Welcome! Have a great and productive week!

Wednesday, July 30

✔ Why I'm working only on my iPad? Quick, pecha-kucha, 6min explanation by yours truly - Productive! Show #76

Why go iPadOnly? Three reasons and three benefits. As you know, I am the co-author of the "#iPadOnly" book where together with Augusto Pinaud I promote a new work-style. In this video I'd like to show you, in the simplest possible way, why, a couple years ago, I decided to switch my Mac Book Air to iPad and make it my number one working tool. See what are the consequences and benefits of that decision.

iPadOnly book http://ipadonlybook.com/

Question: What is stopping you from going #iPadOnly?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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Wednesday, July 16

✔ Productivity gadget review: Sugru - go fix something - Productive! Show #75

One of my friends suggested I tried it out to fix some things around the house. I couldn't believe how great it worked. I've used Sugru for many things now and keep coming with new ideas... it's an amazing product and enables you to be creative, productive and fix things before you decide to throw them away.

Question: Have you ever tried Sugru? What have you fixed with it?

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Tuesday, July 15

✔ Want to build your digital productivity system? Start with these three apps: Evernote, Dropbox and Nozbe (duh!)

Very often I get emails asking for productivity advice and a question that keeps on showing up is this: Which apps should I install first to start building my productivity system? Where should I start?

I particularly liked an email I got from a very senior Nozbe user. It was a long email but the key points were these:

I’m 81, near no tech; extreme difficulty organizing/ordering my life; drawn years ago to Covey’s 7-Habits philosophy/approach as well as that of “Holistic Management”; BUT never successful at implementing, more than anything because of chronically being in a ‘crisis’ mode... Which systems would you advise my tudor and me to most carefully consider along with yours? And do you think/feel that one as limited as I indicate could learn and work with Nozbe as well or Better than others?... I will much appreciate your counsel. I already appreciate the manner in which you present Nozbe and yourself!! - Don

Wow, I must say I was impressed by this email and by the fact a person in their 80's is still thinking about really getting organized in a new, digital way, I was impressed and humbled they were asking me for advice.

Which apps to install and set up first? Great question. Let me answer with this blog post:

Michael's top productivity apps

As I mention in my 10-steps productivity course, I'd go with these basic three apps:

And learn them very well. They work really great together and with our new Nozbe 2.0 coming this summer will work even better. Here's how I'd go about it:

Wednesday, July 9

✔ Weekly Read, Episode 1 (interesting things I read and wanted to share with you)

This week, I read some stuff that I would like to share with you. These are mostly news and productivity related articles that you might find useful, inspiring or helpful when reviewing your methods, tools and attitude.

Side note: *Yes, I do share stuff on my Link blog and Twitter but sometimes I think the most interesting things deserve a longer blog post. Let me know if this format works for you.

1. Music at work: productivity help or hindrance?

An article by James Tonn published in Productive! Magazine no. 20. This astonishing and informative piece of writing relates to a question I often asked myself: "does listening to music at work help or hinder productivity?". I won't tell you the answer in order not to spoil you the fun of learning it yourself. What's important though is our limbic system - a complex set of brain structures that lies on both sides of the thalamus, right under the cerebrum and is primarily responsible for our emotional life and memorizing.

"Music is powerful in how it influences us — it is designed to do so — and hearing a person singing, aggressively triggers the limbic system." - writes James who did the thorough scientific research and the interview with neuroscientist before writing the article.

The science behind the music will blew your mind the same as it did to James Tonn and myself :)

2. How to keep your brain fit and productive

This is a summary of a couple of articles that we published on Productive! Magazine's Facebook fanpage - I hope you will find it useful:

Don't multitask

Multitasking can actually reduce productivity by up to 40%. To get the most from your brain, do one thing at a time and give it all of your focus. Once completed to your satisfaction, you can move to the next thing. You can accomplish much more with good quality rather than doing things half-baked but satisfactory.

Sleep well

Even small amounts of sleep debt have a significant impact strength, cardio capacity, mood and overall energy levels. And mental performance all decline steadily as sleep debt increases.

Take naps

Nap is a strategic recovery to catchup with your sleep debt and it helps boost productivity and mental performance. Most of people have a dip in alertness in the mid-afternoon and thus our natural rhythms are then at their lowest which is the best time to take a nap. That's why in some countries they have siestas at this time.

When taking a nap remember to set your alarm clock to no longer than 25 minutes. Most people can take a nap between 15-25 minutes before they hit the deep sleep phase. It’s important to wake before your hit deep sleep or else you wake up feeling tired.

Speak foreign languages

Intensive study of foreign languages stimulates the growth of the hippocampus in your brain, causes changes in its other structures and helps in preventing Alzheimer's disease.

Play word games

Alone or with a group. Such games engage and boost memory, creativity, cognition, and language skills.

Write things down with a pen

The physical act of writing with your hand engages the right (= creative) hemisphere of your brain and allows expression of thoughts that your left brain (the analytical half) may not consider.

Exercise not only your brain but also your body

Increasing blood flow and energy level that come from physical exercises will make you feel better and your brain work better.

Reference:

3. Stress can be responsible for short-term memory loss later on

A new study from University of Iowa reveals that having high levels of cortisol — a natural hormone in our body whose levels surge when we are stressed — can lead to memory lapses as we age.

In this study, the UI researchers linked elevated amounts of cortisol to the gradual loss of synapses in the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that houses short-term memory. Synapses are the connections that help us process, store, and recall information. And when we get older, repeated and long-term exposure to cortisol can cause them to shrink and disappear.

"Stress hormones are one mechanism that we believe leads to weathering of the brain," says Jason Radley, assistant professor in psychology at the UI and corresponding author on the paper.

My advice: Start learning to be a cortisol-buster today :) Here are some tips:

  • Forgive yourself for every mistake you’ve ever made.
  • Forgive others for their offenses against you.
  • Stop obsessing over things you can’t control.
  • Only add to your “to do” list after crossing 2 things off.
  • Find reasons to laugh out loud several times a day.
  • Exercise every single day.

For more tips check out the Advanced Life Skills article

4. Are you sure you apply the Pareto's 80-20 rule at work?

Everyone knows what is the Pareto rule but not many people takes time to apply it in their everyday activities and planning. That's peculiar since 80-20 rule is one of the keys to productivity.

Try this 5-step sequence to make certain you do:

  1. Start with the end. What is the outcome you want?
  2. When you’re clear about that, break it down into the actions you need to take to get there.
  3. Do the actions in the most accurate order you can. (Learn how to prioritize work).
  4. Keep asking "What’s the next relevant action step to take?"
  5. Repeat until complete.

That's it for this week. Let me know if this format works for you in the comments below. Thank you!

Reference

Thursday, July 3

✔ Productive! Magazine 21 with Pat Flynn - about passive income and uber-productivity

Last week I posted my video interview with Pat Flynn for the Productive! Magazine issue 21 and today let me tell you a little more about our newest issue of your favorite (and free) productivity magazine. It's jam-packed with fantastic productivity advice thanks to our amazing contributors. I'm so proud of what our team prepared for you:

Productive! Magazine 21

Getting laid off was a blessing in disguise?

I really enjoyed my interview with Pat Flynn — a serial entrepreneur for whom getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to him. Only then did he found out how to run business and earn money and be able to spend the majority of time with his family and on the stuff he likes:

"The passive income part was very much inspired by Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour Workweek and his ability to put systems and automation into his businesses. The idea is that you don’t have to be present in order for transactions to happen."

I totally get what Pat is talking about. Nozbe works the same way - I don't have to be there waiting to greet each and every new customer who signs up, although I'd really like to :-)

But there's more:

Wednesday, July 2

✔ Why doing sports regularly is so great and so important... and how it makes me feel! - Productive! Show #74

This is probably the most personal episode of Productive! Show. I recorded it after having run 10 km and seeing a beautiful sunrise just afterwards. I did it mostly for myself - to have something to watch whenever I feel like quit doing sports.

I hope you will find it encouraging and motivating as I do.

Question: Do you exercise regularly? Why? Why not?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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Tuesday, July 1

✔ Why running almost barefoot with Vibram FiveFingers is good for my health and fitness.

I bought my first pair of FiveFingers shoes (feet gloves?) a little over four years ago. Yes, they were weird at first but after some getting used to, I fell in love with the comfort of walking almost barefoot. Today I'm running in FiveFingers almost exclusively. Earlier this year I read about a study where researchers supposedly managed to prove that these shoes were injury-prone. Moreover Vibram, the company behind these shoes settled a class-action lawsuit and agreed to refund customers their money. I don't want a refund. I just bought a new pair. Here's why:

Why running almost barefoot with Vibram FiveFingers is good for my health and fitness

Before and after my knee injury...

I didn't run much in my first FiveFingers shoes ("Classic" model), I only started running seriously "barefoot style" when I got the "Bikila LS" model. I began running regularly mid 2012 and until mid 2013 picked up the pace to ~5.30min/km at 10km distances... mostly running on the beach (soft surface). Then my friend invited me for a longer 15km run on a pavement. I was afraid in the FiveFingers shoes I wouldn't get enough cushion or support so I chose to run with my friend in "traditional" Nike shoes. Boy did I make a mistake. We ran a half-marathon. At km 17 my knee started hurting me... but I finished my run... only to discover I seriously injured my knee.

As I explained in my last post about the "Born to Run" book, my doctor later told me I wasn't built for running. Well, I dismissed his advice, got back to running and now I've just ran my first 10km run below the 50min time. In FiveFingers again (this time the newest "SeeYa" model). However, what I discovered was that running in FiveFingers is not as straightforward as you might think. It's all about "how" you run:

Saturday, June 28

✔ Creating Passive Income - interview with Pat Flynn for the Productive Magazine #21

The latest Productive Magazine 21 is out with some truly inspiring productivity articles and an interview with Pat Flynn. Make sure to check it out! Get it for your iPhone, iPad or Android and let me know what you think!

Interview with Pat Flynn - a serial entrepreneur for whom getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to him. Only then did he found out, how to run business and earn money and be able to spend the majority of time with his family and on the stuff he likes.

Watch the interview to learn Pat's story, Pat's strategies and methods.

More details in Productive! Magazine 21: http://ProductiveMag.com/21

Question: What would have to happen to make you have guts and start up your own business?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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Thursday, June 26

✔ How to apply a Nozbe Productivity Sticker? Productive! Show #72

Note: To get this cool Nozbe sticker, go to Nozbe Sticker (by MakeItStick) web site and choose your sticker size (11" or 13" or 15" or 17") and use coupon code nozbe to get 10% off - for limited time only for my readers

This is not a typical Productive! Show episode. I recorded it as I couldn't resist sharing something with you. What is it? I am going to decorate my MacBook Pro with custom Nozbe sticker designed to fit the Apple computer.

How do you like it?

If you wish to show everyone around that you are productive thanks to Nozbe, buy yourself a sticker too :) You can get it from Mads - the founder of Make It Stick (http://makeitstick.co/)

Question: Have you got any stickers on your electronic devices or you prefer to have it absolutely plain?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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Tuesday, June 24

✔ How I became leaner, healthier and stronger? My first 6 months of 2014 in detail: slow carb diet, new eating habits and a lot more regular exercise.

In the last 2 years I managed to get even more in shape by running very regularly. This year I decided to run some more and maybe try to finally lose drastically more weight. In this post I'll show you how I lost ~10% of my bodyweight in the first 2 months of 2014 and in the remaining 4 months lost 2 kg more and became even more fit than before. And all that without starving myself. On the contrary, eating more and healthier.

How I became leaner, healthier and stronger? My first 6 months of 2014 in detail: slow carb diet, new eating habits and a lot more regular exercise.

Brief history of my weight

I'm a short guy. I'm 5'4 (1.68cm). When I was in high school my weight was around 63-65kg. In college it was around 67-69kg. A little more, but still pretty fine. Later my sedentary life caused my weight to go up a little. I was more in the 70-73kg range. Nothing bad, but I felt a little chubby at times. When my first child was born I stopped doing any sports. I just worked or helped my wife with our newborn. This "helped" me reach my record weight of 80kg.

In the last 4 years I tried to get slimmer and managed to go down to 74-76kg range, even 72-73kg at times... but never lower. I just couldn't... and I didn't feel comfortable with my body. There was too much of it. Finally, this January, after the Christmas/New Years break, at 74kg I decided to do something about it. After all, I was about to turn 35, I wanted to be slim again.

Today, my weight is ~66kg. I'm in the best shape of my life. And I'm just getting started. Here's what I did (step by step):