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.

Thursday, December 13

📖 BOOK LAUNCH - 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity

Yes, it’s today that my new book, “10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity” starts pre-sale on Amazon and is being available for order. Shipping will start on January 2. It’s based on my video course by the same name but the book is a completely-rewritten content, much enhanced and written in such a way, that anyone can grab it and start creating their own productivity system in minutes... and hopefully have an amazing 2019. Here’s how to get the book:

BOOK LAUNCH - 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity

Get it from our web site: ProductivityCourse.com

The best way to get the book is to go directly to its dedicated web site - you’ll learn all about the 10 steps (as in - 10 chapters) from the book and why you should definitely get it :-)

Thursday, December 6

✔️ Introduction to my new book - 10 steps to Ultimate Productivity

We’re about to start pre-launch of my new book - 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity which is based on my video course. It’s getting real! I’m very excited about this. Here’s the link to my new Amazon author page and to give you a glimpse of what the book is all about, today I’m posting here an excerpt from the “introduction” to the book:

Introduction to my new book - 10 steps to Ultimate Productivity

Introduction to 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity

In this book, you will learn the principles needed to build your very own system for organizing and taking charge of your time. In 10 easy-to-follow steps, I will share how you can quickly and easily realize your goals. Thanks to these rules, I am both happier and more productive.

It wasn’t always this way...

By nature, I am an incurable optimist and a generally disorganized person. That is exactly why I decided to look into the literature on self-management. I knew that I could no longer neglect my deadlines, postpone my meetings, and lose my way in the flood of information and projects that I was responsible for. I needed to finally get organized!

My old way of using a physical planner was quickly becoming outdated and couldn’t keep up with the new, fast-paced environment the internet had created.

Things could not continue like this for me. I was drowning in the sheer volume of things I needed to do. That’s when I decided to study the techniques of self-management. Seeking inspiration from books by authors like Stephen Covey and David Allen, I hoped even a disorganized individual like myself could tidy up their life. I never imagined I would find my life’s passion through this endeavor.

Tuesday, December 4

🎬 Blast from the past - the “10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity” Video Course back from 2013 ahead of my book launch!

I’m about to self-publish a book inspired by my “10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity” video course which I recorded back in 2013. Basically what I did with the book was to enhance the script of the video course, adapt it to the year 2018 and publish it as a physical book which you can hold in your hand.

The book is launching soon so I wanted to publish this blog post with all the links to the video course in case you wanted to enjoy it before the book ships. Here’s the video introduction to the course:

Each lesson is short and to the point, so if you want to watch lesson 1 and the following lessons, just go to:

Alternatively you can just listen to the audio version:

I recorded the course in 5 languages!

Yep, I love learning different languages and communicating in them, so I recorded the video course not only in English, but also in:

Import the course to your Nozbe as a project:

There’s an easy way to go through the course and get each lesson done by using a Nozbe.how template and import it to your account as a project:

With subtitles:

Enjoy the course!

The course lessons might have been recorded over 5 years ago, but the course is timeless, it’s free and very soon you’ll see what a great productivity) book I managed to write based on it :-)

Get notified when the book launches

Friday, November 30

✔️ [TV appearance!] Nozbe’s TGIF - Thank Goodness It’s Friday on Polish national television - how to work smarter?

As I’ve written here, and on the NoOffice blog and on Nozbe blog, today is Friday and in our company we treat this day differently - we don’t do the usual work - we focus on getting the weekly review done and later each member of our team can design this day the way they want: do something for personal development, catch up on reading, conference watching, learning new skills... or simply run errands - it’s all up to them... and last month our system got the attention of the Polish national breakfast television and I had a privilege of being there:

Nozbe’s TGIF - Thank Goodness It’s Friday on Polish national television - how to work smarter?

Watch the program with yours truly on television (in Polish)

How do you do Fridays?

Please read how we do them at Nozbe and if you have any questions, let me know!

And if you want to know the back story how I got to TV, here it is:

Tuesday, November 27

✔️ Would you pay 20 cents per day for increased productivity?

Today I had a fascinating conversation with one of our Nozbe business customers about pricing and how before buying Nozbe they analyzed the price/value ratio of it:

Would you pay 20 cents per day for increased productivity?

Pricing for business users vs consumers - how we developed our pricing model...

In the past few years we’ve been gradually pivoting Nozbe from a consumer-focused GTD app to a productivity tool for teams and businesses.

Pricing a product like Nozbe is tricky. Actually pricing anything is tricky.

When Nozbe launched back in 2007, there was just a price for one user with several tiers based on how many projects one can have active. Later we’d give unlimited projects and create tiers based on how many users our customers could add.

When we launched Nozbe 3 we went down to two tiers - Pro and Business with different cost of additional users per account. It was a little messy.

A year ago we introduced our current pricing where we have tiers back, based on how many users people have on their team: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, 100 or unlimited...

Pricing based on value or features? How much is your productivity worth?

Now the question is:

if you’re running a team of say, 19 people and you want your team to get more organized, effective and productive - how much are you willing to spend on that?

This is exactly what I talked about with one of my customers earlier today. They are an IT company and they bought Nozbe business plan for up to 20 people for a full year and they explained to me how they finally came to that decision. It was fascinating and eye-opening.

They said they tried out Nozbe for a few weeks, decided they loved the interface, loved how it helped them get organized and wanted to get all in. Then they looked at the price tag:

  • Nozbe Business for up to 20 people: $1536 US dollars for a year

Holy smokes! One and a half grand for an app?! Isn’t that too much?... But then they checked:

  • It comes down to only $128 per month

OK, not that bad... A little over hundred bucks per month... but they kept going:

  • When you divide it, it’s less than $7 per employee per month

That’s right, it’s like 2 cups of coffee... and usually people don’t drink this in a month, they drink this in a day... so it’s actually pretty reasonable... so speaking of days:

  • Daily, it’s actually a little over 20 cents per employee per day

Now they stopped:

Seriously? Are we even debating this? We know this software works for our people so their productivity gains and thus the overall increased efficiency of our team is worth much more than 20 cents per day, right? I mean 20 cents is virtually nothing. It doesn’t compare to anything our employees spend daily on coffee or office supplies... It’s a no-brainer.

And they took the plunge, bought the Nozbe plan for a full year and today over a short video call basically told me how happy they were about their decision. Such conversations are why I love my job.

That’s right, only 20 cents per day.

And how much is your productivity worth to you? And your team members’ productivity? Let me know :-)

Tuesday, November 20

✔️ How HomePod turned me into a Siri enthusiast - I finally use voice to get stuff done!

Back in February when I was visiting the UK I bought the latest and greatest Apple speaker, called the “HomePod”. I bought it out of curiosity as I wanted to find out what these “intelligent speakers” are all about and as I’m all in the Apple’s ecosystem I decided not to invest in the Amazon’s or Google’s ones. What happened was that this speaker not only improved the way we spend our time in the kitchen, but also taught me a new way of using my iPhone! Here goes:

How HomePod turned me into a Siri enthusiast - I finally use voice to get stuff done!

HomePod changed the way I interact with my iPhone right now!

The HomePod is in our kitchen and because with it we also subscribed to Apple Music, we now ask it to play whatever we want. Recently I was into some classics, so I just asked it to “play the best hits by R.E.M.” or “best hits by Madonna” and boom, the speaker played them for me.

After months of just playing music, I use HomePod and Siri a lot more!

It took us time, but after a few months we started asking Siri through HomePod for more things - like setting up timers (and now finally we can set up more than one of those!), like asking about the weather, like asking about things (definitions, geography: “how many people live in Moscow?”. and much more..).

Recently as I was setting up home automation with Apple’s HomeKit, I’ve started creating scenes and now when my daughter wants to do her homework she sits down at the kitchen table and shouts to the HomePod: “Hey Siri, turn on Kitchen Table” and the light turns on!

Based on that... I started talking to my phone much more!

This is where I realized that I can start talking to my iPhone much more - and I even started recording more iOS12 Siri Shortcuts to enable that. I began asking Siri to open some of my apps, to perform some shortcuts for me, to call people I have in my address book... and it usually works!

Siri is not there yet... and she’s still pretty dumb... but she works!

Yes, Apple still has a long way to go, but I still remember when I got my iPhone 4S to be able to talk to Siri and was disappointed... and with every subsequent iPhone the disappointment turned into frustration... but now with HomePod I’ve re-learned to appreciate the voice commands and to try them so much more... and to enjoy them finally!

Give Siri a try yourself... and if you can get the HomePod, I totally recommend it :-)

Monday, November 19

✔️ Why we need deadlines

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” - Douglas Adams

The problem with running a software company which creates a product for many users, like more than half a million at the moment... is that we don’t have any fixed deadlines set by people who use Nozbe.

We need to create deadlines ourselves. Self-imposed deadlines.

And the problem with such deadlines is the fact that they seem fake. Artificial. Made up. Unnecessary.

Right? Wrong!

Why just not work without deadlines?

Because we're humans.

When there's no deadline we get lazy. We get perfectionist. We take all the time in the world to making our creation perfect. Or even better than perfect. We even might try to explore all of the alternatives before we decide on something.

When there are no deadlines we cannot hold each other accountable. Not to anyone, not even to ourselves.

When there are no deadlines we’re less likely to ship what we've created. And when we don't ship what we've created we're more likely to get demotivated...

We, the humans, need deadlines

Deadlines motivate us to get something out. To finally show it to the world. To get the feedback. The good, the bad and the ugly. And to iterate and ship again!

Just like Seth Godin asked:

“How do you make sure you ship on time and on budget? Well, when you run out of time, you ship. When you run out of budget, you ship.”

To be able to run out of time we need a deadline.

So we set one.

I'll share it with you soon. Meanwhile I'll let the deadline sink in. I'll let myself and my team digest it. And get excited. Because with this deadline we're committing ourselves to shipping something great for you.

And I really can't wait to share it with you... and to do that we have to now really meet this deadline!

Let's do this.

P.S. Special thanks to Michael Hyatt for his last episode about deadlines, which reminded me how important deadlines are to what we do.

Thursday, November 8

✔️ New habits before the year ends

This year a few things got out of hand for me - or let’s say they’re not where I want them to be. So I decided to do something about it now and instill/strengthen new habits until the end of this year.

New habits before the year ends

Taking on new habits is hard. Make them stick is even harder. That’s why Leo Babauta argues you should only try to introduce one habit at a time.

Well, I’m too inpatient for that.

Starting from November I’ve taken on 3 habits at a time. My excuse is that they’re all semi-related, so I’m hoping they’ll reinforce each other... but only time will tell.

I’m very much tempted to share these habits with the world right now... but according to Derek Sivers I should keep them to myself.

So I’ll be vague and I'll let you know a little... and report after 2 months how I’m doing.

  • Habit 1 has to do with eating and drinking
  • Habit 2 has to do with routines (see? related!)
  • Habit 3 has to do with writing (partially related...)

I’ve already started and I’ve seen some good progress. But November has only started so I’ve got a long way to go.

Wanna challenge me?

How about you challenging me? Let me know via Twitter which habit(s) you’re going to start introducing this month until the end of the year.

According to research it takes about 60 days to get the habits going... so we’ve got exactly the time need to make them stick.

What are you going to do?

Here’s to ending this year and starting 2019 with a slew of great new habits acquired!

Thursday, February 1

✔️ Workflows that build regular habits and help me get stuff done quicker

Keystone habits are critical to a happy and productive life. We’ve been discussing this with my co-host on The Podcast for a while now. To build regular habits and to just reduce some barriers of entry I’m using an iOS app called "Workflow" and have created many workflows that help me get stuff one quicker. These are like recipes for a "digital cake" - my way of doing things quicker. Below I’m sharing a few of these and hope they’ll be useful for you, too. Feel free to copy them and adopt to your needs :-)

Workflows that build regular habits and help me get stuff done quicker

Workflow, Ulysses, Bear and Nozbe - apps for my daily habits

I use Ulysses to write my journal in and Bear to plan and track progress of each day. And Nozbe for my day-to-day task and project management as well as internal communication with my team.

Here are my habits and workflows that I use in combination with these apps:

Monday, November 20, 2017

✔ How wireless headphones improve my productivity... and take me into the future!

This article was inspired by questions from readers and my discussion with Radek in the 95th episode of “ThePodcast.fm.” In that episode, we were chatting about our new wireless headphones and discussing how they make us feel like we’re living in the future. On top of that, I also believe wireless headphones significantly improve productivity. So, if you’re still using wired headphones, then, to quote Steve Jobs: “you’re doing it wrong.” Read on to find out why.

Wireless headphones

Note: The following article appeared first in the September '17 issue of [iMagazine][iMagazine] - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

Don’t be afraid of change. It’s an inevitable part of business and life...

We live in a world of technology, which is developing at a tremendous rate. Ten years ago, there weren’t any iPhones, and now the current iPhone 8, as tests show, it’s also faster than this year’s MacBook Pro. The world is changing so quickly that it's hard to keep up.

Change is also a vital part of my work. When I started Nozbe over 10 years ago, Steve Jobs had just unveiled the iPhone, and I believed I was building a web app for managing projects that would only work in a browser window on the desktop. It’s been only 10 years, but today we have apps for all major platforms, including the Apple Watch. And we’ve just released a version that works with Siri, so now you can add tasks using voice control – without even launching Nozbe. Everything is evolving at a rapid pace, but that’s precisely one of my favorite aspects of the IT industry. Change is inevitable. That’s why we have to constantly observe trends and buy the latest gadgets to understand how they can help our clients. I remember when, in September 2007, I was one of the first iPhone users in Poland. In May 2010, I had to get an iPad, and by May 2015, I needed to get my hands on an Apple Watch.

I’m not writing this to brag, rather to add some context to what I’m about to say about wireless headphones, because I remember when Apple did something, what many people considered “terrible”:

Monday, November 13, 2017

✔️ The new 2 hour rule - stop procrastinating and get your scariest tasks done!

I’m half way editing my new 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity book and reviewing it brings back memories of learning the basic productivity principles... like the famous “2 minute rule” introduced by David Allen in his “Getting Things Done” book (Amazon|Audible). The rule says that if you have a small task that can realistically be done in less than 2 minutes, do it now. Don’t put it on your task list, just do it. Well, today I want to introduce you to a new rule regarding the BIG tasks - a 2 hour rule - meaning, if you’ve got a scary task which you’re afraid to do because it requires lots of thinking and you’re afraid it’s going to take you a day or two... just turn off all distractions and block off 2 hours of your time - and you’ll be amazed at the results! By the end of these 2 hours you’ll have the task usually completed! Here’s my “scientific” proof:

The new 2 hour rule - stop procrastinating and get your scariest tasks done!

How I procrastinated on a few tasks recently

Before I get to my point, a personal story. As the CEO of Nozbe, I wear many “hats”, meaning I get to be a product visionary, which I love... a marketing manager, which I like... and a manager of my company, which I don’t like as much... but I still have to do it. Recently I had quite a few big tasks regarding the company management - some legal issues, some employee-related issues... and other tasks which I’d consider necessary but boooooring. That’s why I was doing everything to avoid doing these tasks. I was old-school procrastinating on them. But these tasks had to be done. And I had to do them... and they kept creeping up on me during each weekly review... and I kept postponing them...

Friday, November 10, 2017

💡 Templates I use to review my day, week and quarter

Today is Friday (and we’re doing Fridays differently at Nozbe) and it’s time for my weekly review so before I start just that, I decided to post this short reference to my best NozbeHOW templates which I regularly use to perform my reviews - you can use these templates even if you don’t have a Nozbe acccount:

Templates I use to review my day, week and quarter

How I go about my day

This past week has been very productive for me because I stuck to my Unschedule calendar and Pomodoro Technique and especially I’ve used the "daily template" I wrote about on the Nozbe blog.

What I do: Every morning after I journal I open Nozbe and go to my templates and open my "Today" template to create a new project with today’s date as the name, like "10 Nov 2017" and I go about my day completing each 30min interval as another "pomodoro". At the end of the day I review this project and complete it.

Today template on Nozbe.how

How I go about my Weekly Review

I’ve described the process in detail here but I basically create a new project from my template and give it a name like "45th weekly review" (where 45 is the number of the week in the year) and I go through the project:

Weekly Review template on Nozbe.how

How I go about my Quarterly Off-site

According to advice from Greg McKeown, the author of Essentialism, a book I recommend and have read 3 times already, every 3 months I do a "quarterly off-site", meaning for a day I step back and analyze my last quarter and plan my next one. I discussed this concept with The Podcast my co-host on the 73rd episode of our show. Again I use a template for that - I create a project from this one:

Quarterly Off-site template on Nozbe.how

Bonus - two additional templates for TGIF and Journaling

As I journal every day, once in the morning and once in the evening, I ask myself these questions:

Journaling template on Nozbe.how

Again, today is Friday, or Thank Goodness It’s Friday here in my company, so here’s a rough schedule of today for everyone on my Nozbe team:

Thank Goodness It’s Friday template on Nozbe.how

Hope you’ll find these templates helpful! Enjoy and share your ways of doing reviews and... Fridays!

Question: How do you preform your daily, weekly or quarterly review?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

✔️ My top 5 tricks to improve your productivity almost instantly

Today’s post will be very productive and practical. When I talk to people about time organization, they ask me for a few simple tips they can start using right away. That’s why, a few years ago, I decided to create the “10 Steps to Maximum Productivity” course. But, because we’re all looking for shortcuts, today I’ll focus on five key tips you can start applying today to see how they’ll improve your workflow. What’s more, they’re closely related to each other.

top 5 ways

Note: The following article appeared first in the May '17 issue of [iMagazine][iMagazine] - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

The short version: write things down, learn new apps and use them on all devices you have, remember about your weekly review and focus on priority zero. These are my top 5 tips, and here's more detail:

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: