Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Online Business Productivity - book of the week by Timo Kiander


A few months ago Timo Kiander also known as Productive Superdad approached me with an idea of a book - a compilation of interviews with some of productivity experts out there. He did an interview with me and his new book: “Online Business Productivity” is out today. And I’m proud to be a part of it. And I totally recommend this book:

Online Business Productivity - book of the week by Timo Kiander

In the book you’ll find a great introduction by Laura Stack and 19 essays by really a bunch of fantastic people. I had a blast being interviewed by Timo and based on our chat he created a great piece on me with some of the best pieces of advice I ever gave. A few examples:

Recently, someone asked me for my biography of my professional life. I said, “Yeah, It’s very simple. I finished college, I built my company, did my first start-up, failed; did my second start-up, failed; did my third start up, and I’ve been running this start-up for six years now.”

That’s exactly what happened in a nutshell. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it :-)

I also made a very big decision and that was to hire the first person to work for me. This process was painful (as I had created the tool all by myself) and it was like handing over my baby to someone. On the other hand I was lucky; I hired somebody who’s fantastic and who still works with me after all these years. He’s also my main pillar of my company.

It really was a big deal. Hiring Tom and Delfina was crucial for Nozbe to take off. And they’re both with me still after all these years. And now we’re a team of 15 and approaching 20 pretty fast… and will be 30 next year… and this is another big change for me to have such a team behind me.

Several of my friends have already succeeded with their own businesses, so they were like my role models. I understood that if they could do it, I could do it myself as well. Having role models was very important to my success.

I can’t highlight this enough. Having mentors is so important. But choose them carefully. They should be people who really care about your success and who don’t compete with you and should rather not have financial interest in your company. They should just sincerely care about your success.

To beat the procrastination, it’s important to stay fit. I had a problem with that, but now I’m increasingly better in exercising. This is really important as it gives me the energy to do my daily stuff.

I’m not running marathons like Timo (the author of this book) but I did run a half-marathon and I’m regularly running 8-10 km, 1-2 times a week. And I’m doing regular physical exercise 2-3 times a week as well. This way every day I’m doing something to stay fit. And I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m in the best shape of my life.

It’s still a constant struggle to balance work and life. On the other hand the benefits of working whenever I want - on my terms - are just incredible. I have people in my company who work at night or who work very early in the morning. For instance, very often I get to wake up at 5:00 or 6:00 and get to work at the very beginning of the day, before I take my child to kindergarten.

That’s why we all work from home. My entire company. We have an official office address but nobody goes there. And I try to hire people who are comfortable working like this… and who actually love the freedom this kind of work gives them.

People like the status and they like to be recognized by their peers or by people who live in the same town. I don’t care about that. I just want to be a nice neighbor and a nice friend locally, but I also want to be a really busy and professional when I’m online working on my stuff.

I really don’t care about my status in my local community. Actually hardly anyone around me understands what I’m doing. I’m just saying: “I’m a computer guy. I work on the Internet. From home.” - and that’s all people know about me here. My wife has a steady 9-5 and thanks to my flexible schedule I’m the one to bring our daughter to kindergarten and pick her up as well. This way some people think I’m a stay-at-home dad and my wife is the career-person. And I don’t mind them thinking like that. They’re almost right, I’m indeed a stay-at-home-doing-awesome-things-on-the-internet dad.

The amount of focus and time you dedicate to give to side projects has to be related to the impact you’re making. If you’re not making a big impact there now, you should still keep focusing on the main project, because that’s where you make the biggest difference.

Just focus on where you’re making the biggest impact. This is where my focus is right now.

Anyway, go read the book by Timo: “Online Business Productivity” - you’ll be glad you did.

You’ll find my essay and 18 other great essays along with it. Timo’s done a great work with this book, so get it

Question: Do you have side-project? How do you find the time and motivation to keep it going?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 /book-timo/