Wednesday, July 4, 2018

💡 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, 2018

✔️ 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, 2018

✔️ 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:


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

★ Lessons on humility and hard work from the Warriors vs Thunder basketball playoffs battle

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:

Warriors win Western Conference Title

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?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Bonus: Watch the 10-minute recap of the game 7 between Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

✔ Productivity and relationships - why I take my wife on a honeymoon every year?

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.

Me and Ewelina on our last honeymoon

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

✔ Wow, you're so successful! What's next for you?

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

✔ 2015 for me: pretty stable overall...

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

★ Christmas gift ideas: give experiences instead of things

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:

michael driving Ferrari

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:


Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus