These 30-Minute Daily Exercises Will Make You Smarter

I’m just going to get right into it.

1. Track Everything You Do On A Google Document, And I Mean Everything

Google docs are the lifeblood of what I do on the internet. With them I track expenses, travel plans, contacts, etc.

I could go on and on.

One thing I also keep track of with Google Documents is what I do, and how much time I spend doing it.

Here’s a little snapshot from the other day. Yes, I spend a LOT of time writing new content — but that’s what I do!

You can’t just leave it there, though.

You HAVE to analyze the fallout from your accomplishments the following day. For instance, I track new email subscribers, views, and followers on social media.

The next day I spend about 20 minutes or so checking the numbers. I ask:

  • How did my articles do?
  • Did I get any email subscribers?
  • What the hell worked for me yesterday, what didn’t, and what can I change?

It’s such a simple thing but its ended up working wonders for me.

For instance, I re-publish my content on LinkedIn and The Huffington Post. Ever since I started doing that I’ve seen a 30% increase in email subscriber rates. I know they’re to blame because I’ve been tracking this stuff for the last couple of months.

In other words, I got smarter.

Part of being smart is knowing what’s working and what isn’t.

To get smart you need to start tracking everything — even the time you spend doing useless activities like scrolling through social media.

After you wake up, just write your analysis of the previous day underneath your daily time journal. It should take thirty minutes.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

— Abraham Lincoln

2. Boil Your Life Down To Three Goals. Document Your Daily Steps Towards Them In A Journal.

This is my dinky journal. It fits in the palm of my hand. I open it up daily to document how I’m actually getting closer to my THREE main goals.

First off, I think it’s important to boil your life down to just three of them.

The benefits of boiling your life down like that is kind of astronomical.

Want to hear my goals?

  1. Hit 1,000 email subscribers (currently at 400 or so full disclosure).
  2. Hit 10,000 followers on the Post-Grad Survival Guide.
  3. Quit freelancing.

They’re pretty simple, right?

The best part is they build on each other!

My main goal is to quit freelancing. I believe I’ll be in much better position to actually do that if I can accomplish the first two goals on the above list.

Literally everything I do is influenced by my goals. All the tasks I give myself at the start of the day like writing content for four hours, reaching out to experts for interviews, etc. all revolves around my big three goals.

So do that for yourself right now.

Write down your goals in a little book like the one above.

Important: During your first time, try to elaborate on all the methods you can utilize to reach your goals.

A few for me were:

  • Writing loads of content.
  • Publishing two stories per day at the PGSG instead of one.
  • Creating awesome materials (such as Magazines, ebooks) to offer in exchange for email addresses.

Now that you have an idea HOW you’ll get there, write down the daily steps you’re taking to actually accomplish your big three goals.

You don’t have to spend too much time.

This puts your brain in problem-solving mode. If you’re diligent with this exercise, you’ll be able to look back and see what’s working and what isn’t from weeks and even months ago.

You will GET SMARTER doing this because you’ll constantly be improving as a human being in the pursuit of your aspirations.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

-Tony Robbins

3. Find An Expert In Your Field And Observe The Hell Out Of Them

Bonus points if you can get mentored by said person — but I’ll assume if they’re actually an expert they don’t have the time to take thirty minutes out of their day EVERY day to speak with you, you know?

I don’t mean to be degrading, just honest.

The good news is you can observe them. You can take in absolutely everything they do and try to figure out what it is that they’re getting at from a strategy standpoint.

For instance, I follow social media expert Stephanie Huston on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

To be honest with you I’m not that active on social media. That’s just because I try to spend most of my time here on Medium where I’ve found most of my success.

Over the last couple months I’ve observed some of the strategies she uses on Instagram, though.

Judging by the fact that she has 7,000+ followers on her Instagram, she clearly knows a thing or two.

One cool thing about her is she ALWAYS reaches out to me every two weeks or so, whether that’s sharing my article via Twitter, Facebook, or even that one time she became a patron of mine (which I’m very happy about).

It’s like clockwork.

I’m convinced she has an app somewhere that reminds her to reach out to the people she cares about on social media.

The internet is a BIG place, so that sort of thing is honestly needed.

There’s one crucial necessity to all of this, though.

You need to observe WORTHWHILE people.

The difference between Stephanie and my friends from high school is that Stephanie is clearly trying to grow her following on social media. She is motivated, she is a hustler, and she is a role model for me.

You can’t learn that much from people who aren’t smarter than you.

You have to observe.

Get on their email list. Read their articles. What are they doing differently in the content game that you’re failing to do?

I read a lot of Thomas Oppong’s stuff on Medium and the way that he STRUCTURES his articles is unreal. He uses quotes, dividers, and headlines to make his articles look like literal artwork.

He has no doubt influenced my work on Medium more than just about anybody.

Observe, observe, observe. It’s massively underrated.

“If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talking.”

-Robert Baden-Powell

4. Take Some Classes, Already

Sometimes I feel like I could’ve learned everything I did in college by taking a bunch of Skillshare classes.

For one they don’t take that long to complete (most take about an hour and a half start to finish). Second there’s about 16,000 classes in dozens of different categories just waiting for you to discover them.

Third, they’re all free.

Well, for the first couple months at least if you sign up for the trial.

What I did was hop on the free trial for two months and took a bunch of classes like “Getting Started With Email Marketing” by my girl Allyson Van Houten. It’s the easiest thing, and by far my favorite way to learn as you’re basically just watching a bunch of videos the entire time.

There’s classes in Design, Business, Tech, Photography, Writing, and more.

Just head over to their site and wait for the drop down banner at the top prompting you to sign up for your free two months.

When you get down to it there’s nothing to lose. Just head over there and tinker with it for a bit at least.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Well, there you have it — a few 30-minute exercises you can do every day to better your mind and help you achieve your goals.

If you want more advice like this, make sure to download the Post-Grad Survival Guide Magazine. It’s yours for free.

This story contains some affiliate links. If you click through and decide to make a purchase, you’re helping me with the costs of running the Post-Grad Survival Guide at no extra cost to you.

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