Go On That Run.

go on that run

Last week I published a tweet that read:


This is what I learned from this amazing unexpected event.

  1. Get going with those things you want to get going with.
  2. Life is happening, right now. With or without you.
  3. Don’t hesitate to step up and help.
  4. Your feelings, no matter how real can really keep you down.
  5. Life is weird.
  6. Don’t give up. Keep trying. No matter how small just keep taking one step forward.
  7. Make time for yourself. Alone. Thinking time. No devices, books or media.
  8. Be mindful.
  9. Work to make each day great. A few tiny simple victories can equivalate to the most amazing day ever.
  10. Start each day with journaling. Write down what the most amazing yet reasonable day would be and to you and make it happen, captain.
  11. Go on that run.

Life is out there. Waiting for you.


For those of you wondering about what happened to the dolphin, I am happy to report that it has been successfully returned to the ocean. I was fortunate enough to find the video of the rescue and release of this magnificent creature here:

Making WordPress Things

My brother Andrew and I are working together on a project to build premium WordPress Plugins with the focus on User Management, WooCommerce, and some other cool integrations to boot!

Without a shadow of a doubt, this initiative was inspired by the amazing WordPress Power couple – Jason & Kim Coleman, founders of the popular membership plugin – Paid Memberships Pro.


We have two divisions of this project Yoohoo Plugins as well as Yoohoo themes.  While Yoohoo is not our full-time gig, we are working hard whenever we have the spare time to make sure these plugins/themes really add value to our users and help make their site making experience so much better!

As mentioned before, if it was not for the amazing support, inspiration, and education we received working at Paid Memberships Pro, I don’t think we would have come this far. Not even close.

WP Zapier

At the moment, one of our more popular plugins WP Zapier has really started gaining traction. With the skills I learned making tutorial videos for PMPro I was able to make this video to help promote our plugin.


Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

Even though our plugins are gaining popularity and traction, we have seen that progress is slow, which is fine. Wait. More than fine. Perfect in fact. We love what we do and what we are working on. If there is something that I have learned about online businesses is that it takes time, energy and commitment to succeed.

So for us, we plan to show up (when we can), be consistent, do our best and pivot if we need to 🙂

Deep Work

I am currently reading a book by Cal Newport called “Deep Work”.  As far a business books go, it is a pretty good read with a few simple concepts that, if applied, can help you achieve/learn/conquer/progress in pretty much anything you set your mind to. In a nutshell, if you want to “Learn complicated things quickly” and really get good at whatever you are working on, you need to spend uninterrupted time, dedicated to that one thing.

Simple, right? Well, not quite. You see, we live in an age where we have the World at our fingertips. At any moment we can pick up a relatively small device that is made from some glass and metal and quite literally connect with anyone, anywhere in the World. Astounding!

That is of course until you need to get some actual work done. Then one can quite quickly see how enslaved you can be to those endorphin-inducing notifications that your beloved device sends out ever so often.

man diving underwater photo

Going Deep

The concepts in Cal Newport’s book are not revolutionary. In fact, they are rather simple and quite obvious. That is exactly why I think, if applied, these concepts will work really well for me.

I currently live in a 3 bedroom apartment, with 3 adults a 4-year-old little “big” boy and a rather little dog(newly added). 4 of those things(me being one of them) I mentioned are at home most of the day, every day. This includes during conventional ‘work hours’. Needless to say, having moments of perfect silence and solitude, is quite a luxury.

In the book, the author writes about the importance of having uninterrupted time alone. This concept really resonated with me. Partly because it makes sense and as obvious as is sounds, when compared to how much time I spent in an uninterrupted, distraction-free state, I fell short miserably.

It takes around 25 minutes to refocus on a task once you have been interrupted. Just let that sink in for a bit

You see, for quite some time I have been a little frustrated with my time and how to manage it. Generally, I have a lot of things I want to learn, do, explore and achieve. I also find that I was not fully satisfied with the work I was pushing out and certainly felt that I never had enough time to properly finish certain tasks. When I read that “Multitasking” is actually quite detrimental to the quality of your work and that focusing solely on one task at a time for a prolonged period is far better in terms of quality and efficiency, I was thrilled.

turned on flat screen television

It was as if I could see a version of myself, behind my laptop. Constantly switching between browser tabs, website, and messaging apps. As soon as I was just getting somewhere with the next video I was creating: “Ping”, a new message. Better reply to the message as quickly as I can so I can get back to my video. Great, done. Oh yes, let me just really quickly reply to that one customer who needs their support questions answered. Sure, it can wait but I am sort of in between tasks now.

Apparently, it takes around 25 minutes to refocus on a task once you have been interrupted. Just let that sink in for a bit…

In my experience. Multitasking(or switching tasks before one task is finished) and leaving yourself open to being easily interrupted creates an environment where it takes you much, much more time to finish your work, at a quality that you are happy with.

I speak of work but this can be applied to other areas like learning a new skill or language for example.

Waking up early and deep diving my work was inspired by Ryan Carson, founder of Treehouse (first every online resource that taught me to code).

How to Deep Dive

Below is a list of things I have started doing that has helped me get more focused and banging out those tasks on todoist faster than you can say “Time to get things done.”

  1. Wake up at 04:30 am. Have a shower. Make Coffee. Start work at 05:00am(ish). Yikes!
  2. Work on one task at a time, with ninja-like focus. This takes practice.
  3. Remove any distractions. Mute notifications and get rid of anything that will draw your attention away from your task at hand.
  4. Tackle, the biggest, ugliest task on your to-do list first. You will know which this is because you will feel relieved once it is done.
  5. Move on to the next task. Aim to leave the easier more ‘shallow’ tasks for later in the day.
  6. Work in 25-minute sprints with 5-minute breaks. Known as the Pomodoro technique.
  7. Aim to do no more then 3-5 larger tasks on your to do list. I aim for 3 big tasks per day and have some bonus less urgent/important tasks on there too.

clear blue body of water

The Result

I have been able to get more work done, at a better quality and actually have more time for myself and family in the afternoon. By waking up early and working on my major to do’s first. I am able to spend my most creative energy in a more interruption-free environment (everyone is still sleeping😴) meaning that my tasks get done a lot quicker.

Most of the time, the act of just getting started on that ‘big’ to do item and then having enough time to really chew on it, is all you need to get it done. When we start feeling overwhelmed because we do not know where to start or what to do next, it is much more comforting to quickly reply to that email or do some admin than to actually do the work that really moves our work forward.

By 8 am or 9 am, half of my work day is done, most of my ‘big’ to-do tasks are done. I feel relieved and have more time in the late afternoon to spend time with my family, passion projects or whatever really 😃

silhouette photography of person on body of water

How do you get things done?

So, how do you get things done? I would love to hear more about any tips, tricks, hacks or strategies that you use to make a difference in your life.

Feel free to leave a comment below!


UPDATE – I should probably get to bed.

At the moment I was about to tweet this blog post out, I see the below tweet from ToDoist.

 

Note – Sleep is also really important in getting Deep Work done.

Achievement unlocked – Punisher MTB Challenge

On Saturday, June 3rd, I partook in an urban mountain bike race around Johannesburg which included riding through stormwater drains, climbing man-made scaffold bridges, navigating mountainous rocky patways and blindly cycling through dark underground tunnels.

Early morning – Race starting line

The course was 72km (45 miles) long and was very tough. I do not think I was fully prepared for what lay ahead (considering I was close to being one of the last to cross the finish line and around 3hrs behind the race leader) but I know I did the best I could with the time and resources I had and you know what? I did it. I finished the race.

Gareth and myself – waiting for the race to begin.

I completed the race in 06:03:27 and couldn’t be happier. This was the furthermost distance and longest time spent on my bike in one sitting. Funny enough, the following day I was a lot less sore than what I  thought I would be. The next day I  experienced mild discomfort in my shoulders, neck, and traps. This was from being hunched over in one spot for several hours.

It was a long race and would put my body, mind, and training to the test. Going into the race, I kept experiencing nagging thoughts of wanting to ‘know’ that I could ‘definitely’ finish the race. But even when being faced with the “3,2,1” countdown to the race start, I had no evidence that I would be able to conquer the figurative and literal mountain in front of me.

32km Check-in – Feeling great. We just passed through some large stormwater drains.

During the race, there were many times where I had to talk myself down from thoughts of quitting and giving up. Through burning thighs, an aching back and lungs aflame I had to keep going. There was work to be done and no time to complain.

Gareth and I, at the finish line with our Punisher medalsI love moments in life like these. Moments where you do something that should not have been possible. Moments like these are very addictive. We humans, love progress. Defying the odds. Being the underdogs. Sticking it to the ‘man’ etc. Whatever you call it, it is deeply satisfying to conquer these mountains and inevitably move on to the next challenge to overcome (next up – 94.7 Challenge).

Whose with me?!

Trav’s Tips for taking the challenge and completing it.

  1. Don’t give yourself a chance to escape. Register for the event, buy the ticket, say yes!
  2. Do not wait to see if you are ready for it. Decide to do it and then start preparing. You can spend weeks debating whether or not to do the challenge and it could have been spent training and getting ready. Trust me, this was my major downfall with the 2017 Bealieu 45km MTB challenge (which was much harder because I decided to do the race the morning of the event).
  3. Get a Partner to do it with you. Look for someone who can support and push you through it. This was vital for me – thanks Gary!
  4. Physically prepare yourself and get sufficient training.  You will honestly stand on the start line feeling like you could have done more. You probably could have, but you’re here now and it’s ‘Go Time’. Forget about the “Maybes” and “What ifs” and go for it.
  5. Get ready – mentally. Build some mental toughness. Be realistic with yourself and the challenge ahead. Even though I diligently trained my body and ate clean, the day before the race I kept repeating “It won’t be easy but you will do it”. I was right.
No one said it was going to be easy. It wasn’t but it was worth it.

 

Getting things done. Simplified.

A black and white shot of a man stretching his right leg before running on the road

It is really, really easy to over complicate things. Even when it comes to getting things done. This last year I was able to get the ball rolling on a lot of personal goals some big, some small and I was making some great progress too!

Hmm, progress…

Progress is something that makes me happy, so a good few months back I started reading more, journaling and watching videos on how to do things better, quicker and load more tasks on my plate because of my efforts.

It was around this same time that I started noticing that I was not able to get as much done as I wanted to and my progress sort of stalled, in almost all areas of my personal development journey.

The reason?

Well, I think it has to do with overcomplicating things and although books and media are really a great way to motivate and educate yourself. I found myself thinking more, doing less. Then I took a look at what lead to my previous stretch of progress and how to return to that state. Admittedly it was a particular motivational video (I know, ironic) that lead me to my “Aha” moment.

Solution.

Go back to the basics. When I was making the most progress in my endeavors§ was when I simply showed up and did something small that lead me to my ultimate goal.

For example:

Goal: Be ‘day to day’ fluent in Norwegian
Action: Do one Duolingo lesson every day.
This should take no longer than 5-10 minutes at most.
This was easy enough for me to consistently do for over 230 days (incl. weekends)
Best Progress Results

New Commitment.
Goal: Be ‘day to day’ fluent in Norwegian.
Action: Study Norwegian every day for 1 hour. Break up the hour session into different lessons that include conversing, reading, writing and watching something in Norwegian.
Lowest Progress Results

No doubt about it, option 2 would yield substantially better results. If I was able to accomplish this intricate regime I set for myself. Mix this regime in with having a busy schedule, family, work and quite a few more goals I have set for myself like: Follow a strict eating plan, Read a certain amount of pages per day, cycle/gym a certain amount every day, Code an hour a day etc, is a recipe for having too many ‘well-meaning things to do’ on your plate. Getting overwhelmed and ending up doing none of them.

Back to Basic. Do. Even if it is a little.

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself and ‘increasing the bar’ on your goals, but something that I have come to learn is that taking some form of action of your goal every day for 5 minutes(or less) is far better than having done nothing at all.