Chinese New Year, New LifeFocus System 6.3beta

Well, it’s finally the Year of the Rat. I’ve been waiting 12 years for this. I want to take full advantage of the momentum and launch myself into the best year ever. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

I have a brand new LifeFocus card made up, batch 6.3beta, and am going to test it here on this blog. Eventually I will get up and running with the help of my friends Dré Labre and Jeff Cressman. We are going to create something bigger than all of us, we hope.


So this is my new card. I’m going to see how long I can push this one, and routinize 10 things I want to get out of my life. You can see that there is a balance of health, long term, short term, monetary, and creative goals.

The purpose of any LifeFocus System is to train yourself to remember to do the things you want to do. It is NOT a to do list. It does not cover your grocery list, or tell you who to call. It simply reminds you of the things you have identified as important. And it makes you accountable to record and track your progress. Since each card is the size of a business card (3.5″x2″), I like to print 7 together, fold them into an accordion, and carry a week at a time in my wallet.

Card Components:

I called my card Year of the Rat because that’s what I wanted to call it. I was born in 1972 and every 12 years my birth is celebrated by billions of people! It’s a great ego boost. Beside the title is a little space for an avatar, a small picture that represents you. I use a little chair that I drew in design school. To me this chair represents reflection, taking a break, listening, and balance.

This is a brand-new feature for the cards, and will mean more when the online version is brought to life. They are key words that reflect the types of LifeFocus items I am attempting to routinize.

This is how many cards I have gone through. Today is day one, so it is the first card.

This is the current date. Beside it are the days of the week (or more correctly, the first letter of the days of the week) to circle for your convenience.

I like to track my sleep patterns. Other people might want to track when or how long they do certain things (like practice the violin, write, jog, etc). The timeline starts at zero (midnight) and runs a full 24 hours to midnight the next day. Today I slept from 2am to 9am. So I put a small horizontal stroke through the 2nd dot, and another stroke through the 9th dot. Then I drew a longer vertical line to connect them. Beside the timeline I write “7hrs” so I wouldn’t have to add it up later.

LifeFocus Items:
There is enough space on the card for 10 different LifeFocus items, which are marked with a light-grey chevron (<) and the number to the far right of the text field. You do not need to fill every space, but it is not advised to exceed 10. Each LifeFocus item has a few sub-components.

Multi-box: This little grey box can be used to track the following:

  1. Quantity – keep track of numbers. At the end of the day, hoe many glasses of water did you drink?
  2. Yes/No – Use an “X” or a check-mark to indicate a task was completed or accomplished.
  3. Percentages – Colour in half the box to indicate 50%, or a quarter of the box to indicate 25%

Notes (+):
This is a small space underneath the LifeFocus item to make a few notes. These will help to clarify things, give you some perspective, or just keep a (very) brief catalogue or diary of your progress.

LifeFocus Line Item:
This is the LifeFocus item itself. It is advised to write it in an ‘actionable’ fashion, in the great tradition of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Make sure that the item begins with a verb so that you know what action to take. Follow that by an (optional) qualifier or adjective. Then a noun, or the object/goal itself. Try to be as specific as possible given the small amount of space.

Tomorrow I’ll go into a bit more detail on my LifeFocus choices, and where/how you can download your OWN set of LifeFocus System cards (6.3beta) to test along with me. I will also be moving this little LFS party to the blog, and just posting short highlights here.

Passion Kills Mediocrity

I just listened to a song by grandaddy called Beautiful Ground. Someone made a video for this song using an old Apple ][+. There was something so emotionally raw about the song, and so nostalgic about the black screen and green letters, and the basic code. I love it when another creation sideswipes you with unexpected emotion, and you let it take over. I don’t worry about looking stupid anymore, it’s very freeing. When I hear or see something that affects me, I let it affect me. I WANT to experience my own emotions. I WANT to be open to a range of feelings as opposed to a narrow publicly acceptable swath. It’s actually quite freeing.

I always say this, but having 2 kids is the single most liberating thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t feel like I have to impress anyone– other than my kids of course. And the best way to impress them is to be myself. And the less I try to be someone I’m not, the more me I become. Makes sense doesn’t it!

I’ve actually found myself sitting in traffic with tears streaming down my face, listening to the right song at the right time and feeling like all I have to do is live. Be alive. Enjoy everything. Stop taking things for granted. Start taking risks. Start making real choices. Start creating a future now. Start caring more about other people. Start making time for my family. Start laughing when things are funny. Start speaking my mind. Start hugging my kids more. On and on. It’s funny, but this shit can cascade right out of control if you don’t watch it. The next thing you know I’m going to be exercising and getting up early, and writing books, and making things happen.

Second chances, third chances, fourth chances… we all get them. Every day is another chance to take your life to the next level. You only get to be yourself once, but for the rest of your life. Ha, I wish I had an expensive life-changing product to plug here…

GET PASSIONATE. What would you do if you knew you were going to die in a week? Would you sit around and watch the Apprentice: Martha Stewart edition? (I still might, I’m just asking.) Last night I was at an industry party celebrating (arguably) the best of digital marketing in Canada. I asked a few people if they had their lottery tickets because the draw on Wednesday was for over $40 million. A woman i’d just met from Yahoo! asked me if i would quit my job if i won. I actually paused to ponder. Work is an opportunity to be with other people, and to see what a group is capable of achieving together. If passion and morale can be injected into that space, it can become something great, something that can fulfill value. But I’d also like to try my own thing, something focused entirely on my own interests and bring great people on board to help me achieve my own personal passions. It’s a tough one, but luckily I don’t have to make that decision today because some oil refinery workers in Alberta took the pot. Phew!

Learn. Create. Relax.

Here’s a sample of a business card i’ve been working on for a while. I’m going to print a few copies soon, so if anyone wants a stack, let me know. This is the BACK of the card, where you can keep track of a few practical aspects of your life. Try to keep things in focus. I’m one to talk. This post is a mess, and it’s approaching 1am again, so it’s time for me to sneak upstairs, kiss the future, and drift off.
Mundane LifeFocus™ Cards