Time Management Skills: The 3 Laws of Time – Are You The Slave or Master?

June 12, 2017
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3 Laws of Time

3 Laws of Time

“Time will be your master or your slave; you decide.”

(Asher Majeed)

Time Management Fantasy

Growing up I was hooked on Bernard’s Watch. For my American readers (and the British ones who had a deprived childhood), Bernard’s watch was a show about a boy who had a pocket watch that could stop time.

Imagine what you could with such an object.

On second thoughts, don’t.

Not to disappoint the criminally minded amongst you but one of the conditions of owning the watch was he couldn’t do anything illegal with it. Sorry to burst that bubble.

Anyway, it’s unfortunate such a pocket watch doesn’t exist. So short of stopping time the best we can do is manage it.

Time Management Skills are well sought after. Very rarely do you meet someone who claims there is too much time in a day. Sadly, most of us wish we had more time. Most of us wish we could do more in the time we have. The former is impossible but the latter is something we can all achieve.

But in order to best time we must first understand it. I’m not going to go into an Inception type narrative or present a theory of time that would make Even Doc Brown’s head spin.

Instead I’m going to go into 3 Laws of Time Management that will help you understand, conquer and utilise time.

Time Management Law 1: There are 24 Hours in a Day

Rather a simplistic place to begin, I know. But we need to think about this in more depth. Every person on the earth has 24 hours whether they’re the Queen of England or a humble personal development dude like myself. So everything that is achieved is done within 24 hours.

The real differential is what you choose to do in the 24 hours of every day.

Some will achieve a phenomenal amount. Some won’t.

Some will spend their time pursing their dreams. Some won’t.

Some will leave their comfort zones. Some won’t.

The fact is that you have 24 hours. It is ultimately your choice what you do with them.

You might have other responsibilities.

You might have other commitments.

You might need to put food on the table.

But at some point you will need to make a decision about going from where you are now and where you want to be.

Then, you will need to utilise the time you have to get you there. However long it takes.

Time Management Law 2: Lost Time is Never Found Again

This is a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin, he’s always a good guy to quote.

If you’re ever lost for words, just drop in a quote from Franklin – works every time.

But on a serious note, don’t delude yourself into thinking that you have all the time in the world.

You don’t.

That hits hard but the faster you realise this the more you will value time.

Deciding not to do something or delaying it without good reason, isn’t as harmless as it seems.

Circumstances change.

People who wish they had more time now, did have more time once upon a time.

They didn’t use it.

Circumstances changed.

It’s often not until we are busiest that we want to do more.

When we have all the time in the world we just chill, possibly on Netflix.

This is a paradox that we must overcome before it overcomes us.

Time Management Law 3: How You Spend Your Time Defines You

We all have an idealistic view of who we are.

I’m like a cross between David Beckham, Harvey Spector and Tupac.


But I’ll be the first to admit that probably isn’t true.

Whether we like it or not what defines us is how we spend our time.

If you’re passionate about something but you never engage with that passion at all – it no longer defines you.

You might enjoy reading but if you haven’t read a book in 5 years then you ain’t a reader.

But the thing that you spend 8 hours a day doing – guess what? It becomes to define your character. It starts to influence your character and the way you act.

In light of these three laws, this Time Management Series will be focused on helping you become more productive and make time for the things you want to do.

Stay tuned.

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Check out the NexGen Guide on Time Management.

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Writing a Best Selling Novel: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks Part 1

June 12, 2017
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Write a Best Selling Novel

Write a Best Selling Novel

“If you’ve ever wondered why some writers who, in your humble opinion, don’t write as well as you do yet are rich and famous while you struggle onward, this is the reason. They are great directors.”

(Larry Brooks, Story Engineering)

Welcome to the ‘Writing Skills’ Series. Today, and in subsequent articles, we will be looking at Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He has 6 Magic Pills for all those who have ever harboured dreams of writing a best selling novel.

I have wanted to write the same novel since I was 10 years old. At school the whole class was entered into a writing competition and this was the first time I thought seriously about writing. 

From that day to this, I’ve always wanted to get the same story out. It has evolved and, to the naked eye, changed beyond recognition. But the core concept and theme have stayed true for over a decade.

And I still haven’t let the dream go – so watch this space!

In my quest to hone my craft I have sought out hundreds of articles, books and courses on the elusive secrets of writing a best-selling novel. Trust me, there is no shortage of literature. Through it all, I found there was a lot of generic stuff.

Keep the reader’s attention.

Pace better.

Make your characters 3-dimensional..

There is a lot of prescriptive stuff but it lacked depth.

How do I sustain the reader’s attention?

How do I pace at all (let alone better)?

What makes a character 3-dimensional and how do I make the transition from dimension one to the Promised Land of the third?

Just as I was losing steam I came across two words – Story Engineering (the book by Larry Brooks). Reading the description on Amazon I was hooked.

Some labour their entire lives without ever learning that stories are every bit as engineering driven as they are artistic in nature.

This was an epiphanic moment.

It was then that I realised creativity is not enough.

A compelling plot is not enough.

Some real thought needed to go into how I was constructing my novel.

Larry Brooks takes us through the 6 Core Competencies the make up the components of a saleable novel.

Do them well enough – then you might have a best-seller on your hands.

The 6 Core Competencies are:





-Scene Execution

-Writing Voice

All elements of storytelling fall into these categories. All of them.

In the next few articles we’ll be discussing each of the core competencies and how you can bring them together in your (and my) quest to write a best selling novel.

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Check out our NexGen Guides.

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Communication Skills: 3 Ways Communication Skills Rule Your Life

June 12, 2017
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“The Quality of Your Communication is the Quality of Your Life.” (Tony Robbins)

Welcome to our ‘Communication Skills’ Series. We will be discussing the best personal development ideas on how to improve your communication skills.

Communication is Life

Why are communication skills so important?

Surely, I can get by without being Tony Robbins or Barrack Obama.

I’m not a politician or a high level business executive. I’m not a football coach who needs to motivate or inspire players.

I’m just me and I can get by.

This is a monologue that played out in my mind once upon a time.

But pretty soon things began to unravel.

Picture the following three scenarios.

You walk into a room and you see someone you really want to have a conversation with. You’ve been waiting to speak to them for a long time. As it happens, you have a conversation but it doesn’t go down at all as you wanted it to. You couldn’t even get across the main point you wanted to make.

You’re sitting within a group of people at work. You have a killer idea and you wait for your chance to express it. You’re patient. Too patient. The chance has passed. They’ve moved on to the next item on the agenda.

An opportunity presents itself. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for, almost too good to be true. You look into a bit more. You want to do as much research as you possibly can. So you do. Gradually, you start convincing yourself that you are out of your depth. This opportunity is beyond you. You’re under-qualified. You won’t be able to handle it. So you don’t even bother going for it.

I asked you to picture these situations because they all occurred. They happened to me once upon a time. Moreover, you may have experienced them too, in some form or other.

They are symbolic of three reasons that communication skills rule your life.

1. Communication Skills and You

The way in which we speak to ourselves ultimately dictates our lives. If the conversations you have with yourself are negative and disparaging then what will that mean for the choices you make in life? Will you be bold and courageous? Will you make decisions that back your ability? Or will you decide things based on self-doubt?

The things we say to ourselves will shape our decisions which will ultimately shape our outcomes: the things we experience and the results we achieve.

If you consider where you are in life today it will undoubtedly be a result of the way you communicate with yourself.

When we are not aware or in control of these conversations then there is no telling where they will lead you.

To get greater control over your life and the trajectory of your future then you need to master the art of self-communication.

And this begins with self-awareness.  

2. Communication Skills and Your Social Life

As John Donne once wrote: no man (or woman) is an Island. And he wasn’t wrong. All the relationships that make up who you are – your friendships and even your enemies – are built upon communication.

In fact, the very nature of those relationships are dependent on communication. A miscommunication here and there can lead to drastic changes in your relationships. It can be the difference between friend and foe. If you think about it, even your circle of friends itself was dependent on your ability to communicate.

If they’re not the friends you want (or you don’t have any) then you need to start taking your conversation skills seriously.

3. Communication Skills and Your Professional Life

So you may not be Barrack Obama, Tony Robbins nor the modern day Vince Lombardi.

But communication skills, or lack of them, are dictating your life in the most powerful way.

The way you’re regarded at work is dependent on how you communicate.

Do people take you seriously?

Do you get long with your co-workers?

Do you get your points across effectively enough?

Have you ever send (or received) an email that was ambiguous and didn’t really make clear what needed to be done?

That’s bad communication and it wreaks havoc with work effectiveness, work relationships and possibly even your chances of professional development.

So it doesn’t matter what your occupation is or what level you find yourself – communication skills are having a direct impact on your professional life.

So, what’s the answer?

Become an Island and silence your internal voice.

That’s an answer I suppose.

Alternatively, start taking your conversation skills seriously and work on improving them.

In the process you will empower the true you.

That’s what this series is all about.

See you on the next post!

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Check out the NexGen Guide on Communication.

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Life: Giving to Receive – Deepak Chopra’s Law Applied

December 4, 2016
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Hands holding a gift box isolated on black background demonstrating giving in life

Give to Receive in Life

Do you want to receive more from life? Begin by giving…

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend at her home about how to receive more from life. The discussion started quite predictably; we both spoke of hard work, self-awareness, and sacrifices. We then spoke of the need to surround ourselves with a positive, affirming network of people.

The discussion soon ended and I left for home rather smug about our conclusions. As I was settling down for the evening my housemate walked past my room and asked me what I was up to. I replied that I was looking for a new book to read. She quickly came to my aid and thrust a book titled ‘the seven spiritual laws of success’ by Deepak Chopra into my hands.

And so began a night of enlightenment on how to get what you want from life.

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Life: Are You Living or Existing? 6 Instant Ways to Get More Out of Life

December 4, 2016
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Living Life to the Fullest

Living Life to the Fullest

Are you wasting your life?

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” —- Oscar Wilde.

If you recorded all your activities and the amount of time you spent doing each one for one full month, do you think you’d be satisfied with how you were living you life?

Perhaps you would be!

Or perhaps you’d be appalled to see just how much time, in the precious little time you have on this earth, you spend doing things that just aren’t important.

Oscar Wilde’s wisdom on the difference between existing and living is timeless and universal.

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Influence? Just listen! The Secret to Successful Influence Lies Either Side of Your Head

December 4, 2016
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Influence Cannot be Done Without Listening

Influence Cannot be Done Without Listening

Influence begins through listening.

Can you relate to any of the following scenarios?

  • You lecture your children but they won’t listen
  • You try to influence your friend to take that job but he won’t listen
  • You try to motivate your team but they won’t listen
  • You try to reason with your partner but he/she just won’t listen
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Achieve Success by Beating Social Conditioning: Time For The Red Pill

September 7, 2016
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“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill-the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.”
(Morpheus to Neo in The Matrix)

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