15% Inflation in the USA

If you look at the US Dollar Index – valuing the Dollar against a basket of six hard currencies you will see it has fallen from 83.88 to 72.46 in 12 months. That is an inflation rate of 15.75%, or very close to the increase in M3 of the same period. More… and even more

How to Make Measurable Progress Toward Your Most-Neglected Goals

By Michael Masterson
“Don’t be a time manager, be a priority manager.” – – Denis Waitley
To Master Plan your new life, you must begin with long-term goals that correspond to your core values. From that good start, you must establish yearly and monthly objectives. Based on those objectives, you create weekly and daily task lists. Doing all that will help greatly. But if you want to really change your life, you have to learn how to prioritize.
I didn’t always know how to prioritize. For much of my business career, I relied on goal setting and task lists and was happy with the results. But when I turned 50 and started writing for Early to Rise, I began to read how other business leaders achieved their goals. And that’s when I discovered what a huge difference prioritizing can make.
The most important lesson I learned came from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. In that book, Covey presents a technique for prioritizing that impressed me greatly and soon became a central part of my planning process.
Divide your tasks, Covey says, into four categories:
* Not important and not urgent
* Not important but urgent
* Important but not urgent
* Important and urgent
In the “not important and not urgent” category, you would put such things as:
* Catching up on office gossip
* Shopping online for personal items
* Answering unimportant phone calls
* Responding to unimportant e-mails

In the “not important but urgent” category, you would include:

* Returning phone calls from pesky salespeople
* Making last-minute preparations for an office party
* Attending a required meeting that doesn’t help your career
* Planning for a meeting that doesn’t matter

In the “important and urgent” category, you might list:

* Making last-minute preparations for an important meeting with the boss
* Making last-minute sales calls to key clients
* Solving unexpected problems

And, finally, in the “important but not urgent” category, you might include:
* Learning how to write better
* Learning how to speak better
* Learning how to think better
* Working on your novel
* Getting down to a healthy weight

When you break up tasks into these four categories, it’s easy to see that you should give no priority at all to “not important and not urgent” tasks. In fact, these tasks should not be done at all. They are a waste of time. Yet many people spend lots of time on them because they tend to be easy to do and sometimes enjoyable in a mindless sort of way. Or because they are afraid to get to work on important tasks because they are afraid of failure.

Even worse than spending time on tasks that are not important and not urgent is spending time on those that are not important but urgent. They should have been dealt with long before they reached the crisis stage.

If you discover that you are spending a lot of time on unimportant tasks, you’ve got a serious problem. Unless you change your ways, you’re unlikely to achieve any of your important goals.

So which tasks should you give priority to?

In Seven Habits, Covey says that most people think they should give priority to important and urgent tasks. But this is a mistake. “It’s like the pounding surf,” he says. “A huge problem comes and knocks you down and you’re wiped out. You struggle back up only to face another one that knocks you down and slams you to the ground.” You are “literally beat up by problems all day every day.”

All urgent tasks – both unimportant and important – are problematic: They are urgent because you’ve neglected something or because they are important to other people (like your boss). In either case, you need to find a way to keep most of them from winding up on your daily to-do list. This means making some changes in your work habits – usually a combination of being more efficient and delegating more chores to other people.

Urgent tasks will burn you out. And turn you into an unhappy workaholic. If you want transformation in your life, you have to give priority to the important but not urgent tasks – because those are the ones that will help you achieve your major, long-term goals.

It’s not easy.

The important but not urgent tasks whisper, while the urgent tasks shout. But there is a way to get that critical but quiet stuff done in four simple steps:

Step 1. When planning your day, divide your tasks into Covey’s four categories: not important and not urgent, not important but urgent, important but not urgent, and important and urgent.

Step 2. You will, of course, have to do the urgent tasks – at least until you get better at taking charge of your schedule. And you will have to find a way to get rid of the tasks that are not important and not urgent. But make sure you include one important but not urgent task that, when completed, will move you closer to one of your long-term goals.

Step 3. Highlight that important but not urgent task on your to-do list. Make it your number one priority for the day.

Step 4. Do that task first – before you do anything else.

Initially, you will find it difficult to do an important but not urgent task first. There are reasons for that.

* Since it is not urgent, you don’t feel like it’s important. But it is.
* Since it supports a goal you’ve been putting off, you are in the habit of neglecting it.
* You are in the habit of neglecting it because you don’t think it’s important and because you might be afraid of doing it.
* You might be afraid of doing it because you know, deep down inside, that it will change your life. And change, even good change, is scary.

But once you start using this little four-step technique, you’ll notice something right away.

The first thing you’ll notice is how good you feel. Accomplishing something you’ve been putting off is energizing. It will erase some doubts you have about yourself – doubts caused by years of “never getting to” your long-term goals.

That extra energy and confidence will grow, and will fuel you throughout the day. This will make it easier for you to accomplish other important but not urgent tasks.

As the days go by, you will realize that you are making measurable progress toward your neglected goals. In just a few weeks, you will be amazed at how much you’ve already done. And in 52 weeks – a short year from now – you will be a brand-new, much more productive person.

That year is going to pass by anyway. You are going to spend the time somehow. Why not do it by taking charge of your schedule? Why not spend that time on yourself – on what’s really important to you?
[Ed. Note: Achieve all your personal, social, financial, and business goals with the help of ETR’s Total Success Achievement program. Learn more by clicking here….]
From the www.earlytorise.com newsletter
[Early to Rise Copyright ETR, LLC, 2007]
If you’d like to subscribe to Early to Rise or suggest it to a friend, please visit: here

A Goal That's Easier to Achieve Than Ignore

By John Forde
“Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.” Confucius
Quit smoking. Lose weight. Read more. Work harder. Get organized. Spend more time with family and friends.
Every January, we make the same promises. By March, most of them are out the window.
“A resolution,” somebody once said, “is a thing that goes in one year and out the other.”
What if, this year, one resolution could improve every aspect of your life?
Yet, to make this one promise stick, you need to do no extra work, command no extra discipline, and make no extra sacrifices. In fact, following through on this one pledge is actually easier than NOT doing it.
What is it?
Two words. But before I explain, let me give you the set-up. It starts 15 years ago, just six months into my copywriting career.
I was an understudy to one of the best copywriters in the country, Bill Bonner. Already, I had a handful of very successful sales letters under my belt. And we were just sitting down to talk job review and salary.
Now copywriting is about selling. And, I have to admit, at this point I had some mixed feelings about what that meant.
It was only natural.
Lots of people are under the impression that selling is about fooling people. Says the stereotype, it’s all about tricking the customer into wanting something he never wanted before. Or doing something he never really wanted to do.
Was that accurate? I genuinely wasn’t experienced enough to be sure. But being young, I also sometimes mistook cynicism for the cloak of the wise. and during this conversation with Bill, that’s how I dealt with my doubts.
“Of course,” I told him, “you know I don’t really believe in all this stuff.”
This “stuff,” by the way, was what I was supposed to sell. Bill looked taken aback. “Wait a minute,” he said, “You’ve got to believe in it… otherwise how can you write about it? You can’t sell what you don’t believe in.”
He was right. It was simple. Yet it felt like a revelation. With every copywriting project that followed, that was my guideline.
If I couldn’t buy the product’s proposition, I either wouldn’t agree to write for it… or I would work with the product manager to reshape the product until I could.
Sometimes I’d get in deep on a hopeless case and have to extract myself. But for the most part, it’s a strategy that’s worked out well. And I’ve heard plenty of other top copywriters say the same.
Sell the products that are so good they sell themselves. Those are the ones you can believe in. And that’s the key to a successful career in sales and marketing. Yet, even in something so simple there’s something else that’s profound.
I read a book a few years ago by Joe Vitale. It was called The Seven Lost Secrets of Success, and shared the life story of advertising legend Bruce Barton.
Maybe you’ve heard of Barton. He’s most famous as the second ‘B’ in “Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn” or BBDO, one of the most famous ad agencies of the 20th century.
He’s also the creator of “Betty Crocker,” named General Motors and General Electric, and helped build Ford Motors, Carnegie Steel, plus a few dozen more of America’s most famous companies.
Here’s the funny thing. Barton never imagined he’d wind up in the ad industry. He originally wanted to be a novelist. Then a journalist. For a while there, he was a magazine editor. But his partners would later say Barton was born for advertising.
Not because he could successfully bamboozle customers into buying. But for the opposite reason. Here’s Barton himself, spilling out his personal philosophy back in 1925:
“Do not venture into the sunlight unless you are willing first to put your house in order… no dyspeptic can write convincingly of the joys of mince meat. No woman-hater can write convincingly of love… unless you have a real respect for people, a real affection for people, a real belief that you are equipped to serve them, and that by your growth and prosperity they will likewise grow and prosper, unless you have this deep-down conviction, gentleman, do not attempt advertising. For somehow it will return to plague you.”
And then once more, writing in that same year:
“I believe the public has a sixth sense of detecting insincerity. We run a tremendous risk if we try to make other people believe in something we don’t believe in. Somehow our sin will find us out… the advertisements which persuade people to act are written by men who have an abiding respect for the intelligence of their readers, and a deep sincerity regarding the merits of the goods they have to sell.”
Translation: “Be genuine.”
That was Barton’s secret. It’s also the secret I suggest you and I carry into the coming year. By the way, that doesn’t just apply to your business decisions.
Being genuine means being honest with yourself too. Especially when it comes to focusing on your objectives and setting the goals you’ll target over a lifetime.
Ask yourself, did you buy that exercise bike as a tool to finally better your health… or did you really buy it as a towel rack that says “I care about exercise” even if you don’t?
Are you saying you’ll quit smoking because you know you should? And because it’s robbing you of cash, health, and future time with your family? Or just because it’s what your friends want to hear?
Is this really the year you’re going to get organized, get serious, and get to work building the career you care about, the skill you wanted, and the life you desire… or are these just more superficial ornaments to jot down on your “to-do” list to make yourself feel better?
Be honest. Be sincere. Be genuine.
With yourself and with everybody else, as often and as much as you can. Nothing else you’ll resolve to do could make a bigger difference.
[Ed Note: John Forde, a published writer and a direct-mail copywriter since 1992, is the editor of the free weekly e-zine, The Copywriter’s Roundtable.
You can meet all your marketing goals – and achieve all your personal, social, financial, and business dreams – with the help of ETR’s Total Success Achievement Program. Learn more by clicking here….]
From the www.earlytorise.com newsletter
[Early to Rise Copyright ETR, LLC, 2007]
If you’d like to subscribe to Early to Rise or suggest it to a friend, please visit:

The Perfect Financial Storm

This is a long read, but well worth it, if you want to understand what is really going on. It is a series of articles written by Jim Puplava called “The Perfect Financial Storm”. He is one of a handful that had the insight to see what was coming, years ago and to write about it. More…