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8: My first impressions on Morning Pages Journaling

One of my projects this week was to fully dive into journalling. I started off by narrowing down the journaling method(s) and apps to use. I chose the 5-minute journal as the structured method for daily journaling and Bear as my app of choice.

My main motivation for diving headfirst into journalling is mental clarity and daily productivity. In researching, I also came across the Morning pages journalling processes created by Julia Cameron and in her book The Artist Way and popularised by Tim Ferris.

In a nutshell, with Morning Pages Journalling, you write 3 pages every day about what is on your mind. The author calls it tapping to the stream on consciousness. You just write everything: the good or bad without filtering or editing. Whatever you write on the journal will never be published or shared with anyone. This is writing for the sake of dumping what’s on your mind. As a matter of fact, you could rip the pages off the notebook and throw them away if you are concerned about the sensitivity.

I tried that yesterday and while it felt strange at first, I cannot believe how much clarity I felt at the end of the process. There is this nagging business idea that I was not sure how to progress with and writing down gave me the next steps. I was able to put some words to some emotions that had hanging on the back of my mind. I cannot recommend this process enough why don’t you give it a go?

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Updates

7: The Secret to longterm sustainable creative output

In today’s update, I would love to share a trick I’ve recently learnt that’ll boost your productivity and so that you create sustained output and tackle big goals over a long period of time. For context, I’m currently halfway through Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain Cohort 11 program. This is arguably the best productivity training in the world, well the best I’ve encountered anyway.

Today, I learnt a concept that changed everything I know about getting work done and especially big projects. My friend, let me introduce you to a concept Tiago refers to as “Intermediate packets”. Once you understand what this is, it’ll change the way you approach project forever.

The challenge with the way we approach projects is that we are mostly working on it as as one big lump of work where you deliver value at the end of it. What Tiago recommend is strategically structuring your work in a series of intermedia packets.

Image source https://fortelabs.co/blog/just-in-time-pm-4-intermediate-packets

To Quote “Instead of delivering one big lump of value at the very end, you stage your progress in a series of short, intense sprints, ending each one with a tangible, intermediate deliverable, like a set of notes, a brainstorm, a series of examples, an outline, a prototype, or a draft.”

Try and restructure your project and ideas with this paradigm and notice the difference. Here is the link to the original article if you want to dig into this more.

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Inspiration Reflections

6: Have a cheat day

Over the last few months, I’ve made mastering productivity my top objective. I even invested in an expensive program called Building A Second Brain in order to learn how to be productive as a knowledge worker. The biggest motivator for jumping on the productivity bandwagon is because I want to increase my creative output. Like I’ve talked about in the last few updates, I want to create more than consume. I don’t just want to be a great creator, I want to be a prolific one: I’m talking lots of published articles, podcast episodes and videos..heck even a few books for good measure.

For now, my biggest creative output is writing: number of words written and frequency of writing . I picked writing because its the base universal form of communication online. While content consumption is skewing towards audio and video, the written word is still here to stay.

Now back to productivity. While I’ve started writing daily, It’s not every day that I feel motivated to produce content. I have days none of the usual strategies I use to generate motivation or snap out of laziness doesn’t work. For such days, rather than waste time procrastinating or keeping busy, I’m learning to call them cheat days or write off days. Our bodies have a way of telling us that they have had enough. Rather than fight the system, I’m learning to embrace them and either switch pace of work or taking some time.

Now, please know that I’m not advocating for laziness and giving up when you don’t feel like following through with your commitments. Taking cheat days / write off days is for when you’ve exhausted all options and still can’t get yourself to produce.

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Updates

5: How I’m building my daily journaling practice

In my last update, I talked about the power of daily reflection and eluded to journalling as being one of the best ways to reflect and capture your thoughts and insights. One of my project this week was to narrow down the journalling app and methodology and get going.

I’m happy to report that I’ve made some strides in the process. I have narrowed down a journalling methodology and app to start trailing over the next 30 days. Now, before I delve into what I chose, let me back up a little bit and share how I arrived at the conclusion.

With the journalling methodology, I was looking for one that is widely adopted and easy for me to follow through. The worst thing you can do when starting something is complicate things. I also wanted a methodology that’s conclusive in the area it covers.

As far as the app goes, I was looking for ease of use, access across a different devices and platforms and a sensible annual costs. I looked journalling specific apps and wells as generic not taking apps that could be adopted for journalling.

I’m happy to report that after careful consideration I have chosen to adopt The Five Minute Journal methodology popularized by Tim Ferris. I chose it because it’s a simple process yet very compressive in terms of what it covers.

For the journaling app, I evaluated journalling specific apps like Day One, Momento and Journey Cloud. In the end, I have decided to go with a generating note-taking app called Bear. I choose a generic app because I wanted as much flexibility as possible. I found Bear very clean, quit easy to use and the annual cost is quite walled friendly.

I’ll report in another 30 days on how I go with this apps and journaling process.

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Reflections Updates

4: The Power of daily reflection

One of the biggest blessings in disguise from this COVID pandemic is that it’s forced a lot of us to really slow down and reflect on our lives.  Just about every aspect of business, career and personal life has been disrupted. I saw a quote at the start of that really shaped the way I’ve been approaching life during these interesting times. The message is simple “Never let a crisis go to waste”.


Never let a crisis go to waste


I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and one of my resolutions has the decision to create more than I consume. What I mean by this is that rather than being the guy just reading, listening to or watching other people’s content, I’ll become a creator. It’s time for me to share my ideas and thoughts and be part of the educating, entertaining and empowering others through great content. As a result, my blog is finally active and a podcast is on its way.

Here’s is a big epiphany that’s struck me lately: We have most of the answers to challenges or opportunities in our lives but rather than look inwardly, we are always seeking external sources hoping for solutions. The key to accessing those answers that lie inside of us is applying the power of daily reflection. How do you do that? You guess it, journalling.


I’ve been meaning to get into consistent daily journalling for a while but have never built the discipline and practice. This week, one of my projects is to narrow down the journalling apps to use and journal every single day.  I’ll update you all on how I go with the process in a month’s time.

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Reflections

3: Take time to smell the roses

To celebrate our son’s 3 months mini-birthday, we decided to do a family drive down one of South Australia’s most popular wine regions, McLaren Vale. We actually had different plans at the beginning of the day but the weather had its own ideas.  There is something about taking some time to have a break. As I write this, I feel very refreshed and full of perspective.


As l can as I can remember, I have always had a very skewed relationship with work. I am a compulsive workaholic who struggles with taking time off and just “doing nothing”. While the virtue of hard work has got me this far, the arrival of my son has taught to enjoy the simple moments. The little champion is growing so fast that I feel like I will miss out if I blink.


Being a dad is teaching me to be more mindful. To appreciate rest, being mentally present and just being still. There’s more to life than ticking things off your checklist. Take time to rest and recover and above all, remember to celebrate the little accomplishments and milestones before you waltz on to the next challenge.

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Inspiration Reflections

2: Start when you are not ready

As pen this, I’m sitting here at the outdoor area of one of my favourite cafes in Adelaide, Jibbi & CO. The sun is out but not too hot and I’m enjoying the music from my noise-cancelling earphones, sipping on a caffeine-free chai tea and watching people get about their lives. My wife is catching up with one of her work colleagues who’ve come home to see our baby. There’s no housework to attend to and so this gives me a guilt-free hour to just chill and reflect.

This morning we attended our usual Sunday service and the pastor spoke a message that struck a chord with something I’ve been contemplating about in the last few months. He talked about starting when not ready.  See since we became parents 3 months ago, I’ve come to appreciate that you’ll never be fully ready for the full extent of the great things that are coming to your life.


The paster shared a number of stories of great conquests where the characters stepped up to the challenge, with the decks stacked against them and without having a clear roadmap of what would happen. 2020, has clearly not been the year most of us expected. It’s the year that’s taught us that even the best-laid plans can ultimately fail, the things we’ve always had and taken for granted can be snatched away from us and the everything we’ve put our security and hope on can ultimately crumble. 


Like you, I have many goals that scare me. I would love to take my time to figure things out until I’m 100% sure..especially for things I’ve tried in the past that ended badly. We just need to start the process and trust that the dots will connect. Whatever big thing that’s standing on your way, make a start today. Take just one step. Trust in your ability to learn and figure things and the dots will connect.

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Updates

1: Building a daily writing habit

Alright, Seth Godin, I finally get your point…you win.

If I am ever going to have a fraction of the impact you’ve had on me and millions of other professionals across the globe, I might as well take your advice and follow it verbatim.

If you are in the marketing of the business world, you probably know who Seth Godin is.

One big habit that has contributed to Seth’s success as a writer and content producer is his habit of daily writing. The man publishes something every day on his blog…every single day.

It’s not about publishing perfect content but the actual act of publishing.

I’ve got plans to write books one day and create an impact with my writing, but I keep procrastinating and never publishing.

So today is a fork on the road moment, I am committing to publishing something every single day.

The longest journey starts with a single step and this is hopefully my step forward to more detailed articles, ebook, books and other forms of written content will have an impact on my audience.

Wish me luck.