Something Daily

Inspired by Seth Godin, I recently attempted a daily writing project. I committed to write one blog post every day, indefinitely.

Here are my reflections.

Writing takes time. Not the actual typing – that part is easy. But finding inspiration everyday is a serious commitment. It can take hours, and it can't be forced.

Sometimes opening yourself up to inspiration means sitting in a café reading a magazine, or going for a stroll through the park, or reading a book. Let's be real: I have a family and a job, I don't have time to wistfully wait in the bath for my eureka! moment every single day.

After a few months, I gave up. And when I gave up… I really gave up. I didn't write again until… well, now.

I've realised that, at least for me (and maybe for you, too?), trying to force a daily routine isn't the best way of falling in love with a habit or practice. I advocate for a different approach. Let's call it…

No Pressure Weekday Habits

I'll illustrate this habit-building technique with an example: Meditation. I love meditation, but I haven't always. At first, I only loved the idea of meditation, the practice took some getting used to.

All the books I read told me that it was vital that I meditate every single day for the first 3 months (a common trope among daily habit pushers). Other books told me to start with just 5 minutes a day (or write only 1–2 sentences, or run for only 1km).

That wasn't working. So instead, I decided to commit to the following:

Meditate for at least 30 minutes, but only on weekdays, and only if I feel like it.

In the end, I found that my intuition here worked wonderfully. It was the pressure of not missing a day which caused me to give up. It was the triviality of "small habits", that caused me to give it away. Now, I often happily meditate for 20—30 minutes, and I do so most days.

So, back to writing.

After a few days of writing every day, I started feeling stressed, worried, and overworked. Worse – the short posts were often uninspired or forced. That's not the sort of writer I want to be.

Instead, I'll be the writer who taps out a decent chunk of valuable content every single day.

But only on weekdays, and only if I feel like it.


Reflective Thinking is, essentially, Critical Thinking.

When it comes to productivity hacks and workflow tools, I like to keep it simple. Different strokes for different folks. Here’s one I find to be universally useful: Reflection.

My wife loves to keep a diary, where she reflects both visually and in writing nearly everyday. My mind tend to focus more on the future, so reflective thinking doesn’t come naturally to me. After putting in place habits to create a reflective practice, I’ve found the benefits to be incredibly helpful.

There are many benefits of reflection, but I’d just like to tell you about the one I’ve found most useful:

Reflective Thinking is, essentially, Critical Thinking.

Without a reflective practice, I never pause to assess how I’ve performed, or what changes I can make to improve. By adding a simple weekly exercise, I drastically improve my long term performance, and refocus my energy into the right places.

For me, since reflection thinking doesn’t happen very naturally, I have set myself a very achievable goal: Reflect, in writing, one per week, at least one sentence.

I often end up writing out a page or two, but there’s no pressure.

How do you set aside time for reflection? What habits have you created to help you find time for critical thinking?

A Gem

Most of the time, we holding our products so close that it’s hard to have a wholistic view.

A product is like a multifaceted gem. You can turn it in your mind and examine it from so many different angles. Whenever you do, you see something different.

You can view your product from a user-experience angle, a lead-generation angle, a branding angle, a road-mapping angle, a community angle, an employee angle, a developer angle, a project-management angle, ad infinitum.

Most of the time, though, we’re holding our product so close that it’s hard to have a wholistic view. Take a moment now to take a step back, and visualise your product.

At a distance, you can think about all the people your product impacts, from your target audience, to your users, to your employees, and their families.

At a distance, you can think about where your product fits within your industry or ecosystem. Is it an outlier? Are there two or three close competitors? How do other products compare in terms of size and shape?

At a distance, you can check in on your vision and values. Does the culture surrounding your product match what you have envisioned? Does the trajectory of your momentum match your intention?

Get Crispy

When hard decisions need to be made, a generic purpose statement is useless.

Today I sat in on two corporate functions. I won’t give out names, so let’s call them by their first letter: M and Ü.

Both companies pitched their positioning “Purpose Statement”. The primary goals of a purpose statement are:

  • to help align team focus, and
  • to guide decision making (especially during hard times)

Here is M’s purpose:

“We power people to live their best lives.”

Here is Ü’s purpose:

“Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone.”

You might have guessed by now who Ü is.

M, on the other hand, is a complete mystery. Their mission could be (and often is) applied to just about any business.

Their purpose statement utterly fails in its goal, because it’s far too broad. With this purpose, I can justify doing almost anything. When hard decisions need to be made, a generic, unspecific purpose statement is vague and useless.

Ü, on the other hand, has deftly navigated troubled waters, because it remains focused on a very specific point on the horizon.

We need our purpose to be crisp and precise. It should be relevant specifically to our business.

Could your company’s purpose be crispier?

Find Your Game

Of course they’re out of your league! They’re not even playing the same game!

Today I had a meeting in the most corporate part of Brisbane city. Tomorrow, I’m in Sydney, meeting in the offices of bankers, architects, and insurers.

As I passed yet another grey suit in the street, a thought crossed my mind:

“These corporate business types are way out of my league.”

But, after some consideration, I realised I was making a false assumption. To extend the sporting analogy: Of course they’re out of my league! They’re not even playing the same game!

This simple realisation allowed me to walk on past the constant stream of jackets and ties with a smile, wishing them the best of success.

My game isn’t law or finance. My game is innovation, emerging tech, and Product.

What’s yours?

Paper and Pen

Shift your brain from good-idea mode, to get-it-done mode.

Today I signed a contract to purchase land and build a house.

The very act of signing a contract, putting pen to paper, creates a mental shift. The brain shifts from good-idea mode, to get-it-done mode. Putting a commitment in ink creates a sense of imminence.

Writing it down makes it real.

Digital roadmaps and PDF contracts don’t quite cut it. If we are committed to shipping our Products, then we must find a blank piece of paper, then write down our goals and responsibilities.

What mid-to-long term project, sprint, or deadline are you working toward?

Sign it, date it, and frame it.


Silence can be hard, but with a change in attitude, energy, identity, it’s easy.

Silence can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s like meeting new people, or pulling a bandaid, or writing. At first, it seems tough, daunting even. You (your lizard brain) questions whether or not you can actually do it. But, with a change in attitude, energy, identity, it’s easy.

Sound expert and conscious listening instructor, Julian Treasure, recommends spending just 10 minutes each day sitting in silence. Listening, and noticing the quiet.

Meditation helps you practice silence. It allows you to cultivate the skill to let thoughts and feelings bypass your brain. It teaches you how to regenerate and self heal.

Sabbath helps you practice silence. It doesn’t have to be religious, just one day a week set aside. No work, no habits, no phone, no internet. For an extra challenge: no writing. Just allow thoughts to germinate, settle, and maybe disappear. Just let them go.

We’re so busy continually sowing and harvesting, sowing and harvesting, that we never leave time for our thoughts to rest. They never have an opportunity to grow wild and drop their fruit and renew the soil, without being harvested.