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My thanks to Daylite for sponsoring the site this week!

Daylite: Manage Clients & Projects Better. Together. (Sponsor)

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My thanks to Marketcircle for sponsoring the site this week.

Daylite: Business Productivity App Exclusively for Mac & iOS (Sponsor)

Cal Newport:

Someone who plans every minute of their day, and every day of their week, is going to accomplish an order of magnitude more high-value work than someone who identifies only a single daily objective. […]

In other words, don’t settle for a workday in which only an hour or two is in your control. Fight for every last minute. Even if you don’t always win, you’ll end up better off.

I couldn’t agree more. Since I began scheduling every minute of my day I get far more of the important work done each day. And, I rarely end the day with that feeling in the back of my mind where I’m wondering “what did I actually do today?” and it feels like no matter how many hours I work, I still haven’t gotten it all done.

But!…

Though the Most Important Thing is not enough, it is still very important.

I always take a few minutes at the end of my day to write down what tomorrow’s most important task is going to be. Having that ever-so-basic starting plan for tomorrow helps tremendously (James Clear has written about it, calling it The Ivy Lee Method).

P.S. Speaking of Cal, I had the opportunity to talk with him on my podcast earlier this year, and a lot of what we hit on is along these lines.

Your Most Important Thing Is Not Enough

All this week over on the (new!) Focus Course blog, we’re posting some short and sweet video previews.

Here’s what’s been posted so far:

All these previews are just 2-minute clips from the conversations that will be published next week as part of the Creative Focus Online Summit.

We’ve got more in the pipe for the rest of this week. And then, on Monday, we kick off the summit itself. If you want to get access to the Summit, it’s free to register.

Short and Sweet Creative Focus Previews

Bring your home to life. Cue the perfect ambience simply by entering your room. Eve Motion detects movement, allowing you to set scenes and control your connected accessories via your presence, even when your iPhone is not around.

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Create powerful rules with conditions to control your HomeKit-enabled accessories. Automatically activate your “I’m home” scene when you or a family member roll up the driveway, but only after sunset. Or switch on a fan when you enter your living room, but only if your climate sensor has registered a specific temperature. With Eve Motion, make your accessories work in harmony with your lifestyle.

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Find out more

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My thanks to Elgato for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by the Syndicate.

Automatically control your connected accessories via your presence. (Sponsor)

Secrets is now Free on the App Store! Secrets is a simple, secure password manager for Mac and iOS. It leverages industry standard encryption algorithms to provide secure storage and macOS and iOS native features to facilitate automatic filling of logins in the browser.

Version 2.0 is the culmination of months of testing in the real world. Bugs have been squashed, important features have been added and polish has been applied throughout. With this new version you can use Secrets and all of its features for Free with up to 10 items.

Download it now on the App Store or the Mac App Store.

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My thanks to Secrets for sponsoring the site this week.

Secrets: A simple & secure password manager exclusively for Mac and iOS (Sponsor)

The Creative Focus Online Summit

Early last week, I peeled back the curtain to finally announce something I’ve been working on for months.

It’s The Creative Focus Online Summit.

creative-focus-summit-1300

It’s an online event that starts in two weeks from tomorrow. And, to be candid, this is one of the biggest things I’ve ever done. I think you’re going to love it.

For one, the summit is completely free.

Secondly, it’s all online, so there’s no travel required.

You sign up. I email you each day with links to that day’s videos (which, by the way, will be available fully on demand).

This is somewhat similar to the free Elements of Focus class that I ran last year. In that, this is a chance to put something together around the topics of creativity and focus just in time for the New Year.

But what’s different is that this year I’ve invited 13 brilliant speakers to participate. (Seriously. Check out that lineup.)

Over the course of the summit, you’ll walk away with ideas and advice related to time ownership, working on your passion, balancing your work life and your personal life, showing up every day, doing your best creative work, growing an audience, and so much more.

So go check it out, and then register for free.

The Creative Focus Online Summit

What’s Next?

As I type this note, it’s a crisp Friday morning and my hot coffee is keeping my keyboard company.

Here in Kansas City the weather is beginning to cool down, and it finally feels like fall.

It’s in these final weeks of the year that my thoughts always turn to the next year, and I begin to think about what’s next. What will the upcoming year hold for my work? For my family? What hardships will we have? What adventures?

As you may know, I was recently in Austin where I had the privilege of speaking at the seanwes conference. While there I had some fantastic conversations with my friends Sean McCabe and Nathan Barry. They both gave me some excellent advice and new ideas for The Focus Course.

Combined with the nearing of 2017, and needless to say I’m excited about what’s to come for my work, my family, and many other areas of life.

And I hope you can say the same as you look ahead to what’s next.

To give you an idea of a few things we’re working on for you:

We’ll be hosting our first Focus Course winter camp in January. And it’s going to be awesome.

But…

Before that, I have something else in store.

Something my team and I have been working on for months.

Something that is unlike anything I’ve done before.

To be candid, I was nervous about this new project. But now that it has come together, I can’t wait to pull back the curtain.

While I can’t tell you what it is just yet, I will be announcing it this coming Tuesday, November 15th.

In the meantime, here is a clue…

november project

What’s Next?

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In short: Enjoy the comfort of connected lighting.

Eve Light Switch transforms any single or multi-bulb setup into an intelligent lighting system, so can use your existing bulbs regardless of their shape, size or color. Taking advantage of Apple’s revolutionary HomeKit technology, Eve offers unparalleled ease of use, advanced security, and tight integration with Siri. Eve Light Switch connects directly to your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth low energy technology, without requiring a hub, gateway or bridge.

About Eve

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Learn more

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My thanks to elgato for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by Syndicate Ads.

​Enjoy the Comfort of Connected Lighting (Sponsor)

Little Things Add Up: The Effect of Details in Aggregate

It’s the little things, in aggregate, that can make the difference between something being exquisite and delightful, or else being full of friction.

When done well, the little things add up to make an overall positive impression. And, on the flip side, when ignored or done poorly, the little things add up to leave a negative impression.

This is why “good enough” can be the enemy, and why implementing many features poorly is actually a worse plan than implementing a few features very well. Though the princess slept on many mattresses, just one pea under the whole stack ruined her night’s sleep.

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A few years ago I was replacing all the flat slab doors in our home with new 6-panel slab doors. A slab door is just the door itself — I wasn’t replacing the jambs and frames, which means for each door I hung I had to cut out the grooves for the hinges. These are called mortises, and I used a router to cut them out.

Over several weekends I worked my way through the house, doing one door at a time. And as I did, I became acutely aware of all the shortcuts the previous owner had taken when they were framing and painting the doors I was now replacing. All the doorknobs had paint around their base, the door hinges were painted over, and so were the strike plates.

After I had hung about half the doors, I began to understand why there was so much sloppy work I was replacing. When you’re in the middle of a project like this it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the little to-do items, and thus begin cutting corners in order to speed up the completion of the project.

As I was routing out each mortise and measuring the spot for each new strike plate, I felt the temptation to sidestep a detail here or there. I’d have to remind myself that I couldn’t take a shortcut — not even once. What would seem like a negligible issue in the moment would soon snowball into another sidestepped detail and then another, until there was an overall feeling of sloppy work.

When you’re in the middle of the project, you think, “well, a one-off here and a one- off there is not the end of the world.” But shortcuts add up, and those little details — for the good or for the bad — come together in aggregate and make the difference between something that is either exquisite, ordinary, or poor.

When I was done with my project, the difference was significant. Just as the sloppy work on the previous doors and knobs and hinges had added up to exude an overall “cheap” feeling, having new door knobs that weren’t tainted with paint slops, new door hinges that were clean and not painted over, and having doors that were free from scuff marks, all added up to an overall “classy” feeling that was greater than the sum of the parts.

And so, when you’ve committed to not take shortcuts, you quickly learn that sweating the details is where most of the hard work lies. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s that 80/20 rule: 80-percent of the project gets completed with the first 20-percent of effort, and then it takes the remaining 80-percent of the effort to complete the final 20-percent of the project.

But it’s worth it because in these details lies the overall feeling of the product. The underlying “truth” of our product is found not in the feature set but in the details we implemented well. The details make the design.

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This article was from my book, Delight is in the Details.

I wanted to share it with you because it serves as one side of the coin.

When it comes to our goals, our projects, and/or our businesses, it is important to sweat the details.

However, there is another side to the coin: perfectionism will kill your project. We’ll get into that next.

Little Things Add Up: The Effect of Details in Aggregate

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My thanks to Marketcircle for sponsoring the site this week!

Daylite — The Business Productivity App. Exclusively for Mac, iPhone & iPad. (Sponsor)