Keeping on keeping on.

Perseverance. Discipline. Self-control,call it what you like, but the ability to stick with something throughout all the ups and downs, through the passionate jungle lands and long treks through the dry deserts of pure hard work, is a special skill.

Gary Vaynerchuk calls it his hustle.
Nike uses the slogan “Just Do It”.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s all about keeping your head down, shoulder to the grind stone and nose in the dirt.

It’s about Action.
About Grit.

But remaining focussed and committed and to maintain the belief that your plans will succeed is one of the primary factors for success. It’s also one of the things I seem to struggle with the most.

I feel like I have a ton of potential (I love and hate this word), I have dreams and things I see myself being able to achieve. And I get that it’s hard for everyone – if it was easy we wouldn’t be drawn to the GaryVees of the world, because we’d all be getting it right anyway.

It’s frustrating though. This is more a rant than a 5 steps to making your hustle work. Honestly, I’m not sure how to. I have all the theoretical knowledge – at the very least, enough to get started – but somehow somewhere I just can’t or don’t. My head goes blank whenever I have free time, but when I’m busy, then it’s filled with all the cool things I could or should be doing.

I’ve got Trello boards filled with ideas. And cool shit I want to do. Overload and too many ideas is probably a real issue here. Busy-ness too. Distraction for the sake of distraction.

And Fear.

Fear of losing. Fearing of success. A whole lot of fear. There’s a thousand reasons why not. I’m doing my best to push through it – but the noises are loud. The excuses many. And the distractions innumerous.

Our minds are weird things. What I long for the most, I seem to do everything to avoid achieving. Every little issue that I could formulate to stop myself getting somewhere I will. It’s annoyingly frustrating.

I’m determined to get there, but it’s really hard to see the wood for the trees sometimes.

I think through all the struggling and reading and listening to podcasts, talking to friends, thinking and watching others succeed and how they did it, I’m starting to formulate some kind of a way forward. Some way to hack my way to the surface.

I know I said this isn’t a 5 steps post, but maybe it is..

I think the keys points are :

1. Work hard and smart. Cliche I know. But for me, I’m always “working” but really I’m usually not. I’m distracting myself with something. Often times it’s aimlessly scrolling through facebook. Or going through newsletters and clicking interesting posts that I’ll probably never read because I open too many and then save them all to Pocket or Evernote in the hopes that one day I’ll go through them but never do.

So I need to start working. Actually working. On something. Anything. Even if it’s scary.

This means planning or giving myself a task. That’s important – preparing my mind for work. Just sitting down and then going ok I need to work here’s the work let’s go never really works. At best I end up writing about it (queue this post) at worst I end up lost in my Facebook news feed hitting refresh in the hopes I’ll be entertained.

2. Treat everything as an experiment. That way if you fail, it’s not really failing – it’s simply data that can be taken and used to rinse repeat. Success is the same – data. Rinse repeat- see what I’ve done right or wrong and how I can make it better.

What I can use to make it work for me. Because otherwise, honestly both ‘success’ and ‘failure’ can be a trap that leads to stagnation, which is failure. As with most things in life, annoyingly, we’re always moving. Either it’s positive or it’s negative but it’s almost never still.

3. Break the work into smaller pieces. The big tasks always overwhelm. I end up staring at it for 10minutes then checking Facebook and remembering 30min later that I was actually doing something. Especially if it’s something new or hard or that I’m not 100% comfortable with.

Breaking things into bite-sizable bits helps me be able to figure out in my head exactly what I need to do then get on and do it. It creates small actionable bits for each piece of the work. Solve one piece then move on to the next. Rinse repeat and soon the project is done. Elephants and single bites and all that.

Sometimes what happens is that I don’t break things down small enough, and so I end starting something and then not getting anywhere – so what helps is whenever you start a task, see if it can be broken down further – and rinse-repeat this until you can knock off each task easily and gather a nice momentum through the work.

4. Plan everything. This ties heavily into #3. The only way you’ll be able to break a project down into actionable bits is by taking a few minutes out to plan. I’m always the most productive when I plan first. Planning gives me a good overview of what I need to achieve overall, it makes sure that I haven’t missed anything and then it allows me to break the project into smaller tasks and catch anything that I might need to consider or plan for down the road.

5. Focus. Focus is insanely important to achieving anything. It’s the ability to keep on at a task or project without being distracted by all the miriad distractions that abound – especially when your work depends on being so heavily connected. Always online, always available. This is where a good plan goes a long way. Knowing what you want to achieve and how you’re going to go about doing it is a fantastic way to encourage focus and discourage procrastination.

6. Get Started. Just Do It. The Art of The Start. Hustle. All the gurus are saying it. It’s the hardest part – just get going. Just start. Just do the fucking thing. Why is it so scary? All the reasons above – fear of failing, fear of succeeding, fear of well pick something and it’ll jump in and distract. Simply get started.

I’ve found the best way to start is to define what you want to achieve. Set your goal. Any goal. If you don’t know where you want to end up – then at least decide where you want to be in a month. Define what you want to achieve – it’ll probably change anyway – but get it down. Then using planning, break it down into smaller chunks, and as I’ve said above-  it makes it less scary, gives you something to focus on now. Something achievable. And something that ties into a bigger picture. It’s your roadmap. You’re paving the road as you go, but in the back of your head you know where you’re going.

These are some of the tools I’ve used -and I’ve found really helps with getting me onto a project and productive quickly. There’s almost definitely a few more.

I know them and yet they’re still so difficult to use. Usually it’s because I think of something rad, get scared then forget the process and don’t get anywhere – so having it here written down will hopefully serve as a much needed reminder.

And hopefully it’ll help you to get going on whatever dreams and goals and side projects you have in your heart to do.

Focus and the Beast.

There is a lot to be said for focus. The ability to focus on a singular goal can help one achieve some amazing things.

I’ve been growing a theory that indecision is the leading factor that keeps me from achieving my dreams. That and laziness. Actually not laziness, but fear. And maybe a bit of lazy. Although it’s not lazy.. it’s lack of belief that I can achieve what I set out to.. But they’re all tied together I think.

Indecision leads to inaction. Which leads to, well, nothing. It leads to maintaining the status quo. The easy way out is also the quickest way to land yourself in a dead-end.

One of my favourite authors and life hackers, Tim Ferriss has stated that he believes it is possible to become world-class at something within 6 months – so twice a year. Simply through focus and finding the quick gains.

And it’s these 3 things that tend to leave me in mediocrity.
Indecision. Inaction. Fear.

I always feel like I suck at getting things done. I struggle with focus. My focus seems shit at the best of times, but I’m beginning to learn how to hack periods of concentration back into my life.

The thing is I don’t lack at all in having ideas or goals. Vision maybe a little- but again that’s more because of a lack of believing I can achieve what I set out to. Lack of self-confidence really.

As a result of knowing there’s an issue, I’ve spent a ton of time thinking about how to fix it. I’ve also tried to look at what’s worked for me in the past. And I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to focus when I have a clear picture in my head of where I’m going, what I need to do to get there and the task I need to do right now.

Unfortunately more often than not – it’s deciding those 3 things that proves incredibly difficult, but when I spend the time figuring it out, it really helps pull whatever I’m working on from an idea and closer to reality and having that purpose and a defined idea of what to do now and what comes next really creates a space for focus. That and tackling one thing at a time, which is a whole other kettle of fish…

 

I’m so meta right now.

tl;dr I need to write, therefore I’m writing. About writing.

I need to write. Which is the primary reason I’m writing now, today. Writing about writing. How very meta of me.

I set out in August to create a piece of content every day. This post will mark my 7th written piece. I’ve created some Snapchat content almost every day, and a Twitter video. I’ve made a weird Beme video – honestly, I don’t know that I like it. It feels… weird.

But, I think I’ve missed a day or two, which kinda sucks.

So far I think it’s the fear more than anything.. I have this weird fear of writing. To write, I need a topic (Or like tonight, I don’t), and there’s this strange fear. No, not fear. Anxiety. This this strange anxiety around finding or at least accepting a topic. I suppose it’s almost that once I accept a topic to write about – I then need to embrace it. I don’t want to fuck it up or sound silly or come across ignorant. I’m still at that place where I fear societal backlash if I say something stupid – which is in itself stupid because the number of people reading what I write is so small and 99% are friends who tend to be very nice and encouraging about it all (thanks guys).

But.. in the back of my head I know I need to write something. Anything. And the irony is that as soon as I sit down to write the words come. I’m pretty opinionated and know a bit about a bunch of stuff, so I never really struggle to write about something once I’ve chosen the topic. But still, anxiety.

And it’s that anxiety, and kinda possibly just not feeling like it that leaves me writing my posts usually around midnight, starting just before so that the created date still comes in on the day. But, that’s also meant that a few times I’m simply too tired to write anything, and end up writing something like this..

What happens when I fall asleep writing
This is what happens when I fall asleep writing…

But that’s the moany part. I figure it needed addressing. I really want to finish the month strong. I have a bunch of stuff I’d like to write about – but I also know a few of them will take time which I need to make time for, but everything pays a price.

Writing this means that either I’m going to go to bed later or I need to fill in my expense slips another day. And they’re kinda piling up.

But this writing thing is good. I’m starting to be aware of what I want to write each day. I’ve been thinking about things more and it’s pushing me to read again (which is only ever a good thing).

I really want to do some vlogs. I’m looking forward to messing about with some video editing, but also just getting some videos out. That scares me on a different level, though. Mostly because it’s me. On a screen. Talking and shit. What will you people think!? And more importantly – what will I say?

On the vlogging, I think I’m really just not sure what to do. I mean I could do a bit of a standard vlog journal thing, or do more of a technical tutorial vibe. Arguably I should do both. The experience will do me good. I don’t know – you guys have any tips or advice? Pushing little videos to my Snapchat daily journal thing has been fun – but one can’t say much in 10s, and it disappears so quickly – I’d like something with a little more permeance – even if it’s simply so that I can go back and look through things, and build up a bit of an archive. I think that’ll be a rad thing to have.

While we’re on Snapchat – I really really like the text-overs and how they handle Emoji. It looks like they’re going to start bringing in image overlays too (if GaryVee’s vids are anything to go by) which will be very cool. Why is no one else doing this? I wish I could record a video or take a pic on Whatsapp or Instagram and easily be able to overlay text or scribble some silliness on it. Would be rad.

Ok well that’s it – and my first official ‘journal’ entry.

Chat again soon my lovelies.

x

The price of choice

Choices are expensive.

And not just because of opportunity cost, but because of the impact that making a choice has on us.

That’s why discipline is so hard. Or any kind of change where we aren’t being driven by passion or some form of natural motivation.

We are creatures of habit. And once we’re headed in a direction it’s very hard to change it.

That’s why trying to make changes outside of our norms is so taxing on the mind. I’ve always found it hard to illicit change in myself. Even when it’s something I really really want to see happen, the energy only lasts so long before it runs out.

As an illustration, I’ve been focussed on weight loss and fitness for the last four years. It’s been an up and down road. 

Over the years, a few things have settled as habits, but I’ve also found it harder and harder to remain focused on eating right. 

And honestly, I’ve always found that focusing on exercising was a lot easier than focusing on eating, and I think I know why. 

Exercising is an active thing. Once I do it I always feel better, it feels like I’m proactively changing, and so I think it’s a lot easier to keep motivated with it. Eating, on the other hand, is very passive. There are some immediate impacts of eating healthily over not (less chance of feeling bloated, etc) but generally it doesn’t feel very active. 

Additionally, I think the main issues boil down the to the number of decisions one needs to make for each.

When exercising it’s really a matter of deciding when to exercise and what to do. And typically it’s three to four times a week. 

Eating on the other hand is deciding what to have, and that includes remembering what you can and can’t eat as well as usually having to make (or pre-make) food, three times a day, six to seven days a week (if you’ve got a cheat day). And it’s not just three times a day, but it’s also repeatedly choosing not to indulge that chocolate or pasta craving, and that typically happens a lot more than just at eating times.

So, in summary, where exercising requires you to make the right choice maybe 8 times in a week, with eating it’s upwards of 50. And all those choices tire out the brain and willpower. 

The other side of it is that the more you make the right choice, the easier it is the next time, and so, arguably, making 50 right choices in a week means it should set in as a habit a fair amount quicker than the 8-odd times with exercising. 

Thankfully, though, there are tools one can use that reduces the day-to-day choices and makes it a lot easier to instigate change consistently.

A bit more on that next time.

 

Purpose breeds potential

tl;dr purpose, by its nature, imbues its bearer with potential. (can I get a hoo-rah?)

I was sitting in the steam room one morning at my local VA, after my usual 3km run and single-exercise heavy weight session, when it came to me, like a gorilla.. I’m going to stop before I get any cheesier.

potential

pə(ʊ)ˈtɛnʃ(ə)l/
adjective
having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.

noun
latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success  or usefulness.

(courtesy:google)

I can’t actually remember what I was doing when this dawned (probably driving, I have many of my epiphanies behind the wheel), but I know I was thinking about the value I’ve found from setting goals. And how just the act of setting a goal almost immediately predestines you to some level of success. 

On a base level this is immediately obvious. You cannot really experience success if you don’t have something to measure it against.

So by simply giving a oneself a purpose, you open up the world of potential. Without that purpose, you’d probably just carry on your day-to-day without any need to change.

Now, I’m not even talking HUGE goals. Obviously the bigger the goal the greater the chance for success and achievement, but even something small and simple – like the one driving this post – “I’d like to produce some kind of content every day for the month of August” has already seen me reaping rewards and getting excited for what lies ahead –  and I’m only 4 days in.

So hammering on that goals thing again – but by simply setting a goal (purpose), you create this space to fill with change and progression.

That’s zero to 100 with one simple step. As far as life-hacks go, I think this one is pretty awesome. The fantastic thing about it is even if you fail at the goal – your starting point was zero, so any improvement is a success. For example, if you’re a couch potato and you set a goal to lose 10kg in 3 months, but because change is hard and you like your noms, you only lose 5kg – or 1kg or even if you don’t lose anything at all, the really important thing is you’ve moved towards change. You’ve set your eyes beyond your immediate shadow, and set yourself on the road to success – you’ve increased your potential and that’s an empowered place to be.

Give it a go – what area would you like to see yourself growing in? Why not, set a goal, and give it a try.

My dirty ‘d’-word.

tl;dr Discipline is a bitch. Get on that shit early.

I’ve been thinking about discipline a lot lately.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’d have realised that it’s a bit of a recurring theme lately.

I think it was late last year when I came to the awkward epiphany that the one thing I’d been running away from most of my young life and is now quite lacking, is the one skill I could damn well use right now.

Discipline. Yeah, that old chestnut. 

As a kid, I remember my father trying desperately to instill a sense of discipline into me. Mostly he used the “brute-force” method – with a belt. Now before you go crying about it to your oversensitive sensibilities, hidings were a celebrated means of discipline back in the day and had their merits.

That said, I saw discipline as everything I didn’t want to do getting in the way of everything I did. Discipline was a dirty word, and not in a good way. I felt it was everything stopping me from being ‘free’, from really enjoying life. I mean who wants to learn the value of mowing the lawn when you could be playing games at the mall or vegging in front of the telly watching Empire Records for the hundredth time?

For me, discipline was a pain in the arse and I did everything I possibly could to avoid it.

Oh, what an idiot I was.

Flash forward 20-odd years and all of a sudden I’m lamenting the free-spirited child of yesteryear with all his frivolous whims and afternoons spent rollerblading in the driveway.

I wish I’d just hunkered down and did the hard stuff, because all of a sudden I’ve realised discipline IS the ONLY way to achieve true freedom – the freedom to do what you want without getting in your own way.

There are so many things I want to achieve (my list of ‘this’ll be so awesome, let’s do it’ is maybe a little too long). And yet I find that no matter how much I wish and want and hanker after that Men’s Health look for summer, the Nosh bar next to the teller invariably wins out. Or the couch over the gym. Or the next super rad awesome cool series over learning to actually play guitar, paint more or write.

Thankfully we have passion, but passion usually runs out just that little bit too soon. Just before we get to the place where we’re hitting the “ooooh this is rad, I’m so glad I did it” phase, passion invariably goes “ok, I think you’ve got it from here, I’m off to the Bahamas” and dumps you on your fat ass, nosh bar in hand watching the latest Game of Thrones.

Discipline.

And so this year after crying in my beer for a few days, I realised I should probably get on with beating my body into submission (BDSM, self-flagellation whip in hand) and focus on instilling a little bit of discipline into my life.

I’m now about half-way through the year, and to be brutally honest, I’m not quite sure how I’m doing. Discipline has got a lot to do with perseverance. And probably the only thing I’ve really persevered at is attempting to get more discipline – which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m a little worried that I haven’t really stuck it through on all the wonderful things I’ve been attempting to be disciplined at.

But it’s not all thorns and teardrops. I’ve seen a modicum of success across a few things, albeit up-and-down across them all – but the positive thing here is that I suppose this is the journey. The weird thing about perseverance is that you simply shouldn’t give up and you have it. Get up one more time than you fall down I think the adage goes.

So far I’ve more or less gymed at least 8 times each month this year, I’ve also maintained some sort of focus on my weight-loss goals- even if it’s not exactly going fantastically. I’ve sorta kinda kept reading and have some semblance of a morning routine going. And I think the most important thing is I feel like I’m gaining more control over my life and my future.

And honestly that’s a win for me and I’m amped to see what the next part of the year holds.

Is the dirty-d something you struggle with? I’d love to hear what you’re doing or done to push through the laziness and get more.

Rolling Monthly Goals; My new regime.

tl;dr I have goals now. They may change next month.

I can’t quite remember when iI came on the idea, but in June I decided to start tracking a few different goals every month. I set myself a few rules to guide them. They are:

1. Each goal (or task – see #4 and #5 below) must be defined and achievable.

2. Be Accountable.

3. Each goal should be visibly tracked.

4. As much as possible, set daily tasks to work towards the goal.

5. Have a maximum of 2 different tasks for each goal (ideally only 1).

Initially it was a rolling goal, with a one-month focus. June went well, and I had fun tracking everything across the 4 primary goals.

So in June, my primary goals were:

1. Watch what I eat, with the primary tasks being: weigh myself every week day and have a daily caloric intake of under 2250 (tracked with My Fitness Pal)

2. Have a solid body-base by end of July (be strong and work with minimal weak areas), with the primary tasks being: Do Wendler 4x a week, Do 3 SSI exercises per week.

3. Finish 80% of my work projects within the set timeframe, tasks being: Communicated daily with clients and set daily goals.

4. Live within my budget with primary task being to save details of expenses daily to a google spreadsheet.

Initially I had just thought I’d keep the goals running kinda until I didn’t want to anymore – or until they needed change, but I found that June went well, then July I really struggled to track anything (although I have kept up with the financial tracking), so as I enter August, I’ve decided to add a 6th rule: Each goal lasts 1 month. Thereafter, I re-evaluate and set new goals or new tasks (or keep the ones that are working).

In all honesty, this is all a bit of an experiment. I’m hoping that at least some of each habit will stick, and I’m sure I’ll be drawn back to the important ones.

Also, I’ve found that I tend to stick to something for 4-6 weeks, and then get bored or distracted. I’m hoping that forcing myself to refocus each month will help me gather some kind of traction.

And then as I attempt to achieve my greater goals, being able to have a month to try something new both keeps things interesting, but also means that I’ve built experimentation into the regime, which allows me to tweak and find what works for me.

The main idea is to keep what works, discard the rest and that way, hopefully I’ll be able to keep moving towards the goal.

Also if one month I try something that bombs, then it’s a relatively short delay before I can get back onto things with the next month.

My goals for August are as follows:

1. End August lighter than I started it. I plan to achieve it by tracking my weight daily.

2. End August stronger than I started it. Tools/Tasks: I have a solid weight training program (Wendler 5/3/1), which I simply need to follow throughout the month. 2. Do 1 Sports Science Institute work out each week – I have 3 for rehab which I’m seriously struggling to get to, so I need to at least do one.

3. Generate more content. Tools: Create at least 1 piece of content every day. This excludes facebook, twitter, instagram posts, but can include Medium, my blog, vlogging on Vine, Snapchat, Younow or Storie and podcasts.

4. Spend less than I did last month. Easy enough to achieve, simply need to track all my slips in a google spreadsheet.

5. Something to do with my worklife. (still figuring this out).

I’ve also realised I need to tie each of these into a long-term goal. I know in some ways I’ve been doing that subconsciously, but it will be good to make a specific note so that as I change each monthly goal, I’m still focussed on the bigger picture.

So, my over-arching goals are:

1. Get to and maintain a body weight of less than 100kg or 15% body fat.

2. Have a functionally strong and fit body.

3. Be in a financially secure place (debt free, investing, future focussed).

4. Be successful in my work

5. be a good father & friend, person.

6. There are a few general life skills that I want to focus on (content creation, guitar, art/painting, etc) and an singular monthly focus will help.

I’m very aware that I don’t want to overwhelm myself. In general we can only make 1 small change at a time – or it’s one small change that sticks. So each of the tools or tasks that I’ve set needs to be small and easily achievable.

Also, by aligning it to a greater overall goal, it aligns with my passions and things I really want to achieve, which adds in that much needed emotional motivations.

Keeping it to a focused monthly goal means that the timeline isn’t super long and fuzzy in the future. Each goal is only 4 short weeks away, so sticking to the new habit is easier.

And I’m sure as I get used to this schedule, adding habits will become a habit in itself, and so sticking to each of the primary goals will (hopefully) become easier.

This is all actually part of one of my primary themes for my year, which is to become more disciplined. I have a poster stuck to my wall “If you have self-control you can accomplish anything”. I also read somewhere recently that discipline is a bigger indicator of success than talent. Gary Vaynerchuk said “Lack of consistency is a MASSIVE vulnerability”. And discipline is one of my weak areas – so definitely something I’ve been trying to focus on this year.

So that’s the basics. I’ll probably delve deeper into each of these goals and my thinking around this system as the month progresses, but for now, let’s see how it goes.

August, a month of content. Day 1.

tl;dr I plan to create some form of content every single day in August.

In June this year I started on something I’ve found to be very useful in my goal of continuous improvement and increasing my discipline.

I started setting monthly goals with the mind of intense focus on 1 small thing that I can do consistently through the month.

I’m busy writing a post explaining the whole process in more detail (which I’ll probably release tomorrow) as it’s turning into something quite valuable for me. So as a part of this new regime, I’ve decided that for the month of August, I will create some form of content every single day. (if you want to run away screaming, now is the time).

My goal is two-fold. Firstly I want to get into the habit of generating content consistently, and secondly, it’ll allow me to experiment with the different platforms out there.

The basic rules are as follows: “Normal” social media posts don’t count – so posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (although a 15s instagram vlog would probably qualify).

I’ll probably use my blog here at cameronolivier.com as a catch-all, and cross-post as much of everything I’m doing here, as an anthology of sorts.

Then I plan to post text & images on my blog, my new project’s blog (coming soon) and Medium. Also considering Facebook notes and tiltrepublic.com as well as maybe a guest post or two.

As far as images go, I want to start pushing content to Pinterest and I’m quasi-considering getting my tumblr up and running again, but I doubt it on tumblr.

From a video point of view, I’m looking to test out Snapchat (@billyrocha), YouTube, YouNow, Storie and maybe some Vines (@cameronolivier) and Instagrams as well.

Audio I’m hoping to start a podcast or two and do a few interviews (so iTunes and maybe Stitcher I think it is?).

And just to go properly OTT I’m considering using Meerkat or Periscope as a live-stream of the podcasts or maybe some of the video vlogs if they seem interesting enough.

As my time is already limited, I don’t see myself pushing out too many long-form things, and I’m hoping the video apps make content creation and dispersal relatively fast, but we’ll have to see.

Another concern I have is topics, as I haven’t really come in with any list of ideas – so I’ll need to start thinking on that as soon as possible, but I have a few rough ideas, being some code/front-end related topics, definitely some wordpress-based things. Then a few aimed at diet & training, a few at what’s going on in my life and a few on productivity and business stuff I’m learning. I’ve been focussing on a bunch of areas in my life and I think it’ll do me a lot of good to start journaling out what I’m learning and thinking on – so that should keep me busy for at least the first week.

I look forward to having you guys along for the ride.

PS. If you know of any more content, vlogging or podcasting apps I should try out or a BEME invite, leave me a message in the comments!

I’m 5 Months into freelancing. Now what?

In November last year, due to a rather unforeseen and unfortunate situation, I was thrust into freelancing. It was probably the best un-decision I’ve ever not made.

I’d been wanting to start freelancing for a few months already, but the comfort of the day-job salary was hard to give up, especially at 35, being a single dad. Responsibilities and all that. But I was tired and uninspired and really just not that amped to keep at the slog. The commute was killing me (at ~3hours/day it really chewed into my ‘living’ time) and although where I worked was awesome, I’d been there for 3 years and my on-the-job learning & growth had slowed considerably.

And so, being thrust into freelancing rather unceremoniously, but thankfully directly into a few chance-jobs that really saw me through, I strode boldly forward.

Initially, it was easy to keep discipline up – I had work to do, and the new environment meant it was relatively simple to introduce new habits. But over time I got lazy – and by last month, I was really starting to feel it. The lack of routine was really affecting my day-to-day focus and there was just so much I wasn’t getting to.

Thankfully, I stumbled on a medium post lamenting the same thing, and the author stated how much having a daily morning routine had helped. Tim Ferriss speaks of the same, as well as a few others – the benefit of having a Morning Script and how much that helps set things out for the rest of the day. So,  I started

And so, with the start of April, I’ve started to get my day in order. Earlier in the year, I’d created a google calendar that maps out my ideal work-week – when to work on what, time for admin, planning etc – but I’d stopped using it, ignoring the constant updates and just carrying on as normal.

This week that’s all changed. I’ve created time for blogging, personal projects, training and reading. All things I’d wanted to make sure I focussed on, but I allowed the ‘busy’ to consume me, and so it slipped by the wayside.

It’s early days, sure, but so far it’s been a lot of fun. I always get amped for my work and for life in general when I read – I’m currently finishing off Seneca and Jab Jab.. by Gary Vee. I’m especially enjoying Seneca – it’s a introspective look at bettering oneself – which speaks right to where I want to be. I’ve learnt as we only have one life  – a continuous view on bettering oneself is something I want to remain focussed on.

Along with my morning routine, I’ve also started forcing myself to leave the house – taking a walk down to my favourite local coffee shop (Fred and Max) for my daily read and sometimes planning session. And a few weeks ago I started a Thursday coffee/breakfast date with my good friend Ian. By time-capsuling each of these, it’s allowed me to focus on my personal and technical growth while still having time in the day to get the work done.

In future posts, I’ll be walking through my current weekly calendar, what my morning ritual looks like – and why I’ve found it so helpful, as well as my renewed focus on stoicism and journey into daily meditation (it’s still early days) as well as a few other little life-hacks with a goal of growing my discipline. I read a poster on Pinterest which is fast becoming my mantra: “If you learn self-control, you can master anything”. If I have one goal for 2015, it’s that.

That and survive. Damn, this freelance thing is tough.

I’m excited to be blogging again, and it’s great to have a set time to do it in – I’ve had “Blog once a week” on my trello board for a good 5 months now – and this is the first one. It seems all this focus on routine is doing me good.

I’m thinking I’ll probably start posting these to Medium as well. Figuring out what should go there and what belongs here is going to be interesting, but we’ll see how that goes.

And that’s that – my first post and really just a brain-dump of where I’m at. I’d love to hear your routines and what works for you in your day-to-day and keeping productive.