Todd Smith-Salter

Rejection is Hard

For the first time ever, I did not get a job I interviewed for. This was my first technical interview and I knew there was a very good chance I wouldn’t get the job, yet it still doesn’t feel good.

It feels like what I bring to the table isn’t valued. Perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps I wasn’t ready for approval.

Regardless of the other party’s reasons, it’s up to me to decide how to respond to the rejection.

Will I wallow in the sting, feel hopeless, and give up?

Can I take the rejection as a motivator, learn from my mistakes, and move on to another opportunity?

The ball is in my court, so to speak.

Prioritizing Sleep

I have found the most important activity I can do to improve my overall state of mind and health is to get enough sleep.

Once upon a time, I would go to bed late and get up early every night, getting 6 hours of sleep or less. As I’ve grown older and developed habits and routines, I discovered though observation and reflection I need at least seven hours of sleep each night.

When I get seven hours of sleep I feel rested and able to logically think through my day’s priority and the tasks ahead. I can prioritize and make wise choices.

When I get less than seven hours my mind is foggy and fractured. Decisions seem less clear. I am easily distracted. I haven’t built up willpower reserves to begin to make wise choices.

I decided at the beginning of the year to always get seven hours of sleep, even if it means changing my wake-up time because a I stayed up late.

Success isn't an accident

Success isn't an accident

Success, or what you define as success, financial or otherwise, are a direct result of behaviours. The small tasks, the habits you do every day create an environment of motion and progress.

Do you want financial success? Spend less than you make every day.

Do you want to be mentally free to focus on family on the weekends? Use your time and task management system religiously. Don't stray.

Do you want to learn how to code so you can open up an online shop? Practice every day. Just 30 minutes a day adds up to almost 3.5 hours a week.

The only barrier to success is ourselves. "I don't have time" or "I'm so busy" end up just being excuses.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
John C. Maxwell

I'm say this as much to myself as anyone: just do it. Success won't come by accident.


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Why I deleted Facebook

Derek Silvers on his blog:

Maybe the fact that I use it to share my blog posts is a tiny tiny reason why others are still using it. It’s like I’m still visiting friends in the smoking area, even though I don’t smoke. Maybe if I quit going entirely, it will help my friends quit, too.

I understand this quandry. Facebook has become a lose-lose scenario for me. If I spend time there it distracts me from what's really important, the people around me and the deep work I want to accomplish. My reasons for keeping my Facebook account are selfish and out of fear. "I need it for work." "I'll lose touch with INSERT NAME." "I'll keep it around but won't use it." Excuses. That's all they are.

My Morning Routine

My Morning Routine

Limited willpower is the most significant obstacle to getting things done. I only have so much available to make decisions. Every decision I have to make means it’s less likely I’ll take action. In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport states, “You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it.”

A couple routines and rituals I’ve instituted in my life to ensure I reserve my willpower for actionable tasks are to have a wake-up routine and to choose my clothes I’ll wear for the day the night before. Choosing my clothes prevents me from having to use my fresh-from-sleep mind from an insignificant decision. My wake-up routine means I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do when I get up, I just do it.

For full transparency, my morning routine is to get up around 4:30 am, get dressed in the clothes I’ve set out, use the washroom, make Earl Grey tea, write, read my Bible and journal, do some work until 7 am, make breakfast, get my kids ready for the day, and finally, walk to my office.

I thrive on routine. Keeping this routine has saved my energy and willpower for what’s most important, the essentials.

Screw The Golden Rule

Claire Lew at Inc.:

The other person has different preferences (beliefs, ideas, and experiences) and is going to react to a situation differently than you. You might think something is reasonable or fair, but that's you thinking that, not the other person. You cannot assume that the way she would like to be treated is the same as the way you'd like to be treated.

I find it's a constant struggle to put myself in my Team Member's shoes and not treat them exactly how I want to be treated. That's the golden ticket in this article. I want to be treated one way. Someone else wants to be treated another way. Context is king.

There's a great list of questions Claire lists at the bottom of the article worth jotting down for one-on-ones.

I Quit Facebook—and You Should Too

Eric Karjaluoto writing on his blog,

I struggle with focus. Leaving Facebook and Twitter is the single most effective thing I’ve done to remedy this. Free of the ability—and pestering—to check an alert, I can achieve flow state more easily than before. (As an aside, that was the beauty of a Walkman: it helped me get into what I was doing; whereas, an iPhone seems to do the opposite.)

I keep coming back to leaving these two platforms...and more. What am I getting from these infinity pools other than a desire for what I don't have and a need to always check back in? I think I'm almost ready to take the plunge and step back into full-time reality.

Thirty Four

Thirty Four

34 things I've learned in 34 years, in no particular order.

  1. Looking at my cell phone first thing after waking up nukes my productivity for the day.
  2. Successful planning, for me, is about defining small, medium, and long-term goals, and less about filling my calendar.
  3. I can set an achievable goal for the year and knock it out. I ran 800+ km last year.
  4. Running a half-marathon over a mountain is hard and rewarding.
  5. I like travel. I like being with my family more. I guess I'm a homebody.
  6. I let life slip by because I'm afraid to disturb my comfortable status quo. I fear derailing my own perceived harmony of life.
  7. Change is good. Status quo is bad.
  8. Having difficult conversations is...difficult, but the short term pain usually leads to long-term gain, as they say.
  9. I hold onto anxiety like a soft pillow with a mine inside. It strangely comforts me until it explodes.
  10. I don't really care as much as I thought for material things.
  11. Restrictions are freeing, if I choose to thrive within them.
  12. Having less of anything is freeing.
  13. Emotions lie. Rational thought rules.
  14. Kids are hilarious and creative. Watching them grow up is amazing.
  15. Learning to live in the shadow of chronic illness is challenging, but can bind families together.
  16. My brain is a misfiring superhighway of spasticity.
  17. Omega 3 is good for the brain. I take it everyday now.
  18. Sometimes the easiest solution is the answer to the problem. See Occam's razor.
  19. Life could be worse.
  20. Thinking the best of something or someone doesn't come naturally to me.
  21. Coffee (caffeine) is addicting. I have a chemical dependency.
  22. Working for people who share a similar worldview is pretty amazing.
  23. Working for people who trust me to do what's best and right is comforting.
  24. I have a great job and work with amazing people.
  25. Deciding to replace the fence is not the same as doing it.
  26. I've stopped caring about customizing every setting on my phone and computer. I must be getting old because I just want them to work.
  27. Not having a TV in our home was a great decision.
  28. I can pay down my debts far quicker than I thought.
  29. Bookkeepers are angels sent from heaven.
  30. Staying actively and deliberately connected with others takes effort. It doesn't happen passively.
  31. The best working music has no lyrics.
  32. Trying to get as much work done as possible, in a finite amount of time, is a recipe for mediocrity.
  33. Start with the smallest, tiniest sliver of an idea, research it, test it, share it, iterate on it. Let an idea bloom into its full glory one small step at a time.
  34. Starting the day early (4:30 to 5am-ish), with tea, reading the Bible, journaling, and a run, is a great foundation for me to start my day with.

Thirty Three

Commemorating my 33rd birthday with thirty three things I’ve learned in the past year.

  1. My wife and kids deserve all of my attention at home.
  2. Work-Life balance is hard when all you think about is work.
  3. Attachment to other people is more important than fun.
  4. It’s a red flag if my kids are begging for contact, physical, emotional, or otherwise. My goal should be to make them feel secure in their parental attachment.
  5. Every decision I make is a choice. “I couldn’t help myself” is an excuse.
  6. My family needs to matter most of all. How much time and attention I give my family is the metric I need to measure.
  7. My wants and desires need to take a backseat to my family. Sacrifice will bring about amazing results.
  8. Even when I’m physically away from my family, I can still be with my family.
  9. Surrounding myself with great friends who hold me accountable for my idiotic nature is priceless.
  10. It’s not hard to meet new people and for them to know you’re interested in their life.
  11. Great leaders are at the front of the battle line.
  12. I have very little clue how to motivate others.
  13. Discipline is a misnomer. Just do it.
  14. Take responsibility for failure. Never blame someone else.
  15. Every trial is an opportunity to be better. Refining fire purifies.
  16. I put off tough tasks with the best of them. Gold-star member of Procrastinators Anonymous.
  17. Debt is easier to accumulate than destroy.
  18. What food I eat plays a big part in how I feel and in turn, how productive I am.
  19. A simple permanent diet change can lead to drastic weight-loss.
  20. I miss the midnight cereal club.
  21. I eat when I’m feeling down, which doesn’t help the waistline.
  22. Working with good people is better than being paid bucket-loads of money.
  23. An employer who trusts you completely is liberating.
  24. Remote work is incredible.
  25. Forty-hour work weeks are lame. Results are a better measure of progress.
  26. I have a lot to learn. About everything.
  27. Rdio will forever be missed.
  28. There’s no such thing as work-free revenue streams.
  29. Taking care of my own health should be a top priority.
  30. Some people on the internet are mean.
  31. Mobile phones shouldn’t be in the bathroom.
  32. I am an epic sinner. Epic.
  33. I believe God has big plans for me. I need to get out of His way.

Work can wait

Work can wait

I had a realization a couple of days ago. Long after I was home, all I was thinking about was work. The class I hadn't finished, the component I had to yet design, the failing test. It's an awful realization to know I'm cheating the people who love me most, of my time, my energy, and my devotion. At work, I can be replaced. At home, in my family, as a father and husband, I'm irreplacable.

There is one simple step I'm going to take, a catalyst for change. I need to force my brain to compartmentalize work away from home. For the rest of December, the first thing I'm going to do when I get home, is turn off my phone. I'm going to give my family my time and energy. Because they deserve it.

Work can wait.