Monthly Archives: December 2015

16 of my favorite non-things from 2015

I could spend the next two hours putting together a best of ULB in 2015.

But instead, I’m going to do this: Here’s a list of my favorite non-things from the past year.

Note: This is an unfiltered, unedited brain-dump.

  1. Lunches with friends.
  2. Lunches with family.
  3. Visiting family (hi, Nana!)
  4. Getting emails from strangers.
  5. Getting emails from friends.
  6. Seeing my sister become a mom.
  7. Spending time with people I work with.
  8. Presenting to people I work with.
  9. Waking up with my lovely fiancee.
  10. Waking up with my loving dog.
  11. Stuffing my face with vegan comfort food.
  12. Riding my scooter in the summer.
  13. Playing basketball on Saturdays.
  14. Playing softball on Mondays.
  15. Taking pictures with my camera (not phone).
  16. Making silly signs.
  17. Going to the dog beach.

Not surprisingly, only two of those things are work-related. And both of them are like being in school: learning, teaching, and goofing around.

Other themes: food, family, exercise.

Seems like the goal for 2016 is more of that stuff.

family 2015

Sure thing, Boss

Chances are, your bosses job is to make more money.

Not for investors or partners or bidders.

It’s for him.

So anytime you’re asked to create something, remember it’s not for creation’s sake.

It’s to make your boss more money.

Two minutes, three sentences, one bill

I read it in a book a while back.

Made sense, but didn’t click.

I saw it in a blog post the other day. Reminded me of reading it in a book, but nothing more.

I opened up a bathroom book, and there it was again.

This time, it stuck.

If it takes two minutes to do, do it immediately. Otherwise, schedule a time to do it.

How long is two minutes?

Three or fewer sentences in an email. Paying a bill. Little else.

Anything else should be scheduled. That’s a two-minute task.

If it doesn’t deserve scheduling, delegate. That’s a two-minute task, too.

If it doesn’t deserve delegating, don’t do it.

Two minutes, three sentences, one bill.

Good day.

[Here’s the book and one that’s similar, here’s the blog post, and here’s the bathroom book.]


You might not be working today. On the couch, with your family. Good for you.

But why, then, are you on your phone?

Go play Scrabble or fetch or peek-a-boo.

It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake!

Go be.

Hey Instagram, I think we need to talk

A few months ago, I was visiting my friends at Vitamix HQ.

It was a wonderful, inspiring, and exciting visit.

My lunch session with the Social Media team, however, was not.

Now, let me be clear: the food and company were good. Great, even! I hope to do it again.

But as expected, the advice was no surprise: Do a million things for a million different social networks despite little to no identifiable return on investment.


And for Life is NOYOKE, that means do all that stuff myself (or hire which make zero sense given the previously mentioned zero ROI thing).


One lunch attendee, though, suggested something that seemed doable. It was advice for which I was most grateful.

She suggested, “More Instagram!”

She was already one of my few followers and wanted more. Selfies, food, workouts, travel, whatever.

Me: How often?

Her: Daily.

Me: Wouldn’t daily Instagrams be annoying?

Her: No way. Anything less than daily is not enough. More than daily is the only way it can get annoying.

Easy enough. I can do that. One Instagram, daily. Monday – Friday.

So I did just that – Instagrammed daily

Easy enough.

Plenty of food pics, dog pics, and selfies to go around.

I even threw on a hashtag #wwmw at the beginning of the first few to tell Melissa I was taking her advice. What would Melissa want?

Easy enough.

But soon, there was a problem.

I ran out of original material

We are all creatures of habit.

Me though? I find something I like and stick to it.

I wear the same thing every day. #nonewclothes.

I eat the same ten things. #nonewfoods

I enjoy playing with my little black dog named Lucy. #yougetthepoint

I have a pretty fiancée and we love each other. #puke

I do travel, but it’s often by car. #cornfieldsfordays

I work from home, and in the winter will go days without leaving the block. #quickwalkswithlucy

Bottom line: My life is not very exciting. Even a single 1 x 1 picture per day becomes like a broken record pretty quickly.

And this is actually a good segway.

Instagrams are easy (and pretty fun) when life is exciting

My favorite, and not coincidently most “liked” Instagrams are from travel or special events. This wedding, our engagement, Lake Tahoe, my new nephew, a selfie during a talk I gave.

These are moments at which I want to look back and cherish. Captured moments of joy, awe, and wonder at the beauty of life.

But when life is boring, so is posting on Instagram (unless you fake it)

And I can’t fake it.

I’m not excited about showing you the same simple dinner I eat every night. I know you don’t care about my dog. And I’m not proud of my latest selfie.

Life is boring sometimes.

Pretending that it isn’t by posting a filtered 1 x 1 of some basic crap I’ve done a million times doesn’t make it exciting.

It makes it annoying.

Moreover, what happens when life is neither joyous nor boring? What happens when it gets legitimately sad?

What happens when someone get sick. Or when relationships go sideways? Or money is tight?

Am I supposed to show you my #vegan dinner pretending like it means anything to me?

You could be #raw with your Instagrams when times are tough, but you really have to dig deep.

Because as the cliche goes…

Pictures are worth 1,000 words

They are.

A really good picture can embody so much emotion and complexity and meaning.

Usually, though, they don’t. And they aren’t worth the bandwidth the rode in on.

If you want to tell a story with a single Instagram pic, you have to travel. Get out in the world. Understand what’s behind the picture.

#foodporn tells a story of three words. I ate this.

To tell a story with words (NOT pictures), I, too, must travel. But I can just close my eyes and let my brain do the flying.

On this blog, I promise to publish something (just words) daily. I can always find something that’s profound, even if it’s brief.

It’s really tough to connect in that kind of way with a daily Instagram.

And then, of course, there’s the ROI thing…

Instagram drives zero traffic (and, therefore, makes me no money)

Let me begin by saying Instagram is important for some people. And it’s important for some businesses. (Hi, Mom!)

But here’s the deal:

People don’t visit Instagram to visit websites. They use it to kill time. They go to satisfy curiosity. They go to take a break.

Now, this blog generates zero revenue. But I enjoy doing it. It’s cathartic. It’s like daily exercise. And who knows? Maybe parts of it will turn into another project (a small book or a podcast mini-series).

Point is this: I don’t write this blog for the money. I love it.

Instagram, on the other hand?

Well, I think I’ve made it clear that it feels like a chore to me. I enjoy producing one out of 20 of the posts I’ve done in the last few, daily-posting months.

Moreover, it’s a chore that fucks with my head. I get way too wrapped up in the quality and quantity of the “likes” I get from my Instagram posts. It’s almost always disappointing. Maybe it’s what someone in an abusive relationship feels like? The harder you work the less positive feedback you get, and when there’s negative feedback (silence) you’re dejected.

Point being: Instagramming daily is not only a job that I loathe, but it also doesn’t pay!

Why the poor ROI?

So many reasons…

Daily Instagrams surely are not helping increase demand for anything I do

Daily Instagrams have done a lot of nothing.

It has not increased my Instagram followers.

It has not increased Life is NOYOKE newsletter subscribers.

It has not convinced anyone to buy any product I sell or promote.

In fact, it’s done the opposite.

Why subscribe to Updates, the Life is NOYOKE newsletter when you can see a daily dose of Lenny on Instagram?

And not only does it dilute what I do, it dilutes what I do. (Yeah, you read that right.)

Productivity equation: 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 8

Every Instagram post takes two hours of my day.

Time to find a pic. Time to edit it. Time to write a caption. Time to edit said caption. Time to look and see if people liked it. Time to see what other people are Instagramming.

For what?

So I can dedicate less time, effort, brainpower, creativity to the things I actually care about? The things I think actually make a difference?

And this isn’t even counting the time it takes to switch gears to another task.

(That’s how 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 8. The gear switch and fending off ensuing distractions adds to the task duration.)

With this math, giving up Instagram means I could put an extra ten hours per week into things that actually matter.

Things for you (Updates, ULB, Minimooning). Or things for me (the gym, personal projects, etc.)

Or, how about just BEING?

Wait, let me take a pic

Life has taken a back seat to Instagrammable moments.

Can you pass me a fork? Always makes the pics look better.

Can you take a pic of me playing with Lucy? Try to get her jumping.

Hang on. Can I use your phone? I need to snap a pic and my phone is MIA.

It’s like I have a needy child with me constantly asking questions. Now? No, not now. Now? Fine, make it quick.

Real kids are coming soon enough. Can I please just live?

Another way to look at it: I’m my own paparazzi. Just leave me alone!

Yet, the most common question is, “Won’t you miss people’s updates?”

My Instagram feed is almost entirely inappropriate

The other day, I opened up Instagram and saw a common thread among the first ten pictures.


Ones that I’ve been with. Ones that I would be with. Ones my buddies are with. Ones that fall into none of the above (ones I work with, for example) but don’t appear as such to the casual onlooker (my fiancée).


Old lovers, high school acquaintances, blogger friends, super models named Bar Refaeli. What do I need that for?

I don’t.

Of course, I won’t even mention the ads now being served on Instagram. No thank you.

Of course there are some concerns.

The things everyone says when I say I’m done with Instagram.

What will you do with all your great pictures?

Yes, Instagram is a nice way to keep pictures in one place.

But I don’t actually own them. Facebook does.

And Google can’t find them.

No, I’m not exactly sure where I’ll put them all.

But I’m pretty sure Instagram is not the best place. It’s just the most convenient.

How will you stay connected?

The old fashioned way. Visits and requests to see photos while I’m there. Or, FaceTime.

What are you going to do with your Instagram account(s)?

This sign will be posted.

Lenny Gale says bye instagram

Everything you found there can now be exclusively found on “Updates”, the Life is NOYOKE newsletter.

What about just Instagramming occasionally?

Tempting. But I think it’s in everyone’s best interest if those really special ones showed up in my newsletter.

Are you okay?

Never been better! Working harder and living happier than I ever have.

So what now?

Let’s recap.

I dread Instagramming daily, it provides no ROI, and my feed is completely inappropriate.

Why I’m saying “Bye” to Instagram, at least for a while

Although I don’t think I’ll need it, I’m giving myself an out with the caveat “at least for a while.”

Because there may come a time when Instagramming satisfies my soul.

But right now, it doesn’t.

Bye Instagram.

I will always hold a special place in my heart for you.


Here’s where my Instagramable moments will be henceforth.

On “how to” posts

For the longest time, I thought “how to” posts were the only way to go.

They’re helpful, authoritative, and quite simply, they work.

But what happens when you’ve written the manual? You’ve explained all you know?

That moment when you realize you actually don’t know shit.

That’s where the fun starts.

10 days away (expectation vs reality)

So I took 10 days away.

Now, I was only on “real” vacation for four days. Punta Cana, DR. It was glorious.

I spent the remaining days on a staycation, per a promise to myself.

The entire 10 days, I refrained from a handful of things I probably definitely overdo — Instagram, email, Twitter, stats.

I set myself up well — no emergencies.

But a few things surprised me.

Expectation vs Reality

I expected to have strong urges to check email. In reality, I wasn’t once tempted to check. The more days went by, the less I was interested in diving into my inbox.

I expected it to take a full day to deal with email once I finally did check. In reality, it took less than an hour.

I expected my inbox to immediately, completely consume me again. In reality, it hasn’t at all.

I expected to enjoy checking Instagram after ten days away. In reality, I scanned through in five seconds and almost puked. Zero enjoyment.

I expected to have less interest in checking stats as the days went by; strong urges early on that would wane. In reality, the opposite happened. The last couple days of my staycation featured several STRONG urges to look at stats. It wasn’t for fear of any issues. It was probably more akin to a smoker’s urge after eight days of going cold turkey.

I expected ten days away to be boring and hardly as relaxing as I had hoped. In reality, I can’t recall the last time I felt so clear-minded, calm, and at peace with my business and life.

Ten days away.

Try it.


When has “I’ll hold it” ever been a good idea?

  • Road trips: Next exit 30 miles?!
  • Massages: Starting five minutes later would have been so much better than 100% of my session being ruined by an overwhelming need to pee.
  • Airplanes: Once you aren’t allowed to get up, it’s 45 minutes until you’re able to get to a bathroom, all things considered.
  • At work: Why does he look so uncomfortable and fidgety during this important meeting?

I may be 28 years late on this.

But once it came to me, I thought I should let it out.

Why hold it?

Out of office until December 21st

I’m gonna try.

10 days without checking email, Instagram, Twitter, stats, or news.

I think I can do it.

What’s the worst that can happen?

This isn’t an emergency situation by any means. Just a self-imposed week off-the-grid. Practicing what I preach.

So here’s what’s going dark:

Okay, that about covers it.

Oh yeah!

In case of emergency, call 911 because of this.

Good things,