Issue 01: New Release
The Big News is...BestSelf Co. launches the first issue of our newsletter: Motivation Mondays! This is it! Besides our regular emails, Motivation Mondays lets you know about projects in the pipeline, cool tips/stories we’ve stumbled upon and what we’ve been up to behind-the-scenes!
To start, it’s been a crazy few months as we’ve been brainstorming, prototyping, and building new stuff for you. And they’re almost ready! The next few months will be a fantastic time to be a BestSelf member (and be getting these newsletters to get the inside scoop). We’re so excited to show you everything we’ve got. The new products we’ve come up with are different from everything we’ve ever made. And the next few months will be different from anything you’ve ever experienced.
It’s all going to be about bringing you to The Next Level.
Upgrading your Network
Success is hard. Things don’t always go according to plan and challenges come up that we really get stuck with. The way to the top is a long journey. No one can go at it alone. We need to surround ourselves with people who bring out the best in us and push us to perform at our peak every day. People we can look to for support and advice when things get tough.
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you.” John Wooden
While our friends and family love and support us, sometimes we need more. We need people who are on the same journey, reaching for the same goals. People like this can offer invaluable insight into the challenges we face - because they get it. We need people who can challenge the solutions we come up with so we’re pushed to think of better ones. It’s not about finding people who are smarter than you, but being part of a group of people all smart in their own ways. Each with different skills to offer.
Throughout our journey, we’ve been fortunate enough to meet incredible people on their own journey towards success. We’ve grown and succeeded with them. And we’ve learned from each other. Now we have a huge network of people to turn to for advice, feedback - anything. They give us insight into what we’re doing right, and what we’re doing wrong. They challenge us to grow.
That’s what you need. That’s what we’re bringing you.
Resources, Resources, Resources
As you know, to create the SELF Journal, we went through tons of resources - books, videos, courses, conferences, and so much more. We talked to people who have found success in their chosen field to try to understand how they did it. And each of them gave us a bit more insight into what makes some people more productive. We pieced together everything we learned and slowly crafted what became the SELF Journal.
The important takeaway of this story is that the SELF Journal wasn’t created out of thin air. It was a collage of everything we picked up from all the resources we could access. Then we reiterated over and over until we found a great solution to our problem. That’s how businesses are built and solutions are found - by combining knowledge and insights that we gather from the people around us.
That’s why one of the most important traits of successful people is that they’re resourceful. By being resourceful, they piece together everything they know, figure out what they’re missing, and find a way to get those answers. And they repeat this process over the course of their lives - in every part of their lives. It’s how you get to the next level. Once you’re already giving it your all to becoming your BestSelf, it’s time to look outside of yourself. Well, we’ve found a way to help you get to that next level. We’re going to pass on all the resources we’ve gathered and the lessons we’ve learned to you.
So that’s how we’re bringing you to The Next Level. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to find out what we’ve created for you!
Note: We promise we never advertise anything on Featured Find! Anything we recommend is something we’ve just personally fallen in love with (:
Airtable is a spreadsheet and database combined into one beautifully designed app. You’ll be able to use it in your life whether you’re managing a business, building a product, or just being your Best Self! They have a ton of templates to help you get started like a Project Tracker, Trip Planner, User Studies, Product Orders & Catalog…and more.
Unlike a spreadsheet, you’re not limited to only numbers or words. You can make checkboxes, categories, notes, pictures…anything. I keep my book catalog on Airtable to help me keep track of what I’ve read and what I’d like to read. Airtable lets me create categories to keep track of my rating of it, its genre & my notes on it. Here’s a snapshot:
It also lets you attach documents, pictures…anything you can think of! And…it integrates with EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING - Slack, MailChimp, Dropbox, Evernote, Instagram…I can’t even name them all.
I discovered Airtable about a year ago and it has been my go-to organizing app ever since. Besides my book catalog, I also jot down ideas there, plan projects and a bunch of other things. After a year, I’ve probably only explored a tip of the iceberg…there’s so many incredible features that I discovered as I was exploring the app to write this piece.
For this issue, we've got a book recommendation for you! (and a quick overview of what we've learned from it)
by Cal Newport
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It is a skill that allows you to master difficult things at speed. It will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship.
The ability to do Deep Work will separate you from the masses and ensure you survive in this changing economy. A job that doesn’t support deep work is not one that will help you succeed in this information economy
Essentially: Quality of work = (time spent) x (Intensity of Focus)
Deep work is about increasing your intensity of focus to get more work done in less time.
If you’re committed to deep work, now’s the time to figure out how to implement your own philosophy to get it done:
- Monastic: Isolating yourself for large blocks of uninterrupted time on the scale of weeks or even months.
- Bimodal: Splitting your weeks and months into the deep and shallow
- Rhythmic: Splitting your time into the deep and shallow on a day-by-day basis
- Journalistic: Quickly flipping back and forth between deep and shallow whenever you can fit a block of time in (not recommended trying this if you’re a beginner). Cal specifically mentioned this one for journalists who have to quickly dip into deep writing in the regular day.
Commit to one and then block it into your calendar so that it is scheduled and nothing can get in the way of it. You must disengage completely.
Ensure to completely turn off once the work is done or during breaks to recharge, deep work is a heavy cognitive load. Squeezing more work out of your evenings might reduce your effectiveness the next day.
Many famously productive people have followed this idea of Deep Work in different ways:
Making grand gestures and commitments;
E.g. JK Rowling stayed in an expensive hotel while writing the final Harry Potter book.
Creating consistency with daily action.
E.g. Seinfeld marking X off on calendar everyday with a new joke.
Focus attention on single well-defined problem while [exercising, showering, walking]. Much like regular mindful meditation except rather than focusing on breathe you think about a problem.
Here's how to get started:
- Block off a large chunk of hours dedicated to deep work (around 2-4 hours)
- Spend an 30 minutes to an hour ever morning to plan your day and reflect on your goals
- Schedule RescueTime to block all distracting sites until after midday (including email!)
- Stop work at a set time (eg. 6 pm) to give yourself time to relax and unplug
- Go completely offline for 1 day per week
Angie’s BestSelf Story v2
After becoming a mom, Angie is using SELF Journals to start her interior design business.
"In the past, I was a project manager at a design agency. But after my son was born two years ago, I knew it was time to review my life. The agency was too cut-throat and I couldn’t go back. It was now a question of what I would do instead.
When my husband and I moved to an island off Seattle about seven years ago, we decided to build our own house. It’s been an amazing experience and in the process of creating our new home I discovered I had this amazing passion for interior design.
Discovering my creative side has been so fulfilling. I had no idea I could be this creative.
I really enjoyed experimenting with mood boards and exploring colors, fabrics, and furnishings. It was so much fun making our home beautiful. But when friends asked for my help with their mood boards and shopping lists, it sowed the seed that I could turn my passion into a business.
I discovered the SELF Journal during its Kickstarter campaign.
The whole process of the SELF Journal resonated with me.
I printed out the PDF and used it to set my goals. The information section at the beginning was so helpful, as it explained what habits I needed to adopt to help me be successful.
I used my first journal to focus on creating content for my blog – www.buildingstyle.co. I gathered all my old articles together, organized them into a content calendar, and created a year’s worth of content in just three months.
In my second journal, I worked on promoting my blog and deciding what to do next. I was torn between monetizing the blog or setting up as an interior designer. My life coach helped me find my purpose. And when a friend paid me double for a mood board project, I decided to become an interior designer. So right now I’m enrolled on a course to give my natural skills some credibility.
The next step is to make this a big business.
My son starts full-time daycare soon. This means I’ll be able to devote more time to my business and I’m excited about getting more momentum.
So my third journal will focus on finding customers. It’s time to market my services and start talking to people about what I do. I need to get a sales page up on my blog, build my list, and put my offers out there. I’ll be setting myself a financial target this time and will continue to use the habits I’ve developed so far to help me hit it.
The SELF Journal has helped me recreate my life and feel fulfilled as a mom and a business owner.
I love that the journal focuses on 13 weeks. I can dream big, but I need to break down my targets into small manageable steps. The road map is so handy, because I can see the major things I need to hit to achieve my goals.
The gratitude section has become a huge thing. It’s so easy to go down a rabbit hole of negativity, but I realized I could go down a positive one too! It’s been so important for me to put positive energy into this project. Children can take your confidence. For me it was a big change switching from my corporate life with an intense responsible job to being at home with a baby.
I thrive on productivity. I guess it’s a throwback to my time as a project manager! So it wasn’t so easy to feel ‘accomplished’ during the day. After all, babies don’t come with a to-do list you can tick off as done!
The SELF Journal helped me plan my time around my son, his needs, and his naps! I also tuned into my natural rhythms to figure out when I was most creative. Together, this helped me complete more tasks and make more progress. I’ve found that noting my wins (even the small ones) has boosted my confidence.
I’m certain I wouldn’t be anywhere near getting as much done without the journal.
We have a lot going on in our lives right now. There’s our son, we’re building a home, I’m starting my business, and we’re also renting a duplex. Juggling so many plates, the SELF Journal has helped me to get more done.
In fact, it’s been amazing! The SELF Journal has helped me find out more about myself and what I can do. It has channeled positivity into my day, and helped me get closer to my goals in a shorter amount of time."