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?

Next?

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:

image

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:

Loading...

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

★ 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

Friday, January 9, 2015

✔ How I'm setting my goals for 2015 to get them all done

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:

How I'm setting my goals for 2015 to get them done

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

✔ 5 lessons I learned from my mom - and how she shaped my life

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:

5 lessons I learned from my mom - and how she shaped my life

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

✔ Why running almost barefoot with Vibram FiveFingers is good for my health and fitness.

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:

Why running almost barefoot with Vibram FiveFingers is good for my health and fitness

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...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

✔ Yes, I'm a Christian (Roman-Catholic) and I believe Jesus Christ to be my Savior

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you like my special post for this Easter weekend. Well, last year I launched our 10-Steps to Ultimate Productivity Course where in the 8th lesson about the "Weekly Review" I admit to being a Christian. I also state it clearly at the end of my "about" page. I didn't think it was really such a big deal... until I started receiving very nice emails from my Nozbe users and my blog readers. In this blog post I'd like say why I believe it's important to openly share your belief system with people you're connected to.

Yes, I'm a Christian (Roman-Catholic) and I believe Jesus Christ to be my Savior

I was really blown away when I started getting messages like these:

"I wanted to send you a quick note today to let you know I appreciate the you boldly sharing your faith, and I want to encourage you on the journey!" (Dave)

or

"What really captured my attention was in your course video on weekly review where you stated that you are Catholic and that you begin your weekly review with prayer. (...) It seems that our values are aligned in wanting to help individuals and organizations thrive and be as productive and healthy as possible." (Brad)

And I got many more emails like these. And from people of different nationalities. What really captured my attention was the fact that folks were surprised I was so open about my belief system. I think everyone should be doing this, here's why (and how):

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

✔ Why We Get Fat? by Gary Taubes - (audio) book of the week

It's been a while since I posted about a book of the week and not because I wasn't reading anything. Far from it. I've been listening to quite a few books lately so I'll try to post more about it and today I want to start with a book that completely changed my life in the last 3 months... and it's about eating, dieting and health... and its contents are contrary to the popular knowledge. The author really explains why we get fat:

Why We Get Fat? by Gary Taubes - audiobook of the week

Get this book on: Audible Amazon

When I summarized 2013 I noticed I wanted to lose weight. About 10 lbs (4-5kg) this year to achieve my "perfect bodyweight". You see, three years ago I got chubby. I gained about 10kg (22lbs) to a really alarming weight of 80kg (176 lbs) which at my height (1.68 cm / 5'4) is starting to look pretty bad. I didn't feel great. So I got to work. Over the last three years I started getting in shape: I'm running regularly now, I do fitness training, I eat healthier... and I started to feel I was in the best shape of my life... but I only managed to go down to 74kg (163lbs) and not much below that. Of course, with fitness training and running my muscles got heavier, but still, I could tell I had still too much fat in my body. Then I read this book "Why We Get Fat?" by Gary Taubes... changed my habits and in 2.5 months of 2014 I managed to achieve my perfect weight of 67kg (147lbs), which is about 13kg (30lbs) less than where I was 3 years ago. And I keep maintaining this weight. Here's why this book changed my eating habits so much:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

✔ 2013 was great and for 2014 I intend to keep running in biz & life :-)

I know I'm late to the party. It's third week of the new year and I'm talking about NY resolutions... But I had a very hectic beginning of the year and now I finally have the time to think, summarize and last year. You can find my 2012 summary here.

2013 was great and for 2014 I intend to keep running in biz & life

Last year was very mixed for me. I've grown and learned a lot. Here goes:

Friday, December 13, 2013

✔ How to never forget to pay your bills (thanks to Nozbe)

Just recently a friend of mine called me up and asked for advice regarding bills, she said: "I usually pay all the bills on time. Especially when I receive them in the mail - they're easy to process - I get the bill and I pay it right then. Recently many companies start sending me e-invoices (via email) and sometimes I slip and pay only when they call me to say my payment is overdue. How can you help me set up my payment reminder system so that I will remember about all these bills and be able to pay them on time? How do you deal with that?". Here's how I do it:

How to never forget to pay your bills (thanks to Nozbe)

I use Nozbe to track all my bills. (duh!)

As Nozbe founder I use my own software for managing projects, communicating with my team and other business-like tasks... but I also use Nozbe for these small administrative chores like paying the bills. What David Allen says in GTD (Getting Things Done), it's important not to think about something... until you have to think about it. This is why I set up my bills in Nozbe and I'm being reminded about them only when I need to deal with them. Not earlier, not later. Here's how my setup looks like:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

✔ Moral compass. On being honest and what I'm doing every day to make better decisions.

Recently I read the book by Dan Ariely called "Predictably Irrational" and I think it was a fantastic book. I'll blog about it later but today I wanted to focus on something that really struck me there and influenced how I approach my work every single day. It's about moral compass and prayer and being a better person. Here goes.

Moral compass. On being honest and what I'm doing every day to make better decisions.

As you know I'm Catholic. Having said that, daily habit of prayer has always been something I've been struggling with. It turns out being able to talk to God is a skill and it's not that easy to make it regular, honest and not boring or repetitive. Following advice by Michael Hyatt I was trying to read the Bible every day using the "One Year Bible" Kindle book. The problem was, the habit of reading a piece of Bible every day wasn't sticking with me... I'd read one day... and forget... or "not have the time" to read the other... until I read Dan Ariely's book and found out about an experiment that changed my point of view dramatically: