When I started my first business about 10 years ago, I swear I hadn’t a minute to myself. Every minute of everyday was dedicated to doing something. My calendar was always filled with events and my to-do list was always growing.

Does this sound like your life?

“I’m making money. I’m working my ass off. I’m moving forward,” I would always remind myself. I made peace with that.

However, does being busy necessarily mean being productive? The concept of “hard work” was something that I was trained into believing.

I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near. -Margaret Thatcher

What’s worse is that the harder you work, the more work there will be. There’s always the next project, or the next opportunity, or the next vacation to save for, or the next kid to put through schooling, or the next home…


So, we can confidently conclude that there is always something that needs to be done. This is where you all say, “Word, Lawrence.”

Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top. -J.C. Penney

Efficiently Effective

Doing things fast is not enough. Let’s lose some weight.

Find an Ideal Environment
Outside from my office, I enjoy working at Panera Bread. There is free wifi. The chairs are comfortable enough for work, but not comfortable enough to sleep on, whereas I would at home. There’s no one to bother me nor will I dare bother others. With a cup of coffee and bagel, I’m set. This is similar to sitting on an airplane!

Minimize Noise
I’m not implying that music is not good. It can during the right times (obviously not a song with lyrics while writing an email).

I also meant the noise from email, facebook, twitter, etc. Each time there is a distraction, your brain has to change gears.

Avoid Changing Gears

  • Imagine reading 10 pages of Book 1
  • Then read 10 pages of Book 2
  • Immediately start reading 10 pages of Book 3
  • Repeat

How far did you actually get? How much further if you just focused on one continuously?

This is the same thing as editing a photo, then getting distracted by a tweet followed by writing to an email inquiry. What’s worse is that you would be switching from your creative right brain to your logical left brain, then back. Ouch.

To get into full speed, focus on one thing and don’t stop until done (e.g., emails).

Limited Tasks

When I worked my 9-5pm jobs at AIG or JP Morgan Chase, I was always glad when I clocked out. That meant that I could turn off my brain and not think about work. Alas, that is not the same for business.

I used to stay up working into the wee hours until it was time for bed. There’s a big problem though – I couldn’t sleep. My brain was in 5th gear business mode and not relaxation mode. Shit.


Everyday, you should have a limited number of things to do. Once you have finished them, clock out. Make sure that it’s something achievable. Yes…that sense of accomplishment is important. Trust me.

Julie writes her tasks on a post-it because she enjoys scratching them off.

What to do next…

If you checked Twitter or Facebook right in the middle of reading this post, you failed. Sit in the corner. Just kidding!

Now that you are done, share with your friends via Facebook or Retweet buttons below. Next, comment what you can do to lose some business weight, immediately!


Lawrence Chan

P.S. I check Twitter about four times a day. Each time, I read all that I missed, then turn it off.

P.P.S. Just received an email this weekend from @dparkphoto

We just wanted to give you a rave about your pricing and packaging teachings. We just booked a $7K bride for the St. Regis using your tactics.

After completing your e-book, we redid our packaging to remove all the suffocating choices (our pricing used to be in a 17 pg. catalog). We refused to discount. We discussed the package pricing as you suggested. We took out all the fluff, no other prints, just 1 album.

We were able to meet the bride and groom and had them sold after just a half hour, the shortest meeting we’ve had. Your tactics work!