168 Hours: What I’ve Learned Tracking Every 15 Minutes of My Week

Time Tracking Bitches

For the past two weeks I’ve been tracking every 15 minute interval of my life. I borrowed this time-tracking practice from Laura Vanderkam, who writes helpful books including 168 Hours, which outlines the practice in a lot of detail.

One of Laura’s principles is that “you have more time than you think.” Through her research, she’s found that most people who claim to work more than 50 hours a week tend to over-report their work hours, sometimes dramatically so. In other words, a lot of the time they think they’re working, they’re not. It’s not just that their priorities are out of order; they also waste a lot of time.

I was happy with my productivity and work habits until a year or two ago. Then I began feeling frustrated, constantly carrying the sense that there were never enough hours in the day—though of course I had access to the same amount of hours as everyone else. Even more, being self-employed I have a lot of freedom in how I plan and spend those hours. I’m careful about commitments that aren’t rewarding, I try to have no more than two meetings or extended phone calls a day, and so on.

Still, like I said, I’ve been frustrated.

I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m pretty sure that some of them will be found through this time-tracking process. (If you’d like to try it for yourself, download a free spreadsheet from Laura’s site.)

What I’ve Learned So Far

A few early observations:

1. Time tracking takes time! But mostly it takes mindfulness.

Learning to monitor what you’re doing every 15 minutes takes some getting used to. I often find myself looking up and suddenly realizing I’m not sure what I’ve done for the last 40 minutes, sometimes longer—which of course is notable in itself.

On the positive side, I like seeing the columns fill up. I can tell there are patterns to be deciphered and improved upon.

*There’s an option to track your time every half-hour if fifteen-minute intervals feels excessive, but so far I’m thinking I’ll stick with fifteen.

2. The mere act of tracking my time helps me be more intentional.

When I know I have to account for my time, even if only to myself, I find myself making wiser decisions. I plan my days more carefully. I started writing this post a few days ago, but I’m finishing it while waiting for a replacement driver’s license at the DMV.

It’s not unusual for me to productively use waiting time. I think what’s different is that today I made this my default state instead of just looking at my phone or zoning out. I knew I’d need to account for what became a 30-minute wait, so I made sure to use it well.

3. Momentum matters.

Week I of tracking my time flew by and I only got behind a couple of afternoons. With a trip to New York City and a few other things that threw off my schedule in Week II, I got much more behind. There’s definitely a sense of momentum or inertia to this process: stay on track and you’ll want to keep it going, lose a few hours and you’ll feel discouraged.

Laura notes that most people have irregular weeks, but you shouldn’t wait for a “regular” week to start tracking. Disruptions happen in every week. I always have different projects to work on and I typically travel every week, so if I waited for a “normal” week at home I’d be waiting a long time. If I continue this discipline beyond another couple of weeks, I’ll need to make sure I integrate it into my traveling life.

4. I don’t feel guilty about intentional time that isn’t spent productively.

I don’t really have hobbies (I’ve tried!) and I sometimes say that relaxing stresses me out.

There are a lot of intervals I filled up with items “reading,” “walking to gym,” “phone call with a friend,” or even “search for mistake fares for post-WDS Asia trip.” And I liked that! I don’t feel that these things detract from my other goals at all. I don’t want to avoid or minimize them; in some ways I’d like to do more of them.

What I want to avoid is wasted time. Almost every day I have numerous 15-minute intervals that I don’t know what to label because I don’t remember what I did. This, at least for me, means that I frittered away the time without doing anything productive or taking time for myself in an intentional way.

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So what do I do with this info—or to rephrase, if you try it out, what do you do with the info you gain? Well, I’m not completely sure yet. Like I said, simply paying attention to it as I go is helping a bit on its own. I’d like to do more analysis with the data once I have another couple of weeks of good reporting.

In other words, I’m hoping to rally for Week III and gain more insight.

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Image: Eder Pozo

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

To Win the Lottery, Buy a Ticket and Never Check the Numbers

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I recently bought my first lottery ticket in something like 15 years.

The purchase happened on a whim, as I was walking down the street in California. When I passed by a convenience store, I thought, “I should go inside and buy a lottery ticket.” And so I did.

To a lottery novice such as myself, the process was a little confusing. Apparently there’s not just one lottery… there are many! Not being familiar with the pros and cons of various options, I asked the clerk for the cheapest one.

Then, for the price of a single dollar, I was given a slip of paper containing a series of numbers.

I understood that this slip of paper had a value that was yet to be determined. Most likely it was worth $0, but there was a chance—however slim—that it could be worth much more. When the winning numbers are announced, hundreds of thousands of tickets like these would immediately become worthless. But of course, one or more tickets could be worth millions.

I bought the ticket on a lark and didn’t really have a plan at first. But then, before I left the store, I knew what I would do next: nothing at all.

I’d hold on to the ticket, but never check the numbers to see if I’d won.

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“You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play…” (But You Also Have to Check the Numbers)

When most people buy lottery tickets, they aren’t doing so because they are compulsive gamblers. They aren’t investing their life savings. Most of them have no real expectation of winning, and only a vague hope that they’ll ever stand on a stage with an oversized check for millions of dollars.

What they’re buying is a fantasy, a brief time of thinking, “What if?” You know how the fantasy goes: What would you do if you have more money than you’d ever imagined?

Spending a dollar on a dream is hardly an irrational investment. Look at what people spend on Netflix each month, or concert tickets, or admission to Disneyland. There’s nothing wrong with those things. Choose your own entertainment without judgment.

But when I bought my first ticket in 15 years, I wasn’t thinking about the lottery fantasy at all.

There’s another old expression about contests of all kinds: You can’t win if you don’t play. If you don’t buy your ticket, you’re not in the game.

Well, I bought my ticket. I got in the game. But then I cheated the system. By refusing to check the numbers, I opted out of the chance to win a random drawing.

At first I wasn’t sure why I felt the urge to buy my first lottery ticket in 15 years. Then, as I handed over my dollar and realized my subconscious motivation, I smiled.

See, I don’t want random. I don’t want external forces controlling my life. I have agency. I AM ENOUGH. I don’t need a miracle, I need my inner compass.

Maybe you need to say some of those things to yourself, too:

I don’t want external forces controlling my life.

I have agency. I AM ENOUGH.

I don’t need a miracle, I need to learn to trust myself.

So that’s why I’m now carrying around this lottery ticket in my journal. Not out of a vague hope that my number will come up, but as a reminder to create my own future.

I know that not all of it is up to me—even without playing the lottery, luck and circumstance affect all of us every day. Some of us experience pain or grief sooner or more profoundly than others. Privilege or the lack thereof plays a role, too. Some of us begin our lives with a head start for no good reason.

Still, because we can’t control everything, it’s all the more important to assert our freedom of choice over the few things we can.

As for me, the lottery can keep its algorithm and bestow its winnings elsewhere. I’m tired of waiting for something to happen. I want to make something happen.

I’d like to think it was a dollar well spent.

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Images: NeonBrand, Carlos

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

New Travel Hacking Offers: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Points & More

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Greetings from paradise, also known as Australia.

I started writing this post from one of my favorite places in the world: the balcony of my room at Park Hyatt Sydney (check out this photo of the sunrise!). I’m staying here with points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, my #1 recommendation for travel rewards cards.

Normally, the room would cost $900 a night (!), but naturally, my cost is … $0. I’ve been here over and over, usually at least once a year, and every stay has been “funded” through my points from this card.

And it’s not just here. All over the world, I’ve been able to fly and stay for nearly free—all thanks to the wonders of travel hacking.

All of this is possible for you, too! Or at least it is for many of our readers, who regularly write in to tell me about how they used their points for amazing experiences of their own.

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The Latest Offers: Earn 100,000 Hilton Points and More

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the latest and greatest travel hacking offers. Here are a few deals that are particularly good. With the exception of the new Hilton card, which I plan to apply for at some point, I have all of these cards myself.

Here’s a rundown:

Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. I mentioned the Chase Sapphire Preferred in the intro to this post. There’s also a relatively new card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, that is also good (yeah, I have both… I can quit anytime).

The Reserve captured a lot of people’s attention when it first came out. At the time, it offered a 100,000 point bonus and an annual $300 travel credit that could essentially be earned twice the first year, depending on when you applied for it (i.e. if you applied in November you could get $300 credit, then it would “reset” in January, so within a short period of time you’d earn $600).

The card also has a $450 annual fee that can’t be waived, and they’ve since tightened up those two major benefits that offset the fee considerably. Now you earn “only” a 50,000 point bonus, and the annual $300 travel credit is now based on your year of being a cardholder.

Still, it’s a good card for some people who have a lot of travel and dining spend, since you’ll 3 points for every dollar spent on anything in those categories.

If you’re just getting started, I’d recommend the Preferred. If you know what you’re doing and can use the benefits well, get the Reserve.

Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link: Chase Sapphire Reserve

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New Hilton Honors Business AmEx. A brand-new card just debuted this week, offering a 100,000 point signup bonus and free Gold status in Hilton’s loyalty program.

What can you do with 100,000 points? Well, reward nights start at just 5,000 points a night, so technically you could stay up to 20 nights with this bonus. (If anyone does that, let me know.)

To be fair, those 5,000 night options aren’t usually places where you’d want to spend more than a quick night in transit somewhere, let alone anywhere you’d want to spend 20 nights at. Most people will be able to get anywhere from 2-4 nights at good Hilton properties. If you think of it like that, there’s still a lot of value to be found.

Gold status will also get you free breakfast, free internet, and room upgrades upon availability. Not bad when you consider most people have to “earn” those benefits every year by staying at least 10 nights.

Note: not all points are created equal. In fact, 50,000 points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred are more valuable than 100,000 points from the Hilton card. Still, you can definitely get a lot of value from the Hilton card.

Link: 100,000 Hilton Points + Gold Status

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Hyatt Credit Card. This card is great for Hyatt lovers—or for anyone who wants to earn hotel points for free hotel stays around the world including the Park Hyatt Sydney or any other Park Hyatt (Paris, Tokyo, New York, Milan are some of the better ones).

With the Hyatt Credit card from Chase, you’ll earn 40,000 World of Hyatt bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.

You’ll earn 3 points for every $1 you spend at a Hyatt Hotel, plus you’ll have automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as you’re a cardholder.

Finally, you’ll also get an annual free night certificate that can be used at any Category 1-4 hotel, which doesn’t include those Park Hyatts but does include a lot of nice properties. This benefit alone outweighs the annual fee for the card.

Link: Get 40,000 Points + 1 Free Night Annually

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Non-Card-Travel-Hacking

Other, Non-Card Offers

I know that not everyone can get U.S. travel cards, and some people in our community are opposed to the idea of credit cards in general. On the first point, I’ll just note that there may be cards in your country that are also valuable.

In our Dream Trip Facebook group, a number of people from Australia, Canada, Singapore, and various European countries have started their own sub-threads to discuss local deals.

On the second point—for people who hate credit cards—you’re certainly entitled to feel that way. However, be aware that I’m not encouraging anyone to go into debt. The whole point is to use these offers to your advantage, and you should never keep a balance on any of these cards. If you can’t use credit responsibility, you shouldn’t get these (or any other) cards.

Assuming you can use credit responsibly and pay off your balances each month, why not use them to see the world or otherwise just enjoy a nice vacation? That’s my philosophy, and as I said it’s worked well for many of our readers.

Either way, here are a couple of other deals you can take advantage of no matter where you live and no matter how you feel about credit cards.

Buy IHG points with a 75% bonus. I try to maintain a balance of miles and points in most major airline and hotel programs. This way, I have options. Whenever I’m going somewhere (which is usually every week), I consider what’s best depending on the city, what I’m doing there, and award availability.

I only stay at IHG properties a handful of times a year, but whenever I do, I usually book with points. Don’t have any IHG points? A few times a year, they run a sale where you can earn up to 100% extra points.

The current offer is for a 75% bonus. You can buy up to 60,000 points, and if you bought the maximum it would cost $690. You’d then receive a total of 105,000 points (60,000 + 45,000 bonus).

This isn’t an amazing deal, but you can then use those points to book stays for much less than they’d cost otherwise. I’ll be taking advantage of the deal to top up my IHG balance, which was getting low after a few recent trips.

Link: Buy IHG points for 40% off

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Wide-open awards from San Francisco to Australia. Qantas recently announced a new route from Melbourne to San Francisco, beginning at the end of 2018. Award availability can be tough on U.S.-Australia routes, and sometimes it’s next-to-impossible to find premium seats, especially for two people.

However, when a new route opens, there tend to be a lot more options—and that’s exactly what’s happening now. You can book Qantas awards using AA miles, British Airways Avios points, or Alaska Airlines miles.

The last option offers the most favorable redemption rate. For just 70,000 Alaska miles you can fly Business Class from San Francisco to Melbourne and get a free stopover. You might want to hang out in Melbourne for a while, then fly all the way across the country to Perth—for no additional miles.

You can also pick up a connection to San Francisco at no charge as well. For example, you can fly from New York City to SFO to begin the trip, all for no additional miles.

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These last two items are just a couple of recent examples. Each week there are new deals and opportunities. If you’re reading this post a bit later and those deals aren’t available, don’t fret… more are on the way.

Travel hacking works! Have you tried it yet?

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Image: Pixabay, Leah

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Escape for a Life-Changing Weekend or Build Your Small Business: Two Upcoming Events

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As mentioned a few days ago, WDS 2017 is sold out, but you can still register for Academies. These are half-day workshops on a variety of topics, ranging from productivity to wellness and everything in between.

We’ve noticed that Academies are one of the most popular parts of the WDS experience. You’ll learn new skills and make new friends. Oh, and if you’re traveling in just for Academies, you won’t be the only one—every year there are a lot of folks who make the trek.

–> Check out the lineup and join us in Portland next month!


Looking for Something Else? Here Are Two Great Options

If you wanted to attend the main-stage events at WDS and didn’t get a ticket, these other events are worth your consideration. (Or actually, they’re worth your consideration even if you’re already attending WDS.)

1. Come to Camp GLP with Jonathan Fields (I’ll be there too!)

Jonathan Fields is a longtime friend, a fact that’s probably reflected by his having more mentions on my blog than anyone else. A few years ago, Jonathan and his wife Stephanie started Camp GLP, an extension of the wildly popular Good Life Project (a podcast, community, and more).

Here’s how they describe it:

Camp GLP is about connecting, playing, lighting up on a deeper, more meaningful level. One that bypasses the normal superficial yadda yadda yadda and makes a beeline to the soul. Last year, we had everyone from CEOs to musicians who played Wembley Stadium, world-shaking entrepreneurs to soccer moms and local artisans. And you know what, nobody really knew or cared.

Because, in the end, we’re all connected by something bigger. We’re human, and we want to be seen, heard, held and supported just for that. Without it being about what we’ve done, accomplished or who we’ve impressed.

Camp GLP is held a short train ride from New York City. If you’re in the area, that makes it easy to attend—and if you’ll be traveling in like me, it’s a great opportunity to spend a couple days in the city before or after camp.

–> I’ll be at “Camp” this year and would love to see you there. Sign up and join me!


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2. Head to Boise for Craft & Commerce, a new event focused on building your small business

Another good friend, Nathan Barry, spoke at the first Pioneer Nation event several years ago. (Oh, and come to think of it, we went to Norway together for the end of the world.)

I’ve been impressed blown away at how he’s built his business, ConvertKit. I use the service myself, as a paying customer, and last year moved more than 100,000 subscribers over from the company I previously used.

Here’s how Nathan describes the new event:

Barrett Brooks and I started Craft + Commerce because we wanted a place where people building great audience driven businesses could get more than just inspiration. The focus on tactics was one of my favorite things about Pioneer Nation, so we wanted to bring it to a new conference in the northwest.

On the other side, a lot of the tactical conferences focus so much on making money that they miss that we are hear first and foremost to serve our readers. So Craft and Commerce is the intersection of those ideas: honing your craft to deliver amazing value to your audience, but also learning the tactics to earn a solid living from your work.

I won’t be at this event, but I know you’re in good hands with Nathan & co. Oh, and I see that Seth Godin, one of my longtime inspirations, will be speaking. It’s definitely worth looking into!

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Tired of Negativity? Try a Newspaper Full of Good News

Good News

Link: A Newspaper Full of Good News

What should we do about the world falling apart? You know—the rise in hate crime, marked partisanship, loss of democracy, weakened institutions, and so on?

Yeah. It’s tough. Let me know when you figure it out.

In the meantime, I’ve been following a crowdfunding campaign for a product I really like. Check out the video to see what it’s all about:

 

Introducing the Goodnewspaper: a printed newspaper that celebrates the people, ideas and movements that are changing the world.

Here’s how the creator explains it:

2016 was deemed by many to be one of the worst years in a very long time. 2017 isn’t off to the best start either.

The Goodnewspaper is a reminder that there’s good news in the world to be hopeful about, a map for how to move from feeling helpless to taking action, and a tool for those confused on how to get involved in the march against division, terrorism, fear and injustice.

It helps you celebrate good news by sharing hopeful stories you might not know about, and helps you become good news by providing tangible action steps on how to make a difference in the world in big and small ways. The stories and tools inside will leave you feeling less overwhelmed, and more capable of being a part of the good in the world.

Pretty cool, huh? I love this project and made a pledge myself.

If you’re reading this after the campaign is over, well, you can still check it out! It will be going for at least a year.

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Limited Time: Earn Up to 180,000 Hilton Points with Special Offers

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Link: Get 100,000 Hilton Points (with $75 annual fee)
Link: Get 80,000 Hilton Points (with no annual fee)

There’s big news in the travel hacking world this week: a limited-time offer to earn a lot of hotel points has arrived. To be precise, there are actually two offers, one for an increased signup bonus amount (from 40,000 points to 75,000, which is great), and an even better one that gets you a whopping 100,000 Hilton points.

Oh, and when you get the Surpass card (the one with 100,000 points), you’ll also receive a free weekend night certificate valid at any Hilton property worldwide. Yeah, no kidding!

Several years ago I was a big fan of Hilton and spent at least 25 nights a year at their properties. On my first book tour, probably half of my stays were at Hilton Garden Inns, a comfortable mid-range brand that provides a consistently good breakfast. These days, more of my travel is with Starwood and Hyatt, but I still stay at Hilton properties as a backup.

So, why is this deal interesting?

1. 100,000 points can equal up to 25 free nights

Let’s be totally fair: most people aren’t going to get 25 free nights out of this offer, but it is technically possible. The lowest redemption category for a night’s stay is 5,000 points, and when staying five nights, you get the fifth night free.

Therefore, if you spent all your points at Category 1 properties, you’d get 20 nights free—and if you stayed five nights at the same properties for five times, you’d get 25 nights free. (They don’t have to be the same for all 25 nights, just five nights at once.)

Consider that extreme travel hacking, and some people actually do it. For the rest of us, we’ll probably get fewer nights out of the points because we don’t always want to stay in the cheapest places in the world, and we’re also not likely to stay five nights in a row very often. Personally I very rarely stay somewhere more than two nights in a row. 🙂

Still, you should be able to use the points for at least two free nights at properties that would usually cost $300 a night or more (in New York, London, Sydney, or plenty of other expensive cities), or somewhere between three and five free nights if you aim for the middle ground.

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2. You get complimentary elite status (either Platinum, Gold, or Silver) with these offers

Hotel elite status gets you perks: free breakfast, upgrades, late check-out, free internet, a bottle of champagne in your Hampton Inn bathtub, and so on. Cardholders for each of these offers receive complimentary status, but there’s a slight difference between the two.

If you get the Hilton HHonors Surpass card, you get Gold status. This status is legit. You’ll always get free breakfast and other small perks, and most of the time you’ll get a decent upgrade if it’s available.

If you get the Hilton HHonors American Express card, you get Silver status. This status is a big step down from Gold. It basically gives you late check-out and a bottle of water (seriously, they put the water bottle on the benefits list). On the plus side, this card has no annual fee and requires a lower minimum spend ($1,000) to get the bonus.

If you don’t care about status, therefore, you might be better off with the 75,000 point offer, just so you don’t have to pay the annual fee.

Interestingly, both cards will give you a higher status if you spend a certain amount over the course of a year. The Hilton HHonors American Express card will get you Gold status (upgraded from Silver) if you spend $20,000, and the new Surpass card will get you Diamond status (upgraded from Gold, and the highest possible status) if you spend $40,000 a year.

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The increased sign-up bonus on the original card and the introduction of the new Surpass card make for the best offer I’ve ever seen for Hilton points.

Finally, it’s totally possible to get both cards—but if only getting one, personally I’d go for the Surpass. The 20,000 extra points are nice, but the free stay (anywhere!) certificate is the real prize that’s well worth the $75 fee.

Link: Get 100,000 Hilton Points
Link: Get 80,000 Hilton Points

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Images: 1, 2

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Since You Can Live Anywhere, Where Should It Be?

Link: The Earth Awaits

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Oh wait… most of us can live just about anywhere.

Sure, you might not be able to pack up and leave tomorrow (or maybe you could), but with enough resourcefulness, with the right passport it’s not that hard to leave your home country and establish a new life elsewhere. Many readers have done it.

A new free site called The Earth Awaits offers to help you kick the planning into another gear. You tell it which factors are important to you, and it gives you customized recommendations. You can select preferences such as:

  • Monthly budget
  • Primary language
  • Crime rate
  • Broadband access (my #1 factor!)
  • Climate

… and several others.

If you don’t like your results, you can adjust some factors and try again. This is a useful feature, because for me when I selected a few factors, Oklahoma City and Shreveport, Louisiana came up at the top of my recommendations. No disrespect to citizens of either city, but I’m almost certain those places aren’t paradise for me.

Similarly, when I removed North America from the options, it gave me a list of dreary-sounding cities in the U.K., including a couple that I’ve never heard of. I like the U.K. but I don’t want to be isolated. Then I removed that option and it gave me Canberra, Australia. I love Australia… but most locals would be the first to tell you that Canberra is the Shreveport of Australia.

In other words, you’re going to want to play around with the tool to get results that accurately reflect all of your preferences. Still, it’s a fun resource that can certainly help with daydreaming, and maybe even with real planning if you’re a bit further along.

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Images: 1 & 2

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

“I Write To Create Something That Is Better than Myself”: Reading Karl Ove Knausgaard

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Like a lot of people outside of Scandinavia, I discovered Karl Ove Knausgaard’s epic, extended memoir series a few years after it was a huge bestseller in his native Norway.

So far in my reading, the six-volume, 3,600 page (!) series has covered the extremely intimate and granular experiences of childhood, burying his alcoholic father, leaving a marriage and entering a new relationship with a woman who suffers from bi-polar disorder, all in a kaleidoscope of words and paragraphs about what could be termed the joy and trauma of ordinary life.

Yep, I’m a fan.

Knausgaard’s writing was aptly described as “that close attention to life as it actually is lived.” When asked by the Paris Review if the work produced what he was hoping for, here’s how he answered:

“I can’t speak for other writers, but I write to create something that is better than myself, I think that’s the deepest motivation, and it is so because I’m full of self-loathing and shame.

Writing doesn’t make me a better person, nor a wiser and happier one, but the writing, the text, the novel, is a creation of something outside of the self, an object, kind of neutralized by the objectivity of literature and form. The temper, the voice, the style. All in it is carefully constructed and controlled. This is writing for me—a cold hand on a warm forehead.”

Link: Completely Without Dignity

Also: Total Recall

Image: Letha

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Should You Perform for the Audience or Just Entertain Yourself?

Link: Sir Paul on Fans, the Beatles, and Himself

When Paul McCartney goes on tour, he plays a lot of songs. A recent set list included 27 songs and stretched for more than three hours. People get their money’s worth, which is why they keep coming back.

You can think of yourself as an artist that seeks to challenge yourself by trying new things, and there’s nothing wrong that perspective. But there’s also nothing wrong with asking, “What do the people want?” and then thinking about how to give it to them.

From a recent Q&A in the New York Times:

Bob Dylan is also on tour now, playing almost exclusively new songs. Can you imagine doing that?

“I’ve thought about that a lot. Theoretically, the philosophy is good, because, well, you’re not playing songs you’ve played a lot. But my concern is for the audience. I remember when I went to concerts, particularly when I was a kid, it was a lot of money you had to save up. So I imagine myself going to my show: Would I like to hear him play all new songs? No. I wouldn’t want to do that. I would do a smaller gig and advertise the fact up front — I’d probably call the tour “Deep Cuts” or something, so you knew it was going to be just really deep cuts that only the aficionados would know. I think if I did that, it could be quite fun.”

It’s interesting how much you think about the audience being entertained or disappointed.

“Having been one, and having spent what for me was a lot of money. And that was very much the Beatles’ philosophy. If you think about our singles, there was an A and a B side. Normally people put a bit of rubbish on the B side, but the Beatles B sides are really always good. We used to call it ‘value for money.’ Because we had all recently been those teenagers that we were now appealing to.”

It’s kind of like making blockbuster movies versus independent films. Sure, being an artist is good, but what’s wrong with a summer blockbuster?

Making people happy can be an art form of its own.

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Images: 1 & 2

Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

One Week from Today: “Born for This” Goes Into the World!

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One day I’ll drink less coffee… but it won’t be anytime soon.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had my passport locked in a drawer, and I haven’t allowed myself to purchase any plane tickets that cross an ocean. Am I tired of seeing the world? Nope. I’ll actually be on the road to 30 cities starting very soon, but they’re all in the U.S. and Canada.

In exactly seven days, my new book Born for This will launch into the world. (Well, at least the North American part of the world. Other versions will follow shortly afterward.)

It’s been a long time since I’ve published a book, and I’m feeling both nervous and excited. For three months I’ve been preparing, mostly by myself and with my small team, and soon there will be nothing left to prepare.

Why Write a Book?

Because the right book can change your life.

I spend the better part of two years conducting research, writing several drafts of a manuscript, then editing it (over and over) to distill lessons that will help readers find the work they were born to do.

If you liked The $100 Startup, I think you’ll like this book even more. Every page has actionable advice that will help you make more money, do better work, and most importantly, create more life satisfaction. It’s also the most personal book I’ve written, and it feels particularly special to me.

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Want to Help? That Would Be Awesome

For eight years now my work has been able to reach a wide audience because of you, dear readers. I’d be grateful for any help you can provide!

-Order the Book!

First things first: you should probably have at least one copy of the book. All copies ordered in advance will go toward the first week’s sales, which matters a lot in the publishing world. So if you haven’t pre-ordered yet, just head over here and you can make that happen.*

*Thank you. I don’t take it for granted. And if you aren’t able to buy any copies at all, that’s okay—the book should be available in your local library within a month or so of launch.

-Plan for the Tour!

Did I mention I’m heading to 30 cities? On Tuesday night I’m having a small launch event in Portland before heading south to Los Angeles and beyond. After that I’ll be in a different city almost every day for the next five weeks.

Come on out and join me—and tell your friends to sign up too! I’ll have an all-new presentation, lots of awesome people will be in attendance, and there might even be cupcakes.*

*Cupcake availability depends on the city and who brings them. I’ve noticed in the past that there are either a LOT of cupcakes or none at all.

—> Sign Up for Tickets!

-Review the Book! (after you read it)

Independent reviews make a huge impact, especially on Amazon.com. My Street Team (hey, Street Team!) has read an advance copy of the book and will be posting their reviews as soon as the book goes on sale.

After you’ve had a chance to read the book, I’d appreciate it if you’d share your thoughts too. To be clear, I only want honest reviews. I hope you love the book, but you can say whatever you want.

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Okay, that’s it! This is going to be really fun. See you in a week with the book. 🙂

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Aerial Photos of New York City from a Helicopter Flying at 7,500 Feet

Filmmaker Vincent Laforet describes his recent mission of capturing nighttime aerial photos of New York City as both “the scariest” and “the most beautiful” of his entire eclectic career.

I loved seeing what he captured!

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And here’s a fun video of how the whole thing was made:

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

A Quest to Write and Share 1,000 Poems Using a Manual Typewriter

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Scott James is from Austin, Texas and is on a quest to write and share 1,000 poems before the end of 2015.

You can see a few examples of this fun project below.

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This summer he brought his typewriter to WDS and wrote poems for us during the Portland Experience.

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Check out his Instagram to follow along on the poem quest. If you tag him with a word or photo, you might even get your own poem!

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

How Much Is Your Time Worth? This Free Tool Will Show You

How Much Is Your Time Worth? This Free Tool Will Show You

Link: How Much Is Your Time Worth?

Deciding how you value your time can help you make decisions. But how do you really know what your time is worth?

It’s partly a hypothetical question, because you don’t always get to choose how much money you’ll make or how much free time you’ll have.

And it’s partly a practical question, because sometimes you do get to choose. Life is all about making choices, some of which are exclusive and limit us from other opportunities.

A free tool guides you to your own answer of “How much is your time worth” in both hypothetical and practical scenarios. Here’s what it promises:

You’ve probably heard the saying “time is money.” It’s a popular line for a reason—it’s true. This tool will help you understand how much money your time is worth to you.

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The online tool asks you to answer a series of questions about different scenarios, including how much you’d want to be paid to take on an additional task, and how much you’d pay to avoid waiting in line.

I just went through the questions myself and found the results interesting. For example, one of the results it returned for me read as follows:

“It’s possible that you’re more reluctant than you should be to spend money in order to free up time — for instance, by paying for time-saving services or purchasing time-saving devices.”

This is totally true. I’ve tried to get better at this recently, but I know that I have a tendency to be overly frugal when it comes to paying for time-saving services.

As the instructions in the tool state:

You will not always find it useful to put a monetary value on your time. If you’re on a relaxing beach vacation, for instance, you probably don’t want to think in these terms. But many of life’s decisions require you to trade money for time or vice versa. For these situations, it’s very useful to know the specific value you place on your time.

How Much Is Your Time Really Worth?

Note: the tool asks for your email address after you answer a few questions, but you can leave it blank and still see your results.

So, how much is your time worth? Did you learn anything?

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

100 Days Without Fear: A Daily Video Experiment

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A few months ago, Michelle Poler moved from Venezuela to New York to pursue a Master’s Degree. While she was there, she started a project called 100 Days Without Fear to systematically combat the things that she was afraid of.

This fun project recently wrapped up with daily videos of her teaching a Zumba class, crowd surfing, posing nude for a drawing class, interviewing strangers, and attempting dozens of other interesting tasks.

Check out a few of them below or directly on the project page.

 

 

 

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Hat Tip: Booooooom

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.

Pioneer Nation Returns in October: Here’s How You Can Join Us!

Pioneer Nation tickets go on sale next Thursday, August 13th

 

Last year we debuted an all-new event to serve independent entrepreneurs and anyone who felt underserved by existing business conferences. We called it Pioneer Nation—and the first gathering was a tremendous success.

We’ll be returning in October (just two months from now!) for our second edition. If you’d like to hang out in a mountain resort an hour from Portland, Oregon and learn new skills for taking your business to another level, you can sign up next week.

With more than a hundred other like-minded solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners, Pioneer Nation is a place for you to spend time collecting ideas and implementing strategies. The entire weekend is action-focused and features a team of experts who will help you along the way.

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Ticket Sales Begin Next Thursday

Pioneer Nation is much smaller than WDS, our flagship event. We’ll only be offering 150 tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. We expect them to go live on Thursday, August 13.

I’ll post here when they’re available, and you can also join the waiting list for a sneak preview.

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Decide for yourself what you want, then find a way to make it happen.