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, 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.

Wednesday, June 19

✔️ After 10 years, GTD Summit is back!

It’s been 10 years since the “father of GTD”, David Allen - the author of the best-selling book “Getting Things Gone - the art of stress-free productivity” (Amazon|Audible), organized a conference dedicated to being productive - the GTD Summit. I was there last time (in 2009 in San Francisco, USA) and I’m here this time (Amsterdam, The Netherlands in Europe) and I can’t wait to meet my fellow over-achievers here.

After 10 years, GTD Summit is back!

Joined by Polish GTD ninja and a GTD coach!

Just like 10 years ago, I’m at this conference with the black belt of Polish GTD folks - my long-time friend: Krzysztof “TesTeq” Wysocki, the author of a very popular Polish blog on business productivity: “Biznes bez stresu”. (Pictured above with me just before the start of the conference). This time I’m also joined with the official Polish GTD coach - a good friend Jakub Ujejski. I’m in a really great company here!

I’m still a GTD fan to the core :-)

My original inspiration for designing Nozbe was the Backpack app by 37signals mixed with 3 basic concepts from Getting Things Done: projects, next actions and contexts... and even though over the years my app evolved into its own system - and now it’s becoming a “to-do app for teams”, I’m still a big fan of David’s work and my book “10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity” is an compilation of my own habits mixed with several productivity systems, including GTD.

That’s why I’m so happy to be here for the next two days and spend time with fellow GTD enthusiasts and learn more from them how to be a better leader, better person and a better productivity guy!

P.S. Is Amsterdam a city of Hamsters?

Before I came here I told my 7-year old Emilia that “daddy is going to Amsterdam for a conference” and she responded with ”say hi 👋 to all the hamsters 🐹 from me!” and when I made a strange faced she quickly explained: ”you just said you were going to Hamster-dam, right?”....

Now I cannot un-hear it. Hamsterdam it is and I’m happy to be here for this decade-in-the-making meeting of GTD aficionados.

Monday, June 3

😂 MindBlower - un-official Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference symbol I’m giving away for free at the event

This year I’m at the WWDC conference in San Jose, California and I get to watch Apple Keynote live and witness the new software Apple is presenting. To commemorate this I’ve designed and The Podcast co-host Radek 3D-printed a symbol of this conference - a MindBlower (TM). Here’s how this idea came to be.

MindBlower - un-official Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference symbol

Conference swag should be about the event

Radek came up with this idea first when he was 3D printing “React” logo at the React conferences (our new Nozbe 4 is designed in React technology) and he saw how people liked the gadget and how they wanted to have it. As we both were preparing to travel for the WWDC conference he suggested I designed something similar for this conference. I loved the idea but initially I didn’t know what to do. Should that be just an Apple logo or something else?

Friday, May 31

🎧🎬 The Podcast #188 - Michael 4.0

This week on The Podcast we discuss me turning forty and as I’ve reached this milestone you’ll have me trying to share some words of wisdom:

Check out the short teaser:

The Podcast - 188 - Michael 4.0

Listen to the entire episode (~ 36 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.

Wednesday, May 22

🎧🎬 The Podcast #187 - Camino

This week on The Podcast we discuss the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago which I did earlier this month with my wife to celebrate our 40 - and Radek had lots of questions! Listen up:

Check out the short teaser:

The Podcast - 187 - Camino

Listen to the entire episode (~ 46 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.

Monday, May 20

😎 Michael 4.0 - redesigned and happier than ever

Today I’m turning 40. Forty. Yep, that’s four full decades of life for you right there. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. When I was a child, I used to think this was a monumental milestone... when I’ll be very very old... and yet here we are and I don’t feel that old. I feel great. Actually, I feel the best I’ve ever been. In this post I want to sum it up a little and express how grateful I am for turning forty today.

Michael 4.0 - redesigned and happier than ever

I’ve redesigned myself a little...

To honor my forty and as a result of my recent pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (about which I’m going to both blog and talk on the podcast pretty soon), I’ve grown a beard. Something my father has had all his life. It’s not definite, I still feel strange about having facial hair... but for now I think it’s a great way of celebrating this milestone.

The funny thing is, that this year, there’s more to number 4 than meets the eye....

Friday, May 10

🎧🎬 The Podcast #186 - The courage to be disliked

This week on The Podcast we discuss yet another book, this time “The courage to be disliked” (Amazon|Audible) and why we need more of that type of courage in our lives:

Check out the short teaser:

The Podcast - 186 - The courage to be disliked

Listen to the entire episode (~ 38 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.