Live to fight another day
Tomorrow will open new doors
I’ve had a hell of a productive month. It feels like I owe you, big time. So, let me share some news before I jump to the point.
First of all, I’m in Tbilisi now. It’s the capital of Georgia, the country. To see the location, check the map of places I recommend visiting here. I’ll spend a few more weeks here and then leave for Baku.
Secondly, a week ago I visited Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia–Alania. I went there to get a booster for my trip to Azerbaijan. On the departure day one of my teeth’s filling fell out, so I had to stay in Vladikavkaz for three days to get it fixed. I met a bunch of wonderful people on that trip. If you’re planning on seeing the Caucasus someday, put Vladikavkaz and North Ossetia on the list.
Thirdly, even though I wasn’t writing for the last month, my audience increased from 150 to 200 subscribers, and it keeps growing. Good to see you here! I'll try to write regularly, but if I don't show up it's always for the best. I respect my readers and never agree with mediocrity.
Stay in touch for more and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Telegram
Insight of the week. Live to fight another day
Going to Tbilisi was challenging. I had to manage lots of unpredictable, stressful situations and stay true to the commitments I’d made: run my studio, give lectures, deliver results for my clients, and take care of my family no matter what. It brought me to the idea—live to fight another day.
Got sick? Go see a doctor, get your meds, and sleep it off.
Tired as hell? Take a day off, order a pizza, and watch your favorite movie.
Out of ideas? Write down your thoughts on the last paragraph from the book you’ve been reading this morning.
Live to fight another day when you're down, when the world hardens on you, when you can’t keep on going. Tomorrow there'll be another shot. Tomorrow will bring new opportunities and will open new doors. For now, just live to fight another day. Don’t give up. Do your best. Live to fight another day.
Leadership principle. Most meetings are pointless
Before making an appointment, I ask myself a few questions. Is it possible to do what I’m going to do without a meeting? Is it possible to solve this without another Zoom call? How else can I accomplish this task?
In half of the cases, I figure out that a meeting can be replaced with a letter, a delayed message on Telegram, a screencast, a voice message, or an old-fashioned phone call.
❌ Situations when meetings are not necessary:
to get an unambiguous "yes" or "no" answer
to update the status of ongoing tasks
to request information
to ask for or give feedback on a design layout
to make edits and suggestions to a draft
to make onboarding for a new admin panel of a website
✅ Situations when meetings are necessary:
to hold the initial meeting of the project
to present a logo, a website, or other deliverables from the contract
to resolve a personal conflict among parties of the project
to share knowledge and experience: one-on-one meetings, team training
to discuss issues that require a lot of clarification: briefing, cost estimate, agreement
This principle helps to understand whether a meeting is needed or not. If my email does more harm than good, a meeting will be a better option. For example, if there is increasing friction in the project, you should not start a dispute via email. Discuss disagreements face to face, this way it will be much easier for you to calm the interlocutor and resolve the conflict.
Though if the text allows you to solve the problem without putting the project and the relationship with a client at risk, you may cancel a meeting and find another way to get the job done. For example, it is more productive to comment on a new design layout in Figma and then hold a call on demand to discuss the feedback you gave, rather than stare at the layout you've never seen before.
The biggest secret to making more time is to reduce the number of meetings. Half of the meetings people have are fucking pointless and unnecessary.
Writing trick. Note-taking is the key to consistency
There’re two principles that help me write consistently and be abundant: write everything down and keep it simple. Let’s look at them closer.
Write everything down. It’s a fundamental principle of my writing process. I guess nothing gave such a boost to my writing as building a habit of taking notes. There are three reasons for doing that:
Taking notes frees up the space for new ideas in your head. Since I’d begun writing down all the ideas that crossed my mind, the more ideas started coming in. My wife often watches me rush from my bed to my desk to write down an idea that popped into my head before I went to sleep.
Writing ideas down helps to structure the knowledge and experience you’ve gained. Writing and deconstructing things I’ve learned was the easiest way to understand them much deeper and turn them into simple but efficient management principles. No video or audio can do so. Writing is the only creative process that implies analysis.
Writing is the fastest and cheapest way to share your knowledge with others. Videos and podcasts require many additional skills and postproduction, while writing doesn’t take much time and energy to convey a message. Also reading is a natural way to get the idea, while a video or a podcast doesn’t allow you to skip a part of it without losing the context or some important details.
Keep it simple. I’m talking about note-taking, of course. I know that some of you may have a tendency to hunt for a new super powerful all-in-one perfect application that would empower you to start taking notes. I’ve been down that road. That’s a self-deception.
Dump this idea. Don’t wait for the perfect tool. It won’t make a difference to the world, but your writing may.
You already have a note app on your phone. It already has hashtags, folders, headings, bullet points, etc. You don’t need a list of unique features to make a grocery list, same goes for ideas. All you need is to start writing them down.
The simpler your note-taking process is, the better. I use standard Notes by Apple to jot down my thoughts. It’s enough to capture the idea that came to me and make the first draft so I could forget about it and move on. Any app that has autosave, folders, hashtags, and cloud sync will work.
To sum up:
Write down all ideas that cross your mind
Take notes so you could forget and get back later to edit them
Keep your note-taking system simple
Use a standard app that is aimed at getting the job done
Use hashtags for topics and folders for projects
The next time you're going to write something on social media, open you notes, pick one topic and just edit it. No need to write from scratch anymore, you will always have a list of ideas to go with.
What’s on my mind lately
Freedom of speech is one of the biggest illusions we face today. It simply doesn't exist. Every interlocutor has prejudices about the speaker. Thus every word has its consequences. Keep it in mind when you speak and write. Choose wisely.
Photo of the week
When things get pretty ugly I remind myself of that picture—maybe swearing will help. Though it never does, it definitely spices up this mundane world of ours.
That’s it for today. Hope you’ve enjoyed this email. And if you have, share it with your friends and people who may like it. I’ll appreciate your support and feedback.
See you in two weeks.
Tbilisi, 17-19 November 2022
Ask me anything via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Telegram
Make a donation: oops, so far there’s no way to support me from abroad, but I’m looking for options. If you’re in Russia, donate via Alfa, Tinkoff, or Yoomoney.