Live your best life with 5 lessons we can learn from Albert Einstein on how to discover our E = mc2

I’ve had a realization…that the great Albert Einstein can not only teach us a lot about theoretical physics (after all he is one of the smartest people who ever lived). I have re-discovered him in a new light, applying his quotes (and mis-quotes) and words of wisdom to how we can find inspiration and live our best life. See if they work for you too…

1.Be Authentically you.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

“Most people say that is it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.”

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

2.Be curious and feed your imagination.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

3.Stick with it and be open to learn from mistakes.

“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

“Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

4.Solve complex problems worth solving, but make sure the solution is simple.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

5.Live and enjoy the moment, be present.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”

So all those quotes of inspiration got me thinking…

What if Einstein’s great scientific breakthrough on the special theory of relativity (E = mc2 ) could not just be used to explain the exponential energy release that created the atomic bomb, but to living our best life, would that work?

So as per Einstein’s words of wisdom “I stayed with my problem longer” and pondered upon how small changes create significant results, and I came up with this.

E is Energy = positive change in how I think, feel and act.

M is Me, I need to be open and receptive to new ideas and experiences.

C is Continuous inspiration from whatever and whoever inspires me.

2 is the multiplier of seeking out and feeling the effects of what inspires me. It’s taking the time to really absorb inspiration in all its forms.

My final reflection from my pondering was, it’s this final multiplier effect we don’t always achieve, and we need to pay attention to. The need to pause, be present and take time for those things we find inspiring whatever they are. What they are to each of us is highly personalised. We need to seek them out and appreciate them.

What are yours? Watching a Ted Talk, Walking barefoot on the beach, Playing with the kids, Exploring something new…

Whatever they are, with the weekend ahead of you, work on your E = mc2

Want to discover 24 hours of free time in a week? try using the TIME guide.

Do you feel like you are constantly juggling work and personal priorities? Are you feeling time stressed with not enough hours in your busy working week to get it all done? If the answer is yes to both these questions you can re assure yourself that you are completely normal! I find that 9 out of 10 of people I coach would agree.  But what about the 1 in 10 who feel they can find time for what’s important, what practical tips and coping mechanisms can we learn from them?

I set about the goal of finding and saving a whole day a week in the typical lives of busy senior leaders, so they could invest back into the things they really cared about and wanted to spend more time on. More time with the family; more ‘Me’ time; more time for exercise; more time to re discover old hobbies….

So I am pleased to say I found the time, a life changing 24 hours of time the typical person could save and re-invest. I’ve synthesized the actions you can take into simple steps you can test out for yourself. Some of you may find 24 hours, some less time, but I guarantee if you give it a bit of thought you will unlock some time to re-invest in what you care about.

Try it out and let me know if my TIME guide works for you:

T: Think and Plan

Effective use of time is not an accident. Highly time-efficient people invest time thinking, planning and preparing. They put purpose behind how they manage their time. I have actually heard people say “I’m too busy to think”, this raises alarm bells, because without reflecting on where time goes you have little chance of improving where you spend it.

“The best advice I could give anyone is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life.” Richard Branson

Think and plan by assessing the following:

  • Are you in a healthy 24-hour time regime? The ideal is 8,8,8 (Sleep, Work, Personal life). Few manage the ideal, but how far off are you away from ideal? too little sleep, too much work, and too little time for your personal life is not good for your health, so work out which of the 3 you are neglecting so you can re-invest your time savings back where it counts.
  • Great time planners set clear goals. Think though what you wished you had more time for. For many people it is reconnecting with something you used to do e.g. No time now to exercise; I have to keep cancelling dinner with friends; I haven’t called my family overseas; I haven’t had a weekend away in a long time. Make a list and assess how much time you need e.g. If I released 5 hours a week I would do X or Y. Once you have a goal it will make saving the time to make that a reality more important and tangible.
  • Think about your ‘Only I can do list’. These are the personal and business things that you and only you can do, it could be anything from reading a bedtime story to your kids each night to a critical team meeting you lead. The list should be short. If you have a very long list of your ‘only I can do’s’ and the items on it fill most of your day, you need to to have a re-think. You are likely to be not getting help from others or not delegating well at work. In the Think and plan (‘T’) phase just think about these areas we will come back to the list later.

I: Invest Work Time Wisely

Most of my clients have successful careers, teams to manage and business commitments and goals they want to achieve. The challenge is how to be a successful leader without spending all your waking hours working. The answer lies in how you invest your time.

  • ROIT: In business we talk about ROIC (return on invested capital) as a key metric, I want to start a movement towards ROIT (return on invested time). Successful time managers think of time as a valuable asset that they invest. They ‘invest’ time versus ‘spend’ time. One of the most positive investments they typically make is in developing and coaching their teams, because this in turn frees up more of their time to ‘lead’ versus ‘do’.
  • Re-shape your work meetings: The largest time save for most people is in re shaping their working day. Successful time savers focus their work time around what’s most important and urgent, they decide which meetings they attend, and formulate their working day for maximum productivity. For most people the biggest time saving in the 24 hours saved is in meetings that waste your time, on average 2 hours of the working day is spent in wasted meetings, that is 10 hours a week!
    • Many of the meetings you attend are scheduled by other people, they are the first place to look for time. If you find yourself leaving meetings saying “that was a complete waste of time”, you need to make a change! Remember you have a choice, just because you are invited you don’t always have to attend, you can go to the most relevant part, or you can say no if it’s not adding value. As Warren Buffett said ‘The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.’ You don’t need to say no to everything, but getting out of those wasted meetings will give you back not only time but also energy.
    • You also need to own and shape the meetings you run. Highly effective teams set clear agendas; pre reading is sent in advance and outcomes and goals are clear. In my own experience I found that the more effective the leader of the meeting was, the shorter the meeting was. Think about the monthly all day meetings or half day weekly meetings, take ownership of re shaping them to release time for not just you but also for your team.
  • Save time on the commute: The savings here can easily be a 30 minute saving a day, more time could be saved by a zero commute when you work from home on some days. Some ways to save this time include avoiding driving in the the rush hour peak, it’s both frustrating and it wastes time, I know people who work from home catching up on emails first thing and head in after the rush to save time. Most companies allow some flex, successful time managers use the flex, unsuccessful ones don’t use it. These simple changes can save you at least 3 hours a week.

M: Make and Manage Choices

Everyone has 24 hours in a day, time is finite so making choices and managing that time wisely makes a big difference.

  • Stick to your priorities. If you successfully thought and planned your time in the Think and Plan (T) step, this step is all about keeping on track. Highly effective time planners stick close to their plan, of course there is flex and things shift, but your goal is to stay on track.
  • Openly share your commitments and encourage others to do the same. This is a proven method to stay on track, for example, telling your work colleagues you play tennis on a Monday evening, will avoid people scheduling late meetings that day. Trust me it works… most people you work with don’t get up in the morning trying to mess up your time plan, but if they don’t know about your plans they could. Scheduling time for personal commitments in the evening also helps you leave the office: Dinner with the family; sport; the latest film with friends. Many people find by not planning their personal life their work life fills the time. If you have a goal to leave at 6pm just do it, otherwise you will be still there working at 8pm or later.

E: Eliminate & Delegate

So by now we have found time from work meetings, the commutes more effective and you are managing your time better, but there is still more time to be found by eliminating wasted time and by delegating to others.

  • Eliminate the lost time and win it back: on closer review most people find they have a lot of time tied up in activities not on their priority list. Time spent on social media, games and apps could be re invested with humans! Most people can find 30 mins on average a day from these activities giving you 3.5 hours a week. Another time waster is ‘always on’ TV. By watching just the program you really like versus carrying on to watch the one that follows saves you an hour a time. Add 1.5 hours of background TV that you can drop to your social media savings and you are up to 5 hours saved.
  • Delegate to others: This is where the ‘only I can do list’ from your thinking and planning time should be reviewed. Release time by focusing on the important things on your list, but de clutter and delegate the rest.
    • At home this could include outsourcing household tasks like cleaning, gardening or getting the groceries delivered, your goal it to find at least one thing. It could also involve enlisting your kids to help out more. Saving from this area should be at least 3 hours a week.
    • At work by investing time in your people you should ideally be now surrounded by a capable team who you can delegate to and feel empowered. This releases time for your “only I can do list” and results in a happier and motivated team who can get the job done. The minimum saving is 3 hours, over the long run it can be much, much more.

So that’s the TIME guide. In this example 24 hours or a day a week was saved (10 hours from wasted meetings, 3 hours of commute time, 3.5 hours from wasted time on social media + 1.5 hours of TV, delegating or out sourcing household tasks 3 hours, team delegation 3 hours). Your savings will I am sure be different, but with a bit of focus on your Return on invested time (ROIT) you can, I am sure, unlock some valuable time to re-invest into something else you care about.

Want to understand the sources of your Energy?

We all have people and situations that give us energy or take energy away.

Energy is the source of action, positive or negative, so it’s important to understand the sources of energy for us so we can keep ourselves topped up with positive energy and avoid situations or people that zap our energy.

Imagine there are three types of energy sources or energy drains:

1. Energy Givers

People that when you are with them you feel a spark of enthusiasm, inspiration and you know you do more exciting things, or think more, learn more in their company

What are the places and activities that give you energy, is it a walk near the ocean? walking in a forest ? watching a TED talk or the buzz of the city ? Physical spaces and environments have a big impact on our energy.

2. Energy Sloths

People that when you are with them you gossip more or don’t do anything new, it’s ok to be around these people, but don’t do it for too long or you will feel your energy slowly ebbing away.

Places that can be sloth like could be in front of the TV or social media for too long.

3. Energy Vampires

People that when you are with them you feel your energy being drained, because they are negative and glass half full, they tend to dwell on negatives , they tend to talk about themselves, at work it could be a boss or colleague with endless requests for work but no thanks…

Places and activities can be a job that you don’t like, or tasks you hate doing. The answer here is to have a rethink ..or if it’s a task outsource it to someone it gives energy to.

4. Energy Exercise.

So if you like the idea of defining and managing your energy levels try the following simple exercise out for yourself. Take a piece of paper and make a list of the people and places that are your Energy Givers, Energy Sloths and Energy Vampires. Hopefully some sparks of inspiration will come through from your list. What people or places give you energy? are you finding enough time for them? Who or what are your energy zappers? how do you reduce time spent with these people or activities so you can release that time back to the Energy givers? Decide on the top 3 things you’d like to change then ….just do it!

This simple poem from Richard Branson says a lot..

I love this poem that Richard Branson wrote to inspire entrepreneurs. As a budding entrepreneur in my new business it created a spark of inspiration for me, it also struck me that Richard’s thoughts are also equally applicable to people in the corporate world who want to show up in the world and make a difference. I hope you like it too.

The road to success is paved with tests,
So you’ve got to believe in yourself above the rest.

Dream big, and let your passion shine,
If you don’t, you won’t end up with a dime.

Challenge the status quo, disrupt the market and say YES!
And remember that innovation is an endless quest

Don’t forget to change business for good,
If you want to change the world then you should.

If you think with your head and listen to your heart,
I promise you’ll get off to a flying start.

Make bold moves, but always play fair,
Always say please and thank you – it’s cool to care.

Do what you love and love what you do,
This advice is nothing new.

Now, stop worrying about whether your business will be a hit,
Rise to the challenge and say ‘screw it, let’s do it!’

Poem by Richard Branson