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Wednesday, June 3

★ 5 days with Apple Watch - time is on my side

After 5 days with Apple's latest gadget I had to write this mini review. Couldn't wait. The bottom line: love it, already used to having it. Why? Here goes:

apple watch Mickey

Love the form factor

I'm wearing my wife's watch (38mm) as mine (42 mm) is in hands of our Nozbe developer who's fine tuning our Watch app and I like how it looks on my wrist. I'm a short guy so the smaller size might be actually better for me...

Love the watch faces

I'm usually using Modular, sometimes switching to Chronograph and when I'm with kids I switch to... Mickey :-)

Love the apps

Although 3rd party apps only stream what's on the iPhone, the ones I use I really like! I use mainly Nozbe to manage my task notifications and Overcast to listen to podcasts. Apple watch is a fantastic remote control for your iPhone!

Love the messages

The dictation works fantastically. I now reply to most of my messages via the watch. When notifications come, they're usually interactive so I can reply to a task delegated to me or view the task and its comments.

Love the Watch

Love the fact how easily it became the part of my life. Now that I have it, it's become the part of my routine.

Question: did you get your Apple watch? Do you like it?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Tuesday, June 2

✔ Running a productive distributed team - Productive! Magazine 27 interview with Tomasz Szymanski

Tomasz Szymański, the CEO of SoftwareMill, shares his ideas, management techniques and practical tips for running a productive distributed team. He speaks of power and responsibility that his employees have as well as technical stuff and tools that help him run a 100% remote company.

More details in Productive! Magazine No. 27

Question: Would you like to work remotely? Yes? No? Why is that?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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Monday, June 1

✘ How much is productivity worth to you? [on: Nozbe]

On the Nozbe blog I just wrote about pricing of productivity tools. This is a very important topic. Check out these few quotes or read my entire article:

How much is productivity worth to you?

"ideal customer for Nozbe is a person (or a group of people) who value their time."

"time is indeed money and you should find a solution that works for you. That makes you more productive. "

"will a single cup of coffee give you 2 extra days a month just as a good productivity tool can?"

Jump to read my entire article »

Thursday, May 28

✔ How to manage notifications and not go crazy?

There's a chance that some of you are already wearing your Apple Watches while reading this. I still don't have mine (arriving today!)... but anyway, there's a lot of skepticism regarding our new wrist computer. On the one hand, it's a nice-looking gadget but on the other, the software seems slow, there are problems with battery life and, most of all, with notifications which constantly buzz and disturb the user.

Note: The following article appeared first in the May'15 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

notifications

Notifications are not just Apple Watch's problem!

I've been using iPad as my main computer for quite a long time, and the iPhone even longer... and I really like to observe how other people use their mobile devices. There are many different ways but the most important thing is to keep a cool head.

Almost every app on our devices asks for permission to send "push" notifications.

Usually we enable them because we're not fully aware how often (or rarely) we'll be receiving them. Later, we're often surprised that our phone is vibrating all the time, while another app is screaming and trying to get our attention by popping up a new notification.

It's, however, up to us whether we take control and set notifications properly or not. Everything depends on whether we allow apps to fight for our attention or decide what can and what's not supposed to disturb us. But how to approach it? Below, I'll try to present my way of dealing with notifications:

Thursday, April 30

✔ Effective Communication in a Team [part 2]: my 7 rules for improving interpersonal relations

In my last article on communication I've discussed about my 5 general rules of communicating within a team. We talked about the importance of being prepared, of writing clearly, choosing the right communication channel... and also body language.. and even spicing it up with emoticons or memes. Now let's talk about the importance of building strong interpersonal relations with your team in order to communicate even better.

Interpersonal

As you know, my entire Nozbe team works remotely - we all work from home. That's why we decided to have an all-company meeting in person every 6 months. We've just been to one earlier this month. I'll write about it later, but suffice to say, it's great to be able to meet in person everyone you're working with every single day and spend some quality time with them. It helps of course, that we do have an amazing team :-)

This is one of the moments we can build stronger relationships with each other and these help us communicate through tasks better throughout the year:

Monday, April 27

✔ Effective Communication in a Team - part 1: my 5 general rules

Note: This article is based on my Editor’s note from the 11th issue of the Polish edition of the Productive! Magazine.

Being extremely happy with the changes that we've implemented by the end of last year in the Nozbe team, I often think that there are still things that can be improved. For example... communication. Between individual departments (e.g. customer service - programmers), between heads of departments and, of course, between me and each of my employees. Especially when you work remotely like we do, good communication is key.

Communication

It's all about effective communication

Communication within an organization is a tool that boosts productivity. It's an element that guarantees that each person knows his or her role in achieving common, company-specific goals and acts skillfully to get them done.

It's also the best "weapon" in the hands of each leader. Effective communication allows to build team harmony and coordinate actions towards accomplishing planned objectives. It motivates employees, raises their self-esteem, engagement and feeling that they're part of something valuable. Employees who are misinformed act "blindly" and waste time (and thus money). When they're stressed out they make more mistakes and become less open. When they're underestimated - it goes without saying...

Based on my own experience of managing a growing team, recruiting new people, working with clients and business partners, I've created a list of rules that may help improve in-company communication. Today I'll write about some general ("technical") rules and in a next post I'll talk more about interpersonal relations:

Friday, April 24

✔ Just Do It! Disarm your own perfectionist

This is the Editor's Note that I wrote for 27th issue of Productive! Magazine. I hope it helps you look at the problem of perfectionism from a different angle.

perfectionism

I've been thinking lately about perfectionism. Laura Stack mentions it in her article in this issue of the magazine, too. It is quite a popular term to use and it has its place in the informal language. However, when one reads a little about this problem, it turns out that perfectionism is a really serious thing. It might lead to the loathing of yourself and others.

Wednesday, April 8

✔ Apple Watch - a productivity review

As I was one of the lucky ones to get a preview unit of the Apple Watch... No I wasn't. I wish I was. Why not me, Apple? I really wish I had early access just like Nilay Patel or Joshua Topolsky or John Gruber... but I didn't. What I did do was study these reviews, all other pieces of information I could find on MacRumors, the Apple Watch Guided Tours and everything else I could find on the Internet... and I decided to write my review of the Apple Watch with an angle on productivity, based on experiences of the few lucky ones who did get to play with this new "magical" device from Apple... and from a point of view of a person who really, desperately wants one... and will try to get it on April 24th. Let's look at the Apple Watch from the productivity point of view and answer a question that's on everyone's mind right now - will the Apple Watch make you more productive? Or will you just become an Apple show-off? Or both?

Apple Watch - a productivity review

When Apple introduced the iPad, Steve Jobs famously said that for the device between a smartphone and a laptop to make sense, it had to be significantly better than both of these at some key tasks... and it was. It's a great content consumption device... and a great productivity device. I should know, I've been using the iPad as my main computer for the last 3 years and I'm in fact writing this review on my iPad Air 2.

Now, when Apple unveiled the Apple Watch, it didn't say why this device had to exist at all. They said all about it "being the most personal device ever", but no arguments as to what it should be great at. And from the early reviews we can learn that the Apple Watch is:

...a beautifully-crafted but quite sluggish mini-smartphone slapped to your wrist that does lots of things, but none of them particularly well.

It's a very harsh assessment of this new device so as a productivity guy who badly wants one, let's revisit all the criticisms the early reviews have raised:

Friday, March 27

★ iPhone 6 plus. It's all about vertical space. Apple got it right while promoting it wrong...

The other day I was showing my iPhone 6 plus to a friend and he asked me about the special "horizontal treatment" of the phone. As you might know, the "plus" model, having lots of screen real estate was blessed with additional features in the horizontal layout and a bigger keyboard... Much like an iPad. And my friend wanted me to show me how cool it was... And frankly, I wouldn't know because I hardly ever use my phone in horizontal mode... Because I think the coolest thing about the plus model is its horizontal real estate! Just look at this 3-part photo:

iPhone 6 plus. It's all about vertical space.

Even with keyboard popped up, I have more space then on the iPhone 5s

Just look at the vertical layout on the left and the two horizontal layouts on the right. Look how much screen real estate I have on my vertical iPhone. I can write and browse at the same time. It's great.

My keyboard in vertical is big enough to type comfortably.

I'm typing this blog post on my iPhone in vertical mode using the 1writer app and it's really great and fast. Whereas the horizontal keyboard is too big for me and the keys used for writing are in the center of the screen so it's totally uncomfortable to type.

I even lock the layout to vertical...

Yes, I'm using the screen lock button to make sure my iPhone screen remains vertical at all times. I love it so much. Apple was advertising the plus model with the horizontal capabilities but it's the vertical view that's most productive and efficient on this device. It's so good!

Question: How's your iPhone 6 Plus so far? Or if you have a big android device, how's your experience?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Friday, March 20

★ Begin again: why starting my second company (Remag) is scary, exciting and humbling...

I'm on my way to Wordcamp London to get feedback on Remag from the the best and the brightest in the Wordpress community... And this whole trip is actually a very strange experience for me. It's a mixed bag of scare and excitement and everything in between. Let me explain:

london trip

Why I'm scared

I've been running Nozbe for the last 8 years with amazing success. We have hundreds of thousands of users from all over the world and we're highly profitable with an amazing team which only this year will grow from 20-30 people.

I'm scared to divide my attention between two companies. I'm scared to start something new when the thing I already have has achieved so much success. I'm scared to be a beginner again when I'm already one of the most influential productivity people out there. I'm scared to fail. I'm scared this new venture is ahead of its time and nobody will get it... I'm really really scared.

Why I'm excited

I'm starting something new! I will get to know a totally different world of digital publishing and not productivity. I'm going to Wordcamp London where I know no one. Nobody. It's a completely new world for me. It's very exciting.

I'll hopefully get a chance to get my very first customers again. Very first people who will believe in my vision of the future of digital mobile publishing. First folks who'll tell me my solution sucks. Or rocks. Or is so-so. And if we get traction like I hope we will I'll have an exciting time building a second company from the ground up.

Why I'm humbled

I'm a beginner again. My position in the new industry is non-existent. I know nobody. I am suddenly nobody. I'm just another guy with a startup which is trying to gain traction. I need to suck up my ego and start from square one. Like I haven't done in the last 8 years.

But I'm going to do it. Because I believe so much in the product and in my team that I can't just shelve it all because I'm scared to begin again.

Time to embrace the new beginning!

Question: Have you had a chance to begin something new lately?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Monday, March 16

✔ Books - my ultimate list of the (audio)books I'm reading now and I've read in the past (updated March 2015)

As a CEO of an established company Nozbe and a hot-new startup Remag I need to keep growing as a leader and the best way to do that is to read lots of books. But how to find time for books? Well, back in 2010 I started listening to audiobooks instead of reading physical books and I went from 2 books per year to around 30... and from then on I've been either listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Right now my Audible library is really huge so I created a document with the list of all the books I read in the past. I was losing track. And I only managed to write about some of them on this blog. Long story short, I decided to share my list of books with you - together with links, notes, everything right here... on this page. I will try to keep it updated. Here goes:

Books I'm reading

I'm receiving lots of emails about the books I recommend so sharing this document with all of you now seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm posting this as a blog post so feel free to post your comments below and suggest books I should check out and let me know what you think about the books I've read. Thanks! Now, here's the list:

Saturday, March 14

★ Dad, let's go to the "iPad store" please! (Or how our children embrace touch devices...)

Recently, I was on a week-long vacation in London. We spent a fantastic week in the Queen's capital, we visited museums, parks, walked a lot. On the last day, we went to the Westfield shopping mall and as always, I ended up in the store of my "favorite fruit company." And I was happily accompanied by my older daughter as they have a zone with iPads for kids to play there. Here's why an Apple Store is a dad's best friend:

kids in Apple Store

While kids enjoy the iPads...

Kids get the iPads and Apple gets it. That's why they have a dedicated place for kids with iPads loaded with latest games for them to play. My daughter loves discovering new games and she enjoys the iPad's touch interface immensely.

...parents get to shop

While my daughter is playing, I can safely browse the store, check out latest accessories and learn more about other Apple devices (like I don't know about already...) And keep talking myself out of finally getting that gorgeous iMac with Retina display... What a screen!

The future is “touchy-feely”

Watching my daughter I'm sure the future is mobile and it's all about touch. Just look at the new iWatch (and the trackpad of the new Macbook.) Kids get touch interfaces. They understand the playfullness... so we adults should better embrace the future on the iPads and iPhones. Just like our kids do.

Question: Do your kids "get" the iPads and iPhones as well? Do they try to "touch" the screen of your TV set?

sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Friday, March 13

✔ It's all about passion! - The End

Note: This is the 26th and the last excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I have been publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the last weeks here every Friday, so that you could read it bit by bit (I knew you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I've been also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

It's all about passion - 26

Passion in Education

While the focus of this book has been passion in business, we can’t forget that in order to succeed in life we need good education. Nicholas Moon, my daughter’s teacher, after reading the first draft of this book, wrote to me about his passion for education. In the chapter about passion for the product I write about “seeing it through the eyes of the customers” and he said this reminded him of the main theme in a book on education called: “Visible Learning”, where a model of “visible teaching – visible learning” is when teachers see learning through the eyes of the student and when students see themselves as their own teachers.

“We rarely talk about passion in education, as if doing so makes the work of teachers seem less serious, more emotional than cognitive, somewhat biased or of lesser import. When we do consider passion, we typically constrain such expressions of joy and involvement to matters unrelated to our teaching.

Thursday, March 12

✔ This tablet "works" - why iPad is perfect for work, study and entertainment

Note: The following article appeared first in the September'14 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

This tablet works

Recently, I wrote about my love for my first MacBook Air and, as I said, despite that brief love affair, right now I mainly use my iPad Air 2 for work. Some people still find that "This Tablet doesn't work". As the author of the "#iPadOnly" book and someone who's spent the last 2,5 years working mainly on the iPad, I decided to write this article to convince readers that, especially now, the iPad can be very helpful for both work and study... and play!

For a start, iPad is not Mac (or PC)

It seems to me that many people perceive the iPad as a kind of small computer without a keyboard, which makes them believe that it should work like a computer. They think: if I've got all of my files on my Mac, where will I put them on the iPad? If I'm used to doing things in a particular way on my Mac, why can't I do them the same way on the iPad? After all, everything should be the same or even better, shouldn't it?

Well, no. That's why many people who begin their adventure with iPad feel disappointed. When writing about my first Mac in the previous issue of iMagazine, I mentioned that during my transition from a Windows PC to Mac I had to completely change my habits. I had to learn many things from scratch, and learn to operate new software for doing the same things. The transition from Mac or Windows to iPad is even more painful... but looking back - it's great... and so worth it!

Wednesday, March 11

✔ Chat about Remag - Productive! Show #89

We're back with Augusto talking about Michael's new project - Remag. How it's re-defining the mobile digital publishing. How Michael believes that this is the way to go for the blogs of the future - to create their apps and stay "in touch" (pun intended) with their readers on their mobile devices. On being on their home screens and pushing the content to them. On giving your fans an easy way to subscribe to your content. We talk all about it and some more!

Question: Have you even wanted to have your own app?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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