The Do not Do List

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I originally read about this concept from Michael Hyatt ( According to Hyatt: “the idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity”

The reality is that as life evolves, and more projects come to life, priorities change and evolve and interest drifts and grows. The numbers of things we do get to a point in which it is impossible to keep up. At that time you have 2 options: lower your standards or get rid of the things that are not worth it for you to do.

One example of this is  yard work. I hate that job, I am not interested in doing it well, and it is in my Do not Do list, I paid a service, my yard looks great and I can enjoy it and use my time for other things.

Not only can this list be used to make you more productive, this list in general contains  a series of lessons. How do you think many of the things on my list got there? I learned from past experiences .I  began my list sometime in 2007, my list is not big but it is full of learning experiences.

Here is my list at the time of this post, and I will go into detail on some of them.


The car and the yard are simply two things I hate, and I if I can pay to someone to do it for me, I will.

The next item, I will not finish a bad book or a book that I did not enjoy. This  was something that I read in Steve Leveen book: The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life ( I tend to finish most of the books I start, but I must admit that after I read this I got permission to dump the ones I didn’t  like and even during 2007 and 2008 I just dumped one book  a year, I am happy I did.

I learned about back ups the hard way, I lost everything, and yes, more than once. One time on my PC, trying some software and once on my phone the same way. I learned the hard way, that rebuilding information is not a fun thing to do, it is painful and can drive you mad. Now its on my list, so I remind myself not to do it.

Finally, on December 2007, I decided that I was going to change my life. At the time I was overweight (more than 70lbs) and I was a heavy smoker. I set a three year plan in motion, from January 2008 to December 2010.

In 2008 the main goal was to stop smoking. Happy to report, that I quit smoking as of January 30th 2008, and I have not touch a cigarette since then. In 2009, the main goal was to get to the doctor and get my health checked (my last visit was a long, long time ago) and I began the process of changing my eating habits, losing  weight and get ready for my 2010 goal. 2010’s  main goal is to exercise, to create the exercise habit.

During 2008 I really did not have to write my goal of not smoking on my Do not Do list, I just did it.  In 2009 (more than 50lbs lighter) I continue to, once in a while, eat my frustrations. During a chat on Do not Do list with the wonderful group of GTDers of the GTD Virtual Study Group ( something hit me in the face (isn’t that how this things usually happen?) I should just write on my Do not Do list not to eat my frustrations. I did, that was the item number 6 of my list; and the process of writing it on the list has created a powerful bond to the compromise. I can’t guarantee that I will not eat my frustrations again, but I have done it less, and that it is a good start, something that I am proud of.

Do you have a Do not Do list? if so, will you share it with us? If not, why not? Have you considered creating this list as a way to stop certain things and put on paper other lessons that you have learned.

My Do not Do list has been a great tool, and even though it looks short, it has been a great complement to help increase my productivity, and help me stay focused on the important stuff.

Standup desk as a productivity tool

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Image from:
Image from:

I am not the first person that tries a Standup desk, Thomas Jefferson, Donald Rumsfeld, Sir Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway among other famous people have in the past, for me it’s a first

I started firting with this idea 2 months ago. For the last couple of months, I have been pushed around by urgency and the loudest things in my lists, forcing me to work more on what’s showing up instead of  the work I have already defined and planned. After some weeks living on the urgent quadrant, I was in need of some action-taking to change the course of things. I knew I can only last at that pace for so long (and I probably was getting close to the burn-out point). I spent the next weekend playing with certain ideas, and doing some planning, you know sometimes when you need to go fast, the best thing you can do is slow down. I decided that I was going to try to standup, and work from a standup desk. I spent a lot of time on the internet doing some research on how tall this desk should be. Some testing and playing as well. By Monday morning I was getting ready to work standing up for the first time in the office.

The looks of people walking into my office were interesting; some people asked me about back pains, some simply looked at me like  I was mad. The result, at the end of the week, was incredible. By Thursday afternoon I had knocked off of my list more things that the prior month, and I was beginning to feel calm and in control. I was beginning to hold some control on my crazy affairs. Friday (I tend to work from home when possible) I did the same. I fixed my desks, and moved my desk to 37” (around 94cm) so far this is the height that it is working fine for me.

This was an interesting change. Number one, I noticed off of the bat that I am spending less time fooling around and more time on productive activities. I have tweeted less, checked my RSS Feed less, and accomplished more than the previous weeks.

I also noticed that I don’t miss my second monitor, I am not sure at this time if it is because I can concentrate for longer on the screen and less on the multitasking myth or what, but the fact is that I am using only the laptop and so far the productivity has been incredible, and at least for now I do not miss the second monitor.

I am planning to continue testing this, but at this time I am noticing a direct relationship between my standing up work and my productivity.

Have you ever tried a standup desk? What do you think about it?


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We are alive, as entrepreneurs. Sometimes your eyes can be bigger than your stomach, and that has been happening to me in the last weeks, but I am back in the routine, back in the game and back in The Entrepreneur Notes.

The last weeks have been interesting, I have been really busy, but I have moved forward on some of the important projects that were landing on my lap. Of course, I have not been able to accomplish everything I should (writing on here for example) but I am happy with the result so far.

Also last week, I began reading Pamela Slim new book: Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur ( It is a great book, and I think a must read for anyone already on the Entrepreneur realms or thinking about jumping on this boat. Also later on the week, I was talking to a fellow entrepreneur and friend of mine about how different our objectives are in the entrepreneurship arena, how different our goals and objectives are with our business and entrepreneurship adventures. I am creating freedom, that it is the objective of my entrepreneurship, I am escaping from cubicle nation (do not laugh, at least I am escaping to my own cubicle for now), I am creating a world in which I can work from Los Angeles today and from Timbuktu tomorrow, I want the freedom to travel, but more importantly, the freedom to enjoy my family, to be there for my family. His objectives, even though put their family high in the lists are to be part of a public elite like Bill Gates, Donald Trump or Steve Jobs.

What it is your objective as an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur, I am sure there are two main objectives for me, one to get out of the rat race, second to create freedom. I am sure I do not want to to create my own rat wheel, and I love the story on Pamela’s book (Location 1277-1283 on the Kindle Version) when she got the opportunity to talk to a group of people in Washington DC. After consideration of the requirements and sacrifices she had to do in order to accomplish that, she decided that she was not the right person for the job, in my words, taking that opportunity would have been equivalent to creating her own rat wheel.

It is critical as an entrepreneur that you define your objective, you want to make sure that you do not create your own rat wheel, unless that it is your objective. I love to use Mindjet MindManager, and I have created many vision boards there, including one for my entrepreneur objectives, that include the kind of attire I will wear (at this time its crocs, shorts and polo shirts); the tools I will use (macbook and my iphone); the activities that I will do to complement my job (playing Golf, Biking, reading, meditating); and the things I will do as part of the job (yes there are some that I do and will do that I will not enjoy; accounting) but the objective is to make sure that I do the ones I enjoy

Have you defined your objectives as an entrepreneur? Do you have a checklist or vision board to keep yourself in check? And make sure you do not begin building your own rat wheel. Care to share?

Fears, doubts and Hopes

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CORRECTION Japan Fearless Mouse

I want to refer to an article I found this weekend, that was a great inspiration for me, the article was published on Write to Done ( was write by Glen Allsopp (@PluginID).

Any adventure you embark as an entrepreneur is full of fears, doubts and hopes, and sometimes we let those fear and doubts get in the middle of those hopes. I am aware, that I struggle with the english language, I have a good friend of mine tell me that my english expires at 3:30pm, after that all bets are off.

When I begin writing here, some of my friends first comment was my english was going to make me loose readership, and will hurt the message I was trying to send, to the point that I have been asking a great friend or my wife to read and correct my post before they get published. This has generated two issues, that I was not aware of when I ask for help. Number one is the time that takes to post anything since I have lost that inspiration since I am afraid of the mistakes, I am afraid to post in a moment noticed and that fear has also play a role in the frequency of posts. Second has take a toll on my self confidence for this adventure.

After I read Glen post, specifically after he mention Alvin Phang and Steve Pavlina, I stop and reflect. This is my adventure, I am not great at this, yet. I am working to get there, I am working to improve my english, my posts, my grammar; but my message and my content will only improve over time and as a organic evolution.

From this point on there will be grammatical mistakes, I will continue struggling with my english and I hope you can bear with this and stay. Otherwise, I hope you return when my english is good enough for you, I will focus more on the content, on the advice, on the message.

Thanks in advance to the ones that will stay, and I hope the best of luck to the ones that will not, and I hope that I can bring them back in the future.

All this thinking remind me of the following:

At the beginning you will maybe be not that great, at the end, maybe you will continue without been that great. In the middle you should work hard to have a great journey!

Augusto Pinaud

Writing Stuff Down

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Having a difficult day? As an Entrepreneur you will have many, you will have many nights that you will not be able to sleep, somedays that simply you will question the road you took. Sometimes all that will come at the same time, but you should continue moving forward, this is the reason you want to write your stuff, plans, objectives, and dreams down exactly for these kind of days, the days that the only thing you want to do is hide your head in the ground.

I am a big advocate of writing stuff down, I have lists of lists, shopping lists, writing ideas, affirmations, lists of books I have read and plan to read, delivery places around work and home, shortcut lists, travel list, podcast reference lists, work lists, reference information, lists for The Entrepreneur Notes, dreams, ideas, goals, places to be, my weekly review, quotes and someday-maybe among others.

A lot of people that I know simply trust their memory, no matter if you are a student, an entrepreneur, employee or just a home maker, if you only trust your memory you are going to be limited to the last idea in your mind and condemned to forget stuff, and you are, for sure, going to be a victim on those days that you are hiding, that your negative self talk is having a field day.

I regret that I did not start keeping notes earlier in life, so many opportunity that I have lost, so many that I have missed, and if you will have asked me, I would have told you, I will remembered everything, now I know how much I forget every day, unless I write it down.

I begin seriously taking notes and keeping my notes after I read Getting Things Done from David Allen ( We get an incredible amount of ideas, but a lot of people do not write them down, they “trust” their memory, I cannot recall where I heard the following analogy, but it is the best explanation I have found on this topic. Every time you have an idea, your brain writes it on a post-it on the wall of your brain, some of those are small, some are big, you continue having ideas and all these post-its are accumulating over and over, suddenly they will fall on the floor and be lost for your conscious mind. Of course, your mind does not really forget, but will now remember that you lost all those notes, some will come back and be re-written on another post-it, and many will be gone.

Do you remember that great idea you had at age 17? Yes, the one that was going to change the world? Do you remember the reason you began your enterprise, the goal, the challenges or why you changed direction in the past? Do you remember that you offered your friend that you were going to someday send them that great book you read? Probably, if you have not written it down, there is an incredible chance you are not going to remember, it is somewhere in your memory, somewhere in the unconscious, taking space, and nagging at you.

How should I keep my notes? It doesn’t matter, keep it on a block of paper, a folder, a three ring folder, on your  computer, on your phone, just make sure you can access them.

One of the things I have discovered over the years, is that I like to carry my notes with me, it is not a secret that currently I am using an iPhone, and one of my biggest complaint (since day one) of the notes application of the iPhone is that you can not organize it in categories. Because of this, I use an application called Notebook, currently on Version 1.2 (click to iTunes) from a company called Appigo (

The reason I use this application instead of others is simple. One, I can back up my data on Toodledo Notebook on the web, giving me access anywhere. I can create private notes, and I can create as many notebooks as I need. Each notebook works as a category or folder for your notes. At the time of this writing, I have more than  25. (I honestly do not know the limit), can organize alphabetically; create as many notes inside of the notebooks as I need, and allow me to search my notes.

Are you keeping your dreams on paper? Are you writing down the ideas, thoughts, dreams, and reasons to change direction? Can you access them? If you answered no, I wish you can continue trusting on your memory, and not forget the following:

DA Quote

On Instapaper

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I discover Instapaper a long time ago, and if you do not know it, do yourself a favor and go to

Instapaper is a software for the iPhone or Web Browser created by Marco Arment, that in the future will also work with the Amazon Kindle. It is working today in a almost Beta Version.

According to the Instapaper site:

What does Instapaper do?

Instapaper facilitates easy reading of long text content.

We discover web content throughout the day, and sometimes, we don’t have time to read long articles right when we find them.

Instapaper allows you to easily save them for later, when you do have time, so you don’t just forget about them or skim through them.

The reason this got my attentions was the possibility to process my Read and Review Material and get rid of the paper, before I discover this cool service and software I use to print the important articles, that create 2 main problems, number one the amoutn of paper, number two the quicker decision on the content, now I just hit, READ LATER and I am ready to go.

If you are not familiar with this service go to If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch this is a must, if you don’t this is a cool software to try and collect all your reading material in one place.

You can also follow Instapaper on Twitter @Instapaper.

I am not a Salesman…

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When it comes to business, I have found that a lot of Entrepreneurs are just not into Sales and Marketing, they are into their technique, into their craft, into other things they know how to do and do well, but when you mention Sales and Marketing, they simply can handle it.

On a business Sales and Marketing are the key of sucess, I knew I want my own business since I was 16, I continue in the search of the perfect combination, since I also know it is a combination of things what i want more than one specific thing.

On my first try, I ignore Sales and Marketing, on my second try I ignore Sales and Marketing and I failed on both adventures, we make some money, but the business eventually died. On my third try, I understood Sales, but ignore Marketing, and guess what, we failed. I was twenty five when I went to school  to get an MBA and learn about marketing and business, trust me I learned a lot, but I found nothing on sales. I had marketing 401, 402, business 401 and 402 but no sales. I then start to look for sales, why do you skip sales, it is not sales important?

Since the answer did not came to me in school, by then I had a degree and a MBA, was time to look for the answer in a different way, doing what I love to do, read. My next job out of college was on Sales, I need it to learn.

Time has passed since then, and yes, I have learn about sales, and discover that there is more to learn, that this subject is infinite, and incredible important, you can control expenses, you can control production cost, you can control marketing expenses, but if you make no sales, all the machinery will simply collapse.

What it is interesting for me is the amount of small and medium size business that ignore Sales and Marketing, as they are something bad, people love getting the purchase orders or POs, but are in many many cases not willing to learn how to get them, they are the technicians, the crafters, I create, I design, I develop, I am not a Sales person, (as if we Sales Person stink somehow, and I promise you we don’t); and in many cases inevitably they simply fail, they set themselves for failure and ask themselves why if they work so hard they can not achieve success, why they can’t thrive on success, they are great technicians, crafters, creators, designers, they work hard to accomplish and produce a service or product, but they are no sales person, therefore their creation, service or product simply just stays there, people you have just create a Hobby. A business that produce no sales is a hobby, a business that produce no sales to survive is a hobby, a business that after sometime can’t stand on his own is a hobby.

When Nicholas Negroponte ( begin his $100 PC for children initiative, he had the contacts, he had the money, access to the technology, in other words everything to succeed, and he failed, he had everything to produce the product, to create it, to developed, but he could not make the sale, he was forced to look for external help, to look for a sales and marketing team, that was able to market, sale and distribute the product, after that, even that it has not reach the sales levels Negroponte was expecting, the story was showing some success, but a lot of time was wasted. He move from a hobby to realize a dream, but was not until the inclusion of the sales and marketing team that the adventure change from a hobby to a business.

Assuming you are looking to make your hobby into a business, you need to get into sales, there are plenty of sales resources, they are many places to learn, stick with us and you may learn a trick or two.

It is irrelevant how great technician, crafter, creator, designer, musician, writer, coach you are, if you are not into sales, if you are not marketing and selling your product you are not going to realize your dream.

Lets reel back and put you a live example; this blog. Today (at the time of the original publishing of this article) this is a Hobby. We produce no money, we produce no income (and some expenses), I am a writer, we are entrepreneurs, and this will be an enterprise someday, but today, is not, it is a hobby, do not matter that we have insurance, LLC behind us, an office, a fax machine, 2 computers, and a network printer, we are into a hobby, because we are not making money, because we are not selling the product or service yet.

In the near future, we will be putting for sale the first product of this enterprise, and we will marketing and selling this product like crazy, you will hear about it, you will read about it, you will see reviews made from other people, even though the creation of the product or service is going to be made by a combination of the writer, the technician and the crafter, that final product will be sold by the salesman, and a soon as that happened we will move from Hobby to Business.

Are you a Salesman on your business? Do you have a business or a hobby? Are you willing to kill your hobby and get real with yourself and evolve to a business, or you are not a Salesman and can afford to keep your hobby alive?