ReadBundle is an unbeatable collection of books and resources for entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, startups, and growth hackers. You can save 90% on 12 fantastic eBooks — usually $285, this bundle is yours this week for just $29!
In this bundle, books include Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis, Email Field Guide by David Sparks, Design for Conversions by Brian Casel, and Build & Launch by Justin Jackson.
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My thanks to ReadBundle for sponsoring the site this week.
Friday, January 8
curbi gives parents peace of mind; helping manage screen time while providing the best solution so the entire family can enjoy the online world as much as the real world.
curbi is now available on Android as well.
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My thanks to curbi for sponsoring the sites this week. curbi is pretty incredible, especially if you’ve got a family of devices you’d like to help safeguard.
Thursday, January 7
Just a friendly reminder that the special price for 2016’s big update to The Focus Course ends today.
As you know, The Focus Course was just updated with about 50 new videos! It’s awesome.
The Course is normally $350, but right now it’s just $297. And, if you hadn’t noticed, today is the last day it will be available at this price.
If you’re ready to bring your life into focus, I’d like to humbly suggest that right now is an excellent time to sign up. It’s the beginning of the year, there’s a slew of new folks just starting out the course, and, well, the price is right.
When you sign up, you’ll get instant access to everything in the course right away.
Now, of course, you don’t have to start right now. The Focus Course is self-paced and you have lifetime access. Which means you can start The Focus Course whenever you’re ready, and you can move through it at a pace which works best for you.
(In other news, tomorrow we’ll return to our regularly scheduled publishing, as Fantastic Friday will be making its debut appearance here on the website itself. And there are some awesome things in the pipe for the rest of January and February. But more on that next week…)
Thursday, December 24
It’s Christmas Eve. And as I write this I’m in Colorado with my family.
Which is why today’s Elements of Focus video is all about community.
For those of you who’ve been taking the free class, you’ll know that everything we’ve covered so far — strengthening personal integrity, spending time on what’s most important, recognizing the progress we make and celebrating it, living a focused life, staying healthy when life is super busy, etc. — it is all enhanced through meaningful relationships.
Your whole life is enhanced through relationships.
So here we are. In the midst of the holiday season, where they say it’s better to give than receive. Which is true. But we still need to receive. Relationships are a two-way street, and you need comrades, input, and help. We all do.
Most of us like the idea of giving and providing value. In our work place, in our side-gig, in our down time. We love to help and serve. But what can be hard is asking for help… we don’t naturally seek out mentorship, assistance, and accountability.
That’s what today’s video is about.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch it. Then make a moment to give to someone else by encouraging, helping, supporting, or teaching them. But don’t stop there — I hope you’ll also ask someone for advice, feedback, support, or accountability in an area you need social support in.
Monday, December 21
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I should link to another podcast episode.
Well, today’s your day. Because Katie Floyd and David Sparks were kind enough to invite me back on to their incredible podcast, Mac Power Users.
In the show we talked about all sorts of life-centric stuff related to living a focused life. And, of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of MPU if we didn’t also talk about nerdy topics such as workflows, favorite software, and more.
Wednesday, December 16
Speaking of podcasts that are speaking of success, there’s an episode of the EntreLeadership podcast with Shawn Achor that’s quite excellent.
Shawn Achor’s studies and teachings on what he calls the Happiness Advantage are fantastic. If you haven’t read his book or watched his TED talk, you should definitely check them out. I used a lot of his research and findings within The Focus Course.
So, a few weeks ago, Shawn was a guest on the EntreLeadership podcast. He basically gave a crash course overview on what fuels happiness in our lives and how critical that is to actually attaining success.
Tuesday, December 15
If you’re an entrepreneur (just starting out or seasoned), you’ll love The Fizzle Show podcast.
I’ve long been a fan of the Fizzle Show (they even had me on the show once).
When I was creating The Focus Course earlier this year, I went through a ton of the Fizzle podcasts related creating an online course, building an audience, selling a product. Those shows were instrumental in helping me to build something that was both awesome and profitable. Lately (as in the past few dozen episodes) they’ve just been on fire.
This latest episode of the Fizzle Show is absolutely fantastic. The discussion and advice given by the Fizzle team can literally change your life.
Though the Fizzle Show is usually aimed at the Indie Entrepreneur, this episode on defining success is required listening for just about anybody and everybody.
In the show, Corbett Barr says this:
The more I work on closing that gap between who I am and who I want to be, the more important I realize systems are.
I couldn’t agree more.
If you’ve watched the trailer video I made for The Power of a Focused Life, then you know my stance on the difference between passive living and intentional living. In short, the dreams of our heart (a.k.a. our definition of success) won’t come about by just wishing and wanting. They’re built from the ground up, one day at a time.
And, the best way to make sure you’re making progress, day by day, on the things that are most important to you, is to know what your vision and values are and then keep short accounts with how you’re spending your time and energy.
Friday, December 11
As you may already know, I’m doing a free class. It’s called The Elements of Focus and it starts now.
There are 16 videos I recorded just for this. Each one is fun and personal. We’ll be covering a handful of topics that I believe are most important to meaningful productivity and doing our best creative work.
Moreover, something we’ll be diving into is how to gain traction in your business or side project. As people have been signing up for the class, I’ve heard from hundreds of registrants saying that one of their biggest challenges right now is something related to their career: either trying to build up their new gig, build up a side-project, or considering a career move.
So there are definitely going to be days where I discuss how to gain traction and momentum on your business or side project.
I realize it’s right over the holiday, which is why each day’s video is less than 5 minutes. Plus, if you’re like me, you enjoy taking some of your time off as an opportunity to learn something new and work on a side-project.
Also, while the class is happening, I’ll be working on putting together a significant update to The Focus Course. Registration for the Focus Course itself will re-open on December 29 when all the updates go live!
All that said, check out the free class and sign up. It begins on today (though you can jump in anytime). It’s going to be superfun! I hope you join me.
What is Uuni?
- It heats up to 840°F (450°C) in less than 10 minutes.
- That intense heat cooks a pizza in just 90 seconds.
- It burns wood for an authentic flavour.
Uuni is super fast to assemble — less than ten minutes. It’s easy to adjust the temperature with its clever hopper system. Uuni is made of beautiful brushed stainless steel so it can take any weather you throw at it (we’re based in Scotland so we know!). Check it out, and make sure to read some of the reviews our customers have left — we’re very proud of them.
Food. Fire. Uuni.
$20 off your Uuni 2? Please use the code toolsandtoys
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A huge thanks to Uuni for again sponsoring the site this week. I’ve got an Uuni here at my place and I can tell you that it is awesome.
Thursday, December 3
Last Christmas I was given a Col. Littleton No. 1 Grip weekender bag. It was an epic gift. It’s beautiful.
Then, last week I came across this episode of the EntreLeadership podcast where they interviewed Col. Littleton himself, and he is the man.
I love the part when he goes off on how all the people who copy his bags make things that are cheaper and of less quality — nobody is copying Col. Littleton bag and making it better and more expensive (reminds me of this awesome video by Saddleback Leather on how to knock off their most popular bag).
He also has some awesome thoughts on how to treat your customers / audience, and how to always do more work than what you’re paid for.
There are so many great nuggets in this conversation, you’ve got to give it a listen.
Wednesday, December 2
A couple of weeks ago I recorded 60 videos over the span of 5 days.
(It was much less crazy and much more fun than it sounds.)
41 of the videos are for a major update to The Focus Course that will be going live at the end of this month. And 19 of the videos are for this free class I’m doing, starting on December 13.
Here’s a picture of me looking serious, when what I’m actually doing is wrangling the world’s most annoying teleprompter app.
I just got back all the videos for the upcoming free class, The Elements of Focus. And, one of them got cut from the final class schedule.
So… I thought it’d be fun to share it with you. Because, why not?
The idea behind this video is based on the quote from Dave Ramsey where the says, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
Living like nobody else is a curious and difficult metric.
It’s pointless (not to mention rude) to look around at folks and assume they are or are not on track to attain their goals. However, statistically speaking, the majority of people will not actually reach their goals.
We know this because one of the most common regrets of the dying is that they worked too hard and neglected their relationships, values, and even their own happiness. And yet, despite all that hard work, the average retiree at age 65 has only enough in savings to pay for less than 2 years worth of living expenses.
Add on top the fact that we live in an unprecedented “Age of Distraction” where we never have to be bored. In our pocket we carry around instant access to an incessant stream of real-time news and entertainment.
In short, if we want to have any hope of accomplishing our goals and living out our life vision, we need to be intentional and proactive.
But sometimes we don’t know where to start.
So, I humbly suggest that perhaps we should simply start by living differently than most people…
All that said, check out the video. And then, don’t forget to sign up for the free class (if you haven’t already).
Monday, November 30
Lecharl is a watchmaker brand from Sweden. Our vision is to create beautiful, timeless and elegant timepieces, where classic and modern design seamlessly merges. When it comes to design and quality, we at Lecharl follow our own mind and vision, regardless of trends. And this is something we are truly proud of.
Our first model, Born 1929, is available in three different and distinct styles: Black, Gold or Rose gold. And your new Lecharl watch will be delivered in an elegantly designed box.
As a reader of shawnblanc.net, you get a 10% discount on your purchase from Lecharl. Use the code shawn10 when you checkout — and remember that we always offer free, worldwide shipping.
We invite you to visit us at www.lecharl.com. We would also be glad if you want to connect with us on Instagram under @lecharlwatches.
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My thanks to Lecharl Watches for sponsoring the site this week. Don’t forget to use the code shawn10 at checkout to save 10-percent.
Tuesday, November 10
As you may have noticed from yesterday’s link, myself and the team over at The Sweet Setup have been working on a brand new iBook. It’s called Day One In Depth, and it’s available now on iBooks.
This book is the most detailed and extensive guide to Day One available today. Featuring in-depth reviews that cover every function and feature found within Day One, our handbook goes line by line showing you how to make the most of this award-winning journaling app.
I’ve long been a fan and user of Day One, which is why this app was our first choice for a deep dive guide. Not only do I use this app all the time (and have for years), but it’s the sort of app I know YOU could benefit from using as well. Thus, our new comprehensive guide.
Monday, November 9
This morning, over on The Sweet Setup, is an article from yours truly about how and why I use the awesome Day One journaling app.
As I mention in the article, what’s special about Day One is how well designed and full of thoughtful details it is. The app is so versatile, you could use it for just about anything — certainly more than a humble journal.
Thursday, November 5
In 2011, Evan Calkins had an idea to help minimize the cost of custom letterpress printing by launching a tiny one page website called Hoban Cards. It leveraged pre designed calling card templates to streamline the printing process while still introducing something beautiful and unique. Evan is now proud to announce a more mature website and marketplace – the third iteration of Hoban Cards.
The new Hoban Cards features two new calling card layouts called The Detective and The Requisite Card. Also, they’ve introduced a new line of letterpress printed note cards and stationery sets.
Use promo code tools during checkout to get $5 off your order.
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My thanks to Hoban Cards for sponsoring the site this week. I had my own business calling cards printed through Hoban Cards a while ago and the quality is absolutely top-notch. Highly recommended.
It’s the first week of November, which means our annual Tools & Toys Christmas Catalog is here. Wow!
As fun and playful as Tools & Toys is, I also like to toss in a dash of thoughtfulness whenever possible. And our holiday gift guide is an ideal spot:
A gift is more than just an item to fill a box so it can be wrapped up in red and green paper and placed under a tree. When you buy a gift this year, don’t give out of obligation, but rather give out of thankfulness and gratitude.
There is another side to this idea of intentional giving as well. It’s the idea that intentional giving means getting something awesome. Which, is actually easier than it may seem. With just a little bit of forethought and inspirational assistance, you too can move past the black hole of terrible gift giving that is filled with fruit cakes and generic gift certificates.
Instead, give a gift that will be well received. A gift that shows how savvy and clever you are.
We’ve got 16 stellar items picked out for you (I’d like the Dopp Kit and the Bonavita coffee brewer, please).
While you’re there, please take a chance to check out our recommended non-profits. We always give 11% of our gross earnings to charity throughout the year, and for November and December we’ll be donating that money specifically to St. Jude, Operation Christmas Child, and App Camp for Girls. When you follow our links to buy stuff on Amazon this year, that’s where a portion of our earnings will go.
Tuesday, October 27
Wouldn’t it be great to have a personal task management app that integrates with the tools you already use, allowing you to seamlessly view all of your tasks on one screen? Rindle does this and more, making it easier than ever to keep your day organized.
Your tasks are everywhere: email, to-do apps, project management apps, and collaboration tools… to name a few. Many people are using multiple tools for their personal tasks and projects, which wastes time and complicates their day. Rindle brings all of your tasks together into one place, helping you to simplify your personal workflow.
Leverage the tools you already use to centralize your information into one easy location. If you use apps like Gmail, Slack, Trello, Basecamp, Todoist and Github, you’re going to love how you can aggregate all of your tasks into a single screen, providing some zen to your hectic day.
If you are jumping between tabs in your browser to track down work, or sifting through email to remember something you had to get done, then you are wasting precious time each day. Let Rindle keep everything in one central location for you. Sign up for the private beta today.
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My thanks to Rindle for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.
Monday, October 26
Last week, my pal Mike Vardy and I launched something pretty great: The Awareness Building Class.
It’s a 5-part audio class with accompanying PDF workbook and transcripts. We designed it to go hand-in-hand with The Focus Course. And, therefore, we’ve been giving it away for the past week to anyone and everyone who signs up for The Focus Course.
But that offer ends tonight.
So, if you sign up for the Focus Course tonight, you’ll get the Awareness Building Class for FREE. But if you wait, the class will cost you an additional $79.
Wednesday, October 21
Meet Settled, the hot new payment feature from Acuity Scheduling that lets customers pay & tip online …without the awkward.
For the business owner, it helps you get paid automatically and awesomely, just like Uber does, without having to swipe another credit card again. For the customer, it helps you breeze in and breeze out of your appointments without having to wait in line, wonder how much tip to give, or suffer through a thousand good-byes.
Why settle for less when you can get Settled online?
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My thanks to Acutiy Scheduling for sponsoring the site this week.
Friday, October 16
Speaking of podcasts, this is an awesome tip / app suggestion from Bradley Chambers this week over on The Sweet Setup.
If you’re like me and you come across one-off audio files that you want to listen to, but wish you could (a) easily get them onto your phone without side-loading them or dealing with Dropbox’s audio player (which doesn’t remember listening state); and (b) take advantage of your favorite podcast player’s Smart Speed features then this is the service for you.
If you’ve been wishing that I were around on more podcasts, well have I got a treat for you. This week I was a guest on Mike Vardy’s Productivityist podcast. We had a great conversation about intentionality, productivity-plus-creativity, and more.
Tuesday, September 29
Paddle is an all-in-one SDK that gives app developers access to all the essential tools for building a great product. Including in-app analytics, user feedback, app store ratings, funnels and more. With only a few lines of code you can start building better apps in less time, allowing you to focus on the best parts of being a developer.
It’s free to start, and you only pay when you’re ready to get serious about your app business.
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My thanks to Paddle for sponsoring the site again this week.
Friday, September 25
True story: I decided to get the iPhone 6S Plus this year.
In part, I went with the bigger iPhone to see how the big-screened other side lives (my Android-toting cousins are never going to let me hear the end of it this Thanksgiving).
I also went with the 6S Plus because it has the best camera in a mobile device (if you can call an airplane wing a mobile device). The in-body image stabilization goes a long way with video.
Knowing that I’m not the only one looking forward to shooting with the new iPhone, over on Tools & Toys, we put together an unordered list of awesome gear to take your iPhone photography and videography to the next level. A super-cool mobile tripod, awesome extra lenses, etc. Check it out.
If you’re getting a new iPhone in the near future, here’s our Sweet Setup article from a few months ago with the steps on how to pair your Apple Watch to your new phone. In short, back up your old iPhone, un-pair your Watch, set up your new iPhone and restore from the iCloud backup, then pair your Watch to the new phone, and chose to restore the Watch from backup.
And, speaking of iPhone upgrades, in case you need some tips with how to backup your current device before setting up your new one, we’ve got you covered.
Wednesday, September 23
Paddle is an all-in-one SDK that gives app developers access to all the essential tools for building a great product. Including in-app analytics, user feedback, app store ratings, funnels and more. With only a few lines of code you can start building better apps in less time, allowing you to focus on the best parts of being a developer. It’s free to start, and you only pay when you’re ready to get serious about your app business.
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My thanks to Paddle for sponsoring the site this week.
Tuesday, September 15
curbi gives parents peace of mind; providing the best solution so the entire family can enjoy the online world as much as the real world.
My thanks to curbi for again sponsoring the site this week. curbi is pretty incredible, especially if you’ve got a family of devices you’d like to help safeguard.
And it’s more than just for kids. You can set it up on your own device as well, and use it as an internet content blocker that actually works — so you don’t accidentally get slimed with stuff you don’t want to see and so you’re not constantly entering in a PIN to visit regular sites that iOS doesn’t need to block.
Monday, September 14
An excellent, as always, overview of last week’s Apple event, as well as John’s initial thoughts on the new iPhones, iPad Pro, Apple TV, and Watch.
I was bummed that I couldn’t watch the Keynote last week — I was in the air during the event, on my way to Dallas to speak at the 2015 Circles Conference (more on that later). Being at Circles, I was offline most of last week and missed a lot of the new Apple product news (aside from this ridiculous newspaper headline).
But I did still wake up at midnight to pre-order a new iPhone. I decided to go crazy and went with the iPhone 6S Plus. I’m perfectly happy with the size of the 6, but I thought it would be fun to try out the bigger sized phone. Just about everyone I know with the 6 Plus loves it. So we’ll see. Also, after getting a massive headache trying to figure out the new pricing structures and what would be the best route to go, I decided to jump off the subsidy bandwagon and bought a contract-free, unsubsidized phone through AT&T. I prefer to keep my iPhones after the contract on them is up, either for resale, or — now that I’ve got two boys — for watching Mighty Machines on long road trips.
Another thought on the new iPhones: 3D Touch looks fantastic. It was pretty obvious that it’d be coming to the iPhone; after just a few weeks with my Watch I was already naturally trying to Force Press app icons and menu buttons on my iPhone. It may be “for power users” but I also think it’ll be quick to acclimate to, and in a few days we’ll all be grumbling about how our iPads don’t have it.
I’m also excited about the new Apple TV. Like a lot of you, I suspect, my house doesn’t have cable TV — we watch all our shows and movies via Netflix and iTunes (with an attic antenna we use during football season).
What John Gruber had to say about the new Apple TV only makes me that much more amped:
Apple TV is hot. I only got a brief period to play with it, but it seems fast, responsive, beautiful, and intuitive. It feels alive. If I worked at Apple I’d want to be on that team. On first impression, it is everything I wanted to see. It sounds like a small talented team got to build the Apple TV they wanted to see and use themselves. There is a clarity and vision to the entirety of its design. I think it exemplifies the best of Apple. […]
I think Apple TV might be the most disruptive product from Apple since the iPhone. Not the most lucrative, necessarily, but the most disruptive — in the sense of defining how all TVs will work in a few years.
I’ve also noticed something over the past several years: the most interesting, accomplished people I know all have a vision for their lives. They seem to know what comes next, like they’ve seen the future.
On the other hand, people I meet or know who are stuck and have that hopeless look in their eyes, like they’re just passing time in life without joy or aspiration, those people don’t have a vision. In fact, many of them don’t even have long-term goals. This was painfully clear at my recent high school reunion.
I couldn’t agree more.