The Epic CEO Hack (or, the cheapest innovation tool)

October 15, 2014

Hacks ,Productivity


An innovation hack is an action that is “low input, high output.” That means it takes very little investment, but the gains are tremendous. I watch for the hacks of effective CEO’s and this one is shared by both the late Steve Jobs and Tony Hsieh.

Innovation Hack: Walks.

Yes. That simple. They go for walks, a lot. Whether it’s for meetings or just taking time for themselves, they take long walks.

Research is proving the common sense idea that sitting for extensive periods of time is very unnatural. One even called sitting the smoking of our generation.

I took an hour long walk today, with a 3×5 card and a pen. At first I listened to an audiobook with headphones while I walked. Then I noticed I stopped listening to the book and started listening to my own ideas. I would walk for awhile, let the ideas simmer, then write them down and repeat the process.

Some might call it taking the time to listen to our own intuition. Others may say there’s a spiritual element to it all. Whatever it is, it works. Try it right now. It may be the cheapest most effective innovation tool.

NOTE: You’ll see I finally added a way to get updated on new posts. See the sign up bar in the upper right corner.

Productivity Hack: Hack the Wifi

March 14, 2013


I’m at a coffee house, and the wifi is down. Awesome. No, seriously. Awesome! Now I can actually get stuff done.

My friend Dawn, author of Small Footprint Family, had her internet connection go out completely at her house this week. A few hours later, she had finished formatting her book – a task that she had put off for months, assumed would take weeks, and would require assistance from freelancers. Dawn is the antithesis of lazy. In fact, the time she spent online was spent working on marketing, SEO, and blog posts. But eliminating that option opened up a new possibility.

Dawn’s husband Ivan had never been able to sleep more than 5 hours a night. That night he slept for 7 hours. Why? Because with the internet down, there was never that stressful feeling that he could be doing work from the office. It reminds of the Jewish laws for the Sabbath. The specific wording in the commentary is that the command is not just to rest, but to rest “as if you never have to work, ever again.” Can you feel the difference between those two levels?

My friend Patricia decided to put fate in her own hands by specifically choosing a coffee shop that has NO internet connection. By going there to work just a couple hours a day, she completed her entire business plan in a week.

What is something you’ve been putting off? Something you know you must do. Something you think will take a long time, but you won’t know until you try it? Great, now find a coffee house with no wifi.