The Laravel Podcast Episode 42 and the Meaning of …

I really enjoyed last week’s Laravel Podcast episode 42. Now since it is episode number 42 – I expected it to contain the answer to the ultimate question of development.

Now when you listen to the episode, you might think that the ultimate question that’s being answered is “which is the best object relational mapping approach/pattern – ActiveRecord pattern or the Data Mapper pattern?”

Or perhaps the ultimate question that’s being answered is “Should the ‘Single Responsibility Principle’ be violated when it comes to ORMs?”

Of course you need to listen to episode 42 to make your own decision. Perhaps it’s all ORM drama and dogma that is just a mystery wrapped in a Twinkie.

Personally, I think that the ultimate question is “how should you approach feature creation when it comes to software development?” And the answer is stated at the 46th minute of episode 42 (if only it was the 42nd minute…it would have been perfect…it’s time to repeat ‘serenity now’^100 and come to terms with this lack of symmetry). So what is the answer is:

“Don’t do it until you need it.”

Sounds simple – doesn’t it?

QP: A great Big Data AWS presentation

The “Essentials: Architectural Patterns for Big Data on AWS” webinar from today was one of the best webinars that I have seen in a long time.

Siva Raghupathy (https://www.linkedin.com/in/siva-raghupathy-823229) methodically covered all the parts that he mentioned at the beginning of the presentation. The last summary slide really shows everything that he covered:

I really like the use of temperature graphs to compare and contrast AWS usage scenarios and the best services for such scenarios. This is a great example of such a graph (I’ve seen some other AWS webinars that use similar visualization).

It’s funny that at the beginning of every AWS webinar a bunch of people ask if the slides and presentation video will be available. The answer is always the same “we’ll send out a link to the slides and video in a few days”. I have attended several of these webinars and with the exception of one – the slides and video are never sent (for the exception – a link to video/slides was available for a few days – then the video disappeared).

These days I typically record the webinars if I can. I’m really glad to have recorded this one. I would love to post the video of the presentation but I cannot do so since it is AWS’s property. If the video for this fantastic webinar does not show up – please hit up @awscloud (https://twitter.com/awscloud) and ask them to give me permission to post the video (alternatively – I’m more than happy to send it to them for posting).

Cheers,

Eli4d

If you found this useful – let me know via <a href=”http://twitter.com/eli4d“>@eli4d on Twitter</a>

QP: Holy ngrok tool/service Batman

I came across this ngrok tool/service (https://ngrok.com/) while listening to the awesome Shared Instance podcast (http://sharedinstance.com/49). It looks like it would be very useful for web service testing through my security spidey sense is kicking up in terms of production use. There’s a free plan (https://ngrok.com/product#pricing) which would be perfect for temporary use.

Cheers,

eli4d

PS: The Shared Instance podcast is 3 iOS developers from Ohio discussing development. It’s like an Ohio version of Mobile Couch (http://mobilecouch.co/) though I’m not sure of the Alex^2 / Sam mapping to Jelly / Ben.

Thanks Hover!

You’re back Hover!

Dear Hover,

Back on 2/12/16 I wrote you an open letter (https://eli4d.com/2016/02/12/dear-hover-please-fix-your-renewal-emails-2/ or http://eli.bz/DearHoverPlsFix) about some problems with your renwal emails. I really appreciate your same day response via Twitter.

This week I got a renewal email that didn’t make me feel uncertain or unclear about costs and pricing. Now I know that you were working on email revision before my open letter (based on the emails that you sent me in regards to this issue). Nevertheless, I really appreciate these changes and I know that they will help all of your customers.

You’re back in terms of your legendary service and responsiveness! I’m really glad that I can wholeheartedly recommend you again and use ‘Hover’ as a term that refers to great customer service.

Thank you!

Eli

PS: Below are the ‘before’ and ‘after’ emails for those that don’t want to read my previous post.

The renewal email before the change

From my http://eli.bz/DearHoverPlsFix post – here is the email that I used to get (with my suggested changes in red).

The renewal email before the change

After the change

Obviously – this is a one domain renewal email. I have not received the multi-domain renewal emails but I assume the price breakdown is the same.

Awesomeness achieved:

(1) The renewal price is clearly shown.

(2) A reminder that once a renewal is processed – there’s no refund and a clear explanation as to why this is the case

After the change

Dear Hover – Please Fix Your Renewal Emails

2016-02-24 Update: Renewal emails have been fixed. Hover is back to being awesome – I created a new post describing the change: https://eli4d.com/2016/02/24/thanks-hover/ or http://eli.bz/ThanksHover

2016-02-12 Update: I got a very quick and helpful response from Hover via Twitter (https://twitter.com/hover/status/698228715612958720) and a detailed email. In the email their representative indicated that:

Hover prides itself on having honesty, empathy and helpfulness among our guiding principles, and it’s clear that we haven’t lived up to that in this case. We’ve prioritized adding a cost breakdown into the renewal notices, which should be rolled out within the next few weeks. As a side note, we currently have a much bigger email overhaul project underway, so instances like this will hopefully soon become a thing of the past.

I look forward to see these changes in the next few weeks. I will update this post when these changes are in place. I also got a response back from the support rep (John) that dropped the ball on my original question regarding this. He admitted to this and was ready to answer any additional questions that I had.

So far – this is the ‘old great’ Hover that I’ve come to admire and appreciate.

Dear Hover…

Dear Hover,

You are my favorite^100 domain registrar. I’ve been your customer for years and you have delivered on your legendary customer service (up to now). In fact, I’ve used ‘Hover’ as a substitute for great customer service in talking to others – as in “well they’re certainly no Hover…even after you go through the 10 levels of voicemail hell, you still end up leaving a voicemail message” or “OMG – that registrar is the opposite of Hover”.

However, recently, I’ve realized that your “you have upcoming domains that will renew” billing related renewal emails are really bad in that:

  1. They don’t inform me of my upcoming cost.
  2. Even after you charge me for a bunch of domains, you give me an email with a total dollar cost without giving me a breakdown within that very email.
  3. Your legendary customer support has fallen on its face in answering my question about this issue nor in remediating this in any way.

In this letter/post – I will explain the problem and the best way to remedy the issue. I hope you live up to the great service that you have provided so far. I know there are plenty of registrars out there but so far there has been only one Hover. I hope that you choose to fix this issue.

The Problem

In this section I cover the problem with your renewal emails and how through omission of domain pricing they inherently mis-inform the customer.

It begins with purchasing a domain

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a domain hoarder, and you don’t make it easy to avoid purchases through your somewhat awesome introductory pricing. Now there’s nothing wrong with this sort of pricing – that’s totally fine. It’s definitely the thing that pushes me over the edge to buy a domain that I’m hesitant about.

It begins with purchasing a domain

A year passes, the earth turns, and it is soon time to renew those domains

Then I get a renewal email. At this point I think “oh yeah – that’s going to be around $15 per domain so $30 since that’s what I bought the domains for – that should fine.”

Now you might counter that my assumption is totally on me and that’s true…I’m human. This is why I need your technological assistance in making the renewal emails better.

A year passes, the earth turns, and it is soon time to renew those domains

After the domains renew – I get the billing email

Wait – how did I end up with a $55.78 bill? Where’s the per-domain breakdown? The renewal email didn’t have any pricing. Heck – even this receipt email has no breakdown of per-domain pricing.

The next day I get the billing email

I know that I can’t cancel a domain after renewal

I’ve asked before about domain cancellation after another billing surprise and I got the following response. OK – I get it – you can’t cancel a domain after it has been renewed – fair enough. So how about letting me know the renewal pricing before I renew the domain. How about letting me know the renewal pricing through the domain renewal emails?

I know that I can't cancel a domain after renewal

So I write you an email about these renewal emails.

I’ll admit it – I was really ticked off when I wrote this email – I’m sorry about that.

So I write you an email about these renewal emails.

The response I get

I get a response from John (not his real name of course).

Say what? So I need to go to https://www.hover.com/domain_pricing to figure out the pricing that you already know when you send me the renewal emails?

Also, first purchase promotional pricing is vastly different than renewal pricing.

The response I get

Why don’t we take a look at https://www.hover.com/domain_pricing ?

So I need to remember the amount of domains that I have to account for any discounts (1). Then I need to search for the tld (2) and write this down, and then search for the TLD of my next domain and write that renwal price. Then I continue onto the next domain and do the same thing. And finally I need to add the total for my upcoming cost. Really?

Now granted – for my 2 domain example this is not that big of a deal. But what about a renewal email for 5 domains or 10?

Why don't we take a look at https://www.hover.com/domain_pricing ?

The Solution

The solution is simple. The whole solution is explained in the following image. I suggest that you include the price of the renewal next to each domain that you list. I’ve used the previously shown renewal email as an example. If you want to be even more awesome – include the approximate total too.

This is a clear honest way to represent the upcoming renewal price for each domain, as well as the overall total.

The Solution

I responded to your support’s email but I got nothing

I responded to the customer support email but so far I’ve heard nothing. You’ve been very very silent Hover – why is that? Why has that legendary customer support faltered?

As your loyal customer – I’m here to help. This is why I took the time in writing this letter and included a solution specification (seriously).

I responded to support's email but I got nothing

Your turn

The solution is simple if not a bit obvious. Will it cost you some revenue because your customers wont let a renewal occur based on blind price assumption – maybe. But you’ve chosen to be a Hover – you’ve chosen to be better than other registrars in dealing honestly with your customers and in providing great customer service. I hope you can approach this renewal email issue in the same way and fix this problem.

Sincerely,

Eli

PS: I’m more than happy to update this post with a response from you regarding this issue.

How to Use your Amazon Prime No-Rush Credits

Overview

In this post I cover how to use Amazon Prime’s no-rush credits. This applies if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. I’ve gotten burned several times because the credit expired or when I tried to use it when it didn’t apply to the item that I was purchasing. I’m writing this post to remind myself how to do this and for anyone else that has wondered about this credit usage.

And to Amazon support: You’re welcome – feel free to extend my Prime Membership at your convenience 🙂

It begins at the checkout screen

What’s that you say Amazon? Get $1 if I don’t use my Amazon Prime two-day shipping? Sure – why not.

It begins at the checkout screen

What’s that – get a $1 credit for a purchase of what item?

So what are those details?

What's that - get a $1 credit for a purchase of what item?

The “Details”?

So what are “select eBooks…”? It seems simple but nothing tells you exactly what you can purchase 😦

The "Details"?

So when you choose the no-rush shipping option…

Lets say that you love David McRaney’s podcast (the cookie eating segment is the BEST) but you don’t need the book right now. So you choose the no-rush shipping and initially nothing happens. You don’t get any information about the $1 credit until the book ships (which makes sense if you think about it – why give you the credit until your item is being shipped via the no-rush date).

When the book ships you get

When the book ships you get

Clicking on additional information once again

So here’s another explanation of the credit and what you can purchase.

But what can I purchase Amazon? I want to use that $1 wisely!

Clicking on additional information once again

So what does this mean?

Q: It sure feels like I can use this on whatever Amazon sells – right?

A: Wrong!

I ended up contacting support regarding this and I got the scoop, skinny, and explanation.

The EXPLANATION with a delicious Hunger Games example

A very nice Amazon support associate called me back when I asked for help through the website. I told the lady (lets call her Jane) that I purchased an ebook and my dollar credit didn’t kick in. Jane empathized with my frugality based sadness. She told me that the “credit only applies to items sold by Amazon Digital Services”. I asked her for an example. She told me to look up the “Hunger Games” books. She said that the key is the “Sold by” area. If that has Amazon Digital Services then the credit applies, otherwise you’re out of luck.

She told me that I should start any search with “Amazon Digital Services” and narrow my query parameters from there.

I thanked Jane for her clear explanation and help (marking the feedback email with AWESOME).

The EXPLANATION with a delicious Hunger Games example

Time to search for “Amazon Digital Services”

So first step is the general search query of “Amazon Digital Services”

Time to search for "Amazon Digital Services"

Lets narrow it down based on department

Choosing “Books” for example from the department drop-down.

Lets narrow it down based on department

Narrowing the department choice further (Books in this case) using the left-side choices

The left-side menu is THE way to narrow the search criteria within a department.

For the Books department I typically use the:

  • Type of book (1)
  • Book format (2)

    These choices are quite useful if you’re a Kindle book hoarder 🙂 .

Narrowing the department choice (Books in this case) using the left-side choices

It’s time for some sweet Space Opera Kindle Books

Here’s an example of search narrowing using the left-side choices.

It's time for some sweet Space Opera Kindle books

Use the credit right away

To each his own of course but due to a fairly quick expiration date on the no-rush credits I suggest that you use the credit right away. Just bookmark your search query with your narrow criteria and you’re on your way.

Conclusion

So there you go. Maximum use of Amazon’s no-rush credit.

Enjoy!


Please let me know via Twitter (@eli4d) if you found this post useful.

Alternatives to New Year Resolutions

Overview

I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions. I suppose it’s all those past years of self created disappointments. My theory is that ‘resolution’ as a word is somewhat pointless. The word has a certain sense of certainty when there is no such thing. I prefer ‘goals’ or ‘intentions’ which can be done at any time of the year.

The good thing about the new year resolution time of the year is that I get a chance to glimpse the approach of other people. This year I found some interesting ideas and approaches to goal/intention setting from some people that I respect and like. In this post, I point to the techniques and the folks that mentioned them and my hope is to use them throughout the year.

Here’s the TLDR; of what I cover:

  1. Getting rid of the old through David Allen’s approach
  2. Considering the quality of time and life from DHH.
  3. Using Jeffrey Way’s approach to create concrete lists that collect both the good and the bad of the past year and how to use these lists for the new year.
  4. Snapping yourself out of the unimportant/urgent moment-to-moment parts of your life through the Eisenhower Box
  5. And using some Core Intuition to guide your projects and next-action creation.

Buckle up 🙂

From the godfather of GTD: Get rid of everything that you can!

In his first post of 2016 in the GTD Newsletter – David Allen talks about the value of getting rid of everything you can. I’ve been imperfectly using GTD for over a decade (with an especially imperfect review component…sigh). For the past few years I’ve used OmniFocus (OF) as my tool of choice for organization.

Some great and actionable advice from David’s post include:

It’s time to purge.

The start of a new year is a great metaphorical event to use to enhance a critical aspect of your constructive creativity—get rid of everything that you can!

Your psyche has a certain quota of open loops and incompletions that it can tolerate, and it will unconsciously block the engagement with new material if it has reached its limit. Release some memory!

I challenge each of you reading this to test out the following hypotheses, and prove me wrong. (And if you discover that any of these work, please email me with your story, and I’ll do a post-mortem on this essay at some point with the results!)

Want some new visions for your life and work? Clean up and organize your boxes of old photographs.

Want to know what to do with your life when you grow up? Start by cleaning the center drawer of your desk.

Want to trust your day-to-day, moment-to-moment decisions more? Get rid of any email backlog that is taking up real estate in your inbox.

You will have to do all this anyway, sometime. Right now don’t worry about the new. It’s coming toward you at lightning speed, no matter what. Just get the decks clear so you’re really ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

For me my OF project list is full of old projects, on hold projects and general crap. This post encouraged me to create a “Projectfill Trash Dumpster” folder (‘projectfill’ as opposed to ‘landfill’…I know…clever :-O ). I created a 2015 folder and I’m in the process of moving all the old cruddy projects into it. It’s the first step. The next step is to put all of these projects in an “on hold” status, and eventually (when I’m feeling really brave), I will put the projects in “delete” status and archive them via OF’s excellent archive feature.

From the Godfather of Ruby on Rails – DHH: WTFAYQH – where … are your quality hours?

DHH has an interesting article about “quality time” and how to deal with the “I must juggle it all to be productive” mentality (Read it! It’s going to be 5 minutes of quality). The key point of the article is this singular sentence:

If I have a trick, it’s a focus on the quality of each individual hour.

I think that the techniques mentioned below (like the Eisenhower Box) can help with the concrete creation of quality time. But it’s important to step back and really consider what is important and what is urgent. After all, when everything is important, then nothing is important. When everything is urgent, then nothing is urgent. You might as well go to bed and take a nap…it’s a better use of your time than running around like hamster on a wheel. Another way of saying this (per the article) is:

Covering your ass to yourself or others might give you some temporary comfort, but it won’t cover the deficit of ambition in the long run. Resignation is a coping mechanism for the beaten.

It’s ironic that in running faster you are resigning yourself to the false idol of the immediate urgency, when the really important is not coming from you…the core of what you really want and who you really are.

The article is focused about work related time. But what about the rest of your life?

Do I really need to be involved in this? (“I should be able to do this sheet rock fix…I just need to watch YouTube for how to do this thing, then go to Home Depot and get the repair items, then come home and watch YouTube again and then attempt to to this thing which I’ll never do again”)

Could this wait? (“But all the other parents join the PTA…so I definitely absolutely need to join”)

Can I bail on this? (“Well how about this email from my buddy John…he wants me to come and help him move because he’s too cheap to pay movers…so I should go and potentially hurt my back for pizza…sounds peachy”)

Am I ready for this? (“I MUST learn __name any JavaScript framework__ because it’s the hot thing right now…it’s guaranteed to be in demand for next 2 years/months/weeks/days/hours/minutes”)

Quality is an overloaded word. But I think that if you look back at the past hour, you can tell fairly quickly tell if it was a quality hour or one full of hamster wheeling busy-ness.

From Laracasts creator Jeffrey Way: Using 3 Simple Lists to Look to figure Future Planning by looking at the Past for Feedback

I really like short podcasts and Jeffrey Way’s “The Laracasts Snippet” fits nicely with a 5-10 minute discussion about mindsets related to technical subjects. I like Jeffrey’s brashness and no-nonsense approach in ‘telling it how it is’ (for him).

His “Prioritize, Incentivize, Optimize” episode covered an interesting approach in reflecting on 2015, and using that reflection as feedback for the new year. It’s 8 minutes of delicious reflecting/planning gold.

His approach is as follows (starting at 00:57):

  • Create 3 lists with the following headings and meanings:
    • “Prioritize” (i.e. prioritize the things that you love)
    • “Incentivize” (i.e. incentivize the things that you need to do)
    • “Optimize” (i.e. optimize the things that you hate to do)
  • Start with 2015:
    • (01:40) On the “Prioritize” sheet write out the things that you really love doing. The focus for this is on writing the things related to your day-to-day not that one-off vacation that you had or that one moment during the year where you felt at peace. So your list is about the day-to-day…what is it on a daily basis that you love doing…that thing that hits your butter zone. This should be a quick list – just list out 5 things (so you don’t get bitten by your own analysis-by-paralysis piranha).
    • (02:47) On the “Incentivize” sheet write out the 5 things that you may not love to do on a day-to-day basis, but it’s something that you need to do. For example, working out may be something that you need to do for your health, but it is not something that you love to do on a day-to-day basis. A way to detect these items is anything that you can argue yourself out of. For example, “well – I got too many things to do today, so I I’ll skip my 10,000 step walk…I’ll do 20,000 steps tomorrow…worst case I’ll do 50,000 steps by the end of the week”.
      • So what do you do to do these things? You find incentives to do these things. Jeffrey refers to the Freakonomics podcast about some approaches that he found. Two approaches:
        1. Join the thing that you don’t want to do with a thing that you do want to do (for example: “I’ll watch ‘The Blacklist’ only when I work out”). The key point is that you’re not allowed to do the thing you like unless you do the thing you don’t like (either at the same time or first).
        2. Another approach is to provide some kind of backlash (for example: if you don’t work out 4 days a week, then something bad will happen like – give $100 to your best friend or do a shame tweet, or dance a weekly jig in front of your office mates). The idea is to find something that you are averse to that you’ll have to do if you don’t do the thing that you have to do. It’s basically a negative incentive.
    • (04:56) On the “Optimize” sheet write out the 5 things that you hate to do. Think back on 2015 on a day-to-day basis – what are the things that you hated to do? Now figure out a way that you can potentially optimize it. For example, lets say that you need to answer customer support emails as part of your business and you hate doing it (lets say an hour per day). Write this down and ask yourself ‘how can I optimize this?’ Maybe it’s a SASSy solution like zendesk. Maybe automate common questions. Maybe you need to fix something in your product to fix/remove these questions.

The goal of these lists is to do more of what you love in this new year and less of what you hate.

So these 3 lists are Jeffrey’s approach to new year resolutions (i.e. replacing the resolutions approach). I really like this approach because it is extremely concrete and it uses last year as feedback for your current/upcoming year. It also lends itself for more frequent value calibration through something like the 3-list review on a monthly basis than just a yearly basis.

This approach is has a bit of intersection with the Eisenhower Box that I describe below. The key benefits are:

  • It is easy to do (just pick 5 things for each list).
  • It focuses on concrete things that happen in your life.
  • It is a clear sharpen the saw activity that you can do at any time

The Eisenhower Box

When I think of the word “Eisenhower”, I think 1950s conservatism and wearing a suit at work. However, the Eisenhower Box is quite different.

The Asian Efficiency (AE) Podcast (episode 72) had an excellent discussion about new year resolutions and the various approaches that were used by AE’s team. The item that caught my eye (or better said ear) was a passing comment about using the Eisenhower Box for prioritization. In episode 72’s show notes they link to a great article by James Clear about the origin and usage of the Eisenhower Box.

Covey’s “Put First Things First” comes from the Eisenhower Box (I didn’t know this until now). In any case, it’s a great approach to looking on both a moment-to-moment basis and a long-term basis and evaluating whether the project/task/action that you’re doing – whether it is:

  1. Important/Urgent: DO aka Do it now!
  2. Important/Not-Urgent: DECIDE aka Plan – schedule a time to do it.
  3. Not-Important/Urgent: DELEGATE aka Who can do it for you?
  4. Not-Important/Not-Urgent: DELETE aka Eliminate it

As mentioned before, Jeffrey’s approach is in line with this approach (but more concrete and simple). The mapping would seem to be as follows:

  1. Prioritize = Important/Not-Urgent
  2. Incentivize = Important/Not-Urgent
  3. Optimize = Not-Important/Urgent and Not-Important/Not-Urgent

I think the Not-Important/Not-Urgent would fall into the optimization list by way of “eliminating/deleting” the item. In fact, James Clear in the Eisenhower Box article states this very thing:

Elimination Before Optimization

There is no faster way to do something than not doing it at all. That’s not a reason to be lazy, but rather a suggestion to force yourself to make hard decisions and delete any task that does not lead you toward your mission, your values, and your goals.

Too often, we use productivity, time management, and optimization as an excuse to avoid the really difficult question: “Do I actually need to be doing this?” It is much easier to remain busy and tell yourself that you just need to be a little more efficient or to “work a little later tonight” than to endure the pain of eliminating a task that you are comfortable with doing, but that isn’t the highest and best use of your time.

As Tim Ferriss says, “Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”

Tim Ferriss’ quote reminds me of the hard ass Unix professor that I had at one point. One of my peers was doing a lab exercise and ended up going down some pointless rabbit holes that had nothing to do with the exercise that he was solving. He was in a sense pursuing any problem that he could think of to show the professor that he was doing something (“hey professor – look at me – I’m doing something by spinning this hamster wheel”). So the prof comes over and looks at what he’s doing and in a loud vehement voice the prof says “STOP doing mental masturbation on this exercise and do the damn exercise already!” I suppose that productivity tools can be that, a way of not doing the things that we need to be doing.

This elimination approach fits in with Allen’s “Get Rid of Everything” approach and DHH’s quality discussion. You need to get rid of the crap that is of poor quality which is the same stuff that is not in sync with your mission/values/goals.

Core Intuition 214

In the Core Intuition’s episode 214 Daniel Jalkut speaks of his disbelief in resolutions. In a tongue and cheek way he says that his whole life is one big resolution. That’s both a funny and a strangely profound thing to say. If all our lives are one big resolutions, then is the issue that many of us don’t figure out what that resolution is before our lives end? (i.e. the holy grail of finding our “life’s purpose”)

At time mark 33:38 he mentions a comment from Dennis (from Core Intuition’s live chat at the time of the podcast). Dennis indicates that this is how he approaches resolutions:

  • Resolutions are for long term goals for things you wish were true.
  • Values are the metrics for choices on deciding on a daily basis the way to prioritize things.
  • Practices are the concrete activities which make your goals come to pass.

Dennis’s reflection caught my attention. Initially, I was resistant in considering resolutions as long term wishes. After all, I may wish for the fuzzy goal of “world peace” but how likely it is that I would accomplish this? Perhaps this is an issue of specific versus vague? I would rephrase the first point as Resolutions are for SMART long term goals for things you wish were true (where SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).

The values piece is directly reflective of DHH’s quality approach as well as the Eisenhower box prioritization.

The practices piece refers to actually “doing it”. It’s David Allen’s next action question of “the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion.”

In a sense, all the approaches that I have covered reflect and bounce around in this small silver resolution box that Dennis creates through his comment.

Conclusion

Are there alternatives to New Year resolutions? Absolutely! I personally like the above sources and how I ordered them (from somewhat fuzzy conceptual to more concrete/actionable). So to review:

  1. Begin by getting rid of the old through David Allen’s approach
  2. Then consider the quality of your seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and the whole (past) year.
  3. Use Jeffrey’s approach to create concrete prioritize/incentivize/optimize lists that collect both the good and the bad quality things/activities of the past year and use these items for the same set of lists for the next year.
  4. On a daily basis snap yourself out of the unimportant/urgent moment-to-moment parts of your life using the Eisenhower Box
  5. When creating projects and next actions for those projects during your day or week – use the guideline from Core Intuition. This is also useful for periodic reviews of what you’re doing and where you are in your life.

There is a “write your obituary” exercise that many life coaches promote. That seems like a bit of a downer (but it may be effective I suppose). I think a more interesting question is encompassed by a quote that I saw on John Gruber’s site on Martin Luther King Day:

‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
>Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the end of the day, our actions, goals and aspiration are not in their own bubble. They are ripples on a vast ocean that reflect out and affect others. The ripples of all of our resolutions, goal settings, and various machinations – these ripples are the ones that form our ultimate legacy or lack thereof.

Peace!

eli4d


Please let me know via Twitter if you found this post useful.