An Unbalanced Life is Not Worth Living

Alright kids, it’s time to get personal.

Let’s rewind 2.5 years. I just ended a serious relationship, and being the mature adults that we were, we both decided to pursue our own careers.

In actuality, it couldn’t have gone better. No resentment, guilt, or even any childish name-calling. Completely respectful, and very healthy for both of us. In fact, it went so well that I got completely absorbed in my work with very little emotional distraction from the whole experience.

So there I was, working pretty much non-stop, single, and loving it. I kept telling myself that I didn’t want to date anyone and that my career was the most important thing in my life. And truthfully, for a while it was.

I eventually came to realize however that I was just using that as an excuse. I didn’t want to have to go out and date again. Because, you know, that would take a lot of time and effort.

I finally admitted to myself that I was feeling lonely and that my life was out of balance. *Sigh*

Not so long after this realization I stumbled upon a class by Scott Britton, where he mentioned his 6 Box Method to increase productivity. Loosely paraphrased, it calls for you to take the 6 most important areas of your life, and break down individual tasks to accomplish within each of those areas.

What I liked about it was that it was very proactive, and inherent in its design was an easy way to maintain a balance. After all, if a box was left blank it was very easy to notice. Kind of like your notebook saying “Um, you missed a spot.”

I also saw a talk about gamification as a tool for achieving more, which I found quite helpful. There, Jon Guerrera mentioned the software Goalscape which uses a pie structure for goals. The beauty of that setup is that you can’t make everything a priority. There are only 360 degrees in a circle (last I checked), and when you add more of one thing, you inevitably have to give up part of something else. It forces you to really examine everything very closely.

I decided to create my own daily habit… with a slight twist

The first step for me was to determine which 6 areas of my life were most important.

I used Scott’s example as a starting point, and then I also came across a blog post by Erica Douglass of Erica.Biz. There she writes about the Perfect Day Exercise in a post called Finding Your Path Towards Your Perfect day. It helped me figure out which areas were really important to me.

My first version looked a little something like this:

  1. Money
  2. Exercise
  3. Dating
  4. Friends (social)
  5. Learning
  6. Other

Once again, I used Outliner to record my daily entries. Cuz really, when you think about it, everything is outlinable.

I wrote down individual achievements I wanted to make for the next day in each area. I thought of it like an action plan. It looked like this:

  • Money
    • Improve Shir Dating Survey
    • Work on RentFreeNYC prototype
    • Record & post VLOOKUP approximate match video tutorial
  • Exercise
    • Take a walk in the neighborhood
    • Or practice some swing / salsa in my room
  • Dating
    • Watch body language video
    • Stop people on the street to ask for the time
  • Friends/Family
    • Enjoy thanksgiving with my parents and younger brother
  • Learning
    • How to record and post Excel tutorials using Camtasia 2
  • Other
    • Set mom up with
    • Open a free checking account for mom with Charles Schwab

I kept that up for about a week, and then realized that I couldn’t always predict or plan what I was going to accomplish in each area a day in advance. How am I supposed to know if a friend will be free for coffee, or if I’ll decide to start listening to an audiobook all of a sudden? Exactly.

So I switched gears

By the way, I can’t overemphasize how important it is to embrace these kinds of adjustments. They’re going to happen no matter what, so you may as well come to expect them, and handle them with grace.

You know, roll with the punches. That sort of thing.

Alright, so the very next night I started writing about things that happened earlier during the day. No more planning things in advance that I couldn’t even predict. And I thought to myself “Self, why not give each of these areas a rating or a score?” Otherwise the only quantifiable component would be the total count of how many things I did in each area. And just having a tally/count like that doesn’t really tell the whole story, ya know?

Since by this point I had already started rating my sleep quality with a 1-5 scale, why not use the same scale for the quality of the day?

To give you a sense, 1 means absolutely nothing accomplished, and I would have been better off laying on a velvet sofa, popping Doritos until my skin turned orange. On the other hand, scoring a 5 means knocking my own socks off with how much I accomplished in that particular area. Impressive, I know.

At this point I also tweaked around the 6 areas. This is how they have stayed since then. And yes, they are sorted in order of priority.

  1. Money/Career
  2. Exercise/Health
  3. Dating/Romance
  4. Social: Friends/Family
  5. Personal Growth
  6. Helping/Volunteering

It’s been going really well so far, and even though I haven’t analyzed anything in Excel yet…

I have noticed a couple things.

When I felt like I had a crappy day, I could identify exactly why that was. Almost always it would be the direct result of only accomplishing a little bit in each area, scoring mainly 2’s and maybe a 3.On the other hand, when I had a terrific day, it was when I accomplished great things in 3 or 4 different areas.

What usually happened though, is I’d do really well in one area (most likely Money/Career), and then the other areas would tend to get lower scores. On the other hand, when I scored high on Money/Career, also exercised, and spent time with friends, while learning something new, and helping out some strangers…now that would be an amazing day!

Analyze This…

As for the analysis piece, I tried to dump the OPML (Outliner Processor Markup Language) file from Outliner into Excel, and made some progress, but then didn’t ever finish. When I have something there I’ll be sure to share it with everyone. I’ll also provide more specifics on how I set mine up. It’s already looking fairly involved.

In the meantime, I’m curious, which 6 areas are most important in your life?

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. I will say however, that it does provide a great level of perspective and focus. For me it was the difference between being swept away in the current of life, or grabbing hold of the oars and steering myself in the direction I wanted to go in.

Or something like that.

Sleeping with Fitbit (Sexual Jokes Not Included)

Ah, sleep tracking. How I wanted to master you long ago.

We spend 1/3 of our lives unconscious, and yet most of us don’t think much of it. Except when people brag about how little sleep they got and how they are still functioning. Hurray for you? Or in the immortal words of comedic genius Chris Farley: “la, dee-frickin’ da!

So I first tried the Zeo sleep coach and had a rather disappointing experience. Also, they are apparently out of business as of March 2013. In any event, I quickly made the switch to tracking my sleep with my Fitbit.

The problem I had with Zeo is that it was too tight around my head, and worst of all, left very noticeable marks on my forehead. Perhaps it’s due to my light complexion. On the bright side, I liked how detailed and (presumably) accurate the data was with the Zeo. After all, measuring brain waves sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?

Enter the less invasive Fitbit sleep tracker

Instead of measuring brain waves, it measures your movement or “restlessness” during the night. Since it’s snuggly tucked away on a band around your arm, it’s significantly more comfortable than a tight headband. And it’s far less likely to move around in your sleep (which is why the headband had to be so tight in the first place. Grrr).

All it takes is remembering to press and hold the main button (and by main button, I mean the only button) to start the timer before going to sleep. In the morning, you wake up and press the button again to stop the timer. I must admit, I’ve forgotten to start it a few times.


Also, remember the Lumen Trails app I told you about (formerly Daily Tracker)?

Of course you do.

Just in case I forget to start the sleep timer, I have a backup system in Lumen Trails. It’s a little clunkier, but when I finally get around to analyzing my data (it’s on my to-do list! I swear!), I’ll be able to fill in the missing days of my Fitbit data, with my data from Lumen Trails. At which point, the full picture of my sleep shall be painted! Step aside Picasso, there’s a new kid in town!

So how has this helped me?

Still no actual analysis, but I did notice one thing in particular. Usually I need about 7 hours of sleep to not feel groggy all day, and still get tired at the right time at night to keep a regular sleep schedule.

However, when I exercise for 1 hour the night before, I need an extra hour of sleep in order to achieve the same feeling of restfulness. And believe me, I’ve tried many times to just get the same 7 hours but waking up after 7 hours is like pulling wisdom teeth out with no anesthesia. Yikes.

Speaking of restfulness (not to be confused with restlessness), how do I measure that?

By using the Lumen Trails app. I give a rating between 1-5 of how good I feel the next morning. 1 is the worst night’s sleep ever (or way too little sleep). 5 is sleeping like a baby. You know, snoring, drool, outrageous dreams… the works.

I used to use decimal ratings, but then I had a chat with Mike Tyrrell of Wine Zeus who helped me realize that if I’m using decimals my rating system probably isn’t designed correctly. Thanks Mike!

Random Plug

Don’t forget to check out Scott Britton’s Sleep Hacking course. I’ve only just taken part of it but so far I’m liking it a lot. Creates a nice framework and gives specific advice on how to improve the major areas of your life that affect your sleep quality. Once again, Scott makes it easy to spend very little time, and get major results. And for that, I give him map props yo.

How about you? How many hours do you need each night to feel well rested? How have you managed to improve your sleep?

Fitbit: Why I Don’t Leave Home Without It

Readers and honored readers, it is with great excitement and much anticipation that I present to you my favorite tracking habit….

(Insert obligatory drum roll here)

The Fitbit One has arrived! I promise I am not getting paid by these companies. So why am I such a big fan? Because my Fitbit works entirely in the background. In other words… “Look Ma, no hands!”

Allow me to elaborate…

I attach it to my belt during the day, and wrap it around my wrist at night (to monitor my sleep…but more on that in the next post). The only maintenance I have to do is charge the battery once a week (not bad at all if you ask me).

Also, every morning I plug in a USB receiver to sync my data. I think the Fitbit can store something like 5 days of data, but why risk losing anything when I can make a daily habit of it and never have to spend energy remembering? If you’ve been reading this blog, you know how much I hate that.

So what does this thing measure?

First and foremost, how many steps you take. You can even customize the distance of each of your steps but I’m going with the default based on my height. From the number of steps it also calculates the distance traveled, and the calories burned.

Somehow, and don’t ask me how, it also measures how many flights of stairs you climb. I’ve tested this before while walking straight and then comparing that to climbing stairs and it’s actually been accurate every time. This little guy is at the top of his game. I call him ShirFit3…because there were 2 before him that fell off and got lost forever.

Side note: If you ever lose your Fitbit you can contact customer service and request a new one. They’ll send it to you free of charge!

Now that’s what I call fantastic customer service. Actually, I see that as the bare minimum way to serve customers, but the bar is so low these days. *Sigh*

Either way, the trick to NOT losing your Fitbit is to attach it to your belt (or other item of clothing that’s comfortable for you) facing inwardly, not facing out. That way if you carry your groceries in a green bag (save the environment, and enter the weekly contest at Trader Joe’s to win a $25 gift card…bam!), it won’t knock the fitbit right out of its holster. Not that this happened to anyone in particular…. O:-)

But enough about me, let’s get down to the data

As of yet, I haven’t downloaded the Fitbit data or analyzed it in Excel.

Pretty anti-climactic right?

Hey, I’ve got a lot on my plate! In good time though, don’t worry.

Unfortunately I think you have to be a paid member in order to gain access to your data. This is really annoying, especially since I think this kind of data should be freely accessible. After all, it is all about me, isn’t it?

Once I download the data and create an Excel tool to analyze it, I’ll be sure to make it freely available to all of you so you can use it for yourself. Cool beans?

Other goodies

What I like about the Fitbit is that it doesn’t just measure the steps, but it also measures when you were active. It paints a picture of your day to see how active you were throughout.

Fitbit Activity Screenshot

I also like the fact that you can set budgets for each of the metrics. Here are mine:

  • Steps: 8,000
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Calories: 2694
  • Stairs: 10

On days that I walk all over NYC, I rack up about 11,000 – 15,000 steps which always brings a smile to my face.

So far my best day spilled over the 20,000 mark. Lots of walking, and lots of dancing. Actually, I’m pretty sure that was the day I joined the Flash Mob marriage proposal in Central Park. Awesome experience by the way!

How has this affected my behavior?

One noticeable change is that I used to take the elevator in my building to my 5th floor apartment, but ever since I got my Fitbit I’ve been taking the stairs every single time. The only exceptions are if I’m carrying 30 lbs of groceries or am in some kind of physical pain.

“I’m being measured so why not rack up the points right?” – Shir’s Brain

I’m curious for all you Fitbiters out there, how has it changed your behavior?

Next week we’ll take a look at the sleep tracking feature, accomplished by the same device.

P.S. Bonus points for getting your own Fitbit and commenting below 🙂

My Favorite Way to Weigh In

I don’t know about you, but the thought of getting on my scale every morning and then having to manually enter my weight, body fat %, and Body Mass Index (BMI), makes me want to urinate all over my couch and then throw it out my 5th floor window.

Granted, I’m a strange character, with unusually low tolerance for manual work. But it’s more than that….

What infuriates me about such work, is that nagging feeling of “computers should be doing this for me.” It’s a waste of my creativity dammit! And that makes me angrier than a hungry patron in a fast food line with a broken cash register. Not a pretty site.

And so, with the prospect of this kind of drain on my otherwise chipper life, the WiFi scale was purchased! I use this Withings body analyzer model, which was originally recommended by Noah Kagan. You may remember him from such companies as AppSumo and Mint.

The beauty of the Withings WiFi scale (mind you, I’m receiving zero incentive to promote them. Perhaps they should throw me a bone? Or better yet, a free blood pressure monitor), is that it’s completely hands off. Set it and forget it, make Ron Popeil proud style.

Setting up your account is super easy, and it even links up to your LoseIt account (which I’m sure you all have now because of my compelling post on How I Tracked and Maintained my Weight Using LoseIt).

As I mentioned in said post, my daily calorie budget on LoseIt changed based on my weight (which increased above the target by a few pounds). And at the end of the day, who doesn’t love a good ol’ self correcting system? Right? 🙂

So far I haven’t analyzed my weight on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. In fact, I haven’t looked at it closely at all. *Sad face*. I’m still just collecting data to be used later. Believe me, my future self will thank me.

The only habit I had to create (notice how the habit theme keeps coming back…Charles Duhigg really struck a deep chord with me), was pulling my scale out from under my couch after my morning bathroom routine.

Parting Words of Wisdom

I wanted to be consistent with how much clothing I was wearing at the time of weigh-in. And as much as I love walking around naked, sometimes it was cold in my apartment and I didn’t want to strip down and start shivering needlessly. So I kept it simple and left on the outfit I wore to sleep the previous night. That’s right, my pj’s.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are consistent. Don’t wear long pants, t shirt and sweatshirt one day, and rock nothing but tube socks the next. Capiche?

Lastly, it’s best to weigh in at about the same time every day. Preferably the morning because it’s before you eat (which might vary from one day to the next).

You get the idea. None of this should be groundbreaking.

More to come on my Fitbit next week. Stay tuned!

How I Tracked and Maintained my Weight Using LoseIt

Now that you’re Constantly And Never-endingly Improving (CANI) your life, and determining how quickly you need to walk (or run) to catch your trains, we can get down to business. You are following along with everything so far, right?


Now, wanna hear something ironic?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume your answer is yes…

I have weighed 138 lbs for the past several years, and the last thing I want to do is lose weight. If anything, I could use to gain a few pounds. I know I know, cry me a frickin’ river. I have a freakishly fast metabolism and know many people who would gladly exchange a kidney for what I’ve been given as a default.

I will have you know though, that it’s not all peaches and cream. I’m hungry more often than not, and spend more money on food than anything else. Yeah, wild times.

But back to my ironic observation…

I began recording my diet on 6/11/12 not to lose weight, but to track my diet to later use in my Excel classes. Being the diligent little self tracker that I am, I haven’t missed a day since (win!). I’ve also used this data as examples in my live Excel classes, and will soon be incorporating it into my online Excel classes.

The service that I use, called LoseIt, is relatively easy to learn. All it takes is a bit of diligence, and once again, not surprisingly, beginning a new habit. By the way, if you haven’t read Charles Duhigg’s Power of Habit yet, please do so now.

Here’s how LoseIt works

First I created a free account and downloaded their app to my iPhone (also Android compatible).

Then I set a daily reminder in the evening to record everything I ate that day. I use the Appigo ToDo app which I have been using for years, and absolutely adore. However, if fancy task management systems don’t put that extra bounce in your step, you could just as easily write a note on a piece of paper and put it on your pillow after you wake up in the morning. That way, you’ll have no choice but to see it before you go to sleep. Pretty nifty right? I’m pretty sure I got that idea from Bassam Tarazi. Check him out by the way, he’s awesome.

In any event, what I like about hacks like these, is that it frees up your mind to not have to try and remember anything. Ari Meisel talks about this in his efficiency framework called Leverage. You can focus on more important, creative, and interesting things like how to respond to that cute girl’s text message from last night. Speaking of which….

Here are a couple things to keep in mind

At first it will be annoying to enter new foods into your account, but after about a week or two (and depending on how predictable your eating habits are) you’ll be able to add entire meals to your log to save oodles of time. Even if you make slight variations in your meals you can quickly and easily change items and/or quantities after you initially add them. Sa-weet!

Another potential barrier to getting started, is feeling like you have to record everything to the nearest 1/8 of an ounce. This is a common trap, and one that I used to fall into all the time.

Thanks to Ramit Sethi and his philosophy of just focusing on getting 85% of the work done, which he calls The 85% Solution, and then worrying about the last 15% later, I have tamed that beast of an issue.

The real question is, would you rather have 85% of the work done, or 0%? I’ll take 85% any day. Sometimes I go back and close the gap to bring myself to 100%, but most of the time I discover that 85% is good enough. Thanks Ramit!

Next, set up your LoseIt account so that you receive weekly emails with a CSV file of your previous week’s activity. Here is a step by step breakdown:

  1. Login to your account (duh).
  2. Go to “Settings” on the top navigation bar.
  3. Choose the “Email Reports” option towards the bottom of the list on the left.
  4. Create “New Report.”
  5. Be sure to choose the “Weekly” option and check the box ON for “Include Spreadsheet Attachment.”

You can also manually download your weekly reports each week by going straight to “Reports” on the top navigation bar and choosing the “Export to Spreadsheet” option.

Be sure to download my FREE LoseIt Diet Log Template and follow along.

LoseIt Diet Log Thumbnail

Note: Only compatible with Excel 2007, 2010, or 2013 FOR PC. Excel for Mac will give you an error message, and a lot of grief. If you have a Mac, like I do, I recommend installing a virtual PC using VMWare Fusion.

Admittedly, this isn’t the most automated system I’ve ever created. It is however, one of the simplest.

When you get a new weekly report, open the CSV file, and then copy and paste special the values only into the worksheet “LoseIt Diet Log – Master”. Refresh the workbook and voila! You’re good to go.

I’ll be going over exactly how this tool works in my course, but for those of you who can figure stuff out in Excel pretty well on your own, just explore it a bit. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll be sure to help you get unstuck, or at least point you in the right direction.

As you’ll notice, I haven’t done a whole lot to analyze my diet yet. I’m no nutritionist, but I can already see a daily breakdown of my caloric intake based on the meal. I can also see the trends based on days of the week, as well as fluctuations over time.

So what’s this all for?

Again, I haven’t done much with the data yet, but I’m open to suggestions.

One thing that did change my behavior slightly though. I have my LoseIt account linked up to my Withings WiFi scale (more on that in a later post). What was really cool is that my daily calorie budget automatically adjusted to a lower number in order to maintain my weight of 138. I didn’t even realize it was doing this at first, but it was pretty cool.

It’s a self-correcting system that keeps me at the weight I want. I can go about my day, see how many calories I have left to consume, and make better eating decisions to make sure I don’t go over my daily budget).

P.S. If you’re on LoseIt feel free to add me as a friend. It’s been a solitary thing for me, and I wouldn’t mind the company :).

Subways Have Schedules?!?

Have you ever left your home in a hurry, only to arrive at the train station and discover that your train doesn’t get there for another 8 minutes?

I don’t know about you, but this was one of life’s little nuisances I was hoping to do without, thank you very much.

Having grown up in Manhattan, I had become accustomed to the idea that subways arrive at random, unpredictable times, and that part of the New York experience involves sitting around and waiting for them. And let’s not forget the added bonus in the summer of getting to sweat profusely as you enter the sauna…I mean station.

Side note: Anyone else feel like taking the stairs down into the subway moves you a few miles closer to the earth’s core?

In any event, I was delighted to discover in June of 2012 that there was actually a SCHEDULE of subway trains. Drinks for everyone!!

But hold on a second… how accurate were these schedules? And more importantly, should I make a run for it, or can I calmly enter the station just as my train is pulling in? (Oh how sweet those little victories are)

But before I break out my victory dance, I would have to record and analyze some subway information, I thought to myself. After a bit of searching, I found an iPhone app called Daily Tracker, now called Lumen Trails. A bit pricy ($10 when I purchased it), but what I liked about it was its customization options.

Long story short, every time I took the subway I would track the following 5 data points (separated by commas of course):

Train, station, direction, scheduled time of arrival, minutes late

An example of an entry would be:
A, 42, uptown, 4:52 pm, 3

Note: If a train was early, I would use a - (minus) for the minutes late.

What I discovered a month or two in, was that trains were never more than 3 minutes early, and they were actually surprisingly accurate. Even more shocking, was that the majority of trains actually arrived on time or not more than 2 minutes late. Believe me, nobody was more impressed than I. Thank you MTA, for mobilizing the city that never sleeps, day in, day out.

So you might be thinking, “Woopty frickin’ do Shir!”

If so, you should probably reconsider whether this blogger-bloggee relationship is right for you. (Hint: it’s not)

On the other hand, for those of you who appreciate the punchline of a nerdy joke (such as these), here was some additional significance in my preliminary findings…

  • If I absolutely had to be somewhere on time, I had to make a run for it and arrive at the train station 3 minutes before the scheduled arrival time, otherwise I might not make the train I needed to catch.
  • Not surprisingly, after about 10 pm the scheduled intervals between trains increased significantly, and the reliability of the schedule decreased sharply. Fortunately, I’m not the party animal that I used to be, and I rarely stay out past 11 pm, especially on weekends.
  • During the year that I taught Excel classes via Skillshare, I discovered that there was an unusually high concentration of trains departing at the time I needed to leave. There was a 5:30 pm, a 5:35 pm, and even a 5:38 pm. This had to do with additional trains going to Far Rockaway and Howard Beach. No complaints from me, since each of those times worked beautifully :D.

A couple other notes

While tracking my subway experience in this way wouldn’t provide a comprehensive map of the entire NYC subway system (tear), it would however provide an extremely relevant and personalized series of insights for me. I would be able to tell with a high degree of accuracy how likely a train would be to arrive on time, given my typical subway routines.

What this kind of tracking did for me, was put me at ease and gave me more information with which to base my decisions. That is after all, what Excel is all about. It’s a tool that helps us make better, more informed decisions. You’ll be hearing this a lot from me, so get used to it :).

Some final thoughts

Interestingly enough, I tried exporting the data into an Excel spreadsheet, but never finished. This is true with a lot of my self tracking. I haven’t gotten around to analyzing it in Excel, but I know that when I do I will have a huge amount of useful information.

Don’t worry, as soon as I create the Excel spreadsheets I will provide them here for you to download, completely gratis. Until then, keep your pants on and feel free to start tracking your own data. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you do!

I’m just kidding, pants are always optional when reading this blog.

Constant And Never-ending Improvement (CANI)

For those of you who don’t know Tony Robbins, stop what you’re doing (yes, that means reading this post) and familiarize yourself with his body of work.

Great, now that that’s taken care of I can share how Tony Robbins helped start a chain reaction of self-tracking in my life.

It began with the power talk series. One of my former salsa students (back when they used to call me “Gringo Salsero”) whom I made a particularly strong connection with recommended that I invest in myself. He specifically recommended an interview that Tony Robbins had with marketing genius Jay Abraham and it has been one of the best investments I have made. Check out the Power Talk series specifically.

In “A Decision to Ensure Success” one of the concepts was that of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement). To systematically and incrementally enhance the main areas of my life, so that when I look back in 6 months, or a year, I can see quantum leaps in my personal and professional growth. Brian Tracy talks about this concept as well, but he calls it the 1000% Formula, which is based on the Law of Incremental Improvement. In any event, the assignment at the end of the disc was to write down 3 things every day: what did I learn, improve, and enjoy?

At the time I was already using the CarbonFin Outliner app for iPhone and iPad. What better way to stay ridiculously organized than to record my daily CANI entries in outline form? Match made in heaven, right? I thought so too.

The day was August 2nd, 2011. Little did I know that I would begin a journey of self tracking that would result in a daily ritual of tracking 9 separate metrics (more to come on those in future posts).

What worked so well about this structure for me, was the fact that it was super simple, and completely NOT intimidating. Just record 3 things each day. I could have written 1-2 sentences for each, and been done in 90 seconds. As you might have guessed however, that’s not how it went down.

Since I live in Washington Heights, I have a rather long subway ride to get home. This has always been a blessing for me, since the subway is one of the most productive work spaces ever. Where’s your most productive space? Never thought about that before? Might want to start that conversation with yourself.

Instead of riding the subway home and being bored to tears, or passing the time with mindless games that do not add any value to my life (no offense Angry Birds, but what have you given me? Really?), I began writing 2-3 paragraphs for each. It was a perfect way to pass the time, and also served as my daily journal.

At first it was a little challenging to come up with something for each of the 3 questions, but I quickly realized that I was ALWAYS learning, improving, and enjoying myself. It was just a matter of identifying them. What’s more, the best part about this process was that I found myself going about my days actively seeking things to learn, improve, and enjoy.

Believe in the law of attraction? Yeah, it was kind of like that. Tony Robbins talks about it too. What you focus on, you become.

In the words of Charles Duhigg, writing down the answers to my 3 CANI questions was the “keystone habit.” The habit that started all my other habits, and made it easier to track other things about myself. I got so good in fact, that I adopted the habit of starting new habits. And if that doesn’t blow your mind…you should watch the movie Inception. Dreams within dreams within dreams…epic.

Once again, thank you Tony Robbins.

Thought I was going to finish this post without giving you a sample of my first CANI log entry?

I’m not that much of a tease 😉



Learned that I need to stay out all day and only return home with just enough time to wind down (maybe) eat, and pretty much go to bed. If I am home early and I’m tired, it doesn’t work out well because it’s too early to go to sleep, but I’m too tired to be productive.
Also learned to take airborne at the first sign of sickness (even if just a scratchy throat)


Improved the way I’m living my life by adopting and incorporating the philosophy of CANI into my daily routine.
Improved the Shir Consulting Process from Karl’s 7 or 11 step strategic process from his work PowerPoints.
Improved the way I delegate tasks at work. I gave Rachel the task of calling Verizon which saved me a lot of time.


Enjoyed hearing my boss say that I’ve done an excellent job and knowing that I am doing a phenomenal job at not only fixing the mistakes and bringing more value to the company, but also COMMUNICATING so amazingly well that he is overjoyed with the amount of value that I bring to him and his company.
Enjoyed starting CANI questions.