Hello, Sabbatical Week!

As you may know, here at Blanc Media we work in 8-week cycles.

But, for this current work cycle we did something new to us.

We staggered our sabbatical week.

Why? Well, I just opened the doors for the all-new Focus Accelerator membership (you can join here). And everyone who joins gets a free strategy call with us to help get personalized support right off the bat.

In order to accommodate the calls, Joanna and Chloe just took their sabbatical week while Isaac and I did all the calls. And next week, Isaac and I will take our sabbatical while Joanna and Chloe do the calls.

(Side note, tor my sabbatical, I’m taking my family to Colorado. If you want to see some pictures of the Rocky Mountains, follow me on Instagram.)

Hello, Sabbatical Week!

When it comes to reading a book and taking notes, my favorite method for taking notes is the alternate index. I’ve been doing this in my non-fiction books for 5 or 6 years now. Though, after years of doing this, I could definitely be more disciplined at turning the Index and takeaways into digitized notes inside Ulysses or Notion, but nobody’s workflow is perfect now is it?

The Alternate Index is one of 3 rules about book buying and reading. I made some short videos about each rule here if you want to watch on Instagram: Rule 1, Rule 2, and Rule 3.

How to Build Your Own Alternate Index of Ideas

Hooray! We just recently announced the all-new Focus Accelerator membership. It’s amazing and I think you would love being part.

In short, Focus Accelerator is your all-access pass to every single course and tool in our library, plus a community to help you get clear, take action, and keep going.

The rundown is that you get:

  • Unlimited access to every course in our library
  • Monthly coaching, workshops, and Q&A with our team
  • Accountability and breakthrough with the community

(Full details all listed here.)

This is something we’ve been working on for the past 18 months… It’s finally out there and the response has been beyond what we expected. I hope you’ll come join us.

The Focus Accelerator (Finally!)

Tomorrow I am hosting a live interview with Ugmonk’s, Jeff Sheldon to talk about running a small business + doing creative work.

Here are a rundown of what we’ll cover:

⚡️ Creating new products: How to stay inspired & relevant while also leading a team. (The challenges of RUNNING a small business.)

⚡️ Content strategy: doing email newsletters & social media (the challenges of GROWING a small-business and an audience).

⚡️ Analog Productivity: The why and how behind Analog and Jeff’s personal approach to productivity and systems.

⚡️ Live Q&A: Your chance to ask any questions live (or submit them ahead of time and catch the answers during the replay).

More details, and how to join us, all here.

Live with Ugmonk: Creativity and Business with Jeff Sheldon

Alternative Ways to Spend 5 Minutes of Awkward Downtime

Many times, when met with small windows of “awkward downtime”, we decide to just pull out our smart phone and scroll.

Here are a few ways alternative ways you can spend those 5 – 10 minutes…

  • If you Use Day One, scroll through your Day One timeline and read a previous journal entry.
  • Browse some old photos and memories.
  • Launch Day One (or any other journal you have) and log how you’ve spent your time so far for the day. Doing this for a few weeks can also be super helpful for getting a perspective of where your time and energy are being spent.
  • Write down 3 new ideas. These could be articles you want to write, business ideas, places you want to visit or photograph, topics you want to research, date ideas for you and your spouse, gift ideas for a friend, etc. These ideas never have to to be acted on — the point isn’t to generate a to-do list, but rather to exercise your mind. Ideation and creativity are muscles, and the more we exercise them the stronger they get.
  • Send a text message to a friend or family member to tell them how awesome they are.
  • Stand up and do some stretching / body movement.

Have some ideas of your own? Send them my way on Twitter (@shawnblanc)

Alternative Ways to Spend 5 Minutes of Awkward Downtime

An excellent article by Jill Lepore for The New Yorker regarding burnout:

To be burned out is to be used up, like a battery so depleted that it can’t be recharged. In people, unlike batteries, it is said to produce the defining symptoms of ‘burnout syndrome’: exhaustion, cynicism, and loss of efficacy. Around the world, three out of five workers say they’re burned out.

Burnout: Modern Affliction or Human Condition

Don’t stress the fuzzy, outer edges of life and projects

You won’t ever make all the edges of your life smooth and finished.

Even as we grow and mature in our life, the edges also get pushed out and they remain fuzzy. Don’t worry about “fixing” those outer edges — they will always be there. Instead focus on the center and on the core — the things that truly matter — and focus on making those stronger and better.

Don’t stress the fuzzy, outer edges of life and projects

One weird trick to overcome procrastination

Try this: tonight, before you go to bet, set out your clothes for tomorrow.

Why, Shawn!?

One reason we procrastinate is because we lack a system of execution.

If you make the first step of a task or project easier on yourself, then you have one step one already decided. It will make it simpler to continue following through.

(Pro tip: you can apply the night-time-outfit-trick to any other project or area of your life.)

One weird trick to overcome procrastination

I took Finn Beales’ online course version of this same training and absolutely loved it.

Probably one of the most helpful and practical guides to actually improving my photography that I’ve ever been through. And now there is also a magazine / book version of that same online course.

The fundamental ideas that I walked away with from the online course — as far as ways to shoot and things to look for — are all inside this $20 full-color workbook. If you want to take better photos, this thing is a bargain at twice the price.

Photography Storytelling Workshop book