• Leo Babauta • Michael Hyatt • Stephanie Dickison • Mike Vardy • • Art Carden • Steven Aitchison • Michael Sliwinski •
L eo Babauta Exclusive Interview
on Zen, Habits and Minimalism
4 Zen To Done 4 Working from Home 4 Delegating without a staff 4 Review of Four Hour Workweek
#4 (April 2010)
From the Editor
Working Effectively from Home, making Dreams Come True By Michael Sliwinski, Editor
t is my great pleasure to give you
from home, including yours truly. That’s
this fourth issue of Productive!
why there’s always a challenge of balance
Magazine. I know, I know, we have
between work and private life. The two
procrastinated with this one and
boundaries blend and very often it’s hard to
released it later than expected, but it is
draw the lines between the two.
finally here, on your screens. Enjoy.
popular blogs on the Internet, Zen Habits The main rationale behind working from
Because of so many things happening in
home is not a way to save money. It is
beautiful island of Guam or from San
my private life, ie. my responsibilities as a
mostly a lifestyle choice and I love it. I fell in
Francisco (OK, not yet, but he is moving
father and our move to a new apartment,
love with the concept when I was in college
there this year!). We also have Stephanie
the time I had left to work has been used to
writing my final thesis on Teleworking
Dickinson, one of the most famous home-
focus on my company, my web app - Nozbe
(Telecommuting). This is why the theme
office workers on the planet, author of „The
and the new web app that we are going
of this issue of Productive! Magazine is
30-Second Commute:A Non-Fiction Comedy
to release this year. Let’s hope it’s the last
„working from home” and we have great
about Writing and Working From Home”.
delay in the Productive! Magazine history.
experts to help me tell more about the subject.
Now on to this issue’s theme. Let’s start with my own company - no, we don’t have a physical „central office”. Everyone works
directly from his home office on the
To cover the theme of productivity of the self-employed home-worker, we’ve got
First off, we’ve got über-blogger Leo Babauta who writes one of the most
Art Carden’s review of the New York Times bestseller „The Four-Hour Workweek”
and great articles by regular contributors. Michael Hyatt, my personal role model, will tell you how to delegate even when you don’t have anyone working for you. Similarly, Mike Vardy, our laughter guru, will tell you how to outsource... in a very humorous way and Steven Aitchison will tell you how to make irrational thoughts go away. I will also contribute twofold - with my personal take on Leo Babauta’s Zen-To-Done methodology and my continued efforts to bring you the best productivity tips and tricks in less than two minutes. On video. Hope you will enjoy this issue of Productive! Magazine as much as we have preparing it. We’ll try to make the next one happen sooner rather than later and if you have any comments or feedback, feel free to post it on our web site. Yours productively,
Michael Sliwinski (@MichaelNozbe) Founder, Nozbe – Simply Get It Done!
Table of contents
05 08 10
Productive!Magazine www.ProductiveMagazine.com Sponsor: www.Nozbe.com
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Michael Sliwinski Zen, Habits and Minimalism Interview with Leo Babauta
Chief Editor: Michael Sliwinski email@example.com Technical Editor: Maciej Budzich firstname.lastname@example.org www.blog.mediafun.pl
Michael Sliwinski Zen To Done – 2 weeks to instill a habit – early rising and blogging
Editorial Team: Lori Anderson
Michael Hyatt How to delegate if you don’t have a staff?
Stephanie Dickison How to Be Productive and Balanced When Working from Home: A Field Report
Mike Vardy Poutsourcing: Outsourcing EffTD Style!
Art Carden Reflections on a Publishing Sensation: The Four-Hour Workweek in Retrospect
Michael Sliwinski Early rising, 2010 resolutions and traveling
Steven Aitchison 7 Irrational thoughts that disrupt your life
Tribute: Marc Orchant (1957-2007) The Productive!Magazine is dedicated to the memory of a productivity guru, great blogger and a very close friend, Marc Orchant who passed away on 9th December 2007. All articles are copyright © by their respective authors. Productive!Magazine is copyright © by Michael Sliwinski. Getting Things Done® and GTD® are the registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.
Productive! Magazine interview with Leo Babauta
Habits and Minimalism
Be passionate about what you’re doing. If you’re not, it’ll be hard to motivate yourself. If you’re excited about your work, you’ll jump out of bed to do it.
Michael Sliwinski: Let’s start with your blog – you launched it about the same time I launched Nozbe (early 2007) and I’ve been tracking it from the beginning and the growth over 2007 has been incredible, from just a couple of hundred of subscribers to tens of thousands by the end of the year, how did you do it? What were the key components to your success? Leo Babauta: The main thing I’ve done is try to produce extremely useful posts, perhaps 4-5 times a week. I experimented a lot by doing different types of posts and posting schedules, and I’ve found what’s optimal for my readers, for growth, and for my schedule. The key part of this strategy is giving away really useful content that solves readers’ problems. If you keep doing that, they’ll keep coming back, and once you get a decent reader base these types of useful posts also tend to get popular on social media sites such as delicious, stumbleupon, digg and twitter. Of course, you have to let people know you’re out there, so my second winning strategy has been to write as many guest posts as possible. When you write a guest post for another blog, preferably one that has a lot of the type of readers you’re going after, you’ll reach a lot of new readers and you’ll show them just how great your content is. Then they’ll go to your site, and if you’ve created a lot of great content there too, they’re likely to subscribe. I’ve tried other strategies as well, but these two strategies are what have been most effective for me. Michael: Your blog is more than 2 years online now and it’s one of the top blogs on the Internet (not just among productivity blogs), I see you’ve changed your design to be more „zen” like, what is your next
by Michael Sliwinski
step? Next action? What plans do you have for your blog this year and beyond?
magazine Michael: I know from your blog that
sleeping schedules. It’s really important
when I do that, the plans tend to fall apart.
Leo: I don’t really plan too far ahead --
you’re an early riser and you’re waking
that you enlist her help, tell her what you
I prefer to just focus on what I’m doing
up at crazy 4.30 am. What do you do that
want to do and why and ask for her to help
right now and see what opportunities
early in the morning? What does your
you succeed. She shouldn’t have to change
come up, going with the flow as it were.
morning look like?
her pattern, but maybe she can help you
I’m really enjoying how things are going with Zen Habits right now, and I don’t have plans to „improve” the blog. I hope to keep
somehow. Leo: I really love the early morning hours - a time when most of the world around
As for being sleepy when you awake... what helps me is adjusting gradually,
writing about this stuff and having fun doing it. However, I’m working right now on a couple of seminars to help people achieve their goals - similar to what I’m doing on the blog, but more hands on. Michael: Your book, „The Power of Less:
I’d advise potential authors to build up a blog, and find a topic and angle that is different from whatever else is out there.
The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life” has become a bestseller, when did you manage to write it and what did the process look like? Was it hard to get the book published? Did the success of your e-books help? What would you advise wannabe-authors based on your experience? Leo: I tell you, it’s tough to write a book and run a busy blog at the same time. The next time I do it, I will probably set up a bunch of posts in advance and take 23 week „vacations” to focus on the book
me is asleep, when I can enjoy the quiet
by waking (say) 15 minutes earlier
and read or meditate or exercise or write,
until I adjust to that, and then another
and really focus.
15 minutes earlier and so on. If I’m really
I tried to do both at the same time and I had a difficult time. I would write my
My morning routine changes frequently,
sleepy, it helps to get some coffee in me
book in the morning and then do blog
as I like to change things up. Also, I should
and have a gradual period where I wake
things in the late morning and afternoon.
note that I wake at different times -
up and read and allow my mind to activate
Sometimes I’d get lazy with one or the
sometimes 4 a.m., sometimes 4:30 or
before trying to work. Also, getting to bed
other and they’d suffer.:)
5, sometimes as late as 6 or 7 if I stayed
Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to get
up late for some reason. Right now, my morning routine is: wake, have coffee
blog was finding some amazing success,
and read, meditate (sometimes) and give
tried again and succeeded to become an
really resonating with readers. As a result
gratitude, write, exercise, then do email
early riser, you can read all about it in my
I had some agents and publishers approach
and Twitter, then write again.
article about Zen To Done in this issue of the Productive! Magazine]
me about doing a book on similar topics, Michael: I’m struggling to become an
and I jumped at the chance.
early riser myself but I always fail (after
Michael: Talking about your family life,
a blog, and find a topic and angle that is
several attempts). The main problem is
you have a house full of people, wife
different from whatever else is out there -
family support (lack of it – my wife likes
and six kids – I have just one daughter
something that really resonates with you
to stay up late) and even if I do wake up
and she is a very lovely distraction, but
personally, and with your readers. That’s
early, I struggle to get anything done, I’m
I sometimes struggle to get anything
what worked for me, and once I found
sleepy... can you help?
done because of her (or thanks to her!) If
I’d advise potential authors to build up
you write from home, how do you mange
some success, it was an easy sell to publish Leo: It’s tough if your spouse doesn’t
support you, or if you have different
[Editor’s note: after the interview I actually
published - what really helped was that my
to get stuff done and separate family life and professional life?
magazine Michael: Can you share with our readers
East Coast and places in between while
I let my wife and kids sleep in and that
Leo: Waking early is the first thing I do -
your best productivity tricks? Tricks that
I’m in the states, that would be great. And
allows me to get my most important work
keep on helping you be productive and
Europe has always been a dream of mine -
done while the house is still quiet.
that you wouldn’t live without? Things
I hope to go there in the next year or two.
When the house is noiser, I do things that don’t require as much concentration,
that keep on coming and make the difference? Anything?
[Editor’s note: Some time after we had the interview Leo announced he’d be moving to San
such as email or Twitter. I’m also good at getting into a zone and tuning out the
Leo: Sure – there are many things I’ve
Francisco with his family mid 2010.]
noises. Also, I’m lucky to have a wife who
shared on Zen Habits and in my book, ‘The
is very good at helping me to focus by
Power of Less’, but here are three simple
Michael: OK, now that your book is
getting the kids to quiet down or play or
tips that really work for me:
a bestseller, is there going to be a sequel?
do schoolwork in their rooms.
1. Focus on the most important tasks: pick
Or a completely new book? Any early scoop
Finally, I like to get out of the house, if
three Most Important Tasks each day
not every day then several times a week,
and do those first. It will make you much
by walking to a coffee shop and really
more effective than trying to tackle
allowing myself to focus on writing for
a couple hours.
to the Productive! Magazine readers? Leo: I’ve been doing some soulsearching, trying to figure this out.
2. Single-task. Don’t try to do email and
Part of me wants to write a second
write and phone and Twitter and surf the
book in a similar vein to the first book
Michael: My application, Nozbe, was
web all at once. Close down everything
- productivity methods simplified, but
initially inspired by the GTD (Getting
else, pick one important task to focus
to add a whole new dimension to it. But
Things Done) method by David Allen and I’m a long-time GTD advocate. You seem to have come up with a derivative method called ZTD – Zen To Done. How does it differ from GTD and why is this method
Single-task. Don’t try to do email and write and phone and Twitter and surf the web all at once.
superior in your view? on, and really pour yourself into it.
a deeper part of me wants to move away
Leo: Zen To Done was conceived as
3. Be passionate about what you’re doing.
a way to take the most useful concepts
If you’re not, it’ll be hard to motivate
about living a life of less, about living
of GTD but address some of the main
yourself. If you’re excited about
a more sustainable life, about finding true
problems I and others found while
your work, you’ll jump out of bed
happiness. In the end I will probably let my
implementing GTD: that it’s hard to stay
to do it. When you find yourself dreading
readers decide for me.:)
on the system for long, that things
something, you either need to find a way
tend to stay complicated even if you’re
to get excited about it, or find something
organized, that the system doesn’t
else that excites you more.
distinguish between what’s important and
from productivity and talk about simplicity,
Michael: You live on a small island of
Guam but now with the success of your
lives in Guam
GTD with principles from Stephen Covey as
blog and book, you’ve travelled „virtually”
(soon moving to
well as my own philosophy of simplifying
to every corner of the planet. Do you plan
and forming new habits. Zen To Done
to do any travels physically as well? Any
and is married
shows you how to form new habits, one at
plans for the future? After all, your job
with six kids.
a time, which habits are most important,
of writing can be done anywhere there is
He’s a writer
how to simplify, and how to focus on the
a laptop and an Internet connection.
and a runner and a vegetarian and he
what’s not. I combined some of the best concepts of
important. Zen To Done isn’t necessarily superior
loves writing Zen Habits - his blog that Leo: I went a good 6-7 years without
in a couple of years became one of the
to GTD, but it’s an alternative for
traveling, as I was trying to live more
top blogs on the Internet with 100K+
people like me who have a hard time
frugally. However, now that I’ve eliminated
readers subscribed and counting. He’s
implementing the entire system at
my debt, I’ve traveled to a few places in
a published author of a bestselling
once, who want to find simplicity in
the last year or so: Thailand, Hawaii and
book „Power of Less”.
a complicated life, who want to focus
Japan. I loved those places. I hope to visit
Leo’s blog: ZenHabits.net
on the important things rather than
the States soon - definitely the West Coast,
everything that comes at us.
where I have family, but if I can visit the
Leo on Twitter: @Zen_Habits
Zen To Done – 2 weeks to instill a habit – early rising and blogging I started waking up at 5 am in the morning to start off my day with at least 2-3 productive hours before my ladies (my wife and my 1-year old daughter) woke up. Two weeks later I started blogging regularly and if you’re a subscriber to my blog you know that I post almost daily (resulting in 3-5 posts a week) and I love it. Michael Sliwinski
t all started after I carefully read the ZTD (Zen To Done) course by Leo
To learn more about my new early riser habit, watch this short 2-minute video.
Babauta where he explained that it’s
we move into our new apartment near a beautiful park, perfect for runners. It’s time to lose some weight and get in shape
Blogging every day about stuff that
now that the winter is almost over. Fingers
we want at once. Instead we should focus
matters (for me at least)
crossed – wish me luck!
on one habit at a time and try it for 30
I always wanted to blog more and I felt
days and later pick up another one.
I always had something to share with the
Start your 30 or 14 day trial on one
community... but never got to it. It was too
habit now! Start today!
I’m not that patient – I bent the rule
much work maintaining my Nozbe blog,
That’s right, if I can wake up at 5 am and
to two weeks, I’m sorry Leo.
Productive Magazine blog and Productive
blog every day, it means it’s really doable.
See, I’m not a patient man. I want to be
Show blog. So what did I do? I went with
You can do it, too! Take the 30-day trial if
and feel better right now. So I bent the rule
the easiest blogging platform possible –
you have the patience, or 14-days if you
a little and started introducing new habits
Posterous – I just send emails to my blog
feel confident enough. Remember, one
as soon as I felt the old ones already more-
and they are being converted into blog
habit at a time and you’re good to go!
or-less put in place. This resulted in 2-week
impossible to develop all the habits
intervals of introducing new habits. It’s really easy – I just have to write
Early riser waking up at 5 am every
one more email message each day. And
to cultivate but never got to doing it?
this one’s to my blog. It usually takes
What do you want to start with? Why not
OK, it wasn’t that easy. I’m not an early riser
me between 15-30 minutes. And when
by design, I used to go to sleep at 2-3 am.
someone posts a comment, I reply via
But I managed to change that and I finally got
email too! This way I totally eliminated
the support I needed from my family, too.
the psychological barrier to blogging for myself and after two weeks, this habit is
My wake-up time depended upon when
set and I keep on writing blog posts. Cool!
I went to sleep, so when I went to sleep
Michael Sliwinski Michael Sliwinski is your
around midnight, I’d wake up at 6 am.
Now what? Let’s start running! I want
chief editor of
Then I’d try to go to sleep around 11 pm
to start jogging now.
to be able to wake up at 5 am. Most of the
Did I put on weight recently due to lack
time I succeeded. The best part is, that
of sports? Check. Did I always want to be
now a host
right now I’m used to waking up early and
a runner but never got to it? Check. Did
of the new
I get really productive in the mornings
I buy a red iPod nano with Nike+ for my
Productive! Show site. Every day he’s
with all my email, IM, Twitter etc. closed
wife and myself? Check. Do I have a nice
trying to help people get more done
and I focused only on tasks I planned
big park near my house where I can run?
with his web (and iPhone) application
the evening before. I sleep on average 5-
6 hours per day and on weekends I sleep around 8 hours so I guess it’s pretty good for my body too.
Question: Which habit did you want
Michael’s Blog: MichaelNozbe.com So what’s stopping me? Nothing. I’m going to start running. I’ll start just after
Michael on Twitter: @MichaelNozbe
Evernote.com – your external brain and perfect caption tool
Integrates with Nozbe’s Projects & Contexts Use Coupon code EVERNOZBE to save 10% and start getting things done with Nozbe and Evernote
How to delegate if you don’t have a staff? Whenever I write or speak on the topic of delegation, I always get a question from someone who says, “But what if you don’t have a staff? How can you delegate?” This question typically comes from staff people, technicians, stand-alone professionals, or start-up entrepreneurs. It’s a great question. Michael Hyatt
recommend seven strategies to those who feel the need
Believe it or not, some people may actually like the work you are not good at or don’t like.
to delegate but have no one to whom they can delegate:
1. Triage your to-do list. Go through
Now completely delete your D-level
the ABC account and the XYZ account in
of the C-level tasks you can delete.
Bill’s folder, ABC’s folder, XYZ’s folder,
each item and assign it one of the
or all three? Instead, just move every
following four letters:
2. Use technology more efficiently.
processed email to one folder called
A – tasks that are urgent.
Many people don’t avail themselves of
“Processed Email” or, more simply,
B – tasks that are important but not
the technology that is already at their
“Archive.” When you need to refer
fingertips. For example, why struggle
back to the email, let your software’s
C – tasks that are somewhat important.
with trying to setup a complex system
built-in search function do the heavy-
D – tasks that are neither urgent nor
of email file folders and then determine
lifting. It will find the email in less than
where each email goes? You think,
Should I file that email from Bill about
tasks. Then go through and see how many
If all else fails, you may have to decline taking on other assignments and suffer the fallout. like the work you are not good at or
7. Muster the courage to say “no.”
don’t like. (This is what makes the world
If all else fails, you may have to decline
go around.) Sometimes you can barter
taking on other assignments and suffer
some work with a friend or colleague:
the fallout. This comes down to priority
“How about if I design your new blog in
management. You have to establish your
exchange for you preparing my taxes?”
boundaries and then (graciously) enforce
This is a little bit of the I’ll-scratch-your-
them. There is too much at stake - your
back-if-you-scratch-mine strategy. You
health, your family, your legacy, etc. - to
might also consider interns or students
do otherwise. Doing this has never hurt
who are desperate for the experience and
my career. In fact, I think it enabled me
a letter of recommendation. I have see this
to get where I am today. It demonstrated
work very well, provided you are clear with
to my boss that I had clear priorities and
the expectations up front.
am willing to pay the price to live by them.
5. Use variable cost alternatives.
I know this just scratches the surface,
This is a phrase your bottom-line boss will
but I firmly believe in the principle that
appreciate. Good leaders and managers
“he who is faithful in little is also faithful in
are loath to add “fixed overhead” (i.e.,
much” (see Luke 16:10). If you are a good
permanent positions). For starters, it
steward with what you have been given,
doesn’t provide enough flexibility if
you will eventually be given more.
the workload is seasonal or there is a downturn in the economy. Instead, you should attempt to outsource specific projects or entire processes. Tim Ferriss,
3. Negotiate out of previous
in his fascinating book, „The 4-Hour
Workweek”, describes in detail how
is the President
to use a personal virtual assistant. He
and CEO of
recommends GetFriday.com, a company in
India that specializes in this. I used them
a while back as an experiment. I liked
their system, but found that my own real
assistant was all I needed.
company in the world and the seventh
largest trade book publishing company
Yes, you may have agreed to take on
6. Appeal for more resources.
in the U.S. Michael has written four
a certain project, but when your boss
Eventually, you may need to make the
books, one of which landed on the
comes back with another one, you can
case to your boss (or yourself, if you
New York Times bestseller list. Hyatt
say, “I’d be happy to do that. Is this
are an entrepreneur) that you simply
serves as Chairman of the Evangelical
project more important than the previous
must hire someone. Before you can
Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).
assignment you gave me? I honestly don’t
persuade your boss, you need to think
He has been married to his wife,
think I can do both. Which one would you
like your boss. What is important
Gail, for twenty- eight years. They
prefer I do?” If she insists on both, you
to him? How does an additional person
have five daughters and two grand
can at least insist she prioritize them and
help him achieve his goals? I have
daughters and live outside of Nashville,
thus set her expectations so that you won’t
written previously on the topic of “How
have to do both of them simultaneously.
to Get Your Boss’s Approval When You Need It.” While it doesn’t address this
Michael’s blog: MichaelHyatt.com
4. Ask for some volunteer help.
need specifically, the principles and
Michael on Twitter: @MichaelHyatt
Believe it or not, some people may actually
methodology still apply.
How to Be Productive and Balanced When Working from Home: A Field Report Many people find it a challenge to work from home. It’s full of distractions, they say. How do you work and not watch television or clean or spend the day at the movies, they ask. Stephanie Dickison
Many people I know who work at home forget to eat. I too am guilty of this.
t’s easy, I say, when you’re your own boss – if you don’t hustle for the
It’s only 8 a.m. and already you’re feeling overwhelmed.
work, you don’t get paid. The dirt that’s been tracked in from outside all
week, the dishes from last night’s dinner
But it is possible to be productive and balanced while working from home.
party and the laundry that needs to be put away, gets left behind for an interview
you’ve got to do and write an article, all by 5 o’clock today. That, on top of someone coming in to
1. Stick to your schedule Plan out your day and follow it, just as you
replace your bathroom faucet, and oh, two
would in a big office. Just because you’re
editors just emailed to say that they need
physically closer to the television doesn’t
major changes (read: complete rewrite) by
mean that you should plunk yourself down
for a dose of “reality” shows. You may
Just because you’re physically closer to the television doesn’t mean that you should plunk yourself down for a dose of “reality” shows. Knowing that each day at home will be different and accepting that will get you through most of the frenzy. That and a pair
the day, organize your schedule around it and you’ll see your productivity fly. And this way, you can work AND watch
of noise cancelling headphones.
all the late-night TV you want. Sweet.
3. Eat something
6. Reward yourself
Many people I know who work at home forget
Working from home, you may find yourself
to eat. And though I am a restaurant critic,
getting all wound up about stuff. Maybe it’s
food writer and avid cook, I too am guilty
the lack of coworkers to commiserate with or
of this. Perhaps it’s that we don’t have co-
a little cabin fever (you’ve been inside working
workers to ask us to lunch, or a set time like
on this presentation for 3 solid days). The
noon or 1 p.m. to get us up out of our chairs.
problem is often that because your office is at
Office workers get two 15 minute breaks and
home, you can work any time and thus, you
at least half an hour for lunch. Give yourself
do – nights, weekends, in your “spare” time.
at least the same courtesy. You’ll be so much
The way to be productive and balanced is to
more productive. And hey, at least your
reward yourself with something that you enjoy
sandwich won’t be all squished and soggy.
and isn’t work related. It helps if it’s out of the house too. Just a half an hour away from your
4. Get comfortable
desk can make a world of difference.
One of the bonuses of working at home is that you can cater your space to you. Want to have
meet a friend, whatever (However: skip
a huge desk with nothing on it? Go for it! Want
getting blotto at the neighborhood bar,
a cozy little rolltop? Sure thing. Candles, music
gorging yourself on a pint of ice cream or
– whatever puts you in the mood! The other
going to a strip club. We both know there’s
thing to remember is that you don’t have to
no work getting done after that).
be a slave to your desk, afraid that your boss will wonder where you are. If you’re rocking a laptop, take it to a coffee shop, library or
have to have a talk with family, friends
friend’s condo’s lush lobby. The change of
scenery will do you good, as will the walk - it
will boost your energy and productivity.
Commute: A Non-
Plus, there are people out there. Go © Monkey Business - Fotolia.com
Go for a walk, visit a library, take a class,
mingle for a bit - you haven’t talked to
About Writing &
anyone all day.
and colleagues to let them know that just
Home” – works at the end of her
because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean
5. Choose your workday
bed at a little rolltop desk in her 1-
you can go out for a matinee – you are
Despite having been conditioned by the
bedroom apartment that she shares
working. Of course, if you work in your
working world, nothing says that you have
with her fiancé, a television writer,
pajamas, you can see how it might be
to work 9 to 5 like everyone else. If you
and their 18 pound cat. Despite all of
like greeting the day at 5 a.m., then start
that, she manages to write a number
early. It means that you’ll be finished early
of articles a day, blog, tweet,
2. Expect the unexpected
and have the rest of the day to do what
interview celebrities and cook and eat
As much as you plan your day, you’re
you like. Many writers I know get up late
for a living.
bound to deal with many unexpected
and work late. They follow their body’s
events – the city digging up your sidewalk
natural rhythms, they tell me (not playing
Her web site: StephanieDickison.com
for ethernet cables, visitors (see above),
Assassin’s Creed , ahem). Think about
Stephanie on Twitter: @sdickison
when you’re most energized throughout
Poutsourcing: Outsourcing EffTD Style! Outsourcing has become a huge time-saver in the last few years, utilized by high-falooting executives, jet-setters and professional wrestlers . For those of you who don’t know what outsourcing is, it’s basically a means of farming all the tasks that you don’t want to do to someone else, normally overseas. The question I pose to you is: Why send your work overseas when you can keep it right here at home AND save money?
nother element of Effing The
on. He can do this because he has long
Dog™ is learning how to keep
standing tenure at his job (although if
poutsourcing today. Start at home, maybe
I strongly urge you to begin
everything close to home so you
you work in a union environment your
with the housework. As you get better at
can watch as your work gets
reasoning won’t need to be as extensive,
it, start doing it at work. Soon enough,
done, and not have to lift a finger. This
especially if the shop steward/union
you’ll find yourself watching others
method is called poutsourcing.
representative has the workstation next
scramble to get all the things done that
to yours – more on unions in a future
you’ve managed to offload.
Simply put, poutsourcing is merely
post) and has seniority. Soon enough, Mr.
a way for you to offload some of the work
Meany realizes his efforts are futile, and
you don’t want to do to someone in your
he moves on to the previously mentioned
that, there’s always those John Hughes’
immediate vicinity. Here’s an example of
And once you get tired of watching
poutsourcing in the workplace: A common misconception is that A worker (let’s call him Mike for
poutsourcing can’t be utilized in the
argument’s sake) is given a task
home. Not true. Teenagers and children
to perform by his boss (let’s call him
do it all the time. As a parent myself
Mr. Meany, for argument’s sake) that
with questionable disciplinary skills,
he simply does not want to do. Mike
I find myself watching my wife doing all
is aware that others in his workplace
sorts of activities that my daughter has
have far more of an attitude (let’s call
poutsourced while I practice Effing The
of the new
it ass-kissing, for argument’s sake) that
Dog™. I suggest you watch movies like
would make them more ideal to do this
Bratz and most John Hughes’ films to get
very task. Mike then begins to whine
a better indication of what I’m talking
and moan about all of the things he
about if this seems unclear – and watching
has piled up, how he likely won’t meet
movies is an Effing The Dog™ hallmark.
Mike’s Blog: EffingTheDog.com
the deadline, how he doesn’t quite
And Mr. Hughes has a lot of films, so that’s
Mike on Twitter: @MikeVardy
comprehend the assignment – and so
an excellent place to start.
Early rising, 2010 resolutions and traveling
keep having fun recording the short
Michael Sliwinski Efficient Traveling - Switching planes
2-minute productivity videos and in theme with this issue of Productive Magazine I’d like to share some of my
tips and tricks that make me a little more productive and/or efficient:
Early Risers get things done
I recorded this one between planes in the London airport. My tricks to move around airports with lots of security checks.
Efficient Traveling - Double-backup This is a game changer, and anyone can do it. Even „owls” like me can make it happen.
New Year’s Resolutions GTD style
Michael Sliwinski is your chief editor of the Productive! Magazine and This is what I do to make sure I have
now a host
all of my data with me at all times... I can
of the new
work like this on every mac.
Productive! Show site. Every day he’s trying to help people get more done
Hope you’ve enjoyed my videos, make I don’t call them resolutions anymore, I create 12 milestones and try achieve each of these month after month.
with his web (and iPhone) application
sure to rate them and any comments or
feedback are very welcome!
Michael’s Blog: MichaelNozbe.com
Subscribe to this video podcast with
Michael on Twitter: @MichaelNozbe
iTunes or RSS reader.
Reflections on a Publishing Sensation: The Four-Hour Workweek in Retrospect Four-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss lives the dream. As far as I can tell, he coined the term “Lifestyle Design”. I read the first edition of his book shortly after it was published, and I look forward to reading the new “revised and expanded” edition at my earliest opportunity. For those of you who haven’t yet had a sip of the Kool-Aid, here’s a summary and a few thoughts. As an economist I found the book absolutely fascinating and extremely instructive. I hope you agree. Art Carden
ne of his most important
is oddly refreshing. He has said before in
contributions is philosophical,
an interview that he abhors sloth, and you
Ferriss suggests that we think hard about
yet practical. Ferriss asks how
can tell from the way he writes the book.
what we’re doing and eliminate projects
we would live if retirement
He is ferocious about guarding his time
of relatively low yield in order to focus on
weren’t an option and suggests what
and making absolutely certain that none of
projects of relatively high yield. In Ferriss’s
economists will instantly recognize as
it is wasted. He summarizes this on page
case, he saw that most of his revenue
a pattern of consumption-smoothing.
32: „(d)oing less meaningless work, so that
was coming from a few customers, while
Ferriss trades off future income for
you can focus on things of greater personal
the bulk of his customers provided a lot
present satisfaction in the form of „mini-
importance, is not laziness.”
of headaches and very little in return.
retirements” and suggests taking time now, while we’re young enough to enjoy
He was able to improve his effectiveness The first element of his program is
by focusing his attention on the good
it. Mixing labor and leisure rather than
„Definition.” Here is where the process
customers and cutting the bad customers
bringing on either can probably raise our
will resonate with devotees of David Allen
lifetime satisfaction levels.
and Getting Things Done. Exploration is fun, but there are a lot of projects out
Let’s dwell on this. First, he isn’t being
It’s easy to just be “busy,” but
there that take more time and energy
busyness is not necessarily correlated
short-sighted. He is recognizing an
than they’re worth. Before making
with production. Ferriss notes that it is
important tradeoff. Second, he isn’t giving
a commitment, we should always ask „what
often the very opposite: „(b)eing busy
us an airy exhortation to stop and smell
is the desired outcome that makes all the
is a form of laziness--lazy thinking and
the flowers. Rather, he’s offering a concrete
effort worthwhile?” (p. 51).
indiscriminate action” (p. 73). To address
examination of what it means to really live. Finally, he isn’t lazy. Far from it: Ferriss
this, Ferriss proposes a useful thought The second part of his program is
experiment, asking what one would do if
packs a lot of living into the 164 hours
„Elimination.” Here is where things
you had a heart attack and could only
every week when he isn’t working.
get really interesting, and I especially
work for two hours a day. Or for two hours
enjoyed something that is near and dear
a week. This brings the relevant trade-offs
to my economist’s heart: his application
into high relief.
Every business or personal development
So what should we do? Once again,
book worth its salt comes with a clever
of Pareto’s Rule, which suggests that
acronym. This book is no different. On
80% of output comes from 20% of input.
pages 10-11, Ferriss offers his program
It’s very easy to hide behind a „busy”
to task without doing anything important.
for a New DEAL. Definition, Elimination,
screen--I know I certainly have--but
Thus, Ferriss suggests a „low-information
Automation, and Liberation as the
often the things with which we are busy
diet” based on the fact that „(m)ost
keys to his system. There is a certain
are, at best, unproductive and at worst,
information is time consuming, negative,
ruthlessness about the whole thing that
irrelevant to your goals, and outside of
It’s deceptively easy to go from task
Ferriss offers his program for a New DEAL. Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation as the keys to his system.
production; using people as a solution to a poor process multiplies problems” (p. 122). His last element is what he calls „liberation.” The Four-Hour Workweek is a great book for the twenty-first century
your influence” (p. 83). Deciding what
because this is a time that is by all
The third of these is important in
does and what does not need to be
any organization. „Empowerment” is
measures historically unique. People have
known is a skill that takes time to acquire
a popular buzzword, but sometimes it
more discretionary time than ever before,
but that pays high dividends in the
fails to go beyond the buzzword stage.
and our social capital infrastructure is so
form of (again) time to do things that
Empowerment that aligns people’s costs
far poorly-equipped to handle it. We can
we find useful and interesting. Further,
and benefits with the decisions they are
stop and smell roses, or we can write that
information differs from knowledge. It
supposed to make is meaningful. We are
book we always wanted to write, or we
is one thing to know facts. It is quite
surrounded by competent, intelligent
can...you name it. Our ancestors had no
another to know how to use them.
people, and we need to be diligent about
such luxury, as Deirdre McCloskey points
„Selective ignorance” allows you to filter
training them to make independent
out in her ongoing series of books on The
your information input and ensure that
Bourgeois Era: extremely low productivity meant that almost every waking hour
only the really important stuff gets through.
had to be devoted to producing enough
Everything that comes across
calories to stave off death.
your desk will fall into one of three He doesn’t use this terminology
categories: things you should do, things
specifically, but Ferriss recognizes the
someone else should do, and things no
irrelevance of sunk costs when he exhorts
one should do. On page 122, Ferriss
and sometimes unpleasant. The long-run
us to „Practice the art of nonfinishing”
argues that „...unless something is
benefits outweigh the short-run costs,
(p. 88). Just because you start something
well-defined and important, no one
however, and this is one of the core
doesn’t mean you should finish it. This
should do it.” This stands in contrast
messages of The Four-Hour Workweek.
runs directly counter to that noble advice
to our normal ways of doing things.
Tim Ferriss offers a handy step-by-step
we’ve always gotten about finishing what
Deciding who should do something is
guide to lifestyle design and to having
we start and it doesn’t apply if it involves
a convenient rationale for meetings, but
what we want out of our short time on
leaving someone in the lurch. A better
meetings are a fantastic way to waste
this rock. It’s worth at least one reading-
habit would be to avoid starting things
time; Ferriss points out that „(m)eetings
-probably two, or maybe three--because
that aren’t going to be worth finishing.
should only be held to make decisions
it lays out principles and practices that
Obviously, there is no way to know for
about a pre-defined solution, not
bring us closer to the dream, whatever that
certain which things these are, but it is
to define the problem” (p. 98). This is
dream may be.
worth trying to find out and to be diligent
precisely the last thing we should do,
about making sure that something will be
but it provides an example of what
worth finishing before you agree to get
happens when responsibilities are
involved. In the best-case scenario, you
Art Carden Art Carden
develop the habit of only starting things that are worth starting and then finishing
Thinking and choosing are difficult
The third aspect of Ferriss’s DEAL
them in a way that exceeds people’s
is automation. Stuff has been defined,
that which can be eliminated has
been eliminated, and now it is time
to automate what can be automated.
organizational programs like Getting
Here he offers an important piece
Things Done and Seven Habits of Highly
of advice and an important principle
TN and an Adjunct Fellow with the
Effective People. Ferriss encourages
about organizational effectiveness.
Oakland, CAbased Independent
a certain ruthlessness in deciding what and
„Never automate something that can be
Institute. He is a regular contributor to
what not to do, discussing three kinds of
eliminated, and never delegate something
Lifehack.org and Division of Labour.
tasks that get in the way of effectiveness:
that can be automated or streamlined” (p.
Art’s page: ArtCarden.com
„time wasters,” „time consumers,” and
122). He further notes that „(u)sing people
Art on Twitter: @ArtCarden
to leverage a refined process multiplies
Ferriss’s program complements other
7 Irrational thoughts that disrupt your life A lot of us suffer from irrational thinking which can affect our lives in a dramatic way. It can seperate the successful people in life from the unsuccessful ones, it can mean the difference between loving someone and hating someone, it can be the difference between peace and war. All wars, yes I mean ALL, are caused by irrational thinking. Steven Aitchison
n this article I will look at seven common irrational thoughts and hopefully if you suffer from irrational thinking it will help you to change.
1. If someone criticizes me there must be something wrong with me There are many reasons why people
ÂŠ Liv Friis-larsen - Fotolia.com
criticise each other but it does not mean
there is something wrong with you if they do criticize you. It means they have a differing opinion to you which is fantastic as without differing opinions in the world it would be a terrible place to live.
magazine shit on his car his car would be floating in the stuff. So catch yourself with untrue
It does not mean there is something wrong with you if people criticize you.
statements such as: “always” e.g. I always get caught in the rain (If that were true you’d be a fish)
2. I must always seek approval in
recognizing that somebody else is better
order to feel good about myself
than you at something.
“I never……………………” e.g. “I can never get a parking space.” (If that were
Many people have thought this at one
true you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere
time or another in their lives, however
6. I was rejected which means there
it becomes damaging when it is an
is something wrong with me
entrenched belief. There is no way you
This is over generalizing like the person
can please everybody all the time so there
who was rejected in a relationship. They
is no point in even trying. Seek approval
think it always happens to them and they
from yourself and if you’re happy and feel
must somehow be unworthy of love.
good that’s all that matters. Yes it’s nice
People reject others due to differing
I am hopeless at talking in a group.”
to have other people’s opinions but don’t
ideals, just like you do, but it doesn’t
(usually said while talking to a group of
go out of the way to please other people.
mean you are in any way unworthy it just
in your car without stopping). “I couldn’t……” e.g. “I couldn’t walk a mile” (have you tried?). “I’m hopeless at……………”e.g. “Oh,
means your ideals don’t match someone
3. I won’t try anything new unless I
“It’s terrible……” e,g. “Isn’t it terrible
know I will be good at it
that it’s raining?” (Eh! No, it’s not
Many people suffer from these types of
7. If I feel happy about life something
thoughts. Trying new things in your life
will go wrong
is a way for you to grow and learn more
Another common irrational thought. You
about yourself. You don’t have to be good
deserve all the happiness you make for
out there and you have to be conscious to
at everything in your life but it doesn’t
yourself; your past is your past. If there
catch yourself thinking them. I hope this
mean you can’t enjoy new experiences
are still issues lurking from your past that
article helps you to catch your irrational
even if you are not good at them.
is blocking you from feeling happy about
thoughts and brings your life into
today speak to someone about it. Do not
4. It’s not my fault my life didn’t go
tinge your present and future thoughts
the way I wanted
with bad memories or else your present
I have news for you; it is your fault. This
and future thoughts will get infected and
doesn’t make you bad and it doesn’t mean
your life will always stay the same.
you are a failure. You have control over
terrible). There are a lot more irrational thoughts
your thoughts and therefore your actions.
How to stop your irrational thoughts
Your thoughts and actions will determine
Simple! Just catch yourself every time
your life. If you constantly blame others
you have an irrational thought or self-
is a personal
for the way your life has turned out you
defeating thought and replace the
have given all your power away to other
wording of your internal thought. For
people. Take the control back and take
example, you are driving on a beautiful
responsibility for your thoughts and
day and a bird decides to shit on your car.
You might think:
the homeless dealing with issues such as drug
5. I am inferior to everyone else That’s just the way you feel, which
“That always happens to me, why do they always shit on my car?”
degree in Psychology and has been a counsellor to alcoholics. Also an
doesn’t make it true. You have qualities that nobody else can touch and other
affiliate marketer and writer he
people have qualities that you can’t touch. Recognizing your strengths will build
has penned 3 books on personal “It’s about time I got the car washed”.
your self confidence; recognizing others strengths will build their self confidence, but don’t put yourself down when
addiction, and alcoholism. He has a
development and making money online.
Look for the keywords in there
Steven’s Blog: Change Your Thoughts
“always”, this is an untruth. If birds always
Steven on Twitter: @StevenAitchison
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