Discipline over Motivation

I recently read a compelling piece titled Screw motivation, what you need is discipline.

It claimed...

If you want to get anything done, there are two basic ways to get yourself to do it.

The first, more popular and devastatingly wrong option is to try to motivate yourself.

The second, somewhat unpopular and entirely correct choice is to cultivate discipline.

It doesn't sound convincingly balanced, does it?

What the author goes on to write

Motivation, broadly speaking, operates on the assumption that a particular mental or emotional state is necessary to start or complete a task.  Discipline, by contrast, separates outwards functioning from moods and feelings and thereby circumvents the problem.

Successful completion of tasks brings about the inner states that chronic procrastinators think they need to initiate tasks in the first place.

If action is conditional on feelings, waiting for the right mood becomes a particularly insidious form of procrastination.

If you wait until you feel like doing stuff, you’re screwed. That’s precisely how the dreaded procrastinatory loops come about.

What I think

I halfway agree with the author's thoughts. But, I believe you need ritual (not discipline) and motivation.  I believe you should create a system to ensure you are always getting stuff done, regardless if you're motivated (though it helps). My system includes rituals that I follow.  Those rituals become habits. Those habits help me get more stuff done.

3 Apps All Agilists Should Have on Their iPhones

So your company has decided you're going to use Agile on your next project or product, they need someone to lead the pilot team, and you've been nominated for the job. It's time to really step up your game. Time to set your iPhone settings to Agilist. Here are three apps you should download to help you get there. I've been using the LeanKit and Pomodoro for several years now and they just get better and better. I'd do a write up for Android phones but I've never seen a list that didn't have a little controversy.  

1. LeanKit

leankitLeanKit supports the implementation of Lean principles, practices, and work methodologies across all business functions, to help organizations create an environment of continuous improvement and innovation to deliver customer value, faster. By visualizing your work as it flows through your process, LeanKit provides a big-picture understanding of the work that helps teams work together more effectively.  I've been using LeanKit for years for both private (Personal Kanban) applications and professional (portfolio management, help desk,...)

2. Pomodoro

pomodoro-proPomodoro Time is a powerful personal productivity tool incorporating the principles of the Pomodoro Technique. Create tasks, configure breaks and track your progress throughout the day, week or custom period. I set the timer for 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes, and I set the timer to take a 5 minute break. I can guarantee I'm more productive by taking two 5 minute breaks each hour. Combined, LeanKit and Pomodoro are my one-two punch to keep ADD in check and my day moving forward.

3. Slack

slackOver the years, I've used a lot of IM and persistant message tools. Hands down, Slack offers the lowest friction of use. All your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. That's Slack. - It's real time messaging, file sharing, supporting one-to-one and group conversations - Powerful search and archiving, meaning no one is ever left out of the loop.


How to Use Snapchat

Being an old fart (late 40's), I struggled at first to understand the value of Snapchat. Just the same as there are some sound frequencies only young(er) people can hear, I think Snapchat is one of those applications only younger people will get right away. Us old farts have to work at it.

My initial impression

The UI feels disjointed.  It's not intuitive at all to me.  Perhaps they'll add a lot more features (or not) in the future.  I was trying to understand its value. Why do 100+ Million people use this thing?  Unlike all of the other major social applications, this thing feel like it's for a bunch of kids who overshare everything, trying to be the next Kim Kardashian.  I even went so far as to follow Gary Vaynerchuk on Snapchat to try to understand how he's leveraging it.

My revised impression

Recently, I started really thinking about how to communicate my message to others. I want to tell my story, in the hope it helps others.  Last night, I had an ah-ha moment.  Let's compare Snapchat to my blog or to Twitter.  For my blog, people come to me looking for help in the areas of project management, Agile, and Kanban.  I've even been contacted by a few people dealing with ADD/ADHD or looking to do meetups or unconferences.  I used to blog every day but now it's more like once a week or month.  Still, I'm very happy to share what I've learned in all of those domains.  Unfortunately, most of the conversations come from the comments.  That's good but there can be a delay and we can lose context in time.  On my Twitter account, I have several active conversations weekly.  I search specific topics and see if I can help anyone.  I may also retweet or like something every day or share a photo from Instagram.

My ah-ha moment

The secret to Snapchat is in the exchange of value.  First, let's consider there is an investment to telling your story through YouTube videos, blog posts, and even Twitter posts or snaps.  What you're hoping for is you're going to get a return on your investment, by way of subscribers, followers, or likes.  Some people want even more than that.  Some may want a lead or a deal, in order to create more content.  With Snapchat, they have lowered the bar (time investment) so low, you have to change the way you're thinking about this.  They want you to share your story.  They want you to share everything.  But, they want you to limit your story to 10 seconds or less. They don't want you to overproduce (edit) what you are posting.  You can't even upload a picture or video. Currently, you have to create a snap right from your camera.  The whole system is position to share a story with as little effort as possible.

You're not being narcissistic or self-absorbed

I originally thought that Snapchat was for kids who just like to look at themselves or believe they are "special".  I honestly don't think they care.  So, why should we?  They see it as a tool that allows them to share their stories and equally enjoy stories.  If they don't get to it within 24 hours, the snap expires and they don't feel compelled to stress out over it.  In my world, if I see I'm running behind on reading blog posts or podcasts, I start to stress out a little. I feel compelled to binge on them because they don't go away. Snapchat just took the 10 independent blogs or podcasts that I subscribe to, which could take hours a day to keep up with, and forced them to only last 10 seconds at a time and then expire in 24 hours.

How to leverage Snapchat

It's just a matter of time that the demographic of people using Snapchat is going to shift from kids in their teens and early twenties, to people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Until it hits critical mass, I believe it's a bit of a land grab.  People should start getting really good at telling a visual story 10 seconds at a time.  If you follow someone on Snapchat, you're going to have the behind-the-curtain look into their life.  If you're following people on Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and even Twitter, you get a much more scripted and polished persona.  Snapchat will provide a level of authenticity not present in current media.  It will also help steer people to those other platforms, one 10-second snap at a time.

How to snap with me

  1. Download Snapchat on your phone.
  2. Open Snapchat.
  3. Choose to add me as a friend.  You can add by username (derekhuether) or by snapcode (ghost image below)
  4. If you're over 20 years old, I would recommend you Google "How to use Snapchat".
  5. After two people follow each other, it's easy to have a private chat.  I could post a video and then you could send me a private message, asking me a question.

    Snapchat: derekhuether

What is The Crux

Ever heard of the term "crux"?In mountaineering terms, it's the most difficult part of a climb.

Regardless if it's a climb or a personal goal, I see the start as the most difficult part.

I used to think that starting was easy and finishing was the hard part. I would now say finishing is hard, once you get started.

Do you keep putting things off, day after day, week after week?

Now that we've started a new year, what are you going to commit to? Almost as important, what will prevent you from getting started?

(the pic is from a trail map for the Sugarloaf Mountain trails that I've hiked)