Friday, March 24
One of the key ways we can improve our health and the overall state of our body is by sleeping more and better. Yes, not less. Not depriving ourselves from sleep, but rather by designing our life in such a way that sleep is a strategic part of it. That's why this week I want to recommend a book that made me feel really uneasy and helped me realize why sleeping is so important. This book forced me to change the way I approach sleep. Here's why:
Book review: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson - 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
(Note: I also discussed this book on the 87th episode of The Podcast with my co-host Radek, if you prefer the audio version with more comments)
Very few times when reading a book, the book would make me feel bad about myself while still encouraging me to keep reading. The last book like this was Essentialism. Now this book about sleeping made me realize I should not approach sleep like a "necessary evil" but as a strategic part of my day. And that there are so many things I need to fix to make sure I get a good night's sleep, here are a few that really stood out:
Monday, January 30
It's almost the end of January so I'm pretty late with my 2016 review but... I really needed to write it all down if not for you, then at least for myself. I'be done reviews of 2015, 2014 and 2013 and these served me well so now it's time to take a look at last year, the 2016, here goes:
2016 in a nutshell
Overall 2016 wasn't that bad for me. It's been actually pretty good. Personally my third daughter was born and she's been amazing, I'm still a fit amateur triathlete and business wise we've had some growth and significant product developments. I can't complain.
On the other hand, geo-politically it wasn't that good, the government in my home country is destroying the stable democracy we used to have, UK wants to do a Brexit and the USA decided to choose a self-indulgent liar as a president. Some people call 2016 the "Windows Vista" of all years. It wasn't that bad for me so if you're curious to know more, read on - hope this inspires you:
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
I've read countless times on the positive aspects of daily journaling. People I admire like Michael Hyatt (author: Living Forward), Tim Ferriss (author: Four Hour Workweek) or Greg McKeown (author: Essentialism) are all keeping a daily journal. Studies show that journaling is really good for you as it gives you a moment of reflection, helps you maintain perspective and organize your thoughts - all are the things we need in this increasingly busy and distraction-prone world. The problem is, it's easier said than done. I've tried journaling many times in the past and always failed, but now finally I'm doing it constantly and I'm really enjoying it. In this lengthy post I want to share how I managed to do it and hopefully give you a shortcut and motivate you to start journaling today!
It's about figuring out your “what”, “how” and “when” of journaling
I've tried and failed many times over to create a habit of journaling. I've tried dedicated paper notebooks, dedicated apps like Day One as well as simple notes apps like Evernote or plain text… but couldn't find a way to reduce the barrier to entry to such a point that it'd make journaling a part of my daily routine. It wasn't just about the “how” though (apps, tools), it was also about the “what”, meaning I wasn't sure what to put in my journal. What I should really write about? And lastly, I didn't know when to incorporate my journaling as a part of my daily routine. In short, I needed three things to make it all work: a good template (what), an easy system (how) and a good routine to trigger journaling (when). Here's how I cracked it:
Monday, July 18, 2016
As everyone probably knows, I’m an incurable optimist. For some, it’s even become something to joke about :-) Not that I have a problem with that – it means that my optimistic attitude is working, and it’s contagious. Optimism helps me in every aspect: relationships with others, business, managing my team and… productivity. In this article I want to show you why:
Note: This article was first published in Polish as The Editor's Note in Productive! Magazine Polska in June '16.
(Not) a difficult choice
Just consider these two options: you can complain about having too much work... or be happy that you have a job, that you have control over a lot of things, and that you achieve bigger or smaller successes thanks to your own effort. You can be depressed if a campaign that you organized didn’t have the desired outcome... or you can get the team together, analyze all the data and create a new, more effective campaign. Which of these options sounds more appealing?
You tell me:
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
✔ Why America's gun ownership leads to so many mass shootings and innocent deaths. And how it can be stopped.
Another day and another mass shooting in the USA. This time the deadliest ever. I usually try to avoid political statements and arguments because frankly, everyone is entitled to their own views. However, I believe the idea of gun ownership has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the gun industry and facts that are interpreted wrong. And innocent lives being taken. Facts just speak for themselves and very often I'm drawn into a debate on Twitter with people who simply haven't done their homework. So here, five reasons why more guns lead to more people being killed. From the perspective of a person who luckily lives in Europe:
Before we start, a story close to my heart - how my podcast co-host was assaulted two years ago in San Francisco.
Two years ago my young iOS developer Radek (my current The Podcast co-host) went to San Francisco for Apple's WWDC conference. One evening coming back from the conference he was assaulted with a gun by two people who stole his passport and his iPhone. This was his first ever trip to the USA and his first few days in the country. He was shocked and scared.
Yes, people steal iPhones in Europe but they don't do it with a gun! Usually when your phone is stolen all you worry about is that you lost a valuable device. Radek was scared for his life!
This is the main difference - where in the USA they pull a gun on you, in Europe they'll maybe slap or punch you in the face. Usually not even that. This is the reality of modern-day America:
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
I’m a big basketball fan. I’m a short guy but I love playing the game and I’ve been watching NBA games since my high-school days. This last season was particularly interesting as my favorite team “Golden State Warriors” broke the record of most wins in the regular season set by none other than the famous Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan. The “Dubs” (that’s how “Warriors” are nicknamed) won 73 games and lost only 9. They made history… but they still have to go through play-offs and win the Championship title, and they barely made it to the finals… here’s what we can learn from their 7-game match-up with the Oklahoma City Thunder:
1. Even if you’re the best, you still have to play your best
There’s a reason champions come and go. Things change. Even if you’re at the top, you still have to bring your best. They have in the regular season, but not so much at the play-offs. They lost a game in the first round, lost another in the second round… and lost their first game vs OKC Thunder. Something odd for a team that lost only 9 games in the whole year!
They later won one game and lost two… and with 1-3 deficit almost were doomed to go home. They made it 4-3 as they gave it all in the last three games. They finally played at their best. They had to.
2. Enjoy your hype, but don’t rely on it
Stephen Curry is not only the best point guard in the league, the MVP of the regular season… but also the best 3-point shooter ever to play the game. He scored 402 3-pointers this regular season. He beat his own record of “treys” set last year by more than 100. He shot from any distance and he almost always made it. He had around 50% hit rate! From the 3-point line!
That’s where he started making mistakes in the play-offs. When things got tough he started shooting from anywhere, without preparing the shots, without passing to his team mates. He thought he’d score anyway. Well he did once or twice, but his percentage in playoffs was way below 50%… it was somewhere closer to 30%… He’s still amazing and I’m his biggest fan, but he should have known better. He believed too much in his own hype.
Which brings me to the last point:
3. Team wins, team loses… and wins again - it’s all about the team!
It’s all about team work. What made Steph also great in the regular season was his passing ability. His assists. In the last three games against OKC Thunder finally the Dubs were playing like a team. Steph was not only shooting, but also passing. Also letting other team mates shine (just think about game 6 and Klay Thompson’s 11 record-braking treys!).
“Never give up, just do it” - is my favorite slogan… and it fits perfectly what the Warriors team did in these last three games. They played like champions. And out of 200+ teams in the history of the NBA who had a 1-3 game deficit, they’re one of only 10 that made it anyway. They are true warriors.
This reminds me that at Nozbe we can only achieve greatness as a team. It’s me at the helm but without my team I wouldn’t be where I am today. And I have a great team!
OK, now let’s have some fun in the Finals and get that ring!
Question: Anything else you’ve learned recently from watching sports?
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
When we talk about productivity we hardly ever mention how our relationships affect it. Fortunately my mentor and friend Michael Hyatt wrote and talked about this, especially why we should speak well of our spouses and how to become their best friends. I applaud his posts and recommend you checked them out. As to me, I'm married to my best friend Ewelina close to 11 years now and we've got two beautiful daughters (and a third on the way!) but it doesn't mean it's all just roses and unicorns over here. We are a marriage like any other and life can get stressful and tough for us, too. That's why in this post I'd like to share with you why doing a yearly “honeymoon” with your spouse is a great way to keep the marriage alive and happy.
A honeymoon is a trip for two only...
Let's start with my definition of a “honeymoon”: a trip for two that lasts at least a weekend. Something between 2-14 days.
That's it. No kids. Optionally another couple, but preferably just you and your spouse.
When we got married we didn't go on a honeymoon right after our wedding celebration as we had to move to a different country quickly. We regretted this decision and 3 months later went on a short tip to the mountains and it felt great. Next year we went for a longer trip and the year after again. But this was easy. We didn't have kids then.
In 2009 our first daughter was born so we didn't go anywhere... but we didn't forget about our yearly resolution... so we started to be more deliberate about it:
Monday, January 25, 2016
In just a week I'll be celebrating 9 years of running Nozbe - a productivity project I launched on February 1, 2007. Nine years. Almost a decade. Started with a team of one. And now we're 24 core team and 10 contractors. I can't believe how fast the time flies and that I've been doing the same thing for almost a decade. So the obvious question is: now what?
What's next for me now? What's next for you?
When I get interviewed or chat with people about Nozbe's success thus far, about our apps for all platforms, more than 300,000 happy users and our team, I get asked this question a lot: Michael, what's next for you?
Now that I'm approaching 9th birthday of my "baby" I've been giving this question particular attention so let me share the way I see it:
Thursday, January 7, 2016
This time it took me a while to do some thinking and reviewing. We're 7 days in 2016 and I'm still processing all the lessons I've learned from 2015. Overall it's been a pretty stable year for me, but some things didn't go as planned or were more challenging that I anticipated. Here goes:
My 2015 in a nutshell would be like this:
I'm still a fit triathlete, but didn't reach my fitness goals, although had lots of fun riding my bike, running and swimming. I gained a few pounds of weight which I need to lose this month to prepare properly for what's to come in 2016. In business I doubled my team count while maintaining the business revenue at the same level as last year. This means in 2016 I need to do less hiring and more marketing, to make up for all of it.
This is the gist of it. If you want to know more, keep reading:
Monday, December 21, 2015
Three days to Christmas and we're all thinking about the preparations, gifts and everything around it. I just came back to my home town to spend this special day with my parents. And while I was completing my checklist of gifts for my family and friends I remembered my last year's gift I got from my wife:
Nope. My wife didn't buy me a Ferrari. But what she did do, is recognize I'm a big car guy and Formula 1 fan... So she got me a voucher to drive a Ferrari on an actual F1 track in Barcelona!
Suffice to say I loved my gift! And what we did is make a weekend out of it! We flew to Barcelona for a romantic weekend, thanks to a friend got a really nice hotel for ourselves and made a weekend out of it! So not only did I get to drive a Ferrari but I also got to spend a great weekend with my lovely wife! Now that's a gift I'll keep in my memories for a long long time!
And it's not really about anything that fancy as driving a Ferrari. When my mom celebrated her birthday we got her a lunch in a very historic place... So basically we organized a whole-day trip with my parents to celebrate her birthday! She loved it!
And I'm not saying all things are bad! Most are great! Just I think we give too many "stuff" as gifts. Let's think we can give experiences and we can give someone really amazing memories!
Question: What experiences have you given as gifts lately?
P.S. If you're curious this is how I enjoyed my last year's gift:
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
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":
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?
Friday, January 9, 2015
Now that year 2014 is behind us, it's time to focus on 2015 and set some goals for it. I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions but in setting real goals as projects and in this post I'm going to show you how I've done my goals for this year:
If you're a Nozbe user, you might have seen this post by Michael Hyatt about setting goals as projects. If not, I strongly encourage you to check it out. And if you haven't checked out Michael's course: [5 Days to Your Best Year Ever][mc] - the registration closes tonight, so make sure to check it out. I won't earn a dime if you do, I'm linking to his course because it's great and because it works. Anyway, I've followed Michael's advice written in his post for Nozbe and this is what I did:
Monday, September 15, 2014
I'm literally writing this post to brag about how awesome my mom is. And to remember that I want me and my wife to be like that to my kids. My mom shaped my life in so many ways that it's hard to describe. But I'll try. There are five life lessons I learned from her. Here goes:
Last year I wrote about my entrepreneurial parents where I mentioned how my mom, despite having obtained a demanding career as an architect, switched her jobs several times in her life. But there's a lot more to her. Today I want to share with you the things I learned from my mom so that you might hopefully learn something from her as well:
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
I bought my first pair of FiveFingers shoes (feet gloves?) a little over four years ago. Yes, they were weird at first but after some getting used to, I fell in love with the comfort of walking almost barefoot. Today I'm running in FiveFingers almost exclusively. Earlier this year I read about a study where researchers supposedly managed to prove that these shoes were injury-prone. Moreover Vibram, the company behind these shoes settled a class-action lawsuit and agreed to refund customers their money. I don't want a refund. I just bought a new pair. Here's why:
Before and after my knee injury...
I didn't run much in my first FiveFingers shoes ("Classic" model), I only started running seriously "barefoot style" when I got the "Bikila LS" model. I began running regularly mid 2012 and until mid 2013 picked up the pace to ~5.30min/km at 10km distances... mostly running on the beach (soft surface). Then my friend invited me for a longer 15km run on a pavement. I was afraid in the FiveFingers shoes I wouldn't get enough cushion or support so I chose to run with my friend in "traditional" Nike shoes. Boy did I make a mistake. We ran a half-marathon. At km 17 my knee started hurting me... but I finished my run... only to discover I seriously injured my knee.
As I explained in my last post about the "Born to Run" book, my doctor later told me I wasn't built for running. Well, I dismissed his advice, got back to running and now I've just ran my first 10km run below the 50min time. In FiveFingers again (this time the newest "SeeYa" model). However, what I discovered was that running in FiveFingers is not as straightforward as you might think. It's all about "how" you run:
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
✔ My first triathlon - excitement, self-doubt, drama and joy - how I won my fight with the resistance
Yesterday I finished my first ever triathlon. I'm so, so happy. Especially that I was very close not to finishing it. Twice. Yes, my first triathlon is a story of excitement... followed by self-doubt and later drama that for a few minutes put me out of the race... and joy of fighting the odds and finishing it in the end. Here goes:
2014 is a fitness year for me
I started strong with lots of regular running and a thanks to a new style of eating /I managed to lose 15+lbs. Suffice to say, I'm in the best shape of my life. That's why when my daughter's teacher asked me if I wanted to run a triathlon with him I decided to give it a try. He told me about the "sprint" distance (750m sea swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run) and I thought it was tough enough to get me out of my comfort zone and reasonable enough that I had a fighting chance of finishing it. And it was only a little more than a week away, so I knew I didn't have lots of time to prepare. I was excited to give my first triathlon a try. Well, it wasn't that easy...