Short blog posts that I sometimes just want to post out there. More like longer Tweets that I just want to keep on my blog instead of social media.
Copy & share: michael.team/short
For many years now I’ve been writing a monthly column for the leading Polish lifestyle magazine - iMagazine and in the month of March I decided to start a short series on “digital minimalism”, inspired by the book with the same title by Cal Newport (Amazon, Audible) and the discussion I’ve had with my The Podcast co-host Radek in episodes 168 “Get bored” and 175 “100% Buzz-free”.
If you don’t know Polish, apart from mentioning the book and the two podcast episodes, I also talked about other resources that help me stay sane and not give in to the compulsive behavior of checking my phone:
- Siri Shortcut for limiting my Instagram opening behavior
- 1Blocker X - Adblock by Salavat Khanov that not only blocks the ads but also acts as content blocker - and I’ve blocked the majority of news sites from both my iPhone and iPad.
- I mentioned that instead of following Golden State Warriors on social media, to follow their games I subscribed to the iCal calendar of their games and every day in the morning I launch a Siri Shortcut that googles “ youtube golden state warriors full game highlights” and watch the 10-minute highlights video on YouTube.
In the article I also mentioned a few tips and tricks which we discussed with Radek on The Podcast so please make sure to subscribe :-)
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?”
“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.
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.