Siwicki

Lately, I have been experimenting with new apps that change my thinking and change my behaviors. I was using something early in the year that was basically a “mood tracker.” You would just mark down if you were feeling positive or negative and it would also look at your social to see what type of stuff you would be posting and analyze that. It was cool to do for a few weeks but it was hard to see myself keeping up with something so granular like that.

The 5-minute journal is basically a simplified and guided journal. It is mention to be done twice a day with some simple prompts to help you get through the journal very quickly. The company who makes the app also makes this is a physical journal. But, when they finally released an Android app I dove all in.

I set the app to remind me to fill it out at 7 am and 10 pm. Those seem like the perfect times to start up the day and to wind down the day.

The first day I told myself that I have, to be honest with my answers no matter how silly or awkward they might seem. The self-censorship is high in a situation like that.

The thing that I noticed the first thing about the morning routine was that it immediately changed my way of thinking. The negative thoughts went away quickly and I started to think about the positive and embrace the positive.

Focusing, in on the positive stuff really does change your thinking in the morning and starts the day off on a positive note.

This morning, I realized I didn’t have any toothpaste. I ended up waiting in line for 15 minutes at the grocery store for just the toothpaste. The drive to the store was 10 minutes and I was probably browsing the store for about two minutes. It was a frustrating experience.

For June, I wanted to do see if I could pull off not going to a store. I want to see if I can automate all of my grocery shopping completely. The goal is to see how much money it would cost vs time. My goal is to see if there is a good correlation between the services delivery charges vs my time/energy in going to a store. I have been an Amazon Fresh user for a few months now but I want to see if I can use the service to its max and treat it more like a personal assistant.

The rules, I am going to use Amazon Fresh, Google Express or Jet.com to handle any of my shopping needs. The only exception is if there is an illness and I need to get to a drug store.

The goal is to see if I time/money/quality of the food that I eat.

Writing was always something that I wanted to get more involved in my day to day life. Early last year, I started a blog and had some posts up, but it was nothing more than that just random posts at random times.

I tried to start the habit of blogging every day for 30 days. I would write a blog post every night on a topic I was thinking about or something I was working on. What ended up happening was about 20 poorly written, not even 500-word posts and about 10 with some value to them.

It was a good way to get over being scared of posting articles as every day I had to hit “Publish” no matter what. That was the best take away from that activity, but the quality was jumbled and the problem still remained it was a random assortment of thoughts. Morning Pages

I still wanted to write. I actually enjoyed the process of writing and the process of exploring ideas. But, I needed to do something to help that along and I needed to do something that would help me get better and more comfortable with writing and exploring my own ideas.

I was listening to a podcast talking about the concept of morning pages. The idea is every morning you write three handwritten pages with no prompt and no guidance, just start writing.

“Three pages of stream of consciousness writing done before the day begins”

I loved the concept but I had some problems. I didn’t like longhand because this was something that I thought I might want to go back and look at if I had a good idea or something that I wanted to grow on and expand.

I decided to find a simple app that I could write in plain text, was full screen to avoid distractions, and would allow me to search through all of the stuff I wrote. I wasn’t sure what was going to come out of it. The Results Were Not at All What I Imagined

I didn’t know what to expect from this. I thought there would be amazing ideas flowing. I would have some great business ideas or some book idea and I would be off to the races. I didn’t think that it would become a pseudo therapy session for me. At times, it was a space where I was able to work out problems. It was a place where I could vent about the struggles that I had. It was a place where I would set goals for the month, the day, and the week.

There were many ideas coming out as well. But, all of this other stuff happened. When you turn off the world and allow yourself the time and space to actually write down what is on your mind, the results were remarkable.

This wasn’t without its struggles. Some of the early days, the writing was nothing interesting, “I am tired. Why do I wake up every morning and do this?” There were some days where I was thankful for hot water and coffee and just wanted to talk about the joys of a good show. It Made Me Hungry

I felt like I was in a creative rut and that is why I wanted to start doing this. But, something happened once I got into my rhythm about three months in.

I wanted more. I wanted to share more. I wanted to start making some of my other creative projects. I got hungry for more.

Writing every morning unleashed the juices. It got me ready to take on the day. It got me set up to tackle some of the other problems and goals on my list.

What it did was allow me to start and get an easy win, which in turn allowed me to setup my mind to start completing. What Is Next

The daily routine was something that has helped me in other ways. I don’t see a reason to stop or change the practice. The benefits were visible. If I didn’t write in the morning on certain days, I felt like something was missing. It felt like I was on a cloud for the whole day.

Another thing that this practice trigged was the development of more good habits. I tried to break things I wanted to do down into smaller chunks. I was able to get into the habit of mediation, tackle being a vegetarian, and even read more.

I thought about stopping and seeing what happened. But, I enjoy it too much and I didn’t want to go back to being without it. I think that I might use it to experiment more with my writing, trying things such as writing more fiction and getting more comfortable with writing dialogue.

If you have something that you want to try, get it into your day or your routine. Break it down and try to do it for thirty days. It is the perfect amount of time to see how it will work with your life and allow you to make adjustments from there.

If you love experimenting with and wanting to try new things, this is a practice that could change you and allow you to get more done.

Some of my favorite apps are the one the ones that help make your life better. Whether that is something to help you manage your diet, manage your schedule or even manage a relationship better. I have a collection of apps that I know just to make certain things that I struggle with or might not have the bandwidth for just a little easier.

Digit’s tagline is Save Money Without Thinking About It. Digit is a really neat app that looks at a checking account and analyzes your habits and will slowly move money aside for you into a savings account.

I signed up for digit according to my records somewhere around the summer of 2015. The app was free to use. I used the app in a few different ways as my checking accounts are very elaborate as I like to tinker with different savings plans. But, I have steadily used the app for almost two years. I have loved the result of the app so far. It was finding these little pockets to save extra money. It was truly working for a rainy day fund to me.

Over, those two years this was one of those apps that I become an evangelist. I sent out invites and I talked about its magic system and how it is getting me to save even more money.

Now, as we know there is never a truly “free” app. I figured there was a money making apparatus in there. Maybe, just keeping the revenue from the interest on savings.

Then, on April 11th, Digit users got this email with the subject line “Charging For Digit.”

Now, the funny thing about this announcement was that I got really pissed. I have been a user for two years for free, driven a ton of signups. Then out of nowhere, they are going to be charging? Plus, I was torn because I did see the value in the product and was making my life a little easier.

There was a line in the email that made calm down for a second. “Charging for Digit will allow us to support our service while making sure we always do what’s right for the customer.”

Was Digit approached an offer for some data sharing? Is the company just trying to be on the up and up get and the revenue that they need to continue to grow the product. I wish they intro a freemium model. I felt like I would have paid for more feature or something along those lines.

I respect the honesty but it the announcement felt like it came out of nowhere. Plus, it raises and interesting question for financial apps. How do you make money when your value add is helping me spend less money?

I love when giant tech companies give keynotes. If they are streaming I tend to watch them and soak in the presentation. Facebook’s developer conference kicked off today and I watched with excitement to see all of the new announcements start to trickle in.

I was mostly interested in anything that they are doing with VR. Having Oculus in the portfolio there was bound to be a number of announcements. They announced “Facebook Spaces” spaces are there social VR app that allows you to do certain things with friends and you can interact with an avatar. But, there was a component of having people video call into these experiences with the messenger. In the demo, there was a panel with a person calling in from a phone and interacting with this avatar in this Virtual space.

Facebook being the advertising juggernaut watching this demo I couldn’t help but think of where the revenue would come in. The room could have sponsored panels or the room could be sponsored by “Mountain Dew” or a movie trailer could start to auto-play on a panel in the corner and be muted of course.

A number of people owning an oculus are going to be on the small side. But, this allows people with heads to bring people in to experience these new worlds. It is going to make people showcase the brand and the experiences. From, what I have seen with VR. I had to see it and use it and interact with it before I was completely bought in.

AR demos were shown off in some pieces. I think these are just going to be really just demos until we get their wearables. Being able to position data and manipulate the world with a wearable. Now, that is something I would want to play with.

There is a lot that makes me scared every day. I feel like an imposter most days. I feel like I am not worthy of the things that I am trying to create. But, I have been trying and I have been compelling ideas. I have been doing what I like to call creating in the shadows. Creating content and never showing it to anyway. It just sits on the shelf and slow fades away from my memory.

This month, I Have been going back to find those ideas and those things to share. There was a common theme in a lot of notes that I found. That I wanted to make a podcast and I had enough stories to do 10 episode run of this concept that I had written down. The date on my Evernote was 2014.

That made me oddly embarrassed. I like the idea enough to create and then do nothing about it. Storytelling is hard good storytelling is a craft and almost magic. But, I am going to craft this one episode and I am going to see how it goes. I am giving myself the permission to make and permission not to worry and have fun and of course a deadline.

This week I was struggling to ship a product out. But, I didn’t want to fall behind on the challenge. I have already had two successful weeks. I decided to list out all of my active projects and all of my half-baked unfinished projects. In an attempt to get to a level of focus and putting attention on the projects that get me the most excited about I just listed them all out. I always thought of myself as a person who was not productive and was not getting enough done. I never had a running list of all my project as hard as that is to believe. Seeing all of the different things that I have tried there was some great satisfaction. You can view that list here. So, the goal this week is to just figure out what is working and then sunsetting some things. You can have too many domains.

I recently just finished tracking my mood for 30 days. Any app that can change my thinking or change my behavior I am always up for trying. I like to see if they can help me break some bad habits or even introduce some new behaviors.

Today, I was trying a new app called The Five Minute Journal. The app started off as a physical product first as a notebook. The concept is to spend 5 minutes in the morning at night answering a few simple questions such as “I am grateful for..” and “What Would Make Today Great?” and then at night “3 Amazings Things That Happened” and “How could today have been better?”

Looking at the questions they seem very simple. Yet, I struggled a lot. I thought it was interesting that it took me awhile to answer these questions. The made me think and they made even a bit uncomfortable to think about. I am going to try this out for a month and see what happens. But, I feel like the results are going to be interesting.

I recently just finished tracking my mood for 30 days. Any app that can change my thinking or change my behavior I am always up for trying. I like to see if they can help me break some bad habits or even introduce some new behaviors.

Today, I was trying a new app called The Five Minute Journal. The app started off as a physical product first as a notebook. The concept is to spend 5 minutes in the morning at night answering a few simple questions such as “I am grateful for..” and “What Would Make Today Great?” and then at night “3 Amazings Things That Happened” and “How could today have been better?”

Looking at the questions they seem very simple. Yet, I struggled a lot. I thought it was interesting that it took me awhile to answer these questions. The made me think and they made even a bit uncomfortable to think about. I am going to try this out for a month and see what happens. But, I feel like the results are going to be interesting.

Starting tomorrow, I am going to start a 5-week challenge to start to ship some of my ideas finally. As important as I think it is to make sure that we that we actually try to release our ideas onto the world. We also have to keep in my mind the fact of that matter that should this idea exist and who would benefit from them. I have been thinking about sales a lot and being able to make one of this challenge.

One of the best feelings that I have had in the last 6 months was selling a copy of a course that I made. Release and finishing a product was one thing. But, that validation of someone taking out their credit card and say yes to something that you make is second to none.

I keep this list handy with me when I am thinking about ideas. Products Anyone Can Make

1. Book 2. White paper, research guide, compilation 3. Course/workshop 4. Screencast, video, or podcast/audio

But, tomorrow is day one of our challenge to make and ship your ideas. May just might be a challenge in sales.