Activities vs. Assets? What are you making with your time?

Val Cameron’s one of those people that I consider one of my mentors. We’ve never met in person, but I’ve listened to countless hours of his voice and watched equally countless hours of his video instruction. He seems to have been pretty successful in 3D art, or at least has me fooled. Heh.

He blogged something today that got me thinking about why I created Glacier Peak (and keep plugging away at it), and more so why some of the people that I’ve tried to inspire to make a career of their passion fail to thrive. I have observed that those who fail are more interested in getting validation than they are in business, which may be why Val’s comment struck a chord with me.

Successful entrepreneurs don’t focus on getting paid for their time.
from

What 97% Of All DAZ Vendors Do Wrong (And Earn Peanuts)

I was reading his blog post and nodding along when I got to that line and thought, “That would be nice.” Which is when every entrepreneurial mentor I’ve ever head started rolling around on the floor and laughing in my head. I had to laugh along with them. That’s not why I do this.

Full disclosure: I have a full-time day job, and I kind of like it. Most of the indie authors and game creators that I know do, too. I’m cool with that. I get paid there for my time. What I do for Glacier Peak I do for for three reasons:

  1. I love doing it. I was doing it for free before I was doing it for money. I still do a LOT of it for free running open games at different conventions and game stores every week. I love helping other people enjoy the tabletop hobby.
  2. I enjoy making assets that have a long tail and will continue to make a little money down the road. It’s more than a hobby for me. It’s an investment.
  3. Every once in a while, somebody actually buys something that I created and published. Steve was customer #417 of Modernity (Fate Edition) today. That felt pretty good. Thanks, Steve!

Goodbye, Outlook Tasks!

When I first met Peter Bregman, he was on his book tour speaking at Microsoft Research. In 2012. He tried to convince me to give up Outlook Tasks for managing all the stuff that I wasn’t doing. His logic was sound. He repeatedly pointed out that “It’s a myth. You can’t do it all!”

I wasn’t yet ready to acknowledge that my [many] task lists were really just a pile of things that I wish I had time to do. But don’t.

I bought the book, 18 Minutes, anyway and had Peter sign it for me. He was very gracious.

My wife and kids have read it (and done better than I have at following Peter’s advice).

Sure, I adopted some of his recommended practices:

  • I made a simple, six-box set of priorities. (I even look at them once in a while!) They’re in OneNote and pinned to the start screen on my phone so that I can’t ignore them (all the time).
  • I schedule time on my calendar for the important things, instead of putting them on a list.
  • I don’t put anything on my calendar that doesn’t fall into one of the six boxes.
  • I make myself accountable for the items on my calendar every day, even if they don’t get done during the time slot I originally allocated to them.
  • I celebrate the things I do get done, which is a lot more than I did two years ago.

imageEven the partial adoption of the 18 Minutes philosophy has made me more productive and successful in the past two years. I highly recommend the book. Peter’s fun to read.

Fast forward 2 years, 2 months, and a fortnight.

I still have hundreds of task list items in 6 different mailboxes (two of them Office 365 mailboxes). Many of them over a year old. Most of them long overdue.

I’ve known that I have a task problem for a long time, but it was never a priority to do anything about it, and I always promise myself that I’ll review the task list someday and do those things.

So why am I saying goodbye to my task lists now?

wp_ss_20140723_0002Windows Phone 8.1 made me do it.

I’ve had the same Windows Phone 8 device since Launch Day™. I stood in line for 8 hours on Microsoft’s main campus with a couple thousand of my closest cow-orkers to get my “free” phone. I’ve never been without it since, not a single day. Until this past Monday. My reliable, beloved HTC 8X has finally gone to the great phone Valhalla in the sky. RIP, little guy. I’ll miss you.

I have a great new device, a Nokia Lumia 635 with Windows Phone 8.1 on it. I love it. It’s so yellow that you can see it from space. I’m not prone to losing devices, but just in case, you know?

Now, I’ve always had the comfort of being able to easily swipe over to my task list on my phone and look at them. Occasionally even complete (or delete) one! But over the years with Windows Phone, as it grows and matures, it is becoming clear that Tasks are an afterthought for the team that maintains the Calendar app.

I can’t swipe over to my task list anymore. I have to perform some alternative action to discover my tasks. As a creature of habit (part of my autism is being pretty change averse), this is painful. It just seems like nobody thinks tasks are important enough to treat like first class citizens the same way that email, contacts, and appointments are. I don’t know if Tasks are going the way of Outlook Notes. (I don’t think ActiveSync has supported Outlook Notes since Windows Phone 7, but I could misremember; maybe it never did. I gave up on Outlook Notes long ago.)

  • I can’t pin Tasks to the start menu or create Tasks from the start menu.
  • I can’t do a lot of the categorization, coloring, etc, on the phone that I can do with tasks in Outlook. I’m not sure the two teams are communicating with one another regularly.
  • I can’t effectively search or do more than a basic sort of tasks on my phone.
  • OneNote is where the task functionality seems to be headed. Which sort of makes sense, although they don’t really have reminders, sortability, etc, either.
  • For now, tasks do still sync with my various clouds, but… I can’t find a Windows Phone app that does what I want AND supports more than one mailbox at a time.
  • The Windows Phone API only allows read-only access to other apps for appointments and contacts, not for tasks, which means I’m really, really too lazy to reinvent the wheel and code to the Office 365 API and manage my own task store on the phone. Ick.
  • Do I really need them after all?

No. I don’t really need them after all.

Fine. I can admit when I’m wrong. I’m sorry, Peter. You were right.

With my grieving done, I’ve made one final task list in OneNote.

image

Goodbye, Outlook Tasks.

How tall is that wall… really?

I’ve never thought of myself as an impala, or any other herbivore for that matter. Hrm.

The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet.  Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a three-foot wall.  The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land.

A lot of humans are like this.  They are afraid to take a risk.  Not I.  I understood at an early age that in order to triple your success ratio, you might have to triple your failure rate.
Harvey Mackay: Make Failure the Beginning of Greatness

Although it wouldn’t be too bad being a brontosaur. That might be pretty cool. Especially if someone mounted machine guns and howitzers on my back!

Does anybody else feel a little nostalgic for Paraworld now? I might have to dig that one out of the closet and set it up for family game night. Since Steam doesn’t seem to have it, I wonder if it’ll run on our Windows 8 PCs?

But I digress… I didn’t start this off to talk about war dinosaurs. Not withstanding the cool factor of giant armed and armored… Never mind.

Harvey Mackay’s post at Ziglar.com included something that I love:

Failure can be one more step on your road to success – you just have to turn it around in a positive direction.  Failure can push you harder to succeed.  Failure can strengthen your determination to overcome obstacles.  Failure can make you braver in the face of opposition.  Failure can help you learn what you need to do in order to succeed.  Failure can teach you what your limitations are – and your strengths.  Failure can encourage you to change your strategy.
Harvey Mackay: Make Failure the Beginning of Greatness

There’ve been decades of my life during which I felt caged in by walls that seemed insurmountable. Afraid to fail. Afraid to start. Just afraid… Looking back on them now, those walls seem about 3-feet tall. Huh.

Have you ever felt fenced in like that?

Do you now?

We may not be laser-equipped dinosaurs (yet) here at Glacier Peak, but we’re definitely pointing our [fictitious] bulldozers at some longstanding walls. It turns out that we can only be caged by our own consent.

You cannot be caged without your consent.

I’m not aiming for failure, but I won’t be daunted by it anymore if (and when =) it finds me. I hope you’ll join me and do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, but were afraid to try (again). We might both fail. So what?

After all, I’m Irish, and Murphy is that horrible second cousin that blows into town a couple times a year, just for fun, to remind me why I should never attend family reunions.

But I digress. Again…

Go do what Eleanor Roosevelt said: Do one thing every day that scares you. The bigger, riskier, and more likely to fail the better!

We used to get hate mail like this all the time.

In case you hadn’t noticed… We’ve moved. To Tejas.

However, when we used to call the Seattle area home, we got letters like this from Puget Sound Energy (PSE) about every month.

Volt Hunters

As near as we could figure, all of our neighbors were either retired couples who lived in Hawaii half the year or yuppies who were always at work. As a family of five, who homeschooled all three kids, the power meter apparently was constantly hovering a couple feet above the ground, ready for takeoff.

We’re pretty sure that several acres of trees were killed by PSE every year just to make us feel bad about our energy consumption.

Here in San Antonio, CPS Energy sends us thank you letters and fruit baskets.

(Mostly kidding.)

Go figure.