Work the Way You Want, be Productive Anywhere and Design Your #NoOffice Lifestyle

Hello, I'm Michael Sliwinski I run a productivity company, record a weekly podcast, write on this blog and publish books on #Productivity, #NoOffice and #iPadOnly to help modern knowledge workers like you achieve success in business and life.

About this site | Latest blog entry

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter and get you my latest books for FREE as a thank-you: ”No Office Apps” and ”It’s all about passion!”.

My recent blog posts:

Sunday, February 10

🎧🎬 The Podcast #175 - 100% Buzz-Free

This week on The Podcast we discuss improvements to helping us work better, with fewer distractions... and less social media... and more focus, check out the teaser and listen to the show:

The Podcast - 175 - 100% Buzz-Free

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS | YouTube

Time: ~ 38 minutes

If you rate us on Apple Podcasts, we might give you a shout-out on air! Thanks! :-)

And if you're new here:

The Podcast is a weekly podcast chat with Radek (VP Apple Technologies at Nozbe) and yours truly (CEO at Nozbe) about productivity, business, books, and whatever else comes to mind... - if you liked this episode, make sure to check out past episodes.

Tuesday, February 5

✔️ How intermittent journaling and some smart Siri shortcuts help me enjoy more intentional and productive days

I love journaling. I’ve blogged about it in the past and the same rules basically apply today. I’ve also been more conscious about planning my days and I’ve also blogged about my workflows for it in the past. Today I’ll be joining both concepts together, with my up-to-date workflows (Siri shortcuts) and a new concept I’ve been trying lately - intermittent journaling. Here goes:

How intermittent journaling and some smart Siri shortcuts help me enjoy more intentional and productive days

Using Siri Shortcuts and Bear app

Because I’m using iOS devices to get my stuff done - I’m iPadOnly with the new 11” iPad Pro and I use an iPhoneXS - I do all of my planning an journaling on either of these devices using Siri Shortcuts and the Bear note-taking app. I don’t use Bear for anything else - just for planning my days and for journaling.

You’ll find below my Siri shortcuts for both planning the days and journaling:

Monday, February 4

✔️ How I learned JavaScript by studying source code of Basecamp... and how I keep learning programming by studying code written by others...

Recently DHH of Basecamp wrote on their blog about the importance of being able to view the source code and learn from it. I totally agree with that... and in the spirit of 12 years of Nozbe and the last episode of The Podcast I’d like to share here a story how I actually learned JavaScript by studying their source code years ago. Here goes:

How I learned JavaScript by studying source code of Basecamp... and how I keep learning programming by studying code written by others...

I built the first version of Nozbe in 2005... with no JavaScript

I built Nozbe because I needed to get organized. So after reading Getting Things Done by David Allen (Amazon|Audible) I built a quick tool to get organized over a weekend. It was a very simple web application, but the problem was, when I marked a task as done, I’d have to “save” the page and reload it. Yes, that’s how basic it was... but luckily I was the only user...

Enter Backpack, a tool by 37signals (now Basecamp)

A few months later I came across Backpack, a tool that the crew behind Basecamp built. I signed up for it and I fell in love with its simplicity and most of all, I was amazed that the pages there didn’t reload. I marked a task as “done” and it instantly became “done”. I loved it. They were using this new technology which in 2005 was called “AJAX”.

While I loved the Backpack I still preferred my own tool because it was structured a little differently and more focused on “getting things done”... so I started viewing the source code of Backpack and learning from it. This is how I learned the basics of AJAX, JavaScript (with Prototype.js) and much more.

Friday, February 1

🎧🎬 The Podcast #174 - 12 years of Nozbe

Today on The Podcast we celebrate 12 years of Nozbe - the productivity tool I launched exactly on February 1, 2007. In this episode I shared quite a few personal stories you might not know about about... so tune it, check out the sneak peek and listen to the entire episode below:

Watch this episode on video:

The Podcast - 174 - 12 years of Nozbe

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS | YouTube

Time: ~ 52 minutes

If you rate us on Apple Podcasts, we might give you a shout-out on air! Thanks! :-)

And if you're new here:

The Podcast is a weekly podcast chat with Radek (VP Apple Technologies at Nozbe) and yours truly (CEO at Nozbe) about productivity, business, books, and whatever else comes to mind... - if you liked this episode, make sure to check out past episodes.

Thursday, January 24

🎧🎬 The Podcast #173 - The Year of Purple

This week on The Podcast we discuss our plans for this year. It’s a very personal episode with a sneak peek of what’s going to happen in Nozbe as well. If you’re curious, this one’s for you. Check out the teaser first :-)

The Podcast - 173 - The Year of Purple

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS | YouTube

Time: ~ 35 minutes

If you rate us on Apple Podcasts, we might give you a shout-out on air! Thanks! :-)

And if you're new here:

The Podcast is a weekly podcast chat with Radek (VP Apple Technologies at Nozbe) and yours truly (CEO at Nozbe) about productivity, business, books, and whatever else comes to mind... - if you liked this episode, make sure to check out past episodes.

Wednesday, January 23

😎 Why suck at three sports, if I can suck at four? Or how I’m loving my tennis game and why you should start practicing a new sport this year, too!

As you know I’ve been competing in triathlon races for the last 4 years. I’ve done 2 sprint-distance races and 10 olympic-distance ones. And this year I’ve signed up for a half-Ironman. I’m all about swimming, biking and running... but last year I started practicing a fourth sport - tennis. Here’s how I got to it and why:

Why suck at three sports, if I can suck at four? Or how I’m loving my tennis game and why you should start practicing a new sport this year, too!

I’ve always wanted to learn to play tennis, but I never did.

When I was young my parents wanted me to learn tennis but because they themselves didn’t play, they didn’t push me enough to get lessons. When I was in collage one year I created a tennis group with a fellow friend and we would play every other week... but we both were amateurs and we were just basically passing ball from one side of the net to the other... and I still enjoyed it... but never properly learned it.

Fast forward 18 years... and even though I was doing triathlons I started learning tennis!

Completely by accident. Together with a neighbor I organized a tennis class for one of my daughters and after a few classes she lost interest... and I asked the coach to teach me... and I got hooked! Here’s how it went down:

Monday, January 21

😎 Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

As mentioned on our last episode of The Podcast, recently in Nozbe team we introduced “salary formula” - a way to calculate salaries for all of our team members. In one of the future episodes we’ll discuss the formula in more depth, but today I want to focus on one aspect of it - level of growth - and why this ingredient of the salary is supposed to stimulate our team members to keep growing and developing themselves - just like the BMW 5 series... and unlike Lada:

Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

Nobody is perfect from the beginning - we all need to keep growing

When you’re leading a team of people, it’s important to let everyone know that you don’t want “Ladas” on your team - meaning people who think are perfect and they don’t need to grow.

The above meme is really cool as you can see how BMW 5 series kept evolving over the years, kept iterating, kept improving... while still remaining a mid-size sedan that it’s always been.

Now, how this translates to personal growth? Glad you asked:

Wednesday, January 16

🎧🎬 The Podcast #172 - It doesn’t have to be crazy at work

This week on The Podcast we discuss a book by David and Jason of Basecamp - It doesn’t have to be crazy at work (Amazon|Audible) - we love the book and agree with many of the ideas from there, but on the show we discuss mainly things we don’t agree with - here’s a teaser and below the full episode in audio:

The Podcast - 172 - It doesn’t have to be crazy at work

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS | YouTube

Time: ~ 44 minutes

If you rate us on Apple Podcasts, we might give you a shout-out on air! Thanks! :-)

And if you're new here:

The Podcast is a weekly podcast chat with Radek (VP Apple Technologies at Nozbe) and yours truly (CEO at Nozbe) about productivity, business, books, and whatever else comes to mind... - if you liked this episode, make sure to check out past episodes.

Tuesday, January 15

😢 How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Today was one of the saddest day in the history of my country of Poland - the president of Gdansk - Paweł Adamowicz - was stabbed to death by someone for political reasons. Turns out that the divide that ruling government of Poland is creating among my countrymen has its first spectacular victim. This is the low point of Polish democracy. Will we go lower? Yes, we will if we don’t stop the to tolerate the hate speech:

How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Hate speech are not just meaningless words - they can turn into actions!

I try to avoid very controversial subjects like politics on my personal blog, but sometimes I write about things that I can no longer be quiet about - just like I did with guns - now let’s talk about the tolerance of hate speech and what it leads to.

Words can really hurt people. Literally.

That’s why the words we use are so important. And when the same words are repeated many times over, they begin to be the “new norm”. And when they come from “above” like a government official, they become the “new policy”.

So when a politician is saying “this person should be dead”, they can pretend all they want that they didn’t literally mean “dead” but what they are really doing is promoting violence and showing their supporters and followers that it’s OK to say things like that. It’s OK to wish someone dead...

And when this happens, a crazy person who takes these kinds of calls in a literal way can always be found in a nation of close to 40 Million people...

Even if it’s “just a figure of speech”, well, it shouldn't be!

One recent example was very scary. In Poland the current government led by the Law and Justice party for the last three years was supporting nationalistic movements, neo-nazi and far-right groups and letting them issue death certificates to politicians of opposition parties...

Yes. Death certificates. And when these were brought to the courts, public prosecutors discarded these death certificates as ”a way to express lack of approval of these politicians”.

Well, there are different ways to express your approval or lack thereof.

Here’s what the late Paweł Adamowicz had to say about these certificates just a few days before his assassination (in Polish):

How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Same goes to gestures, like burning a the EU flag, a doll symbolizing a Jew, and many other hate gestures that the current government just lets happen in Poland and the authorities do nothing about them.

This kind of rhetoric shouldn’t be tolerated because it leads to violence and ...intolerance.

We conclude with the Paradox of Tolerance...

Now, what about the freedom of speech and being tolerant to everyone?

Well, apparently the problem with that is that there’s such a thing as the Paradox of Tolerance, which basically means:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

Yes, it turns out that you can be “too kind” to someone who doesn’t want to be kind to you... and it’ll be turned against you. So no, freedom of speech is great and all, but not if you let hate take over.

It’s OK to tolerate a different opinion but it’s not OK to tolerate all the ways how people express it.

Sunday, January 13

🎧🎬 The Podcast #171 - 2018 in Review

This week on The Podcast we discuss our 2018 - the highlights, the main themes... and what’s ahead of us in 2019. Here’s a video teaser - make sure to check out the full episode in audio below:

The Podcast - 171 - 2018 in Review

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS | YouTube

Time: ~ 44 minutes

If you rate us on Apple Podcasts, we might give you a shout-out on air! Thanks! :-)

And if you're new here:

The Podcast is a weekly podcast chat with Radek (VP Apple Technologies at Nozbe) and yours truly (CEO at Nozbe) about productivity, business, books, and whatever else comes to mind... - if you liked this episode, make sure to check out past episodes.

Wednesday, January 9

✔️ 2018 review - an ongoing personal and business development

Now that 2018 is over and 2019 is upon us... and I’m already 2/3 in doing my annual review, it’s time for a post summarizing the last year for me. I’ve done similar posts about 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013... and they mostly serve me as a reminder how things went, but I hope that they also bring value to you - so here goes:

2018 review - an ongoing personal and business development

Overall it’s been a great year with lots of new things happening

This year was very interesting. Lots of travels. Lots of new feelings running my company and quite a few public appearances. And lots of fun in the process. Here’s the complete list of learnings from 2018:

Friday, January 4

🎉 Having Nozbe featured as “App of the day” on the Apple App Store is great!

I’ve been running Nozbe for almost 12 years now and we’ve had our app on both the iOS and the Mac App Stores for many years as well. We’ve been doing everything we could to create the best app we could for our users... and to get more of them, we were hoping to also get noticed by Apple editors and get featured. Today was a very significant step - Nozbe became the “App of the Day” on many local App Stores:

Having Nozbe featured as “App of the day” on the Apple App Store is great!

On Friday, January 4 Nozbe was “App of the Day” in 127 countries, including:

  • Russia 🇷🇺
  • Germany 🇩🇪
  • Canada 🇨🇦
  • France 🇫🇷
  • India 🇮🇳
  • Italy 🇮🇹
  • Turkey 🇹🇷
  • Spain
  • Poland 🇵🇱
  • Norway 🇳🇴
  • Netherlands 🇳🇱
  • Denmark 🇩🇰
  • Romania 🇷🇴
  • ...and in a total of 127 countries all over the world!

Why is this a big deal?

Well, being the “app of the day” is being singled out as the one-and-only app for today. You basically open the App Store app on the iPhone or iPad, and there it is - the game of the day and the app of the day.

It’s a dream come true for any app developer. Not to be only appreciated by the users (more than 0.5M at Nozbe and counting!) and customers, but to also be noticed by Apple.

Having Nozbe featured as “App of the day” on the Apple App Store is great!

One in a Million? Better: One in 2 Million!

Seriously, being singled out as the app for this one day out of the entire App Store catalog of more than 2 Million apps is really a big deal!

So what I’ve learned from all this?

Well, that patience really pays off. We’ve been featured in many markets and hopefully we’ll be featured even more - and that we should just keep doing what we’re doing and we will eventually get noticed.

Also, it’s perfect timing, because it’s January and you should not only do your annual review, but also think about everything you want to get done this year.

Forget New Year’s Resolutions - just get Nozbe (as Apple suggests) and create a project for each “resolution” and add tasks that will help you achieve it... and track it all weekly. That’s all there’s to it.

It’s not rocket science. I know you can do this! Happy New Year!

(And I’m now taking a moment to celebrate this small victory... and sending big kudos to my entire Nozbe team - thanks for the privilege of working with you every single day!)

P.S. Post written on January 4, but updated on January 14 to reflect that we were featured not in just a few countries, but in 127 of them... here are the most popular ones:

Having Nozbe featured as “App of the day” on the Apple App Store is great!

Thursday, January 3

✔️ Why “lessons learned” is better than just “lessons” - or how I edit my writing...

On the first day of this year I wrote about my best nine IG photos. I really liked how the photos turned out so I decided to report on them and describe them briefly on this blog... and when I wrote and published the post I was happy that I’ve done just that... but I wasn’t quite happy how it turned out. Now I know why:

Why “lessons learned” is better than just “lessons” - or how I edit my writing...

Reporting on facts is boring... reporting on what we’ve learned from these facts is much more valuable!

When I re-read the post I realized what was missing - my personal take on what happened - my conclusions. Things I’ve learned from these photos.

After all why am I writing stuff on this blog? Because I want to grow!

I want to write more - to become a better person - and hopefully share some of these learnings with you!

Two months ago I wrote about new habits I wanted to form... and I think I did. One of them was writing on this blog daily. Later I revised this goal to writing at least 5 blog posts a week (as in: weekday daily - I wanted to have an option to have a weekend off) and I mostly succeeded.

If you look at the blog archive, you’ll see I’ve been blogging a lot more than before. Almost daily.

Now here comes the big why - why I want to blog more frequently?

  1. I want to have a way to journal out in the public and be able to easily (via an internet link) get back to these learnings or point others to them.
  2. Seth Godin thinks it’s good for me and I agree with him :-)
  3. I want to become a better writer. Now that I’ve published my new 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity book... and more books to come.

That’s why I need to focus on “learnings” when I blog over here

If what I post here is to serve me in the future and is to give value to others, I need to focus on what I’ve learned from things and how they impacted me. Not just on stating the facts. After all, I’m not a journalist, I’m a personal and team development guy. That’s what I’m trying to do here:

To help you, your team and myself become a better version of ourselves.

That’s the big why. That’s the reason I’ll write more in 2019.

Hope you’ll join me for the ride, give me feedback and help me spread the learnings from here. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 1

😎 What I’ve learned from my IG #2018bestnine photos

Today is the first day of 2019 and I’d like to kick it off with my best 9 Instagram photos of 2018 and what I’ve learned from them:

How my IG #bestnine photos summarize my 2018

Selfies still work sometimes... especially with someone :-)

Out of 9 photos, 5 are selfies. Three of them are with someone else - two with my wife and one with a friend who drew an outline of my Infoshare presentation.

The 15th anniversary photo with my wife (top left corner) got more than 100 likes - people wish us well, which is nice :-)

Two other selfies were also important - I completed my 10th olympic-distance triathlon and my home country of Poland celebrated 100th anniversary of independence.

Turns out selfies are popular when they represent something meaningful. A milestone. An important celebration... a deep feeling. Not when you just want to show off how cool you are.

The best nine photos also highlighted the significant themes of my last year, like speaking, sports and travel...

This year I had three significant speaking engagements and the most prominent one was indeed Infoshare (second was mobiconf) and I love the photo at the bottom right corner - looking at this amazing audience which fills out the whole auditorium is always a treat for a speaker.

As for sports, I’m really proud of this shot in the center - of my two biking buddies Nick and Dan climbing our favorite climb to the “red house”, which is an abandoned building in the mountains. The former of them last year completed a climb like this every week. I want to be like him when I grow up :-)

Travel was a vital part of 2018 for me. The shot of my youngest girl in Apple store in England is really cool... and the shot of the 420 park avenue building in the clouds in New York City reminds me of my sabbatical.

It’s really amazing how a few photos can really highlight the theme of last year for you. That’s what they did to me.

68 photos in 2018 vs 97 in 2017

This past year I tried to limit my usage (aka addiction) to Instagram and it worked. I posted 30% fewer photos and I’m hoping to continue down this path by posting maximum 1 photo per week this year, or around 50 photos per year.

I have mixed feelings about Instagram. On one hand it gives me lots of joy and value browsing through the photos... but on the other hand it’s increasingly littered with ads and the parent company of Facebook is an anti-example of a socially responsible company...

So I’m setting some limits for Instagram this year. One photo per week and opening instagram app max one time per day.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my photos and if you did, make sure to follow me there and let me know how your best nine photos reflect on your last year.

What have you learned? How was the year and do these photos really represent it as much as they did for me?

Friday, December 28, 2018

✔️ Time to start your annual review!

The year of 2018 is coming to an end. It’s time to take a moment to reflect on it, learn from it... and plan 2019. Recently on The Podcast we gave you our definitive guide to an annual review so let me motivate you to start yours now by breaking down this process into 10 simple steps (see what I did there?):

Time to start your annual review!

Step 1 - believe it’s worth it - yes, you have to be motivated to do an annual review so make sure you know it’s important to your goal of living an intentional life.

Step 2 - dedicate time for it - it’s going to take you quite a few hours, schedule them in the first week of January. 1-2 hours a day.

Step 3 - check your last year’s goals (or New Year’s Resolutions if you have them written down) and see what you managed to (or did’t) achieve.

Step 4 - review your calendar and journal entries from this passing year and jot down trends, ideas or feelings you had about things that happened.

Step 5 - close the year - give yourself permission to start your new year with a blank slate. Don’t automatically move incomplete goals or projects to the New Year.

Step 6 - recognize your values - write down what works for you, what’s important to you... and what you don’t care about. Know thyself.

Step 7 - create projects for each of your New Year’s goals. Don’t generate resolutions, be practical and put a project for each of your goals in your tool of choice (like Nozbe)

Step 8 - come up with habits or skills you need to acquire to get your goals done. Goals are hit-or-miss, but skills or habits will stay with you for much longer.

Step 9 - add timeframes and measures to track your goals - make sure to focus on one goal at a time and postpone other goals for later in a year. Work on your skills and habits in the meantime.

Step 10 - regularly review your goals. Preferably every Friday when doing your weekly review. This way you’ll be always on track with your goals.

Now it’s time to begin!

I’m starting my annual review this week and I’m hoping to finish it by January 6. I’ll also started drafting my “review of 2018” blog post and hope to post it in the first week of January, too - so stay tuned!

Once you’ve started your annual review, make sure to let me know on Twitter and let me know how it’s going. I’ll be posting my updates there, too! Good luck!