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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Thursday, September 5

📖 Why reading the same book again (or several times in life) is OK

I just maxed out my limit of audiobooks for this year’s Audible subscription and I still haven’t read all of the ones I purchased, but recently I decided to re-read some of the old books I already read before. Why would I do that?

Why reading the same book again (or several times in life) is OK

Turns out I'm not so smart...

Monday, September 2

😎 It's been 80 years since the start of the World War 2... and we still can't appreciate the peace enough!

Yesterday was September 1, 2019... meaning it's been only 80 years when the World War II started (and lasted until 1945) which made all the world fight against each other and kill around 80 Million people worldwide including over 6 Million Jews as a part of the Holocaust. Today I live in the European Union (EU) with 28 countries united to form one political and economic region. Being an EU citizen gives us an unprecedented feeling of freedom, peace and connection... yet with recent raise of ideas like Brexit and other nationalistic movements across Europe with governments in countries like Poland and Hungary actively opposing European values, I feel like we're taking the peace that we have now for granted. And peace can go away quickly.

It's been 80 years since the start of the World War 2... and we still can't appreciate the peace enough!

Friday, August 30

😎 I’m too old for this, right? Wrong!

When talking to people about their careers, their hopes and dreams... or some other new and exciting stuff... I very often get the "too old" argument. In a gesture of resignation they just tell me that they are just too old to start doing this or changing that. To take their career on a different path or try out a new sport... or whatever. I find it very depressing and most of the time it's a complete and utter bullshit, here's why:

I’m too old for this, right? Wrong!

Ok, so you won't be a professional athlete anymore... than boo... effing... hoo!

Yes, I just turned forty so I won't be a professional basketball player of Formula 1 driver anymore... that's true... and I won't be playing against Novak Djokovic in US Open anytime soon but it hasn't stopped me from taking up tennis last year and enjoying it immensely! From a complete beginner I can now play, have fun and sometimes almost beat some of my friends! It's never too late!

I started doing triathlons at 35 and even though I completely blew my Ironman this year, I'll be running my 11th Olympic-distance triathlon this September and I'm planning on doing 1-2 triathlons every year for many years to come in order to stay fit.

OK, I started Nozbe at 28, but my friend and mentor Michael Hyatt started his blog and business in his late fifties! You think he was too old?

My parents have shown me how they've never been too old for any kind of change!

As I explained in my previous post about my parents, my father studied Electronics, later created a book-keeping company, then ad agency... only to become my advisor and VP of finance. My mother studied Architecture, went on to run a financial firm, ad agency, sculpture shop, coffee shop and now she's got new challenges in front of her. She never stops. Sports? They both learned skiing at forty years of age... Traveling? They both went on their first cross-Atlantic trip last year well in their sixties...

If you think, you're too old for something, think again!

It’s all in your head! When you’re like me and you're 40 you are only halfway through your life! Seriously, you've got so many new things to learn, so many new places to see, so many new ways to change your life. So don't let the internal "lizard brain" tell you you're too old.

The best time to start doing anything was 10 years ago. The second best time to start taking up the same activity is right now. Today.

You are most certainly never too old for almost anything!

Be brave and embrace change! Good luck!

Wednesday, August 28

✔️ My new smartphone - iPhone SE - why I’m voluntarily switching to the slowest smartphone possible.

I’ve owned every iPhone in the history of mankind... or more like in the history of smartphones... and for many years I’ve been upgrading to the latest and the greatest every year... and now that iOS13 is about to ship and the new iPhone 11 is about to be launched... I’m gradually switching to the smallest and slowest iPhone there is - the iPhone SE - here’s why:

My new smartphone - iPhone SE - why I’m voluntarily switching to the slowest smartphone possible.

The iPhone SE is the slowest and smallest iPhone that will get the iOS13 upgrade this year so it's an up-to-date device!

Monday, August 26

✔️ Emailing like texting - how to get back to inbox zero and make every email a GTD “2-minute rule”

In the last years I had some serious problems replying to emails from people. Internally we don’t use email at Nozbe, but people from the outside had serious problems emailing me - either because I was throwing my assistant at them, or because I really took lots of time (weeks or even months!) to reply. This all changed last month by introducing a new way of dealing with email - “emailing like texting” which I introduced inspired by Katie's article from Buzzfeed. Now my email inbox is at zero most of the days and I don’t need an assistant as much as I used to. Here’s how it works:

Emailing like texting - how to get back to inbox zero and make every email a GTD “2-minute rule”

Emailing like texting - 3 basic rules:

Friday, August 23

🏭 Nozbe will not take any outside investment... nor will we build an office...

Every now and then I get an email from an investor, thinking about investing in Nozbe. We even had some serious acquisition offers in the past. Especially now that our main competitors like Asana or Monday are valued at more than $1B. This is really flattering but our answer has always been:

Nozbe will not take any outside investment... nor will we build an office...

Thank you but: "NO, thanks!"

As I've written almost 2 years ago on the Nozbe blog:

Thursday, August 22

😎 Jesus was right. Love is all you need to answer what’s right or wrong!

This last Monday was the last day of our catholic families retreat. Over the past days we’ve been discussing 10 commandments. (In the meantime I was also listening to Szustak’s commentary in Polish). In the end they can be simplified to only 2 commandments which are all about love:

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22,36-40)

Jesus was right. Love is all you need to answer what’s right or wrong!

Lots of nuance...

When we were analyzing the 10 commandments one by one I realized that each of them carries lots of nuance. Lots of hidden meaning that can be interpreted in many different ways. Depending how you look at an action - it’s not always clear if it is really a sin or not. If it’s a good action or a bad deed. It really depends...

Thursday, August 15

✔️ Focusing on the WHEN and not the HOW...

Today I’m at a catholic families retreat with fellow friends and we’ve been discussing (among other things) our problems with regular prayer. Or “meeting with God”, or better yet: “meeting with dad” (like someone would call Him). And one of my friends said something that struck me - that his biggest obstacle to praying well is focusing too much on HOW (which prayer, which bible excerpt...) instead of just setting aside the time to do it - the WHEN... and I found it fascinating as it clearly applies not only to prayer, but to most aspects of our lives.

Focusing on the WHEN and not the HOW...

The "HOW" creates a barrier of entry and welcomes procrastinating...

When we don't know how to solve a problem, we just agonize over this and we put off the moment of dealing with it. We don't know HOW to solve it so we postpone it. We leave it for later. The HOW stops us from acting on it.

We need to create space... create the WHEN...

Sometimes all we need is just set aside some time. I've found out that sometimes only 2 hours help me figure out a problem and really move the thing forward.

The same with my prayer... I should just dedicate some time for God and let myself figure out the mechanics of the prayer then.

In this busy world it's increasingly more about the WHEN than the HOW... once you've got the WHEN, you'll have the mental energy to figure out the HOW.

Wednesday, August 14

📱 MKBHD goes iPadOnly and I really like his way of using the iPad!

Today by accident I saw a video of MKBHD using only iPad as his only “portable computer” and I was really impressed how he was doing it. Here are my takeaways:

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  • He doesn't use any cover, not even keyboard folio which is strange for me as after I got my first iPad Pro I always had the keyboard on it. However after watching his video I'm tempted to use the iPad more like this and only use the keyboard folio when I'm really writing a longer piece - like this blog post or my No Office Book
  • He's been using the iPadOS beta and I have installed it only on my testing device because of the iCloud Drive problems the beta has. Now that beta 6 is out which solved most of these issues I'm tempted to get it, too! Especially the new "small" keyboard with "swiping" is cool on the new iOS.
  • iPad is just more fun to use! that's what he says in the video and that's what I've been preaching all along!
  • photo editing on the iPad works! for him and it seems the pro workflows are coming to the iPad.
  • There's a solid learning curve to the iPadOS Shortcuts so I need to study these, too!
  • iPad is not a computer replacement but a computer alternative and I think this best encapsulates this video!

I must say I am very happy that more and more people are taking on the "iPad only challenge" and I'm looking forward to the developments on the iPadOnly front and how his way of working on the iPad influences the way I work...

Tuesday, August 13

😎 Undertrained

After this last Sunday's Ironman fiasco I got many reassuring messages from friends and this helped me deal with my utter failure and embarrassment... thanks everyone for kind words! It really means a lot! Apart from messages reassuring me that "this stuff happens to everyone", I also got some constructive feedback. One of my buddies from my triathlon group who knows me pretty well and has been following my training sessions, wrote to me that probably this was for the best, because he feels I wasn't prepared enough. He believed I was "undertrained".

Undertrained

When I received his comment I was first taken aback. I really appreciated his frankness (that's what friends are for!) but I wasn't sure he was right... So right after writing the blog post as a part of my dealing process I went for a 10km run and was thinking about all this... and came to the conclusion that he was right. Yes, I am in a good shape. I'm really feeling great... but...

Sunday, August 11

✔️ No Ironman - how I blew my dream because I was... late

Yesterday evening at 9:30pm I was rushing in my car loaded with an amazing triathlon bike and all the gear ready to put everything in the transition area before my first ever Ironman race... It was my dream come true - I was about to become an Ironman in my home town of Gdynia, right when I turned 40. It was going to be great!... I was driving fast as they’d close the area at 10 pm. “I’ll make it! I always do!” I thought. Yet again I was doing stuff at the last minute, but as a person who always gets away with this, I was fine. There was still time, right? Wrong. When I got there I realized I was too late. Yes, they were closing the transition area at 10pm and I arrived just before that... but I failed to pick up my starting number and this had to be done before 8pm. And there was nothing to be done. Without a starting number I couldn’t participate in the race. I couldn’t leave my bike in the transition area...

This time I didn’t make it. This time I was really late. This time I really blew it.

I was standing there with the bike and the gear, completely ashamed and disappointed... and was replaying the events of this day over and over in my head trying to realize what just happened. I couldn’t understand how I got to this point where the race will take place and I won’t be in it. And it all looked so promising...

No Ironman - how I blew my dream because I was... late

Today is Sunday, August 11 and it’s exactly 8 am. The race is about to start and instead of being at the starting line I’m in front of my iPad trying to figure out what I just did. And what I could have done to prevent it. Hope you’ll also learn a thing or two from my very stupid mistake.

It’s all my fault!

Just to be clear - the fact that the race is taking place without me is completely my fault. The fact that I was about to make my dream come true and blew it at the last minute - is on me. This post is not to search for someone or something to blame. The search is simple - it’s me.

Thanks for all your support!

Friends, colleagues and people who know me, listen to my podcast or read what I write were supporting me in this quest to become an Ironman and I’d like to thank you all for your encouragement. I am feeling so ashamed right now that I screwed this one up (and I will continue to feel this way for quite a long while!).

I thank you and I’m so sorry.

And yes, you can laugh. I’m laughing at myself right now for blowing it so bad... in between the moments when I feel so ashamed I wanna disappear.

Now that we’ve got this all out of the way, let’s see what happened:

Tuesday, July 30

🏭 Emotions in business are too often getting in the way of rational thinking... so keep giving yourself time to cool off... and read between the lines!

We’re humans and we’re emotional. Apparently the notion is that women are more emotional then men, but by watching male fans react to what’s happening on a football stadium I have my doubts. Regardless, we’re driven by emotions and I think too often we get the emotion get the better of us... and we don’t take enough time to consult our rational part of brain.

Emotions in business are too often getting in the way of rational thinking... so keep giving yourself time to cool off... and read between the lines!

We should remember to make time and space to cool down!

Recently I had a little more time to reflect about some of my this year’s and last year’s decisions at the company and I’ve realized that I’ve been very emotional over quite a few decisions in my company... and the worst part about it all is that the emotions stood in a way of me being a better leader of the company.

Emotions will cloud your judgement.

That’s why I think my problem was I let myself act emotionally without giving myself a little time to cool off and to think things through. This is the moment when emotions clouded my judgement of the situation.

Emotions can be a compass 🧭

When I felt emotionally impacted by someone on my team, what I instead should have done, is to cool down and analyze the situation:

  • why am this makes me feel the way it does?
  • why is the other person acting emotionally?
  • what’s behind my emotions?
  • what’s behind their emotions?

Because there’s always a second, deeper meaning.

And that’s what a good leader should be up to - to uncover the second meaning behind the emotions. When someone acts emotionally it means they care about something, they’re passionate about something. As a leader I should be focused on finding what it REALLY is instead of reacting in a shallow way or acting offended. I should have known better.

Tuesday, July 23

🎧🎬 The Podcast #190 - Webmaster is back!

Recently on The Podcast I explained how I became “the webmaster” and launched not 1, not 2 but 3 web site projects. One for my children’s parents association, one for Nozbe team internally and new, Medium-free NoOffice.org. And we decided to take a break from podcasting for the summer. Listen up and talk to you in September:

Check out the short teaser:

The Podcast - 190 - Webmaster is back!

Listen to the entire episode (~ 50 min):

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

If you liked it, please rate us on Apple Podcasts, thanks!

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, July 9

✔️ How to get rid of Zoom server from your Mac and why we need a non-SV video conferencing alternative

Update July 15, 20019: Apparently scrutiny and social media outcry and posts like these worked. Much later the same day, Zoom finally acknowledged that they shouldn’t compromise user security and use creepy tactics like installing web servers on their users’ computers. Even though initially they said it was fine. A few days later even Apple reacted and posted a silent update to all Macs that removes the web server even if you haven’t yet updated the Zoom app to the latest version. Which you totally should!

The drama is over. I’m happy that Zoom reacted quickly and I’m a little surprised that even Apple jumped in to really make sure this thing was over. That’s all good and I’m happy that the system worked, but as a cautionary tale I decided to leave the original blog post - you can skip the part about removing the server and read the rest of my thoughts on why we need high standards of ethics in the technology companies of today.

Original blog post from July 9, 2019:

Yesterday news broke that Zoom - a video conferencing tool that my Nozbe team is using - is doing creepy things to Mac users - Jonathan Leitschuh wrote a long blog post about how they are secretly running a web server on your Mac and potentially allow any website to enable your camera without your permission... and the sad story is that the Zoom company with more than 40 Million users (myself included) is standing by its creepy and ethically questionable “solution” for the sake of a “better user experience”. Luckily there’s a way to stop this web server from working and in this post I want to give you step by step instructions of how to get rid of the Zoom server from your Mac and later I want to explain myself why I was endorsing Zoom as a video conferencing solution for remote teams where we go from here... let’s do this:

How to get rid of Zoom server from your Mac and why we need a non-SV video conferencing alternative

How to get rid of the creepy Zoom server from your Mac

Make sure you’re logged in to your Mac, quit Zoom (zoom.us.app) and fire up the terminal and follow the instructions in my Gist:

Wednesday, July 3

🎧🎬 The Podcast #189 - Dub dub

Last month on The Podcast we once again met live with Radek on Apple’s Developer conference WWDC and we actually used Apple’s Podcasting studio to record our show... which was a geek-out exchange about all the new stuff Apple has presented on the conference. This time you may both watch or listen to the entire episode right here, so enjoy:

Watch the video:

The Podcast - 189 - Dub dub

Listen to the entire episode (~ 52 min):

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

If you liked it, please rate us on Apple Podcasts, thanks!

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.