Category Archives: motivation

30 Day Challenges

I got this idea from Matt Cutts of Google. Committing to something different for 30 days each month (or every other month or whatever). I was thinking about doing this for quite a while.

During Lent this year, I gave up junk food, which I narrowed down to the 4 c’s (cake, candy, chips, cookies). That was sort of a 30 day challenge of itself (40+ days actually). I only messed up once completely accidentally and mindlessly during Church coffee hour. I picked up a brownie and took a bite, then realized it and threw the rest away. Besides being the annoying one who turns down cake at birthday parties, it was relatively easy for me. I don’t eat much of it to begin with.

The 30 day challenge doesn’t need to be a sacrifice however. Rather motivation to try new things.

So the new month begins and so does my first 30 day challenge. This is something I put off for over a year and a half. It is stream-of-consciousness writing. The one recommendation I’m going to ignore is to do it in writing. Rather, I’m going to type them keep them in a Google Docs folder. I’m going to isolate myself from distractions first and commit a half hour to each.

Lets see how this goes…

Speaking of finishing…

This is sort-of follow up to my last post about this summer being about finishing projects, getting ideas off the ground, etc. Already I feel better. In the GTD sense, I think I’ve mastered the day to day, week to week, month to month, things that have to get done. What was seeming to escape me was the someday/maybe/not-so-urgent items. Especially the ones staring me in the face everyday. A lot of them are household projects. In a few focused and dedicated hours on Sunday, I got a lot accomplished. I was sort of under the gun since I had a party to go to later in the day. I think if I focus and remain disciplined, I can find a few hours each weekend to continue on my goal to FINISH. It feels good to finally cross off some things on the long list. It builds a momentum.

Even at work, some career wishlist items are being crossed off. Just yesterday we launched our first multivariate test that we’re managing in-house. I have this undying fascination on learning to do things myself. Career wise, it’s hard to tell if that’s a good thing or bad thing. I don’t think everyone “at the top” needs to know the itty-bitty details on how a MVT test works technically. But I seem to in order to be comfortable. Well that’s off my list. This is in addition to what I’ve mentioned before in one of my past “what I’ve been working on” posts. This stuff if kinda related to finishing as most have been on a career todo of sorts.

Summer 2010 is going to be about finishing

For someone who’s keenly interested in personal productivity, I have a ton of half finished personal projects, house projects, ideas, etc. They have started to creep into my psyche.

Now, using the GTD system, at least they are all tracked. Too bad they’ve all been on a quasi “someday-maybe” list.

Looking at all the “unfulfilled commitments” at once seems intimidating. But each one isn’t too bad. I just have to focus focus focus and chop away.

There are some barriers causing resistance. For example at lot of the home projects require me to purchase large materials (e.g. doors) that don’t fit into my car. Man I miss the old SUV. So I’m going to find alternatives, like buying every single thing I need, then renting a truck from Home Depot or Lowe’s to get the stuff home.

I’ve already started one thing. Finish some half read books. I was reading like a madman when I used to commute into NYC each day. Usually getting through 2 books a week. On a recent weekend trip, we were without TV or high-speed internet. OH NO! I had to get to the bookstore to get a book as I didn’t know what to do at night–since I go to bed much later than my wife. Though the book was somewhat of a dud, it sparked my interest in reading more. I’m now well on my way to finally finishing A Thousand Splendid Suns, then The Richest Man in Babylon is next. Followed by a few others I have and wanted to read “someday.”

I never got to my stream-of-consciousness writing project that I wrote about last time. I’ll throw out the “can’t find the time” excuse. Really it’s a can’t seem to focus on it excuse. I might self-impose a no internet policy and shut off my computer and phone at 10pm and use that time for reading and writing.

I also need to start jogging again. I can’t believe my last jog was in November. I’m sure most if not all of my C25K gains have gone away. Oh well. It wasn’t that brutal, and I look forward to getting back in shape (again).

Ok, so here is the official to do (and finish) list for summer 2010:

  • Finish the flower bed in the back yard. Great, I carved out the area, now I need to plant something in the space!
  • Finish my upstairs project, which has been “in-progress” for almost {gulp} 3 years
    • This means put doors on my future upstairs bathroom space, the office, and the laundry room. Then finish the door and baseboard trim. I already successfully put up one door. 🙂 And put shelving in the laundry room. And a iron board hook.
    • Man o man when this is done it’ll give us so much more usable space that the disaster areas they look like now.
  • Paint the back of my living room window’s trim, which is unfinished for {gulp} 3 years! Jeez.
  • Complete the C25K jogging program again.
  • Read books. A book a week???
  • Write in a stream of conscious journal every night.
  • And finally, something that wasn’t started, but I want to get done: a play area for my son in the backyard.

I think with focus and discipline I can get all of this accomplished this summer.

Don’t Over-complicate!

I’m not a huge fan of Seth Godin’s. I can’t put a finger on why. I say not a huge fan. I still care for what he says and thinks.

He’s been on this lizard brain thing lately. The premise is we all have a prehistoric part of our brain that makes us fear. Successful people overcome the impulses of the lizard brain.

I don’t know what to make of the science behind it, if there is science at all. Even if the whole thing is made up, there is still truth to the fear part. Confidence.

I kind of went off on a tangent there for a minute. What I was getting at is during Godin’s speeches about the lizard brain theory, he talks about his ability to ship. GET IT OUT THE DOOR!

Man o man it’s something I was always aware of, but since hearing it from him now I’m acutely aware of it. Great ideas get levels of complication, then doubt thrown on top of them. Suddenly an easy plan turns into a bear. JUST SHIP!

I don’t mean that care shouldn’t be involved. It’s important to put quality out there. And it’s important to put SOMETHING out there.

Just Execute!

Back when I was a kid, I had a disdain for anyone who would criticize athletes, coaches, and leaders. My underlying feeling was, “if you can do it better, then why don’t you go do it yourself.”

That kind of wore off, especially the view towards professional athletes. But a bit of it remains in me today.

I’m so sick and tired of the “fail” meme. You have a million and one people crying fail, but are they doing anything great? Are the companies they work for perfect?

Same is true for a lot of advice. Like the age old saying, “it’s easier said than done.”

Spare me the pitch, lets see how you execute.

The How. What Motivates You?

I don’t know how to classify this post. It’s half about motivation, and half about big ideas, branding, and marketing.

I’ve had this thought in my head for a while. It sort of derived from reading an article by Derek Sivers, which you can read here.

What marketer doesn’t know Seth Godin? As much as I respect his big ideas, there is not a lot substance in a lot of them in my opinion. Now that’s just a matter of what influences and motivates me.

I feel anyone can throw out big, somewhat obvious ideas. Few can execute those ideas effectively.

This weekend, while doing some blog reading, I came across a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s been the keynote speaker at conferences, and has been in the media quite a bit. I’ve never heard of him before this weekend. On the surface, when watching some of his keynote speeches, he seemed to me to be full of ideas like Godin. He talked about the need to love what you do and to be genuine. That way, the story you tell is rock solid, and your audience will be engaged. Plus work won’t seem like work since you’ll be loving what you’re doing. So I thought; great Gary, but how?

I was intrigued enough to check out some of his Wine Library TV videos. And there it was. Gary practicing what he preaches. To me, that smacked me in the face with motivation–to see him execute his big ideas in a big way. To see first hand his genuine love of wine and how he describes flavors when tasting, even someone like me with a small interest in wine can’t help but suddenly get the urge to indulge in some.

Maybe it’s the way I’m wired. I relate to execution (the how) rather than lofty ideas.