The best way to start your day is by putting yourself into the right mindset.

I am a big believer in forming daily habits, and these ritualistic methods will help solidify your foundation so that you can adapt and grow. Here are 2 of the habits that I have formed which I think will help you start your day with the right mindset.

  • Start with gratitude. Set your actions. Positive self-talk. Yup, these are the five-minute journal. Seriously, they built the journal on solid principles and starting the day with Gratitude and leading into Action has helped me have the right mindset. I don’t use the physical journal. I use Day One with a text expansion that fills in the basic template.
  • Daily Plan. I mentioned in my previous post that I am using the time blocking method, so after finishing my 5-minute journal I go straight to my time blocking to
    1. Dump ideas - I write down everything flowing through my mind. This process gets it out of my mind, so I can process it later.
    2. See the plan or plan out my day - I prefer to plan my blocks the night before, but you know, it usually happens in the morning. I spend time planning out where I will take time to do something.

The best way to start your day is by putting yourself into the right mindset.

I want to hear what habits you have that have helped you have a great mindset for starting your day. Mention me on Twitter.

2 Tools That Will Help You Answer the Question "What did I actually do today?"

Do you ever finish the day and legitimately wonder where the day went?

Yeah, I do too (especially now that I have 3 kids). Here are 2 tools that I use to track where I am actually spending my time.

  1. The Time-Block Planner - Amazon

The planner is a great resource. Although most of my life is digital, I find the physical presence of the planner and using a pen forces me to consider what is most important.

Using a pen and paper has also forced me to face some distractive habits that I have as well as to recognize some shadow principles that drive me. (More on those topics in a future post)

The system is relatively simple to use, however, like most productivity gains it requires attention and determination to establish it as a habit. My first week did not go so well, and like the introductory text encourages you: don’t view circumstances arising that change your schedule as a failure, simply adjust the schedule to remain intentional about where you direct your time. As I was tempted to just jump into work most mornings, I made a rule: I can’t start using my computer or phone until I have filled in the schedule.

Benefit: time-blocking helps me be intentional about where I allocate my time.

  1. RescueTime - Website

I have been using this app for 5 years now. The data collected gives me a great glimpse into where I am spending my time on the computer. I get an email every week and I can see the top categories that I spent time on and if I was able to meet the goals that I have set for my time.

I recently listened to a GTD podcast and paraphrasing one the the speakers: “You cannot make time. You can take time to do something and that means that you cannot spend that time doing something else.”

Benefit: I have a transparent view of where I am spending my time, and can make adjustments and identify rabbit-holes that I might fall into again.

Thoughts on 5G

Just a quick array of thoughts on 5G that I’ve been mulling over. Would love to discuss more on Twitter.

I currently try to use 4G regularly, however, I frequently have no connection in my metro area. I typically lose connectivity when I am near crowded areas such as shopping malls and hospitals. I therefore resort to using 3G on a daily basis and it is still really fast for normal consumption.

OH MY G - Technology development moves quickly, so I’m excited that our connections become faster with each generation of tech. I’m still waiting for enough licensing capacity for my carrier to be able to sufficiently handle the 4G demand, which for the record came out in 2009. 10 years to kinda roll out 4G? Another point: I can’t imagine what connectivity outside the metro is like. (2G?) Is there a better way than the current licensing model? The investment required in the rollout is huge - how does this work in context of the next billion users, especially in rural areas?

OK G(oogle) - Google just released the Pixel 4, sans 5G. I’m not surprised. It’s so early in the release of 5G, however, it plays to a bigger question. What are the long-term interests of phone manufacturers, telecoms (who are members of 3GPP), and other tech players/startups looking to disrupt our current communication standards? Starlink, Blue Origin, Google and Facebook each have pieces on the board of connectivity options.

The investment necessary to upgrade to 5G is huge, and all 4 US carriers are starting. International markets are likewise moving forward as well, but I anticipate this role will be metro-centric. This still leaves am opportunity for more widespread connectivity, focusing on reaching the rural communities that are underserved. Is another disruptive technology ready to displace it, or is this new technology still a generation to early?

Another thought: as 5G caters to high-bandwidth consumption, which YouTube is a big source of, I think they’ve correctly prioritized optimizing the delivery of videos and ads by working on say things like: better compression, increased distribution of data centers, lower latency on their networks, and caching, which serves the consumers regardless of the network they are connecting from. Apple and Google will release 5G phones, however, as we can see they are thinking about the short and long term impacts of their choices.


Today is Friday, which at Symph, means it is our weekly all-hands meeting. These meetings usually vary in the format, the length and the flow, depending on the current pulse of the company. The general objective of the meeting is to engage with the entire team and provide context and updates on what is important right now. The approach that we have taken to the meeting format is to create a space where inspiration, honest dialog, and alignment can happen.

A visitor joined our meeting today and during the QA time, he asked where do we come up with all the wisdom that we share (disclosure: we don’t think we are that wise, so what we heard was “how do we create the model and content for the meetings”)? My co-founder Albert, answered first and said:

“We don’t always know what we’re doing, but we always believe in what we’re doing.”

This is very true and it specifically applies to the model of our meetings, as we don’t always have a detailed plan. I elaborated further that oftentimes we have a trajectory or big picture aim of the meeting and during the actual meeting we are trying to create a container or space for the team to all unite and move into that direction. As leaders we are casting the trajectory of the meeting, however we want to ensure that each team member is bringing the wisdom, insight and perspective that they have so we can all improve.

How do you facilitate all hand meetings in your startup?

A letter from a team member

As part of our Symph content and writing team, we were given the assignment to write an email to ourselves from a dissatisfied team member (or client). This was really a challenging letter to write, as in trying to be a good leader, this topic brings up all my biggest fears. So to shed some light on fear, here it is:

Dear Dave,

I’m writing you this email as I have already tried speaking to you and you are just too busy. That just proves my point though, so I will just write you an email, since you can’t bother to take time for me.

I’m really disappointed with you and where the company is headed. It feels like you are no longer holding true to the vision that you set out with and that all the words and speeches that you have given have no meaning to shape the direction of the company. You are just talking for the sake of talking and you aren’t actually doing what you say. I don’t understand what went wrong, but it feels like we are way off course and you need to get back to doing what you set out for the company to do. I joined the company because I believed in the vision, and that by joining the “right group of people” that we could change the world. Sadly, we are not having an impact that will change the world. We aren’t even close. We are just building websites and apps to make money. I wanted to escape the daily grind and join a visionary company, but it’s just the same here - “do this project”, “fix this little revision” and “keep pushing harder team, we are almost there.” Dave, we aren’t almost there - we are going the wrong way. I’m sorry to say this, but someone has to. I hope you can turn this around, but I don’t believe anymore.

Someone who cared

PS - I quit.