Monthly Archives: August 2014

Desktop image

Desktop image. A framed photo of my family next to my computer screen.

When you stare at a screen all day with nothing in the background, it’s easy to forget for whom and for what you’re working.

Sure, an image of your family on your desktop background is nice.

But the problem is that you never actually see that picture. It’s covered up by your work.

Here’s what you do: Go old-school with your desktop image.

Place a framed photo of your loved ones on your desk, right next to your computer screen. Put it close enough so it’s in your near-field peripheral vision.

The inspirational effect is profound.

What’s there now? Nothing? A team member’s annoying face?

Tough feeling good doing work for those things.

No outlet, no problem

If you ever work in a coffee shop or diner or travel lounge, this tip is for you.

The results are amazing.

Here it is:

Don’t bring your power cord.

With a limited amount of laptop time, you’ll be 10x more productive.

  • Research stays focused.
  • Email gets done offline.
  • Writing or model building or grading actually gets done.

More productive equals happier, healthier and wiser.

Who doesn’t want that?


Think of all the people whose job it is to help you.

  • Doctors.
  • Firefighters.
  • Policemen.

None of those people serve you advertisements.

Now think of all the people who do serve you advertisements.

Sure, any of them could make an argument that their work helps you. TV helps us escape. Google helps us find things we need. The news helps us stay informed.

But their job performance is based on selling more ads. Not by helping you.

Cross it off

Not sure what you want to do with your life? Or who your customers are? Or what you should speak about?

Work backwards.

Instead of seeking the right answer, find the wrong ones.

There are so many things that you don’t want to be doing or people you shouldn’t be selling to or topics you shouldn’t be talking about.

Eliminating options equals clarity.

Mr. Sun

Consistency can get you a lot of things.

  • Trust.
  • Recognition.
  • Promotion.
  • Credibility.
  • Loyal fans.
  • Ardent haters.
  • Purpose.

That which you’re consistent at doesn’t much matter. Even the littlest things count.

One little promise to yourself and the world is enough to make you the biggest star in the universe.

Grocery store of life

Grocery shopping without a cart is tricky.

At first, you think you can carry everything in your arms. Then, you start to stack a little higher until one thing spills. And another. Finally, you can’t talk two feet because your arms are so full, and you’re walking so carefully to ensure you don’t leave anything behind.

This is a lot like the creative mind.

Without a shopping cart for your ideas, you start lose them one-by-one until you can’t proceed.

For this, I use a single Google doc on my phone. Some people use Evernote or the standard notepad app.

Makes navigating the grocery store of life much more pleasant.

Procrastination nation

Procrastination is not a habit.

It’s not laziness either.

It’s merely a way to put anxiety at rest.

Think of something special to do, figure out the worst-case scenario, and then just do it.

Facebook equals fear.

Morning news

I’ve written a million articles on what NOT to do first thing in the morning.


Because I need to be reminded how much better days are when I avoid email, news, social media, etc. first thing in the morning.

Despite my own best advice, I still found myself indulging.

Finally, I found something that resonated.

One song.

One line.

One time, instead of falling into the information overload abyss.

Simon & Garfunkel.

“I get the news I need from the weather report.”

So now, I check the weather.

And I start the day:

  • More relaxed.
  • More focused.
  • Less rushed.

Where do YOU get the news you need in the morning?

Your best banker

People talk about “investing in yourself.” The concept says to save some money now and you’ll have it when you’re retired.

But, what about the opposite?

Borrow from yourself today for the things you won’t need when you’re retired.

Bachelor / bachelorette parties, out-of-town weddings, family vacations, motorcycles are all good examples.

Easy to say you can’t afford these things today.

But chances are, your retired self will be happy to issue a loan for them so you can enjoy them in memory down the road.