Making the Bed

After a great rest, it's natural to not want to immediately go out of your way to make the bed look pretty. 

The most common excuse is "I'm just going to be in it again tonight."

It's not about the bed looking nice, though.

It's about the routine. It's about sticking with a regimen that works.

When you don't make your bed when you know you should, you aren't following your own rules. You're letting yourself down without even knowing it.

This type of inaction is akin to landing a large client, receiving the first check, and overlooking the fact that you have a lot of work to do to make the project a success. 

Your bed is the client in this example. Don't let your bed down. 

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The Self-Identification Option

Instead of calling a business and hearing an automated voice system you are forced to talk to, we should be able to quickly identify ourselves via established parameters. No, I'm not talking about "name" and "account number." The system should track my phone number, read my response time, already know that my younger age suggests a higher aptitude for technology, my historical engagement with the company, and most importantly, what I might be calling about. 

I'd rather wait on hold for 2 minutes if I know the system is reading the context of my situation than stumble through a series of pointless questions that ultimately result in a frustrated version of me pounded "0" to speak to a human.

Know me as a customer. Then personalize my experience. Anything else will always be too painful to even call about.

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Red Rover

If the other side is willing to hear you, just ask them for what you want. This can come in the form of favors, products, people, and anything of value. That's why barter exists in the first place - value is rarely evenly distributed. Assets are being underutilized everywhere. 

To take the concept a step further, don't just ask for it. Go get it. 

It's alarming to me how many people still jump through hoops just to get to precious data. Why are you going out of your way to retrieve it? Have it come to you. 

Some may argue that having so many things come to you is too much of a distraction, but I see it differently. If you know you are going to need something at some time, it's like hailing a cab.

You wouldn't walk all the way across town to find your ride, would you?

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A Decentralized Internet

When the hit HBO show Silicon Valley's startup Pied Piper announced they would work on a "Brand new internet" at the end of last season, it sounded vague and utterly impossible. Little did we know, though, that there was a real company already building exactly that in stealth mode.

The company is Blockstack and they just announced their product - The Blockstack Browser.

In short, this browser is built using the Blockchain, which is the decentralized technological underpinning powering the growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. 

To ensure clarity, here's a snippet of their announcement and a description of what it actually is. 

Today we are proud to announce the Blockstack browser, which allows developers everywhere to access a whole new internet. This new internet changes the dynamic and brings the power back to the people. Developers can build apps on this new internet by downloading the Blockstack Mac or Linux app (Windows coming soon) and by using nothing more than existing browsers like Chrome or Safari or Firefox.

Blockchain technology powers this new internet. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to access people, communities, apps, and services built on the blockchain from your browser. This new internet reflects how people interact with each other naturally, as they have for thousands of years. In open marketplaces and societies, people transact directly with other people to offer advice, goods, and services. Human interaction has never needed a middleman. The internet should work how real life works.

 Finally, here's Muneeb Ali's TED talk about creating this "Brand new internet."

It's Gonna Be May!

Following a fantastic trip through New Mexico with the family, I'm feeling refreshed and excited to get a lot of great work done this month. Here's a list of events, albeit not exhaustive, of some of the items on my list:

  1. Matilda at Broward Center
  2. Trip to Orlando
  3. Phoenix at the Fillmore Miami
  4. Braves game at Marlins Park
  5. Muse at Perfect Vodka
  6. Animals as Leaders at Culture Room

I'll keep some of the work-related items hush until further notice. Expect some major news on that front soon, though.

What are you planning to accomplish in May? 

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The Problem with Productivity

When you get more done, you end up finding more new stuff to do. And new stuff is harder than the stuff you love to do. 

Actually getting more stuff done in less time only becomes valuable if you use the extra time to do something other than related work. It's otherwise a vicious circle that continues until you're stuck doing things you hate - simply because you made yourself more time to get to them. 

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Consider the Talk Show Host

I think (and write) a lot about fielding outside requests on a daily basis. It's an interesting problem I see every single day. It boils down to...

Should you respond to requests as they arise? 

Or...

Should you plan your day around your goals and stick to it?

I figured I'd answer it in the "It depends" way a little differently this time...

Consider the talk show host...

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I'm talking about the guy that spends all morning (4 hours or more) on the radio. He or she can be talking about news, answering listener calls, or otherwise. The point is, though - that he has an obligation to be somewhere and do something (albeit publicly) during those hours. 

This type of role favors the "plan your day without distractions" approach. But it made me think about the expectations that others would put on the host when they're off the air. A typical eight-hour day would suggest that he or she only has a few excess hours to fix any issues, review metrics, and plan for the next day's schedule. 

This host not only cannot allow incoming calls or emails to distract them while they're on the air, but I'll bet that they also don't set the expectations with anyone that they will be available when they're off the air. 

No matter what, this host needs to be well-organized and very good at time management. Perhaps you can learn something from him or her. 

Accidents Happen

I couldn't believe what I was witnessing last night. It was the making of entertainment's greatest gaffe in history. 

It felt too ironic to be a mistake. The "darling" favorite film mistakenly wins best picture only to bow down to the indie favorite underdog. 

I'm fine with the results, but I'm not alright with the excuses I've heard. The process apparently has them print out two sets of winner envelopes. They do this to ensure they cover both sides of the entrances to the stage. It's dumbfounding that this could happen. Someone failed massively.

Despite the magnitude of this mistake, accidents do happen. There are many moving parts during this process. It's a perfect opportunity to investigate every component to determine the root cause.

Did the presenter grab the wrong envelope? This can only be avoided by only providing access to the right asset. 

Every single step in a process can be managed to avoid disasters like this one. You better believe that failure like this will lead to a change in the process. That's why we'll never see this happen again. 

"I'll Stick with What Works"

Your light bulbs might work, but it doesn't mean you can't save money on your power bill. 

Your omelettes might task just fine, but they would be much more delicious if you used organic eggs. 

Your car runs fine, but you don't realize the ride is destroying your tires over time. 

It's easy to get comfortable with our processes. A lot of us feel it's "good enough."

Nothing can be improved if you don't take the time to notice your options. What you might think "works" for you today, may not be working at all. That's the ease of complacency your feeling instead. 

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No 30 Day Challenges in 2017?

It's not that shying away from my ABLE principle of "Always Be Learning Everything," but I don't want to force it anymore. 

Don't get me wrong, 30 Day Challenge is a phenomenal format for creating good habits. When you reach a certain level of discipline, though, forcing learning by a set calendar date gets to be too much. 

As long as I commit to continuous learning, I imagine the structure or the timing won't matter in 2017. For example, I already have laid out goals. I've already identified areas of improvement. Now I just need to act. Worry less about the how, and more on the achievements.

In January, I already know that I plan on doing a "Whole 20." It's a slightly easier version of the popular Whole 30 disciplinary eating concept. The desired outcome is to clean up my eating habits over those 3 weeks. The byproduct will be a few pounds lost and a much healthier version of myself. 

I also know I'd like to go through formal training to obtain certificates and or licenses. Again, I'm not going to assign a challenge to this type of stuff anymore. I'm just going to put my head down and get to work. 

Hopefully this new approach will be one that will allow me to document and share my experiences a little easier. I know I wasn't that great at keeping everyone abreast on my progress like I used to on my podcast. 

How do you foresee yourself reaching your goals in 2017? How will you hold yourself accountable? How will you stay motivated? 

Uber's Elevate Plan

For some Friday fun, I thought I'd share Uber's announced plan to move into flying vehicles within the next 10 years.

The project is called Elevate.

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You can read all about the formal plan here

Happy Friday! 

My Extremely Organized Regimens

I'm regimented way more than I thought. I've dissected some of the ways I stay organized, and I've come to find that my well-constructed daily structures are what keep me in line. 

What may seem obnoxious to others has become natural to me over time. I've built habits out of the most important tasks, and have learned how to prioritize the items that require constant attention. 

A few examples of my regimens (both work and personal) are as follows:

  • Send out a social media update every weekday
  • Get to inbox zero every morning
  • Check the (stock) markets every morning
  • Build out my weekly tasks every Sunday
  • Write a blog post every day
  • Log how many accomplishments I have per day
  • Keep track of the movies I'd like to see
  • Monitor concerts/events that are coming into town on a weekly basis
  • Log all music releases into a spreadsheet as a reminder for me to check them out
  • Respond to business leads every day
  • Run automated outreach scripts daily
  • Read blogs/news every morning
  • Update software on a monthly basis
  • Update account passwords on a monthly basis
  • I do 200 pushups daily
  • I play the piano every single day
  • Check website analytics daily/weekly
  • Review accounting/books weekly
  • Make a new financial investment every week
  • Donate to a charity every week

Again, that's not everything either. In between all of these, since the personal items are usually carried out on weekends and after hours, I am in the trenches knocking items off my to-do list. 

If you can learn to structure your life in a way that keeps track of important tasks, attaches a healthy cadence to them, and bakes them into your regimen, you will never feel out of control again. I guarantee it. 

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Swiping vs. Clicking

Tinder can be attributed for making the swipe so popular. If you think about it, so many other applications have now utilized this user action to make their UX that much better. Nowadays, job apps, shopping apps, photo apps, and even Google results leverage swiping on mobile devices. 

Why has swiping become so popular? It's quite simple actually.

What is easier for you to do as a phone user - using a finger to click a specific area or using the same finger to make one forceful motion? 

We're now living in a world that pushes information to us. It is up to us to swipe it away if we don't like it. If we accept it, we let it be. There is never a need to click anymore. 

How else can swiping be adopted? Please weigh in in the comment section below. 

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Your Medium Articles Can Be Read To You

Have you ever been too busy to read articles you knew would benefit you? These days, with so much great journalism taking place, and articles being shared, it's nearly impossible to digest everything. After all, we're busy people.

Well, enter "Play."

With the Play browser extension, you can now have Medium articles read to you aloud. 

I now find myself spending the day automatically browsing through Medium articles just to passively have them read to me. 

Let's get smarter together. 

Get Play!

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Through the Lenz's 100th Episode

There's a reason I choose to publish a blog post every day. It's the same reason I recently released the 100th episode of the "Through the Lenz Podcast." 

It's all about consistency. 

Showing up, doing the work, and shipping content often gets you to your destination(s) quicker. That's why I named the 100th episode "Consistency." 

I hope you enjoy it.

Please subscribe via iTunes if you like what you hear. 

August's 30 Day Challenge

I did it again.

In July, despite all my travels, I conquered 2 complete Udemy courses. 

Much like June and July, August is another month filled with travel. That's why I'm going to stick with what's working for me. 

I'm going to get through 2 more Udemy courses in August.

I've already targeted another web development course and an investment strategy course. 

As usual, I will update everyone on my progress on the Through the Lenz podcast. 

What are you planning on doing to grow as a person in August?

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