Tuesday, December 18

✔️ Essentialism is easier when you’re forced to choose what’s really important

I’m a big fan of Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism - the pursuit of less but better - I’ve read the book three times, took lots of notes and keep trying (and failing) to follow Greg’s advice... and today unexpectedly I had a tough day that taught me a lesson or two on essentialism.

A personal situation changed my day completely...

When I was doing my weekly review last Friday I had a very solid plan for this week, including a strong to-do list for today - for Monday. After all, it’s the last week before Christmas and there’s so much to be done!

And then something happened on Sunday. A family situation required my attention... and I had to deal with it also today...

When my back was against the wall... I knew exactly what to do.

So today I knew I had to tend to my family and in between I had only maybe 3 hours of work max... so I quickly looked at my to-do list and refocused everything.

I knew what was essential. I knew what I should do today... and what can be left for later.

And that’s what I did.

And I had a great day. I managed to move important things forward at the company in the limited time I had... and later could completely focus on the family matter at hand.

There must be a lesson right here...

A lesson in constraints... in evaluating what’s important...

When facing this important situation I somehow knew what to do.... so why when I’m not in a predicament like this, I’m trying to do everything possible and more?

My life is important. There’s only one life I have. Maybe I should be more mindful about creating this sense of urgency and importance all of the time... not only when I’m being forced to do it by external situations?

Maybe I just need to be better at editing my life... and when I have a plan, practice trimming it down by answering this simple question:

“Great plan for next week, but what would I do, if I only had half that time next week? What would I focus on? What would be essential to move forward?”

Yes, that’s what I have to ask myself at the end of my each weekly review... and edit the plan again. Let’s try to do it this Friday.

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.

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 :-)

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!

Sunday, November 11

💯 100 Years of Polish Independence 🇵🇱

Today is Polish Independence Day and this one is very special! In this short post I’m going to explain why I’m proud to be Polish, European and why I’m hopeful for the future.

100 Years of Polish Independence

100 years of Poland

Today is a special day. It’s been 100 years as Poland is a free country. I’m happy to be celebrating this day as a proud Polish person. Here’s why:

Wednesday, July 4

💡 Polish football - no heart, no passion... and a big disappointment

In my home country of Poland, football (in USA: soccer) is our national sports. We love it, we play it, we cheer it. And we used to be good at it... like 40+ years ago... but we’ve never been good at that until now... or so I thought.

Polish football - no heart, no passion... and a big disappointment

Our national team qualified as number 1 seed in their group to the FIFA World Cup 2018. Watching them play together made me hope that for the first time in my life I’ll be able to see a Polish football team fight in an international tournament with their heads up high.

I had some concerns... but I didn’t expect such an utter disaster.

They say you can achieve up to 80% of success by just showing up. Well, Polish team didn’t really show up. I mean they were there physically, but not mentally. They didn’t play. They didn’t fight. They just didn’t do a thing...

On the other hand, watching teams like Marocco, Senegal, Japan or Iran play is amazing. These teams aren’t technically very good, but they’ve got so much passion, so much heart, so much will... which just shows this stark contrast with the Polish team, which technically is a number 8 team in the world according to FIFA ranking... but simply doesn’t have what it takes to play in a tournament like this.

The upside of this situation is that instead of cheering any particular team now, I’m just watching each game and enjoying it every time I see a team really “show up” and “step up” for the occasion. I’m just deeply disappointed that my national team decided not to...

Question: Who do you think will win World Cup 2018?

Wednesday, June 13

✔️ Golden State Warriors - how to keep eye on the prize and lead an unselfish team

Another year and another NBA finals are done... and two years in the row Golden State Warriors won against Cleveland Cavaliers. I’ve been supporting this team for the last 4 years and I remember vividly when they lost the finals 2 years ago... and out of that loss they decided to recruit one of the best players of the league, and their main opponent - Kevin Durant. And now with Kevin they won two championships. I remember last year I was personally there to witness their greatness and it was an amazing moment:

Golden State Warriors - how to keep eye on the prize and be unselfish

What happens when a team is aligned with one goal in mind - to win Championships!?

The best part of the whole Golden State Warriors narrative is the fact, that they were the best team of the league in 2015-2016 season... and yet they lost the finals. So what did they do? Even though they had many stars (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala) they decided to recruit another star - Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City Thunder. With Kevin they won two championship titles and Kevin won finals MVP twice.... and this year you could see why they won it all - because they’re focused on winning championships, not getting accolades:

Friday, February 2

✔️ 2017 review: a learning curve!

We’re already 1 month in 2018 but I haven’t still posted my yearly review... and yesterday we were celebrating 11 years of Nozbe so I decided to finally post my yearly review - again, I’m writing this more for myself as a way reflect on last year and to be able to get back to it, but if it serves you as an inspiration, be my guest! Here goes:

2017 review: a learning curve!

Before I start, here are my past yearly reviews: 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

2017 wasn’t as good as I hoped... in some ways...

It was a tough year. On one hand business-wise it was a learning curve for me and the revenue growth wasn’t as I expected... but on the other hand I learned a lot and I’m putting these learnings to work this year. Privately it was a very good year. Here are some highlights:

Monday, May 22, 2017

💡 38 years young - the possibilities are infinite!

This past weekend I turned 38 (Saturday, May 20). Another year. Another number. Creeping up on forty, but still not there yet. In this short post I want to let you know why the number 38 is so important to me and why I'm excited about what's ahead of me.

38 years young - the possibilities are infinite!

38 means a lot to me... leading to infinity!

For some reason the number 38 has always meant "a lot" to me. Maybe because of the shape of this number - as you can see from my drawing above, it has a lot to do with infinity symbol. This means I'm already plenty old - but on the other there's still a lot of years ahead of me and I'm really excited about the infinite possibilities of the future!

Family-wise, the serious stuff is coming!

I have three daughters, the oldest is 8, the middle is almost 5 and the youngest is 10 months... so the good stuff is still ahead of me - when they start growing up, becoming teenagers, beoming amazing women... becoming a better version of me. Can't wait to witness this and be a part of their life. This will be exciting and heart-breaking...

Business-wise, I'm just getting started!

Nozbe turned 10 this year, so I've been around the block for a while, but now that I think about it, I've been developing it pretty slowly and cautiously over the last years... and it's time to accelerate this. Too many people are still not well organized... Too many companies and teams are still using email to collaborate... Too many old habits die too hard... so I want to speed things up and double down on Nozbe development and Nozbe marketing. We've got great things up our sleeve and I can't wait to share them with you. The future years of Nozbe will get really exciting!

38 is just a number!

I feel very young, I'm probably in the best shape of my life (and a next triathlon race next weekend!) and I've got really exciting stuff to work on. I'm so grateful and thankful to everyone who crossed my path so far and can't wait to keep changing the world with you all.

P.S. Having birthday in this day and age is also fun because you get wishes from all over the world on Facebook and other social media channels. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Question: What are your thoughts when your birthday hits?

Sent from my iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

📖 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - (audio) book of the week

As a reader of my blog you might have noticed that I'm a big fan of minimalism, I've been counting clothes for a while and I've been trying to keep my home office as neat and tidy as possible. Yes, I love that stuff. That's why when my wife started raving about this new book by a Japanese author, Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever I was curious on one hand but a little suspicious on the other. I mean, what else there is to know about clutter? Right? Well, it's amazing how I got converted:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever - (audio) book of the week

Get this book on: Audible | Amazon

Book review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever

When I started reading this book, my suspicions got even more serious. The author promises to teach a way to clean your clutter once and for all. That once done, your place will be clutter free forever. I mean, really forever? Who can promise something like that? It's a big promise to give so let's see if she's right:

Friday, March 24, 2017

📖 Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson - (audio) book of the week

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:

Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson - (audio) book of the week

Get this book on: (Amazon|Audible)

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, 2017

✔ 2016 review: not bad at all!

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 of Michael Sliwinski

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

✔ How I finally get daily journaling done with a workflow on my iPhone

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!

Star 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

★ Optimism pays. Why optimistic people are successful and get more done

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:

Optimism

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: