was once quoted to turn off the internet when he’s writing drafts.
If he bumps across something that he needs to fact check, he simply marks it with some weird character that he can easily search for later when he’s done drafting.
For example, say he’s not sure when the exact year was for a specific historical moment. Instead of firing up Google to look it up (and potentially get sucked down into its rabbit hole), he simply writes, “November 13, #tbsj” (Note: I just made up that character combo, as I can’t remember exactly what he used).
By doing this, he can proceed with his writing and not break his train of thought. That way, his “flow” won’t get interrupted and he can put in more words.
As someone who writes for a living (not to compare myself with someone as great as him), I find this tip super useful. It prevents “self-editing” too early in the writing phase which is a no-no if you want to finish anything at all.
Back to Neil:
Later, during the editing phase, he can simply hit CTRL+F on his word processor and type in #tbsj to look for the stuff he needs to modify. Cool trick, huh?
And I use it for marking other sections in an article I’m drafting that would otherwise require some bit of research (tables, quotes, figures, etc.,). It helped speed up my writing significantly.
But it’s not just in writing that scheduling “web” time helps.
Whether it’s for studying for an exam, playing intently with your kid, finishing an Excel spreadsheet on a deadline, composing an urgent email to a client, watching a movie (yes, you do check your phone when watching TV, don’t you?), or simply working through the day’s tasks, scheduling internet use lets us focus on the task at hand.
Remember, you don’t have to turn off the internet literally, every time.
The lesson here is to be aware that it has the potential to derail your workflow (or whatever it is your supposed to do) if you don’t set limits. Which brings me to the next (related) tip:
#2. Use apps and browser extensions to block off certain sites during work hours
You know which sites I’m talking about: Facebook, Reddit, YouTube—the usual suspects. Along with whichever site you usually spend a lot of time on.
The idea is simple: If you can’t access it then you won’t be tempted to visit it.
Now, this of course depends on your actual discipline to stick to this rule. It all boils down to how serious you are in improving your productivity. But if you’re up to it, try this one out, I urge you.
You’ll be surprised by the results. Apps like Freedom, StayFocusd, and Cold Turkey are some of the most popular ones out there.
#3. Put your phone somewhere else while working
“My preciouuuus”. Just like how Golum lovingly touches the “Ring” in LoTR, our phones become precious little objects we just can’t live without. It’s always with us. A few minutes or hours without it can make some people lose their minds with anxiety.
It has almost become like a drug, it’s constant ping of notifications akin to a dopamine drip nudging our brains to check it constantly.
Always makes me wonder how people nowadays seem to eat together on the same table but are in fact sucked into their own little worlds in social media.
No one’s talking. Everybody’s too busy scrolling. Sheesh.
But I digress. In terms of productivity, putting your phone somewhere else while you work is one of the simplest hacks you can apply to boost your productivity.
Without the temptation in sight, you’ll be protected from its pings and notifs.
If you’re worried about missing an important call or text, just turn off the data/wifi connection, put it on another room, then set it on loud so you’ll hear it ring for actual calls and texts.
The point is to minimize distractions and temptation to use it by putting it away from sight.
#4. Remove all potential time-sucks from your desk
Aside from your phone, clear all other items on your workspace that you won’t need.
This helps your mind focus on the task at hand. And yes, fidget spinners are allowed.
At least in my case. It helps me think when I get blocked for words.
#5. Use the Pomodoro technique
A former colleague of mine once asked why I had a timer running on a small window in my computer. I just came back from a long weekend and was swamped with a boatload of work.
I told her it was a trick for increasing my output for that day. She asked how it worked. Below is my explanation.
What is the Pomodoro technique, exactly?
The steps are simple. You set a timer for 25 minutes (varies depending on your preference), do nothing but work on that window of time, take a short break once 25 minutes are up.
After that short break (5 minutes usually), you run the timer again and repeat the process. You are to do this until you complete the 4th cycle, after which you’re advised to take a longer 30-minute break.
On busy days, I aim to complete at least 8 cycles, which translates to a solid 3 ½ hours of actual work.
Almost always, I can clear a full day’s task in those 3.5 hours and spend the rest of the day pretending to work doing less intensive tasks.
The reason why I find it useful (along with thousands of people who swear by it) is this: Setting a 25-minute deadline on yourself creates something in your brain that’s called a “focus event”.
It pushes out all other stuff from our working memory which helps us put our full attention and energy to what we’re doing (or we have to do).
On game shows, for example, a contestant is forced to really focus and dig deep to find the answer or else she won’t get a point when the 30-second timer runs out.
I’m pretty sure she won’t be thinking of Game 2 of UP versus Ateneo in that small window of time.
Here’s another example. Say a teacher gives us a project and says we have to finish it in two days. You find yourself working on it ASAP, right?
You have to, you only have 2 days.
But what if she says you can submit it anytime within the week? Will you still find the same sense of urgency to do it right away? Nah, I didn’t think so.
If you’re like me, I’ll probably start doing it the day before the deadline. Work shrinks or expands depending on how much time is available.
He finally pulled it off—a quick weekend getaway in Kuala Lumpur to give his frayed nerves the much-needed rest they deserve.
Exploring the majestic rock formation inside Batu Caves was the first item in his itinerary. As he was climbing up the steps of this popular Malaysian destination, he notices the monkeys roaming around.
He goes near one to tries to pet it. As he reaches for its head, the monkey jumps, grabs his hand and bites it.
After wiping off the blood from his palm, he looks for a guide who takes him to the nearest hospital for a rabies shot. He was advised to take antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and pain medicine for the next few days.
Doctors told him he had nothing to worry, he can continue on with his trip the same day.
But even if his trip was off to a bad start, he was still thankful for one thing:
His travel insurance paid for all medical expenses.
Who was the guy? Dunno, really.
But it was an actual testimonial posted by one of the customers of a travel insurance company which we’ll check out later.
Don’t touch ‘em monkeys.
Also, travel insurance is valuable whenever these kinds of things happen.
Because while we’re all hopeful that the trip will go smoothly and according to plan, sometimes, sh*t happens.
And it’s not only tourist-biting monkeys were talking about here.
Travel insurance can also provide protection for your gear/belongings, pay for trip cancellations, problems with baggage, emergency medical situations, and more.
So read on to learn everything you need to know about travel insurance. It’s a small price to pay to get protection and peace of mind for your whole trip.
It’s a contract or arrangement with an insurer to guarantee some form of compensation for a specified loss, illness, accident, damage, interruption, and others during your travels.
Put simply, it provides you with coverage for unexpected situations whether traveling domestically or abroad.
How Travel Insurance works?
Like regular insurance, it works by paying a fee to buy a policy. The policy is essentially the contract that states the types of reimbursements or refunds that your insurance can pay for.
For example, say you have a business trip to Spain. Three days before your flight, you experience chest pains and decide to get a checked by a doctor. He concludes that you contracted pneumonia through some form of bacteria.
You were advised to cancel the trip. Will you get reimbursed for travel expenses you already paid like tickets and accommodation?
Yes—if you have travel insurance.
Depending on the type of policy you purchased, expenses incurred for the trip will be reimbursed by your insurance company.
What does a Travel Insurance Cover?
Travel insurance can reimburse you on the following expenses:
Legal costs (for unexpected incidents you didn’t cause)
Protection of property (gear and possessions) and more.
Types of Travel insurance
While you’ll see different types of travel insurance policies out there, the two main types are Vacation Plan and Travel Medical Plan.
1. Vacation Plan Insurance
This type of travel insurance is considered to be the widest in terms of coverage. Most sub-types fall under this category. Package plan, trip cancellation, trip insurance, and the generic, “travel insurance” are considered as types of vacation plan insurance.
What coverage does vacation plan insurance provide? Here are some of the most common items covered:
You’ll notice that medical emergencies are still included under Vacation Plan insurance. This is because some all-in-one policies also include it on the coverage.
However, if you only seek to have medical coverage when traveling and feel like you won’t need the rest, then the next type of travel insurance is what you should get.
2. Travel Medical Plan
Your health insurance provider usually provides only partial or zero coverage when traveling.
A travel medical plan ensures you have adequate medical assistance should the need arise when you’re away from your home country.
Why you need Travel Insurance?
The answer will vary from one person to another. Essentially, however, you’re paying for peace of mind. It’s protection for your pockets.
Same reason why you get a car insurance or life insurance: It helps sidestep any headaches caused by unforeseen expenses during your travels.
Think about it: Say the guy who got bit with the monkey earlier didn’t have insurance. He’ll be forced to shell out money from his own pockets to pay for the medical expenses.
That could have affected his budget for the trip, forcing him to cancel some of the items on his itinerary to make up for the expense.
Or maybe someone fell ill back home and you need to go back ASAP. With the right travel insurance, you can reimburse the fees you paid and get back home without worrying about “wasting” what you paid for.
The same applies if your destination country is suddenly reported to experience some form of weather disturbance or natural calamities (typhoons/hurricanes/earthquakes) and you are forced to bail out. Travel insurance keeps you compensated for the expenses you already paid for.
How much does a Travel Insurance cost?
It varies. Most will fall within the range of Php 500 to Php 3000 for a single trip (4 days to a week, based on the estimated quotes provided by each insurer. More on this later).
There are several factors that affect how much your quote will be.
These are age, type of activities you’ll do during your travel, level of coverage, destination country, length of travel, medical conditions, and others.
To give you an idea of how much travel insurance costs, I’ve pulled up some sample quotes from GoBear (a comparison website).
For travel insurance packages for trips to Asian countries (single trip):
Price range: Anywhere from Php 400 to Php 800
For travel insurance packages to other countries/worldwide (single trip):
Price range: Anywhere from Php 500 to Php 3000
Best Travel Insurance Companies for Filipinos Traveling Abroad
We’ve compiled a list of travel insurance companies currently offering various policies depending on your needs. Read on to compare, you might find this useful on your next travel abroad.
Note: Please make sure to visit each insurer’s official website to get up-to-date rates. Policy coverage shown here may vary from the insurer’s product page depending on the type of plan you will avail of.
1. World Nomads
Service coverage: Worldwide Prices start at:$38 for Standard Plan; $42 for Explorer Plan
World Nomads Pty Ltd is a travel insurance company based in Sydney, Australia. It was founded in 1999 and has been a go-to insurance provider for most independent (and adventurous) travelers worldwide.
They provide emergency medical support, evacuation assistance, trip cancellation, and even include coverage for adventure sports and activities (which is not usually provided by other insurance companies).
If you check their site, you’ll see that they offer a myriad of insurance features that the more “Active” nomads will find useful. These include the following:
Pain relieving dental treatment
Prescribed medicines by a doctor or specialist
Daily emergency cash allowance in hospital
Hospitalization or treatment by a doctor or specialist
Service coverage: Worldwide Prices start at: Php 400 (1 to 4 days)
AIG is a global insurance company that has been around for decades, catering to businesses, institutions, and individuals worldwide. One of their products is AIG Travel Guard, which is focused on providing insurance solutions to traveling individuals.
Service coverage: Worldwide Prices start at:Php 375 (4 days in ASEAN)
Malaysian Travel Master touts itself as “The most comprehensive international travel health insurance in the Philippines”. They offer competitive pricing on their packages and caters to both local and international travels.
Emergency medical treatment (excluding pre-existing conditions)