Reset

This “1-3-5 Rule” Can Completely Change Your To-Do List

Do you have a cluttered and crowded to-do list? Do you try to get everything accomplished, only to burn out and end up feeling further behind? If so, you're not alone.

While reading The New Rules of Work, a new book by co-founders of The Muse, I stumbled on an alternative to-do list strategy that I thought was worth sharing:

On any given day, assume that you can only accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things, and narrow down your to-do list to those nine items.

Read More

The Best Productivity Hack Is to Care About What You Do

I’m heading out to speak at a tech conference this week. The conference will undoubtedly have many smart people in attendance. In fact, I don’t think it’s self-depreciating to assume that most of them are a lot smarter than me. It's just true.

Continuing with the theme of “Is this really what it’s about in the world of productivity?”, a common question I get at these events is “Tell us about your productivity hacks.” This question usually comes from someone who’s not only smarter, but also most likely far more organized than me.

Read More

The Key to Productivity Isn’t More Rest, It’s Intentionality

It's tempting to think this is the answer. Just take it easy. It will come to you.

And sure, maybe it will.

I just know that for me, there’s more to it than "work in the morning, sit around and think in the afternoon." That’s how it’s always, always been.

The answer isn’t only “work hard all the time,” because of course you can work hard all the time on the wrong things. But I don’t think the answer is to coast either.

It’s more like: find the right thing, then give it all you’ve got. A two-step plan, essentially.

Read More

101 Stories of People with Day Jobs Creating Side Hustles

On January 1, I began a new project: to publish a story every day of someone who starts an income-generating project (a "side hustle") without quitting their day job.

The project failed and I decided to give up. Just kidding! We are relentlessly moving along, publishing story after story—and it's getting better and better!

I recently completed the first 100 days. There's much more to come, but I'm excited about everything I've learned since beginning back in January.

If you're just joining in, you can also catch up on any recent episode from the links below.
Download all episodes from each month:

January | February | March | April

Read More

How Do You Know If Your Idea Is Worth Pursuing?

Creative people usually have no shortage of ideas of things they'd like to do. The greater challenge is: how do you know which ideas are worth pursuing, and which should be abandoned or just put on hold for now?

Here’s one way: consider the amount of time you spend thinking about the idea, even as you go on to other things.

I don’t just mean when you have an idea and you think about it a lot the same day. I mean when you have an idea, and you think about it for a while before putting it aside... and then it comes back to you the next day. Then a week goes by, and you realize you’ve thought about it almost every day.

Read More

Reporting Back on the First Set of Side Hustle Workshops

When I started Side Hustle School, the main commitment was the daily podcast, which is still going strong 60+ episodes in. People are responding to it very well, and I’m having fun. Yay!

But I don’t do small very well, so in addition to the daily show, there’s also a traveling workshop series and an upcoming book. I recently completed the first set of workshops and I learned a lot.

Here are a few reflections based on stops in four cities: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix.

Read More

30 Days of Side Hustle School: Cruising for Dollars, Six-Figure Candy Hearts, and Saddles for Pet Chickens

On January 1, I started a daily podcast that will continue throughout the year. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m having a lot of fun.

Best of all, a lot of people are learning from the show and starting their own hustles.

If you’re new to the show, it’s not too late to jump in. You can start listening at any point and not feel left out, but it may help to go back and listen to some of the earlier episodes.

You can then add them to your home library on iTunes, Sonos, or presumably any other player that you prefer. You can also catch up on any recent episode from the links in this post.

Read More

Side Hustle Workshops Start Next Week! Join Me in Your Choice of 4 Cities

Link: Side Hustle School Workshops

Next week I’ll be debuting my SHS Workshop series in four cities: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix. Come out and join us!

Not in one of those cities? Well, we already have people flying in from several other cities, so you won’t be alone… but of course, you can also suggest a stop for your city in the future. To do so, just add your location in the center of that page. You’ll get an email if we schedule something there later.

Read More

9 Life Lessons from Starting a Daily Podcast

Audience So hey—I started a podcast! Yes, it's true: I’m catching up to the technological age of 2005.

And let me tell you: I’m having so much fun. I feel purposeful.

Readers—many of whom are now listeners—are really enjoying it. And best of all, I truly believe it’s going to be helpful to people.

So that’s great! There really is no downside. I’m glad I did this.

But what have I learned? That’s what this 6,500 word post is about. I'll share my own lessons and observations, as well as my early advice for anyone thinking of starting their own podcast.

Read More

Advice for Students and Jobseekers: When Experience Comes Your Way, Take It

Whatever hands-on experience you can get, take it, and take more than you think you can handle. Don’t limit your writing experience to the typical classroom workshop environment, where egos can be fragile and stakes are low.
In this advice, Jane Friedman is specifically referring to undergrad students who are pursuing a creative writing degree. It’s good advice for them, and there’s more from her here.

I think this lesson applies to beginning careers of all kinds: When you’re starting out or trying to establish yourself in an unfamiliar industry, whatever experience you can get, take it.

Read More

Announcing SIDE HUSTLE SCHOOL: A Daily Project for 2017

Big news!

I’m starting a daily podcast called Side Hustle School. It’s for everyone who wants to create a new source of income without quitting their day job. It will be published, well, every single day in 2017.

I’ve been working on this for a long time and it will be my #1 project in 2017. I’d love for you to be part of it—and if you’re not interested yourself, I’d be grateful if you’d tell your friends who need a side hustle.

Read More

Instead of Manufacturing Hype, Just Start Doing Great Work

I got a call to do some filming for a marketing agency in Los Angeles. I had the date open and it sounded interesting, so I decided to go.

The filming took place in a Beverly Hills mansion, probably the largest single-person home I’ve ever been in. On the way in I waved awkwardly to the car valet who was hosing down a Porsche, then said hello to the personal chef chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

All over the studio, which looked a bit like what I’d imagine a porn set to be, there were whiteboards set up with verbal cues. Most of them related to the science of persuasion: scarcity, limited-time offer, feel better about yourself.

Read More

Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

Also known as: Why I Fired My Email List Provider

Link: Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

For more than 8 years I used the same email provider. At one time, long ago, they were the best in the business. As the years went by, they became… well, definitely not the best. I had countless frustrations, including one time where the whole system was down for several days and the company only acknowledged the disaster after people complained.

Still, I resisted change, because change is hard—or so I thought. Over the past few years, a good friend of mine named Nathan Barry has been developing a new service that promised to fix many of the frustrations I had with the larger company that slowly declined over time.

I was skeptical at first, because, well, change is hard. But I finally decided to give Nathan’s service a try, and I was impressed right away. It’s much, much better than every other service I’ve seen, and depending on how you use it, it can be cheaper too.

Read More

Build a Business Where You Can’t Get Fired

Link: Webcomic Entrepreneurs

A while back, a friend of mine who worked in publishing was laid off. He was at the height of a career and by all accounts had done an excellent job for his employer. He lived in New York City, perhaps the center of the universe for many things, but definitely not known for being affordable. Oh, and he also had a large family, with at least two kids who would be going to college soon.

When he was laid off, I thought, “Wow, if that can happen to him, it can happen to nearly any employee.”

Thankfully, he’s landed on his feet and now works in a senior role with another publisher. Still, what if there was a better way?

Read More

Being Able to Ask “What’s Next?” Is a Sign You Are Happy in Your Work

During the Born for This tour, people would occasionally ask how you know when you have your dream job. It was an easy setup for a joke: “If you have to ask, ‘Am I happy?’ you probably aren’t.”

Still, even when you’re satisfied in your work, it’s nice to get reinforcement of that fact from time to time. There are several big and little signs that can provide that reinforcement:

Here’s another one that I’ve been pondering lately. When you finish a task or project, do you experience a sense of accomplishment—or do you only feel relief?

Read More