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I’ve always liked pens.

I’ve collected them from a young age. I got caught once in elementary school trying to steal a particularly cool pen out of another kid’s backpack.

Though my days of thieving are long over, I still enjoy a good pen.



I probably have 300 of them in my house as I write this. My wife told me in a stern tone, “when you buy more pens, you have to get rid of that same number.”


I like to write notes, to-do lists, and have even dabbled in calligraphy. It feels nice to physically cross something off the list, like the stamp of approval to some great accomplishment.

But recently, I changed tactics, and for a reason that I think you’ll find productive.

Maybe it’ll help you too.

For the last couple days I’ve been focused on eliminating all distractions while I work.

I’ve been unfollowing, unsubscribing, uninstalling, muting, turning things off, etc.

But I was having another problem.

I would be in the middle of a task and get distracted from something else work-related. So by the end of the day I would have lots of things that got started, but not finished.

As mentioned in another post, I use asana for all my task-keeping. It’s been absolutely amazing, but I still like to write things down on a notepad that stays on my desk throughout the day.

I had always written (in pen) everything that I wanted to do during the day.

This was a mistake.

The list was too long and distracted me from from actually accomplishing the list.

So I started using a big fat marker.



This made it impossible to write down a lot of tasks. So starting today, I’m only writing down three things that have to be done today.

No more giant lists.

No more pens, just markers.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Day 2
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

  • Woke up at 4:46, lifted weights until 5:15 while listening to a podcast
  • Responded to two emails from a local link-building campaign, neither posted links but one wants to trade social shares and such (not intended result, but small win)
  • wrote a 1000 word guest post
  • had some free pizza for lunch (T-mobile Tuesdays App baby!)
  • set auto-response follow up for two weeks when a business owner would be back in town
  • wrote a “keyword targeting on a budget” post
  • set 3-6-9 plan (3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo)


Lots to do, but headed in a good direction. Reaching out to potential clients tomorrow.