• Simon Sinek, Your Phone And Deep Work

    You would be right if you were thinking I leapt into the 12 Week Year with HUGE success goals, money goals and I-need-a-new-iPad-Pro goals.


    I ended up with less money than I started, but I carved a solid path out as a freelance writer and know what I need to do daily.

    Time spent on courses in Fizzle, Creative Class, Collaboration Superpowers and Rainmaker deeply helped define this.


    Where To Start?


    Have you ever thought about something so much that when the time comes you are paralysed?

    It’s called decision fatigue and I think it’s happening right now so I will write like this.

    If you have ever been a bit worried, anxious or depressed you will know that deciding between tea and coffee can knock you out for the day, seriously!

    While I was engaged being depressed a couple of years ago I wouldn’t wash up for three days because I couldn’t decide where to begin, of course, the pile of washing up only added to the torture of being on my own at home, #Supercoolwife and #Babybernie sought sanctuary at friend’s house for a few days because I was like a Dementor from Harry Potter, actually, I am sure they are more chirpy than a depressed Bernie.


    This sounds a bit of a ramble Mitchell….


    Ah, sorry.

    You will have noticed it’s November and Christmas is coming fast.

    Given the chance, we like to flee to Poland or Argentina at this time of year.

    I hate Christmas in the UK I hate Christmas full stop. But this year my mood is stable, I am almost uncomfortable with how ‘un-pissed-off’ I am at this moment in time.


    Mitchell, the title of this post had Simon Sinek in, I don’t see much Simon….


    Ok mood vs focus is where I am going with this.

    You will have heard our tribe ranting about Deep Work and 12 Week Year (s) and this is where we have ended up.

    We sit down and focus support each other as we do, most of this year I have spent doing a daily meeting with Emily, Phil or Nils to keep going and this week started a Working Out Loud group here @WorkHubs so all get to follow a 12 step program, sorry 12-week programs.


    I had to stop some things to make room for all the other good bits. 


    Being a victim

    Like a monk I read 12 Week Year daily, one of the lines is ‘stop being the victim’ as you can imagine this isn’t the first time I have heard this.

    I am ashamed at how much of my life is other people’s fault, particularly Kenneth Baker who was the Secretary of Education in the UK when I was a child, my Grandmother for not letting me watch Rent-a-ghost because she thought the guy with the beard was Kenny Everett. Both these people affect my ability to function 30 years later, even if they were here now I wouldn’t let them apologise.

    So no more victim. Ever.


    Yes, Yes I gave up podcasts, and inserted courses.

    I have to learn a few skills at a deep level. I listened to podcasts by people I know personally because I enjoyed them, not because they were helping me hone a skill.

    I couldn’t decide what to listen to so I cut them all out, yes even yours.

    My Phone – this is the Simon Sinek bit…

    Bernie, you gave up your phone?

    No, I have gone cold turkey on pressing the buttons on it every 10 minutes. I took off ALL the social media apps, restricted email and now use it to track my progress and listen to books.

    In Simon Sinek’s RSA talk from last week and the presentation talk that you can watch below, there’s a theme of connectedness and dropping your phone, this theme is also strong in both the ‘Deep Work‘ and ‘12 Week Year‘ books.


    What Is Easier Than Quitting Your Phone?


    I found it easier quitting smoking, drinking and cocaine than I have leaving my phone alone. You would ask me a question and I’d look in my phone instead of thinking or asking you a clarification question.

    #Babybernie would look out the window on the bus and I’d check my phone or type something in – that I’d never look at again.

    I leave it off most of the day now, a small amount of people who would need to call me know how to get to me or an SMS comes to my computer, I am actually a bit dejected at how unessential I am.

    Result? I am doing less work, in less time and it’s much better.

    This week is 12 Week Year number two AND we have a Working Out Loud group in our coworking space, and I am looking forward to my new found career.

    So that is the link between Simon Sinek, Your Phone And Deep Work – but you knew that.


      This Weeks Links  
    To Work Better, Work Less


    To Work Better, Work Less


    Between 1853 and 1870, Baron Haussmann ordered much of Paris to be destroyed. Slums were razed and converted to bourgeois neighbourhoods, and the formerly labyrinthine city became a place of order, full of wide boulevards (think Saint-Germain) and angular avenues (the Champs-Élysées). 


    Poor Parisians tried to put up a fight but were eventually forced to flee, their homes knocked down with minimal notice and little or no recompense. The city underwent a full transformation—from working-class and medieval to bourgeois and modern—in less than two decades’ time. Read The Full Article Here  
    Simon Sinek | Together is Better | RSA Replay

    Simon Sinek | Together is Better | RSA Replay

    Together is Better with Simon Sinek. Best-selling author and TED talk sensation Simon Sinek is fascinated by the people that make the greatest impact in their organisations, and in the… Watch The Talk Here  
    Content Curation With Trello And Publicate #LLBS 92 -...

    Content Curation With Trello And Publicate #LLBS 92

    In this episode, a VERY excited Chris (founder of Publicate) shares how people are using the new Trello / Publicate Power Up.


    How to use Trello, Publicate and Mailchimp in the same workflow to make resource hubs and plan content.  Find Out Here
    A focused weekly club for writers to engage in

    A focused weekly club for writers to engage in “deep work”

    Our weekly Write Club ‘Deep Work’ is ideal for anyone who writes and needs a block of time to write and gain the inspiration from being around other writers.


    Join authors, students, comedians, Doctors, freelancers, developers, musicians and people like you for a deep session on writing. RSVP Here    
    created in Publicate


  • What Do You Wish Other People Knew About #Trello?

    POC 21 -

    “What do you want to know about Trello?”

    You would think this would be a good question to ask:

    “How to connect Trello to slack?”


    ”Does it work on mobile?”


    Like this


    “Yes it does”


    The Real Tough Trello Questions

    The REAL juicy areas are revealed when we ask people:

    What do you wish the people you use Trello with knew about Trello.


    “I wish Maggie would put links in cards rather than upload the file.”


    “Basia always starts a new card for features instead of adding them to an existing card.”


    Rajesh is the ONLY team member who archives a card properly, I wish the others would do this.

    The Best Part About Trello Is

    Nils and I spend our Trello work time in very different places.

    Nils is leading small teams of developers while I am with other Freelancers making web content or workshop projects.

    No one ever taught us how to use Trello, we just worked it out for ourselves.

    The best part about Trello is how it is a blank canvas and you can do what you want, it took us a while to appreciate that, so with this post and the workshops we run in our coworking space we are out to help people “find their Trello voice.”

    How We Can Help You

    Type your “Trello wish” in the comment box below this post.

    Or you can email us here if you don’t want to be public.

    When you leave us an answer we can write a blog post or answer the question in a future podcast so you can share the answer with your teammates.

    Acts Of Love

    Just to be double-double clear — this is an act of love — not a “Trello bitch session” 😉

    I’m in, take me to the questionnaire!

    We’d really appreciate your help sharing this post, especially in the freelancer, coworking, maker, content creator, collaborative dudes-type areas of the world.

    Thanks for reading Bernie & Nils!

    Photo Credit POC21 –

  • Keep Going: Building Daily Habits & Scrum

    Keep Going

    These days I am beyond the horror, drama, darkness of depression and I have dived fully into never getting there again.

    As a reader of this blog or my personal weekly email, you will have watched this unfold with both the joy and the crap.

    Habits and Comfort Zones

    My “deliberate practice” mega mission is to develop habits that will get me doing what matters.

    This made me identify the exit out of my real comfort zone. I thought my getting out my comfort zone was running fast, a cold shower or waking up early.

    I can do all those things and they are physical, I make them look hard (a waste of energy in itself) and some people go “aren’t you good Bernie!”

    Or “I don’t know how you do that, I couldn’t!”

    To which I go “oh it’s nothing” just to look sweet, but I am a fucker, it really is nothing to me.

    Snuggle Blankets and Energy Drinks

    Some nasty and upsetting shit happened to me but as I talk in therapy these days I can see how I hung onto it like a snuggle blanket.

    Getting out my comfort zone is making myself thrive on creating stuff, embracing responsibility and following through on my promises to family and coworkers.

    This is energising.

    Really energising.

    A super sugary energy drink is not energising it is a pacifier.

    I had been drinking too many energy drinks.

    Now I eat good protein, avocados and caffeine free bulletproof coffee.

    Building Habits & The Compound Effect

    This is so easy I am dumb for not doing it sooner. It is so easy you probably did this years ago and I am the only dickhead who did not get the memo.

    Just do the same thing every day until it becomes a habit.

    This works, how hard can it be?

    Most of us wake up, have a shit and eat every day without thinking about it – it is a habit.

    So it can’t be that hard to chuck write 750 words and don’t eat crap food into the mix?

    Turns out it is hard, I have come to think that it is so hard because it is so easy, maybe at some perverse level I resent that something so easy could be so effective and I think it is beneath me.

    I am too good for that.

    I have no more bandwidth for “I am too good for that” – I never woke up with the intention of thinking things are beneath me so this might be hard to shift.

    I’ll go into more mind-numbing detail in future posts, here are the headlines for now.

    Do the same things every day. I track and remind myself every day with Productive and an app called Momentum.

    These are both enabling me to fine tune my day. Emily and I talk about it in our daily scrum stand-up meeting to nudge each other along with organising our day.

    People are inclined to say, you can do that with a bit of paper, I don’t need a daily meeting or you can write in Google Docs for free, why do you pay for 750 words?

    In six months of stand-ups with Emily and nearly three years of spunking $5 a month on 750 words, I have made the most life changing progress I have made since I learnt to walk as a baby.

    Having everything out of my head and into Trello or my mind mapping app before writing about it is exhilarating.

    I wish I’d had this arsenal of software when I was a frustrated dyslexic teenager, but that’s another blog for tomorrow.

  • We get it– you like the idea of less email. Conversations can be concentrated within certain apps (whichever it might be–of course we like Trello ;)), but your team isn’t complying. The email threads continue. And continue. Ad nauseum. How do you get them to ADAPT, already?

    Fortunately there something truly simple you can do to make them stop the email nonsense forever.

    In our lifetime, the social skill of setting and maintaining boundaries has been all but lost. This isn’t done by enforcing discipline with punitive measures, or by becoming a paranoid dickhead and watching over everyone’s shoulders. It’s actually quite amazingly easy.

    All you need to do it remind them of the app you use for communication every time they start a new email thread. Every. Single. Time. Trust me, you won’t have to do it for long. If someone resists for longer than a few weeks, you’ll know they aren’t being a good team member by hijacking communication, and can choose how to act.

    To make it even easier, have a copy-paste swipe file ready on your phone and desktop containing a phrase expressing the following sentiment:

    “STOP. This email thread stops now. Whoever started this thread must immediately go to (add link to your conversation app here) and restart this conversation there. All participants in this conversation must also repaste their comments in the app.

    “The purpose of using (the app) is to make your job easier in the future by making it easy to follow, find, and recreate what happened during the workday. Thank you for your compliance!”

    What do you do when no matter how many times you remind someone, they will not comply?

    Ask the team during your Review & Retrospective what to do about that person’s noncompliance. Make sure that person is present in that meeting. Allow them an opportunity to change their habit, perhaps a Sprint or two. Keep their noncompliance on the agenda for each Sprint and discuss it as if it were a new issue every time. If they still don’t comply after a few Sprints, add to the discussion agenda the possibility of removing that person from the team. The team decides what to do together.

    The only person you can control is yourself. You’ve set up a way for your team to streamline communication. Encourage them to use it. Ask them not to use other methods. This is how self-organizing teams learn how to adapt.

  • Are you using Trello to organise your life, your business or a particular project? Then you’ve probably wanted to create cards that repeat on a regular basis. Most calendars support recurring events, so is there an equivalent in Trello? How can you create recurring cards in Trello?

    It’s one of the questions that we get asked a lot in the Trello workshops and that also affects us in our own lives.

    For example: We invoice clients on a monthly basis, review our Google Analytics stats at month end and have weekly calls with the tech team. We use Trello to manage everything else, so those recurring tasks should also be in Trello! You can of course create them by hand each week or month but it quickly becomes boring and time consuming. In the age of information technology there must be a better way!

    Last week Jordan asked us the same question via Facebook. He uses Trello to run his online advertising business. His team check advert performance on a weekly basis, run monthly reports, update social media regularly and create client case studies every month. He couldn’t find a way for Trello to create these recurring cards for him so he asked us for some tips.

    If this sounds familiar, then read on!


  • We’re going to take it back to the bare essentials with this tip. And that’s to answer the age-old question: What do you need to work on right now? How can you become more productive and focus on the most important tasks in your to do list?

    Here’s a scenario you might be familiar with: You diligently add all tasks into Trello. After a while you have so many cards on your Trello board that it becomes really difficult to know what you should be working on next. You are constantly playing catchup, trying to reduce the growing mountain of Trello cards. As a result you feel stressed and become inefficient. If that is your situation right now then this tip is for you…


  • You love Trello but your clients still use email. They don’t receive project notifications because they are not on the Trello board. How can you automate Trello so that it sends an email when a task has been completed?

    Automate Trello to send an email when a task is completed

    Rob, who manages a property maintenance business, recently got in touch with this very question. He runs his company very effectively with Trello but most of his clients work exclusively by email. So when Rob’s contractors finish a task, like painting a room or fixing a cooker, someone else then has to send an email to the appropriate client. As business grew, this process started slipping, more and more emails were missed and clients started to call Rob to find out whether the work had been done – making Rob even busier as a result! This business process was crying out to be automated. So he asked us: How can I automate Trello to send an email when a task has been completed?

    Turns out the solution is quite complicated. We see a lot of questions about how to automate Trello so wanted to describe the process in detail. Read on for the step by step instructions…


  • The Win: Make your meetings, phone calls, Skype calls massively more productive. Keep track of what is decided during meetings, phone calls, Skype calls. Easily create tasks and assign them to members of your team.

    The Problem: During a call, it’s easy to make decisions, plan the next move, come up with a brilliant strategy. Everybody agrees on the next few steps. Some may take notes. But often the details are forgotten, nobody takes action afterwards and the meeting ends up being an unproductive waste of time that doesn’t move things forward.

    A possible solution: After several years I think I’ve found a good solution that I’d like to share with you.

    It all starts with me creating a Trello card for that particular meeting. This is already really useful because it goes in my calendar and reminds me that the meeting will take place. I then use 3 checklists:


    The agenda I fill in ahead of time, so that there is a clear list of topics to cover. Items get ticked off as the call progresses. Sometimes someone has another idea, it gets added to the end of the agenda.

    You can assign people attending the meeting.

    In the comments, I make quick notes of the things that were said.

    In the actions, I make specific notes of things that need to be done as a result of the meeting.

    After the call is finished, I take a few minutes to look over what I’ve written. It’s written in a hurry, so spelling / grammar needs adjusting + put into plain English. I then tick off each comment as I write it up properly.

    The Action points are converted into cards, assigned to team members and moved to the appropriate board.

    I then @mention everybody who attended in a comment, “Here are the notes from today’s meeting, I converted the action points into separate cards on the appropriate board.”

    The result: Minimum overheads using existing tools. The notes practically write themselves. Specific actions are recorded and created in a way that makes sure they will get done.

  • The Win: You’ll be able to keep track of all your projects at the same time, across multiple Trello boards and gives you back a feeling of control.

    The Pain: Once you start using Trello in earnest, you automatically end up with lots of boards. It can become difficult to keep track of what you should be doing where and to get insight into all your projects without having to switch between boards all the time. As a result you miss important tasks and become an inefficient manager.

    Possible solution(s):

    This question comes up time and again in conversation and during our Trello workshops. I personally have about 80 Trello boards and it can get a bit overwhelming.

    Without going into a complete overhaul of your personal planning, project management and time management philosophy, here are a few simple things you can do to get on top of the situation:

    1. Start assigning cards and use due dates. This will greatly help Trello help you find what you and others in the team need to work on next.
    2. Use your profile view to get a quick view of all your cards across all the boards. This will only work if the cards are assigned to you! Can also filter by due date.
    3. Become a Trello search guru and let Trello help you find the right cards. By member, by due date, across all your boards. In combination with starred boards this works even better. And if you use Trello Gold or Business Class, you can save your searches! This could become the de-facto organisational hub for your work.



  • My family and I are currently travelling in Bali and Australia for a few months. It’s our last chance for a grand gesture before our son starts school back in London in September. For the last 5 weeks I’ve been stationed at the lovely Hubud co-working space in Ubud, Bali. If you’ve ever wanted to work in a hammock while monkeys are sitting in the trees above you, this is the place to go! Not to mention the amazing group of highly focussed international entrepreneurs, digital nomads and online experts who have made Bali their home and are collaborating their way to a better future!

    Hammock working in Hubud, Bali

    Last week, while my wife was busy doing yoga, I held one of our Trello Workshops at Hubud. What a great experience! There were around 15 to 20 of us squeezed into the air-conditioned meeting room, ready to discuss how to get organised with Trello for 1 hour. With German efficiency and a dash of the good old Pomodoro Technique we got through 11 topics,  touched on 4 others and even had a chance to discuss organising an entire workflow in Trello. Okay, so we did run over for 3o minutes or so but all in all it far exceeded my expectations.

    Trello Workshop Hubud Bali

    What really struck me above all was how engaged everybody is here. If I had to explain it I would say it’s a mixture of the Bali environment and the focus that people have while here. Hubud is one of the few workspaces in Bali and I think the only one in Ubud. That scarcity really focusses the attention and means that everybody is concentrated into a single community. It seems to lead to lots of collaboration and a strong, cohesive group spirit that I didn’t always experience to the same degree over in London.

    During the workshop there were tons of questions, even during the breaks and afterwards. Everybody seemed genuinely interested in hearing what I had to say and how they could then use it to improve their own working lives, businesses and team management. It was a real buzz presenting and a truly pleasurable experience, thank you all!

    Trello To Do Board Hubud

    A few people got in touch afterwards. Estela of Inspiral Studio wanted to pick my brain in a week or so once she has her Trello setup sorted out. Amber of might appear on Bernie’s podcast and Jordan and I got into a longer conversation about how best to launch a new business idea. Amber, by the way, doesn’t use Trello and manages her life using a paper planner and Google calendar. Which of course is completely fine. I’m secretly a little jealous as I’m a closet fan of paper planners and notebooks but have never managed to use them consistently 🙂

    My own take-aways from the Hubud Trello workshop:

    • Workshops are a great way to meet people when you arrive at a new place. Next time I’ll schedule it much earlier, right at the beginning of my stay.
    • There is a keen interest in how to use Trello to organise an entire workflow. Answers to practical questions are important and we could have continued all day long but I’ll add a more structured Trello workflow segment next time.
    • Our Trello blog is a useful reference point to answer questions that I ran out of time on.
    • I need to take more and better pictures!
    • I need to find a better way to connect with people who attend, via Facebook, Twitter, etc. and to find out more about who they are, what they do and what their interests are. Sadly this part was a bit rushed as we only had 1 hour and I wasn’t at Hubud consistently enough to make stronger connections.

    Thanks for organising Vitto, thanks for coming everybody and see you all next time! Next stops: Sydney and Brisbane in Australia!