3 things for 2018

Good ‘ol new year resolutions. We all create a few for ourselves, and by the 20th of January, we’ve either forgotten them or already failed at 1 or 2 and that’s it until the next year. Heck, I don’t even REMEMBER what new year resolutions I set for 2017!

For 2018, I thought I’d change the structure of my new year resolutions. I’d take stuff I did in 2017 and super-charge them. I’m also going to try and set the goals in such a way that failing doesn’t mean the goal is never reached, it just means it might take longer. Here we go:

1. Turn my Kindle notes into blog posts

I’m going to supercharge the books I read in 2018. I read 19 books in 2017, but when I look at the list, I almost don’t remember reading some of them! And when I go through the notes I made on my Kindle, there are a number of notes that are completely out of context and I have no idea why I highlighted them.

I really enjoy finishing a book and writing a mini-review on Goodreads, so I’m just going to add to my reviews by taking any of the notes I’ve made, creating a simple blog post and then turn some of the notes into actionable items. Some of the blog posts might not make sense, but they are for me, not you. :)

2. Make journalling a habit

The ups and downs of both life and running a business take their toll. I’m going to use Productive to try and turn journalling into a habit. Aiming to write twice a week.

For journaling, I’ve used Day One in the past, so will just continue with it. I’ve just gone through some of the days I did journal in the past and it brought up some really good (and bad!) memories, and also made me realise how far I’ve also come in both my personal life and in business. I definitely can see the value in it from the very very little I’ve done in the past.

3. Tick 2 items off my Bucket List

I’m a huge fan of having a bucket list. Here’s mine.

A great question I like to ask myself quite often is what one thing can I do today that will get me closer to ticking off an item off my list?

I then do that.

It might not be a massive step like buying plane tickets (most of my list is made up of travel). It could be as simple as renewing my passport, or open a savings account and aim to save R100 a week.

You don’t get to the top of a mountain in 1 step. It takes hundreds of steps, but you have to just start.

What are some of your 2018 resolutions?

Struggling to focus like me? Try the Pomodoro Technique

I’ve realised that I really struggle with focus. I’m constantly checking my email, checking my phone, scrolling through Instagram, Facebook & Twitter or jumping between random tabs in my browser.

I’ll start a task and while a file is busy downloading, or I’m waiting for something to load, I’ll quickly pick up my phone to check Twitter, or jump into my inbox to reply to a new email that has arrived.

My focus is a mess. And with no proper focus, comes no deep work, which means I’m not tackling the things that will help grow my business.

I came across Conor Neill’s blogpost where he talks about focus. This take away quote in his post is gold:

“If you don’t learn to focus, you will have a shallow and unrewarding life without any meaningful achievements.” ~ Derek Sivers

Conor recommends trying the Pomodoro technique, which he has used to great success. I must have me some of this Pomodoro!

How I use the Pomodoro Technique

You can watch the video below to see how a Pomodoro works, but it’s really simple. Set a timer for 25 minutes (a Pomodoro) and start a task. When the timer rings, get up (mid-sentence if you must) and take a 5 minute break.

If you get distracted by an email, reset the timer.
If you check your phone, reset the timer.
If the phone rings and you answer, reset the timer.
If your colleague taps you on the shoulder, reset the timer.
If you need to go to the bathroom, reset the timer.

I managed to complete 1 Pomodoro on day 1, 2 Pomodoro’s on day 2 and I’m writing this blog post on day 3 and if that timer rings it will be my first Pomodoro for the day (It’s currently 16:39). UPDATE: Yip, my first and only Pomodoro for the day!

What I also do is mark off the number of Pomodoro’s I’ve completed in my notebook, so that I have some sense of achievement when one is completed.

That * on day 1 and day 3 was an unfinished Pomodoro – I completed the task before the Pomodoro was up.

I at first thought that having to reset the timer each time I got distracted meant I’d feel like I was failing, but it has the exact opposite effect. It makes me even more determined to complete a Pomodoro, by focusing 100% at the task at hand and waiting for that buzzer. What it also showed me is how many damn distractions there are around me! My phone and the bad habit I have of constantly checking my email tab (I use Gmail in a pinned tab in Chrome) every few minutes.

A few Pomodoro tips from me

  1. DON’T USE YOUR PHONE AS A TIMER. You might have a notification come in while waiting for your phone to go off – and if that happens and you check it – you’ll have to reset the timer! Get a simple timer app for your Mac or PC. I’m using Tomato One.
  2. Turn your phone on silent, and leave it upside down or pop it into your bag so it’s a little further out the way so you aren’t tempted to check it.
  3. Pop on some headphones and listen to some music while tackling your task. If you’re not a music listening person, then just pop in headphones anyway and listen to nothing – they will definitely make any co-workers think twice about disturbing you.
  4. Keep track of the number of Pomodoro’s you complete in a notebook. The satisfaction of ticking them off really helps with the focus.
  5. Try and tackle tasks you know take longer than 25 minutes using the Pomodoro Technique and leave the little ones for later or even better, block them together. The little ones for me are a distraction to themselves, so I don’t try and Pomodoro them, I just get them out of the way.

Do you struggle with focus? What techniques or methods have you tried that have worked for you? I’d love to know!

 

Do the most important and most urgent. The rest can wait.

You know what is ok? It’s ok to not to be successful by the time you turn 30. It’s ok not to own the house you live in, not have any kids and not be married by 30. (Although I strongly suggest you get moving on the kids thing, but that’s for another article.) It’s ok to only start figuring out how to actually run your own business after turning 30. It’s ok to aim to be truly successful by the time you’re 40, heck, 50 even. These are the things that I’ve come to realise only after turning 30.

Click to continue reading my article over at Medium.com.

How to make an amazing Nespresso iced coffee at home

I’ve been trying to make a decent iced coffee at home with my Nespresso machine, but everytime I’ve tried, it just doesn’t have the right sweetness or coffee flavour that you find in coffee shops. So after some experimenting and asking a few coffee shops how they do it, I’ve managed to perfect a home-made Nespresso iced coffee.

You’ll need the following:

  • 2 x Nespresso pods
  • dash of milk
  • vanilla syrup
  • ice blocks
  • blender

Add to your blender, a double espresso and a dash of milk. The key here is don’t skimp on the double espresso by making a single lungo. There is a reason why iced coffees cost well over R20 in coffee shops. They are all using double espressos!

Add around 20 – 25 ice blocks, 2 or 3 tablespoons of the vanilla syrup and BLEND!

Pour into a glass, grab 2 straws and enjoy.

Just to recap

The key to the iced coffee is the double espresso and using syrup, not sugar, to sweeten. You can easily make sugar syrup at home if you can’t find any at your local supermarket. Here is a simple sugar syrup recipe and you can store the excess sugar syrup in your fridge for tomorrow’s Nespresso iced coffee.

Enjoy!

If you had R1 million land on your lap

What would you do if someone anonymous donor gave you R1 million to do with as you please? Would you quit your job, buy stuff, invest it? Would you retire at 25?

I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d take 6 months (ok, maybe 3 months) off and travel the world to experience as much as I possibly can in that time. I’d then come back to exactly where I live and carry on as if I haven’t been away for 1 day. Obviously the money left over will help whatever ideas I want to pursue, but the point of my post is I wouldn’t drastically change where I am and what I’m currently doing. I’m having that much fun.

You?