Tuesday, February 5

✔️ How intermittent journaling and some smart Siri shortcuts help me enjoy more intentional and productive days

I love journaling. I’ve blogged about it in the past and the same rules basically apply today. I’ve also been more conscious about planning my days and I’ve also blogged about my workflows for it in the past. Today I’ll be joining both concepts together, with my up-to-date workflows (Siri shortcuts) and a new concept I’ve been trying lately - intermittent journaling. Here goes:

How intermittent journaling and some smart Siri shortcuts help me enjoy more intentional and productive days

Using Siri Shortcuts and Bear app

Because I’m using iOS devices to get my stuff done - I’m iPadOnly with the new 11” iPad Pro and I use an iPhoneXS - I do all of my planning an journaling on either of these devices using Siri Shortcuts and the Bear note-taking app. I don’t use Bear for anything else - just for planning my days and for journaling.

You’ll find below my Siri shortcuts for both planning the days and journaling:

Monday, February 4

✔️ How I learned JavaScript by studying source code of Basecamp... and how I keep learning programming by studying code written by others...

Recently DHH of Basecamp wrote on their blog about the importance of being able to view the source code and learn from it. I totally agree with that... and in the spirit of 12 years of Nozbe and the last episode of The Podcast I’d like to share here a story how I actually learned JavaScript by studying their source code years ago. Here goes:

How I learned JavaScript by studying source code of Basecamp... and how I keep learning programming by studying code written by others...

I built the first version of Nozbe in 2005... with no JavaScript

I built Nozbe because I needed to get organized. So after reading Getting Things Done by David Allen (Amazon|Audible) I built a quick tool to get organized over a weekend. It was a very simple web application, but the problem was, when I marked a task as done, I’d have to “save” the page and reload it. Yes, that’s how basic it was... but luckily I was the only user...

Enter Backpack, a tool by 37signals (now Basecamp)

A few months later I came across Backpack, a tool that the crew behind Basecamp built. I signed up for it and I fell in love with its simplicity and most of all, I was amazed that the pages there didn’t reload. I marked a task as “done” and it instantly became “done”. I loved it. They were using this new technology which in 2005 was called “AJAX”.

While I loved the Backpack I still preferred my own tool because it was structured a little differently and more focused on “getting things done”... so I started viewing the source code of Backpack and learning from it. This is how I learned the basics of AJAX, JavaScript (with Prototype.js) and much more.

Monday, January 21

😎 Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

As mentioned on our last episode of The Podcast, recently in Nozbe team we introduced “salary formula” - a way to calculate salaries for all of our team members. In one of the future episodes we’ll discuss the formula in more depth, but today I want to focus on one aspect of it - level of growth - and why this ingredient of the salary is supposed to stimulate our team members to keep growing and developing themselves - just like the BMW 5 series... and unlike Lada:

Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

Nobody is perfect from the beginning - we all need to keep growing

When you’re leading a team of people, it’s important to let everyone know that you don’t want “Ladas” on your team - meaning people who think are perfect and they don’t need to grow.

The above meme is really cool as you can see how BMW 5 series kept evolving over the years, kept iterating, kept improving... while still remaining a mid-size sedan that it’s always been.

Now, how this translates to personal growth? Glad you asked:

Wednesday, January 9

✔️ 2018 review - an ongoing personal and business development

Now that 2018 is over and 2019 is upon us... and I’m already 2/3 in doing my annual review, it’s time for a post summarizing the last year for me. I’ve done similar posts about 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013... and they mostly serve me as a reminder how things went, but I hope that they also bring value to you - so here goes:

2018 review - an ongoing personal and business development

Overall it’s been a great year with lots of new things happening

This year was very interesting. Lots of travels. Lots of new feelings running my company and quite a few public appearances. And lots of fun in the process. Here’s the complete list of learnings from 2018:

Thursday, January 3

✔️ Why “lessons learned” is better than just “lessons” - or how I edit my writing...

On the first day of this year I wrote about my best nine IG photos. I really liked how the photos turned out so I decided to report on them and describe them briefly on this blog... and when I wrote and published the post I was happy that I’ve done just that... but I wasn’t quite happy how it turned out. Now I know why:

Why “lessons learned” is better than just “lessons” - or how I edit my writing...

Reporting on facts is boring... reporting on what we’ve learned from these facts is much more valuable!

When I re-read the post I realized what was missing - my personal take on what happened - my conclusions. Things I’ve learned from these photos.

After all why am I writing stuff on this blog? Because I want to grow!

I want to write more - to become a better person - and hopefully share some of these learnings with you!

Two months ago I wrote about new habits I wanted to form... and I think I did. One of them was writing on this blog daily. Later I revised this goal to writing at least 5 blog posts a week (as in: weekday daily - I wanted to have an option to have a weekend off) and I mostly succeeded.

If you look at the blog archive, you’ll see I’ve been blogging a lot more than before. Almost daily.

Now here comes the big why - why I want to blog more frequently?

  1. I want to have a way to journal out in the public and be able to easily (via an internet link) get back to these learnings or point others to them.
  2. Seth Godin thinks it’s good for me and I agree with him :-)
  3. I want to become a better writer. Now that I’ve published my new 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity book... and more books to come.

That’s why I need to focus on “learnings” when I blog over here

If what I post here is to serve me in the future and is to give value to others, I need to focus on what I’ve learned from things and how they impacted me. Not just on stating the facts. After all, I’m not a journalist, I’m a personal and team development guy. That’s what I’m trying to do here:

To help you, your team and myself become a better version of ourselves.

That’s the big why. That’s the reason I’ll write more in 2019.

Hope you’ll join me for the ride, give me feedback and help me spread the learnings from here. Thank you!

Friday, December 28, 2018

✔️ Time to start your annual review!

The year of 2018 is coming to an end. It’s time to take a moment to reflect on it, learn from it... and plan 2019. Recently on The Podcast we gave you our definitive guide to an annual review so let me motivate you to start yours now by breaking down this process into 10 simple steps (see what I did there?):

Time to start your annual review!

Step 1 - believe it’s worth it - yes, you have to be motivated to do an annual review so make sure you know it’s important to your goal of living an intentional life.

Step 2 - dedicate time for it - it’s going to take you quite a few hours, schedule them in the first week of January. 1-2 hours a day.

Step 3 - check your last year’s goals (or New Year’s Resolutions if you have them written down) and see what you managed to (or did’t) achieve.

Step 4 - review your calendar and journal entries from this passing year and jot down trends, ideas or feelings you had about things that happened.

Step 5 - close the year - give yourself permission to start your new year with a blank slate. Don’t automatically move incomplete goals or projects to the New Year.

Step 6 - recognize your values - write down what works for you, what’s important to you... and what you don’t care about. Know thyself.

Step 7 - create projects for each of your New Year’s goals. Don’t generate resolutions, be practical and put a project for each of your goals in your tool of choice (like Nozbe)

Step 8 - come up with habits or skills you need to acquire to get your goals done. Goals are hit-or-miss, but skills or habits will stay with you for much longer.

Step 9 - add timeframes and measures to track your goals - make sure to focus on one goal at a time and postpone other goals for later in a year. Work on your skills and habits in the meantime.

Step 10 - regularly review your goals. Preferably every Friday when doing your weekly review. This way you’ll be always on track with your goals.

Now it’s time to begin!

I’m starting my annual review this week and I’m hoping to finish it by January 6. I’ll also started drafting my “review of 2018” blog post and hope to post it in the first week of January, too - so stay tuned!

Once you’ve started your annual review, make sure to let me know on Twitter and let me know how it’s going. I’ll be posting my updates there, too! Good luck!

Friday, December 21, 2018

🎬 10 steps to Ultimate Productivity book walkthrough in just 2 minutes!

Now that my latest book is launched: “10 steps to Ultimate Productivity” inspired by my video course... and as I've already published the excerpt from the foreword of the book, it's time to have a look and see what the book is like!

It’s a real physical book!

And no, it's not just an ebook or audiobook - it's a physical book that we've self-published and self-printed and we'll be self-shipping it to our Nozbe customers and whoever buys it on Amazon.

Here's how the book looks like in 2 minutes:

Book walkthrough

As you can see we've made sure the book is really practical:

  • large font - easy to read and get back to
  • lots of white space - to take notes
  • practical exercises at the end of each chapter
  • lots of examples from productivity experts from our book launch team

Make sure to check it out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

✔️ 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, 2018

📖 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, 2018

✔️ 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, 2018

🎬 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, 2018

✔️ [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, 2018

✔️ 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, 2018

✔️ 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, 2018

✔️ 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.