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Saturday, August 29

★ Why I love living on the cutting edge of technology: gadgets, iPhones and Nozbe on latest iOS

In less than couple of weeks Apple will unveil the latest iPhone and together with that the latest iOS 9 will be announced (plus the watchOS 2). And as always I'm going to upgrade everything there. And what's even better, Nozbe will also be upgraded with latest iOS features on day 1. Here's why I love living on the cutting edge of technology:

living on cutting edge

I'm a gadget guy - I love gadgets so being able to test the latest and greatest appeals to me a lot.

We have to be prepared - just check out Radziu's post - Nozbe will have most of the features on day one because we test them as they show up.

I love technology - I can't wait to see what's new on the market and how our lives can be improved by technology. That's why I love this time of year to be able to really test the latest and greatest.

I really love my job!

Question: are you a gadget person?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Friday, August 28

✔ How to build a DIY teleprompter in 5 minutes + tips on using it when recording videos

I'm in the middle of recording a new video series for Nozbe trial and special "back to work" offer for September. Some of the video footage for this series will be me speaking to the camera, just like in my 10-step productivity course so together with my video guy, Marcin, we decided to quickly build a teleprompter so that I didn't have a chance to forget my lines. We built it out of a print paper box, glass from a picture frame, towel and of course an iPad! Here it is:

How to build a DIY teleprompter

For a person like me, who's very passionate and likes to speak a lot, a teleprompter is very important! It helps me calm down nerves, focus on my message and deliver it clearly. But when using a teleprompter the danger is that one starts mindlessly reading what's on the screen and what's even worse: the viewer sees it. It has to be natural, here are a few tips:

Wednesday, August 26

▷ The Podcast #11 - The Elon Musk Show

New episode of your favorite weekly podcast about "technology, productivity tips, business, publishing, and whatever else comes to mind..." is out! This time we start with wine but then the rest of the show we talk about Elon Musk and my hopefully upcoming Model X:

The latest episode of The Podcast

I explain that in about three years I'm planning to become self sufficient with energy by using solar panels, home batteries from Tesla and driving my "laptop on wheels for the family": a Model X. The future looks amazing, don't you agree?

Jump to listen to the episode »


Subscribe through iTunes

And please let me know what you think about my new podcast with Radek - post your comments over here or on our podcast site. Thank you!

P.S. And if you really like what we're doing, don't forget to rate us on iTunes, we'd really appreciate it! :-)

Tuesday, August 25

☆ Why You Should Be Using Nozbe for Task Management [on: Jeff Sanders 5am Podcast]

I typically link to only the things I'm writing on other blogs but this mention of Nozbe by Jeff Sanders was just too good to ignore. Jeff is a good friend with a fantastic podcast where he promotes early rising and getting a day done before breakfast. I highly recommend it! What I really like about his recent Nozbe endorsement is that he writes this:


"Paperless is Key ... when I ditched physical paper I did not make a full transition. I left task management to my calendar and random post-it notes strung all over my house, desk, car, wallet, bathroom, and anywhere else a post-it could go... A few months ago I finally brought my system full-circle by completely letting go of all paper, including post-it notes, and let the digital cloud do all my heavy lifting."

"Empty Your Brain ... In my world today I have endless ideas and energy due to my diet, exercise routine, and early morning wake-up calls. However, the real productivity transformation occurred when I decided to filter all of my thoughts through a digital system and then focus on my current, high-priority tasks."

Amen to that brother! I keep saying that the main competitor for products like the Nozbe is not another to-do list app. It's the non-consumption. That's why I'm currently working on a new course that will hopefully convert more people to a digital system. But more on that later. Now please enjoy Jeff's podcast episode no. 113;

Jump to listen »

Monday, August 24

★ Writing code on the iPhone 6 Plus. It can be done! How I wrote my "dice" app...

The other day my daughter and I wanted to play a board game. But we couldn't find a dice. I instinctively started searching for a dice app on the AppStore but what I found there were some shady apps. So I decided to write my own dice web app... How hard can it be, right? Especially that I had only my iPhone on me and no additional computer within my reach? Well, here's how I did it:

code on iPhone

Firstly I needed some graphics. I downloaded the images from Wikipedia to my camera roll and uploaded them to my server using Transmit app.

Later I opened Textastic app and created a blank index.php file and right from that app I uploaded it to my server next to the images. Then I wrote a simple code with my iPhone using the Textastic app and uploaded the file to the server again. The code basically rotates the dice images at random. Easy.

That's it, my dice app was online and both me and my daughter used it to play the board game. And she loved our new dice :-) The whole process took me less than 15 minutes and it was so much fun to have done it on the iPhone.

P.s. As I have Git installed on my server I could have used Prompt app to commit my new dice app to Git. Geeky, but so cool!

Question: What have you created on your iPhone lately?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Friday, August 21

★ The apps and services we use at our remotely-working company

At Nozbe we all work remotely and to communicate and work effectively we use a few apps and services that help us get things done. The other day someone asked me about it on Twitter and I tweeted back but in this short post I'd like to elaborate a little more on our choice of apps:

nooffice apps

Nozbe - we "eat our dog food" so we use our very own app not only to manage tasks and projects but also to communicate effectively through tasks. We don't send emails to each other.

Slack - as a company chat. And as a personal chat between people.

Skype - as a video and audio chat software. Although not as good as it used to be.

Dropbox - we share files through this service. This very blogging platform is based on it, too.

Two services I didn't mention in my tweet:

Evernote - we create notes in Evernote and attach them to tasks in Nozbe thanks to our great integration.

Github - we write and collaborate on code through Github. Really good.

Two bonus apps:

iMessage - with folks who have Apple devices I prefer to chat through this. Works great with my Apple Watch

1Password - to share passwords between people (syncs through Dropbox)

Question: What's missing on this list? What do you use?

P.S. No email here. My assistant checks mine. Why? Because my team has my highest priority, and with them I'm in touch through Nozbe.

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Thursday, August 20

✔ Ask Michael: How to start doing a Weekly Review?

AMA (Ask Michael Anything) - is a series of posts I'm running on this blog inspired by hundreds of emails I received from my readers and Nozbe users. Today I'll discuss weekly reviews and moving things forward, just like in this question I received from a Nozbe user:

I always struggle with my daily and weekly reviews and find it easy to delay doing the things that are in my priority list even though I know that I need to do them. Advice?

Ask Michael - weekly review and

Weekly review is hard at first, but necessary and gets easier with time!

I've also had my share of problems with forcing myself to regular weekly reviews but it is so important. Without it your system looses its value and strength. Try this:

Wednesday, August 19

▷ The Podcast #10 - The Incentives Are Aligned

New episode of your favorite weekly podcast about "technology, productivity tips, business, publishing, and whatever else comes to mind..." is out! This time we discuss more productivity topics and my recent blog post about hate mail. And yes I used a template to write this very announcement:

The latest episode of The Podcast

What I really liked about this episode is the fact we discussed how your customer relationship is different when you're doing a typical "client work" and when you're running a subscription based business like Nozbe when your customers effectively become your partners-in-crime. And how this impacts our motivation and productivity.

Jump to listen to the episode »


Subscribe through iTunes

And please let me know what you think about my new podcast with Radek - post your comments over here or on our podcast site. Thank you!

P.S. And if you really like what we're doing, don't forget to rate us on iTunes, we'd really appreciate it! :-)

Tuesday, August 18

★ Living consciously. In the moment. Essentially now.

I'm on a short holiday with my family and friends now and I'm enjoying these moments of tranquility. I have time to enjoy my friends and play with my children. To read a physical book (instead of listening to an audiobook). To reflect on things. On life. And I did manage to read a very interesting book which lead me to reflect on "living in a moment":

beautiful view

I read "Chasing Daylight" - which I will review soon on this blog. The clue of the book is to stop multitasking and start enjoying moments. Perfect moments. Start living consciously.

This all sounds easy but it's not. The ideas from this book come perfectly timed for me as I'm turning more to essentialism, trying to find ways to focus on what really matters and finally having some days of clarity.

Less is more. And with success comes great responsibility. And now I think I'm finally getting to what, why and how I should be doing what I'm really to do on this life. And the "how" part is really important here. And it's still hard to figure this all out even when I love what I do.

I'm rumbling. I'm just going to leave it like this and get back to my friends and have another "perfect moment" with them by giving them my whole and undivided attention and by just purely enjoying their company.

Question: how do you achieve living consciously?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Monday, August 17

☆ Organizing Your Life in English with Michael Sliwinski [on: Business English Q&A podcast]

I was invited for an interview at the Business English Q&A podcast where I talked with Ryan, the show's host, about the way I use my English every day as a non-native English speaker. In the podcast I explain how important of a role English played (and keeps on playing) in my life:

Organizing Your Life in English with Michael Sliwinski

I also share how I learned English when I was young and what role American movies and music played in all that...

I share my best and most effective language-learning tips (Polish is my mother tongue but apart from English I also speak fluently German and Spanish, and I can also communicate in Russian and even some Japanese)

I explain the importance of living and "breathing" English every day (after all, I write this blog in English)

Jump to listen to the entire episode (only 30 minutes!) »

Friday, August 14

☀ Michael Sliwinski Magazine #4 - Essentialism

Do you know you can read my blog as a magazine on your iPhone or iPad or Android phone or tablet? You didn't know? Well, you can, thanks to Remag. I've just published the next issue of my very own magazine and I encourage you to sit on your favorite armchair, grab your mobile device of choice and start reading:

The latest issue of Michael Sliwinski Magazine

Issue 4 - "Essentialism"

I've included the following posts and videos in this issue:

You can get my "Michael Sliwinski Magazine" for free:

Question: Are you reading my posts in a dedicated app?

Having my own magazine is a totally new experience of sharing my blog posts with you. This is what my new venture: Remag is all about. Please do let me know what you think about it in the comments below! How's your experience been so far? Thanks.

Thursday, August 13

✔ How to recognize the difference between "hate" and "constructive feedback"

As makers of Nozbe which is a mainstream productivity software, we get lots of feedback. Having more than 300,000 users makes us very happy and proud, but we don't always receive happy emails. It's usually me, the founder, who receives the praise and it's our customer support department who gets the blame for customers' problems, software bugs and stuff that doesn't work the way it's supposed to. Luckily most of the time we receive very constructive and great feedback from our users (thank you!). Sometimes however we get not-so-nice emails ("hate") sent by not-so-nice people ("haters" or "trolls"). The thing is, for an untrained eye it's sometimes hard to distinguish between "hate" email and a "constructive feedback" email, so the other day I wrote this on our internal "customer support" wiki:

cloudy feedback

Constructive Feedback

This happens when a person who is an active Nozbe user writes to us that something is not working... or that they would like a feature that we don't have yet, or our competition has it, and they'd love it, too.

If something is not working as they hoped it would, they might get upset. Upset at us, at Nozbe, even at themselves. But they wrote why they were upset. And they wrote to us all that, because they care.

How we respond:

Wednesday, August 12

▷ The Podcast #9 - I need to lower your salary

New episode of your favorite weekly podcast about "technology, productivity tips, business, publishing, and whatever else comes to mind..." is out! This time Radek reveals how unproductive he really is, or how much real work gets done on a typical workday:

The latest episode of The Podcast

I also reveal how I met David Allen, the author of the Getting Things Done book, for the first time and how impressed I was (and still am) with him. It was a very productivity-oriented episode. You'll love it :-)

Jump to listen to the episode »


Subscribe through iTunes

And please let me know what you think about my new podcast with Radek - post your comments over here or on our podcast site. Thank you!

P.S. And if you really like what we're doing, don't forget to rate us on iTunes, we'd really appreciate it! :-)

Tuesday, August 11

★ Why I do individual one-on-one meetings while playing pool :-)

As you know at Nozbe we don't have a central office. Everyone works from home. That's why every half a year we organize "team reunions" where we meet at a hotel for a week and we "work and play" together to spend some quality time "in person". I'll write more about it in future posts but if you're curious I talked about it with Radek on episode 5 and 7 of The Podcast. Anyway, part of the reunion is the idea that everyone of my 20+ person team gets to have an individual one-on-one meeting with me. So basically I play pool with everyone, here's why:

pool table meetings

  • It's a slow game. We can stop at any moment to discuss something deeper. And we often do. There's no rush.
  • There are no awkward moments. We're not just staring at each other. We're playing. We can be chatty or quiet at times. No stress.
  • It brings us closer. Especially the newer team members might feel intimidated when talking to their CEO but I believe that playing puts us on a more equal footing.
  • I like to mix work and play. That's why I love my job.

On our April meeting we actually made some really strategic decisions while having these talks. I think they work. And I get to talk deeper with everyone than on our usual Skype chats.

I'll finish this post with two technical ground rules:

  1. We play the 9-ball game. I love it. It's faster and less stressful than the traditional 8-ball bar pool game.
  2. We don't count points. I don't care who wins. If the other person counts them and wins with me and wants to brag about it - I don't mind :-)

Question: How do you conduct one-on-one meetings? How does your boss do that?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Monday, August 10

✔ Too busy to get things done - intro to Productive! Magazine No.30

More and more often, people go on about how busy they are as a reply to a simple "How are you" question. It becomes uncomfortable for me to listen to this. I don't like it. We're all busy, right?

This is the Editor's Note that I wrote for 30th issue of Productive! Magazine. Learn, what has helped me focus on the essential stuff and get more things done that matter.

too busy

Bragging about how busy someone is can make others think of several things the person wants to say:

  1. I am better – I’m busier, more in-demand and more successful than you.

  2. Here is my excuse for not doing the stuff that I promised to do.

  3. My time is more valuable than yours.

I guess that if someone is feeling overwhelmed with commitments, constantly explaining away things with a busy status, it's surely time to slow down and become more strategic.

How we spend our time is a choice. We all have the same 24 hours to fill. The thing is to know well which tasks are real priorities and should make it into our 24 hours.