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.

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Friday, December 7

🎧 The Podcast #168 - Get bored

This week on The Podcast we discuss social media and distractions... and yet again try to figure out a way out of the compulsive behavior of checking Instagram or Twitter feeds... discovering alternative ways of getting news and info - listen up:

The Podcast - 168 - Get bored

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS

Time: ~ 45 minutes

If you rate us on iTunes, 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, December 6

✔️ Introduction to my new book - 10 steps to Ultimate Productivity

We’re about to start pre-launch of my new book - 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity which is based on my video course. It’s getting real! I’m very excited about this. Here’s the link to my new Amazon author page and to give you a glimpse of what the book is all about, today I’m posting here an excerpt from the “introduction” to the book:

Introduction to my new book - 10 steps to Ultimate Productivity

Introduction to 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity

In this book, you will learn the principles needed to build your very own system for organizing and taking charge of your time. In 10 easy-to-follow steps, I will share how you can quickly and easily realize your goals. Thanks to these rules, I am both happier and more productive.

It wasn’t always this way...

By nature, I am an incurable optimist and a generally disorganized person. That is exactly why I decided to look into the literature on self-management. I knew that I could no longer neglect my deadlines, postpone my meetings, and lose my way in the flood of information and projects that I was responsible for. I needed to finally get organized!

My old way of using a physical planner was quickly becoming outdated and couldn’t keep up with the new, fast-paced environment the internet had created.

Things could not continue like this for me. I was drowning in the sheer volume of things I needed to do. That’s when I decided to study the techniques of self-management. Seeking inspiration from books by authors like Stephen Covey and David Allen, I hoped even a disorganized individual like myself could tidy up their life. I never imagined I would find my life’s passion through this endeavor.

Wednesday, December 5

😎 So in the end I want to become an Ironman...

I really like doing sports. 4 years ago I started doing triathlons to stay in shape. After 10 Olympic-distance triathlons I decided to get out of my comfort zone and celebrate being fit by doing an Ironman 70.3 next year. Here’s why:

So in the end I want to become an Ironman...

Forty and fabulous - I’m going to turn 40 next year so I want to celebrate it big time! By being in ultimate shape at this milestone age :-)

Yes, I’m going to turn 40 next year. Time flies so fast. But the cool thing is that in the last 4 years I managed to get into the best shape of my life and I want to keep it that way... and celebrate my supposedly upcoming “mid-life crisis” with a bang!

I want to become an Ironman by completing an Ironman 70.3 race in my home town of Gdynia.

Yes, the venue is critical here - I will be swimming in my favorite Baltic Sea in Gdanska Bay. I will be riding the bike in Kaszuby which I know so well and love so much... and I will finish it up in the center of my city, running a half-marathon on Swietojanska street and on the seashore boulevard.

Now it’s all about getting in an even better shape!

The swimming part shouldn’t be that hard. I’m not a fast swimmer, but I’ve been steadily improving and in the Olympic-distance triathlon I get to swim 1500 meters and here it’s just 400 meters more... so not really a big deal.

Biking will be harder. It’s 90km after all and it’s pretty flat with occasional hills... in total 750m elevation gain... and while training I’m doing a lot more - today I just did a 55km bike ride with 850m elevation gain, so I should be able to make it pretty OK.... but unlike in the Olympic distance triathlon, here there’s no “drafting” - so I won’t be able to just join a group and follow them along - you have to bike on your own and maintain distance from the person in front of you - or overtake them. I’m hoping to do it in around 3 hours...

Running will be the hardest. After both swimming and biking I’ll be pretty tired and I’m about to run a half-marathon. I’m not used to running so much. I’ve been running 10km races and training sessions, but very rarely more than that. This will be a new thing for me - and I have to be able to run it well, because it’s only then where I’ll see my family and friends supporting me. They’ll all be there and I will have to run with grace :-)

So I’ll run relatively slowly and hopefully do it in around 2 hours...

Which gives us a total of around 6 hours for this adventure. Now that’s what I call a true birthday celebration!

The race will take place on August 11, 2019

So until then I have to train... and also I’ve got two races lined up before - a half-marathon in January and another olympic-distance triathlon in May... and then I’ll do the Ironman in August. Sounds like a plan, right?

Yes, it’s exciting... but definitely out of my comfort zone. Right where it should be.

Tuesday, December 4

🎬 Blast from the past - the “10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity” Video Course back from 2013 ahead of my book launch!

I’m about to self-publish a book inspired by my “10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity” video course which I recorded back in 2013. Basically what I did with the book was to enhance the script of the video course, adapt it to the year 2018 and publish it as a physical book which you can hold in your hand.

The book is launching soon so I wanted to publish this blog post with all the links to the video course in case you wanted to enjoy it before the book ships. Here’s the video introduction to the course:

Each lesson is short and to the point, so if you want to watch lesson 1 and the following lessons, just go to:

Alternatively you can just listen to the audio version:

I recorded the course in 5 languages!

Yep, I love learning different languages and communicating in them, so I recorded the video course not only in English, but also in:

Import the course to your Nozbe as a project:

There’s an easy way to go through the course and get each lesson done by using a Nozbe.how template and import it to your account as a project:

With subtitles:

Enjoy the course!

The course lessons might have been recorded over 5 years ago, but the course is timeless, it’s free and very soon you’ll see what a great productivity) book I managed to write based on it :-)

Get notified when the book launches

Monday, December 3

😎 How I’m keeping my coffee ☕️ warm using the Ember mug

I normally don’t write reviews of products on this blog, but every now and then there comes a product that truly delights me and makes my life just a tiny bit more enjoyable - so I felt like writing a short review of a mug, that keeps my coffee and tea warm...

How I’m keeping my coffee ☕️ warm using the Ember mug

Solving “first world problems” with Ember mug

When I was getting a coffee in Starbucks in the USA this summer, I noticed a new type of mug in their offering. A “smart mug” that has an app... and what it does is this - it keeps your coffee warm.

That’s it. $80 bucks for a mug that keeps your coffee warm for about half an hour. As a gadget guy, I got curious, I watched a review on YouTube and realized this mug was for real... so I decided to get it to really give it a try.

When you work from home and your home office is on the top floor of your house, your drink gets cold quickly...

Yes, I have to go down to the kitchen, brew my coffee and take it up... and by the time I’m back, the coffee is already in a perfect temperature to drink... but when I start working, it gets cold pretty quickly.

Yes, I know that a “cold coffee” is a first world problem...

That’s correct, but these are the tiny details that make your life just a little better. So yes, the $80 dollar mug makes my life nicer because now I get to enjoy my coffee for about 30 minutes or even more... and each sip is perfect.

Each sip is exactly as warm as the first one...

Really enjoying my “smart mug”... and now my wife wants one, too!

My wife was looking at me strangely when I bought it... but after 3 months of having it at home, she’s very often literally stealing it from me to enjoy her coffee more.

If you can afford this gadget and really appreciate a warm cup of coffee or tea, I really recommend the Ember mug.

No, I wasn’t paid to write this. I make my living helping teams get stuff done with Nozbe and not reviewing products but if you get this mug from Amazon, I’ll get a small commission that I will use to buy more audiobooks from Audible :-)

Saturday, December 1

🎧 The Podcast #167 - The clunky future

It’s Saturday, so I encourage you to catch up on your listening and check out the latest episode of The Podcast where we discussed the iPad and the future of computing. It’s a pretty fascinating future, and I’m so happy to be in this industry now!

The Podcast - 167 - The clunky future

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS

Time: ~ 50 minutes

If you rate us on iTunes, 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.

Friday, November 30

✔️ [TV appearance!] Nozbe’s TGIF - Thank Goodness It’s Friday on Polish national television - how to work smarter?

As I’ve written here, and on the NoOffice blog and on Nozbe blog, today is Friday and in our company we treat this day differently - we don’t do the usual work - we focus on getting the weekly review done and later each member of our team can design this day the way they want: do something for personal development, catch up on reading, conference watching, learning new skills... or simply run errands - it’s all up to them... and last month our system got the attention of the Polish national breakfast television and I had a privilege of being there:

Nozbe’s TGIF - Thank Goodness It’s Friday on Polish national television - how to work smarter?

Watch the program with yours truly on television (in Polish)

How do you do Fridays?

Please read how we do them at Nozbe and if you have any questions, let me know!

And if you want to know the back story how I got to TV, here it is:

Thursday, November 29

🏭 Why I find joy in programming even though I don’t get to code much these days

With the passing years in business (and it’s been almost 12 years since I started Nozbe!) I realize that one of the keys to a long term success is to keep finding these small moments of joy in your work... and recently I found it back in programming... back in tinkering with code... here’s why:

Why I find joy in programming even though I don’t get to code much these days

I miss coding... just like I miss building lego blocks...

I’m a self-taught programmer. I’m a geek. I managed to learn programming enough to be able to code the very first version of Nozbe which launched back in 2007.

Now I don’t code anymore, I hired programmers who are much better than me... so they won’t let me contribute to Nozbe code base... which makes sense - as the CEO of Nozbe I should be focused on leading the team, and not writing code.

But I still like coding... and I miss coding from time to time. To me, coding is like playing with Lego blocks - you put a few things together and suddenly they become a new thing. A new invention.

Just like I built a dice web app on my iPhone few years back

Recently I got to code again!

Yes, over the last few weeks for some internal purposes I had a chance of putting my skills into building some small HTML sites as well as JS and PHP scripts. It was so much fun! I got to play with all the technologies I used to be so familiar with.

And the best part, I got to do it all on both the iPhone and the new iPad Pro:

  • using Textastic to code - this app is amazing!
  • using Working Copy to push stuff to GitHub
  • using Stack Overflow to find answers for questions - this is an amazing resource - I don’t know how I managed to build Nozbe back in the day without it... now life is so much easier.
  • using Siri Shortcuts to build some additional scripts that help me get stuff done faster

What I really liked about these challenges is that they helped me think both as the CEO (thinking of processes we need to put into place) and as the programmer who’s tinkering with code... and when I didn’t know something, I could always ask my talented team for help.

Now I’m trying to teach my daughter to code :-)

On the weekends I spend coding in Swift Playgrounds with my 9-year old daughter. She loves the challenges and I love passing on to her my passion for building stuff using code.

Tuesday, November 27

✔️ Would you pay 20 cents per day for increased productivity?

Today I had a fascinating conversation with one of our Nozbe business customers about pricing and how before buying Nozbe they analyzed the price/value ratio of it:

Would you pay 20 cents per day for increased productivity?

Pricing for business users vs consumers - how we developed our pricing model...

In the past few years we’ve been gradually pivoting Nozbe from a consumer-focused GTD app to a productivity tool for teams and businesses.

Pricing a product like Nozbe is tricky. Actually pricing anything is tricky.

When Nozbe launched back in 2007, there was just a price for one user with several tiers based on how many projects one can have active. Later we’d give unlimited projects and create tiers based on how many users our customers could add.

When we launched Nozbe 3 we went down to two tiers - Pro and Business with different cost of additional users per account. It was a little messy.

A year ago we introduced our current pricing where we have tiers back, based on how many users people have on their team: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, 100 or unlimited...

Pricing based on value or features? How much is your productivity worth?

Now the question is:

if you’re running a team of say, 19 people and you want your team to get more organized, effective and productive - how much are you willing to spend on that?

This is exactly what I talked about with one of my customers earlier today. They are an IT company and they bought Nozbe business plan for up to 20 people for a full year and they explained to me how they finally came to that decision. It was fascinating and eye-opening.

They said they tried out Nozbe for a few weeks, decided they loved the interface, loved how it helped them get organized and wanted to get all in. Then they looked at the price tag:

  • Nozbe Business for up to 20 people: $1536 US dollars for a year

Holy smokes! One and a half grand for an app?! Isn’t that too much?... But then they checked:

  • It comes down to only $128 per month

OK, not that bad... A little over hundred bucks per month... but they kept going:

  • When you divide it, it’s less than $7 per employee per month

That’s right, it’s like 2 cups of coffee... and usually people don’t drink this in a month, they drink this in a day... so it’s actually pretty reasonable... so speaking of days:

  • Daily, it’s actually a little over 20 cents per employee per day

Now they stopped:

Seriously? Are we even debating this? We know this software works for our people so their productivity gains and thus the overall increased efficiency of our team is worth much more than 20 cents per day, right? I mean 20 cents is virtually nothing. It doesn’t compare to anything our employees spend daily on coffee or office supplies... It’s a no-brainer.

And they took the plunge, bought the Nozbe plan for a full year and today over a short video call basically told me how happy they were about their decision. Such conversations are why I love my job.

That’s right, only 20 cents per day.

And how much is your productivity worth to you? And your team members’ productivity? Let me know :-)

Saturday, November 24

🎧 The Podcast #166 - Talk about size

This week on The Podcast we discuss how my new iPad Pro is more powerful than Radek’s MacBook Pro... and why questioning the iPads merits as a “real computer” is BS. Here goes:

The Podcast - 166 - Talk about size

Listen to this week's episode:

Subscribe to The Podcast in Apple Podcasts | Get RSS

Time: ~ 41 minutes

If you rate us on iTunes, 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, November 22

🎬 I’m thankful for Robert Kubica being back as racing driver for Formula 1

Wow, I’ve been waiting for this news for the last two years! This is a fairytale and a story of passion, perseverance and drive... Robert Kubica is back as a regular driver for Williams Racing in the next Formula 1 season! Here’s why it’s amazing (and here’s a short video of his career to date):

I’m thankful for Robert Kubica being back as racing driver for Formula 1

Robert Kubica is back as a driver in Formula 1

Today is “Thanksgiving” in America - something we don’t celebrate in Europe, although today is a day Formula 1 fans and people of Poland should be very thankful for - our one-and-only Formula 1 racing driver is back on the F1 grid - Robert Kubica is back and confirmed by the Williams Racing Team as a regular driver for them in the 2019 and 2020 seasons!

It’s been a long time coming. After his almost-fatal accident in 2011 where he’s almost lost an arm, nobody thought he’d be able to race again... let alone be back in the fastest racing cars on the planet. And today he’s back and I’m so really thankful for this! And so happy!

He wasn’t supposed to drive again...

This story reminds me of a story of Hermann “Herminator” Maier who also had a near-fatal accident and almost lost his leg... and wasn’t supposed to walk again, let alone ski... and he not only managed to cure his leg... he went back to skiing and won a World Cup and World Championship back!

Robert is similar - he almost lost his arm... and he wasn’t supposed to drive again... and he went back to driving and racing in Rally Championships and became a WRC2 European Champion... and last year he was already testing F1 cars at Renault and Williams... but didn’t get the place... and now he’s back!

Now here’s me hoping he’ll not only start racing again, he’ll win races again... and maybe even become a World Champion? Who knows, this guy can apparently accomplish anything!

Robert Kubica videos by his team, Williams Racing

Here’s team chief, Claire Williams announcing Robert Kubica:

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And here’s another video, where Robert Kubica himself tells his amazing fairytale-like story:

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P.S. Back to Thanksgiving...

And just as a side note to this post I’d like to highlight that even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, I do practice being thankful every morning when I do my jourinaling.

And if you want to learn more about why being thankful and grateful is truly powerful, make sure to listen to the podcasts episodes by Michael Hyatt and Shawn Stephenson.

Wednesday, November 21

😎 15 years ago I stopped being friends with her... only to become her best friend ever as her husband

Today is an important milestone for me and my wife, here’s what I wrote on Instagram today: 15 years ago today these two people finally decided to put their long-term friendship at risk and became a couple - they got married 1.5 year later and now they’ve got 3 beautiful daughters and still love hanging out together, traveling, watching movies, just being around each other… - yep, and here’s our story in a nutshell:

15 years ago I stopped being friends with her... and now she is my wife!

When Michael met Ewelina…

We both love movies, and “When Harry met Sally” is one of our favorites, because our story is very similar:

We met more than 20 years ago in high-school - the very first week - a common friend introduced us to each other. Throughout the school and university we were very good friends. We’d always stay in touch, sometimes more, sometimes less... but we always knew we had each other’s back.

We’d tell everyone that yes, a close friendship between a guy and a gal can exist and doesn’t have to end in a relationship!

Well, as we grew so did our friendship and affection and 15 years ago today, on Friday, 21 November 2003 we became a couple. Finally we figured out that in all these years we were not just becoming better friends, we were also falling for each other!

Our friendship makes our relationship real

We got married 1.5 years later and today we have 3 beautiful daughters and we’re still best friends!

We like doing things together, we love traveling, watching movies, doing sports, talking... and just hanging out together... and also spending time with our kids. We have much respect for our mutual careers and we support each other at work.

As in every relationship, there are ups and downs, problems, feelings… but because we’re not only lovers, but also best friends, I feel we can get through everything.

We’re an effective team.

I can have a bad day… or be in a bad mood… but I know that whatever happens, at the end of the day I get to spend time with my favorite person in the whole world.

Ewelina, thank you for sharing your life with me. Here’s to many more anniversaries like this!

Tuesday, November 20

✔️ How HomePod turned me into a Siri enthusiast - I finally use voice to get stuff done!

Back in February when I was visiting the UK I bought the latest and greatest Apple speaker, called the “HomePod”. I bought it out of curiosity as I wanted to find out what these “intelligent speakers” are all about and as I’m all in the Apple’s ecosystem I decided not to invest in the Amazon’s or Google’s ones. What happened was that this speaker not only improved the way we spend our time in the kitchen, but also taught me a new way of using my iPhone! Here goes:

How HomePod turned me into a Siri enthusiast - I finally use voice to get stuff done!

HomePod changed the way I interact with my iPhone right now!

The HomePod is in our kitchen and because with it we also subscribed to Apple Music, we now ask it to play whatever we want. Recently I was into some classics, so I just asked it to “play the best hits by R.E.M.” or “best hits by Madonna” and boom, the speaker played them for me.

After months of just playing music, I use HomePod and Siri a lot more!

It took us time, but after a few months we started asking Siri through HomePod for more things - like setting up timers (and now finally we can set up more than one of those!), like asking about the weather, like asking about things (definitions, geography: “how many people live in Moscow?”. and much more..).

Recently as I was setting up home automation with Apple’s HomeKit, I’ve started creating scenes and now when my daughter wants to do her homework she sits down at the kitchen table and shouts to the HomePod: “Hey Siri, turn on Kitchen Table” and the light turns on!

Based on that... I started talking to my phone much more!

This is where I realized that I can start talking to my iPhone much more - and I even started recording more iOS12 Siri Shortcuts to enable that. I began asking Siri to open some of my apps, to perform some shortcuts for me, to call people I have in my address book... and it usually works!

Siri is not there yet... and she’s still pretty dumb... but she works!

Yes, Apple still has a long way to go, but I still remember when I got my iPhone 4S to be able to talk to Siri and was disappointed... and with every subsequent iPhone the disappointment turned into frustration... but now with HomePod I’ve re-learned to appreciate the voice commands and to try them so much more... and to enjoy them finally!

Give Siri a try yourself... and if you can get the HomePod, I totally recommend it :-)

Monday, November 19

✔️ Why we need deadlines

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” - Douglas Adams

The problem with running a software company which creates a product for many users, like more than half a million at the moment... is that we don’t have any fixed deadlines set by people who use Nozbe.

We need to create deadlines ourselves. Self-imposed deadlines.

And the problem with such deadlines is the fact that they seem fake. Artificial. Made up. Unnecessary.

Right? Wrong!

Why just not work without deadlines?

Because we're humans.

When there's no deadline we get lazy. We get perfectionist. We take all the time in the world to making our creation perfect. Or even better than perfect. We even might try to explore all of the alternatives before we decide on something.

When there are no deadlines we cannot hold each other accountable. Not to anyone, not even to ourselves.

When there are no deadlines we’re less likely to ship what we've created. And when we don't ship what we've created we're more likely to get demotivated...

We, the humans, need deadlines

Deadlines motivate us to get something out. To finally show it to the world. To get the feedback. The good, the bad and the ugly. And to iterate and ship again!

Just like Seth Godin asked:

“How do you make sure you ship on time and on budget? Well, when you run out of time, you ship. When you run out of budget, you ship.”

To be able to run out of time we need a deadline.

So we set one.

I'll share it with you soon. Meanwhile I'll let the deadline sink in. I'll let myself and my team digest it. And get excited. Because with this deadline we're committing ourselves to shipping something great for you.

And I really can't wait to share it with you... and to do that we have to now really meet this deadline!

Let's do this.

P.S. Special thanks to Michael Hyatt for his last episode about deadlines, which reminded me how important deadlines are to what we do.

Saturday, November 17

🎬 Which mobile apps we use to run our Nozbe company? - video of my presentation at Mobiconf 2018

Last month I was kindly invited to one of the biggest mobile conferences in Europe - Mobiconf 2018 and I had a chance to do a follow up to my Infoshare 2018 presentation on the way we work. Today it's Saturday so if you want to get inspired how to work better next week, make sure to check it out:

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My presentation at Mobiconf was about the apps we use to do our #NoOffice work and the way we communicate- specifically our pyramid of communication

Here's the link to all the resources mentioned in this presentation.

Enjoy, and if you'd like to also get my book on “NoOffice apps” make sure to sign up to my newsletter below this post.

It was also nice that some people who were at my presentation rally liked it. So much so that I won an award for the best presentation on the “everything mobile” track, neat! If you liked it, too, make sure to let me know!

Which mobile apps we use to run our Nozbe company? - video of my presentation at Mobiconf 2018