Home » Life » My 30 Days of Hustle, Days 18, 19 & 20: Accomplices, Tools, Batching & Feelings of Failure

My 30 Days of Hustle, Days 18, 19 & 20: Accomplices, Tools, Batching & Feelings of Failure

The truth is, I have not been much of a hustle-r these past 3 days.

Granted, the 19th was a Sunday, and I try hard to make that not a day of hustle. But Saturday was just plain bad, and today has not been much better.

The best thing I can say about Saturday night and last night is that I did at least tackle my Evening Must-Dos. (I didn’t Friday night, and I’m sure that had a lot to do with my Saturday morning being basically worthless.)

But this morning I woke up, and I just flat-out wasn’t feeling it. Wasn’t feeling any of it. Even though the dishes had been washed and the bread had been made and so on… I just wasn’t feeling the need to follow a morning routine.

I got a little angry with myself. The girlios are off school today, and I would excuse myself for my lack of urgency in my hustle because of that, except that on the very first days I first tried out my routine, the girios were home from school then, too, and I still was filled with urgency and the desire to get things done.

And then I remembered that those first days were just that — the first days. The days when it’s easiest to do something new because it’s exciting and fresh and there’s that optimism of “This is going to change my life!

So I said to myself, hey, maybe cut yourself some slack? It’s day 20 and the girlios aren’t in school Not surprising that you don’t feel much urgency. There’s no one to ship off to school.

But to be honest, that didn’t help much. I still felt angry with myself for being so lazy. Literally by 10 a.m. I had not done a single darned thing but read message boards and Twitter and Facebook. Exactly the kinds of behavior I have been trying to avoid.

Finally, somehow, I managed to shove myself away from the computer and pick up the book I’ve been using for my morning devotionals. It’s a study guide for the class I’m taking Wednesday nights called “Sacred Secrets” by Beth Moore.

And is what I read:

Hebrew Word Study:

The Psalmists often repeated related concepts with slightly different words. In Psalm 27, note another word… the Hebrew word tsaphan means “to hide” or “treasure up.”

“For He will conceal [there’s that word tsaphan] me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover (cathar) of His tent; He will set me high on a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)

Here are the questions that come after this and my responses:

From what do you need God to hide or conceal you today?

I need God to shelter me from my own frustration with myself. I feel anxious, worried, and fearful that my struggles mean I’m doomed to failure.

How does using the first meaning of the word tsaphan change the way Psalm 27:5 speaks to you: “He will treasure me up in His shelter in the day of adversity?”

It almost makes it sound as though He considers ME a treasure.


What do you think it would take to really have the fact that God treasures you filter all the way through your being?

That is an excellent question!

Apparently, what it took was for me to go directly to my prayer journal, confess that I had so much difficulty believing that He considered me a treasure, confess the ways I had failed this morning, and then ask for help to get back to doing what I knew I should be doing. Because as I did that, certainty flooded my soul — certainty that I was, indeed, treasured by God.

I hope that I can hold onto this truth more often.

Now, then, onto Fearless Leader Jon’s e-mails.

I’ll be honest, these weren’t very challenging for me. But that’s okay, maybe they just show I’m not quite as far gone as I had originally thought. Ha.

Day 18:

One of my career regrets is that about 10 years ago, I was really burned out at a job.

Without really even thinking about it, I became the guy in the office that was always criticizing everything. I was the jerk who would burst the new guy’s bubble, as he expressed his week one excitement about his new job.

Part of the reason I regret it is I’ve been studying the role friends have on our habits. (I am a dork.) One book in particular really convicted me about this idea. It’s called “Change Anything” and it’s by a team of authors, “Patterson, Greeny, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler.”

It’s a brilliant book that I highly recommend. The section in question was about how critical relationships are to our success or failure. Here’s what they said,

“Bad habits are almost always a social disease – if those around us model and encourage them, we’ll almost always fall prey. Turn your ‘accomplices’ into ‘friends’ and you can be two-thirds more likely to succeed.”

That paragraph is packed with goodness. I love the phrase “social disease” as a description of group think. And the idea of turning accomplices into friends is awesome too. But it’s that last part that kills me. You will be two-thirds more likely to succeed! (That stat is from a 1999 study in the “Journal of Personality.”)

So today’s question is, “Who are your accomplices?”

Some you can turn into friends, some won’t want to transform.

It’s painful to learn that with some people you only have one thing in common. If you won’t party as much as they want to because you’re working on a big project, the calls stop coming. That’s OK though, every dream isn’t for every friend. Other people though will love the chance to reinvent a friendship and will be sorry they weren’t more supportive.

Look around and be honest with yourself (but don’t name names on the Facebook group.) Are you surrounded by accomplices? Are you being an accomplice for someone else?

Unless my daughters count as accomplices (ha!), I guess I’m just really, extraordinarily lucky and haven’t had anyone who seemed determined to drag me down with them. In fact, everyone who knows of my journey has been, to the contrary, extraordinarily supportive, and I am so very appreciative of all of you for that.

Day 19:

Tool Time!

I think a big part of why our goals fail is that we often try to go it alone. We don’t ask for help, we don’t do research and, the subject of today’s challenge, we don’t use tools.

I would define a tool as anything that helps you succeed.

I think the problem is that a lot of us see tools as crutches. We think that we need to man up and just do it! So we don’t buy a book about beating writer’s block for ideas, we just buckle down with a blank sheet of paper and strain our way through one lame paragraph.

But tools are critical.

Here are a few I am using right now.
1. Moleskine notebook. (I’m such a hipster.) Writing things down and actually seeing my progress is a huge help for me.
2. Timer on my iPhone. I like to do 90 minute bursts of work. I set a timer and then just focus on the task at hand.
3. The up band app. It might seem silly, but being encouraged by complete strangers on my exercise progress really encourages me.

We all need tools if we are going to accomplish our goals.

Write one down today or put it on the Facebook group. I promised you’ll be amazed at all the awesome tools you didn’t know existed.


(If you read the word “tool” as “jerk,” this challenge is super awkward.)

Ha! I love Jon’s sense of humor.

This was another non-challenge for me because I already use several tools, nearly all of them on my phone or computer.

I love my list-making and note-taking apps. I use one called One Note that’s excellent for making checklists (complete with a little box that you can check off when you’re done). I use another called My Notes that can help you group your lists into categories (this was incredibly helpful when planning my Graham Colton home show, because I was able to group all my lists in one category, making them much easier to find).

Finally, I use one called Sticky Notes, which look exactly like Post-It notes on the screen. You can even make them different colors and pin them directly to your Home screen (if you use a Windows phone). I love this because I could conceivably put a bunch of little stickies on my Home screen, each in different colors, to help me differentiate them.

I should add that my Windows Phone, period, might be my greatest tool. I will never go back to Android, and I surely will never touch iPhone, because my Windows phone is so wonderful. I love that all my most-commonly used apps can be pinned right on my Home screen, and I can pin individual pieces of those apps to my Home screen.

Take a look at these screenshots of my Home screen:


All my apps are represented on my Home screen by different-sized tiles. In this shot you can see all 3 sizes: the large rectangle, the medium-sized square, and the small square. You can see that I have my calendar all nice and huge at the top (and it displays reminders of what I have going on that day, which is REALLY cool). You can see it also shows my alarm clock and the time of my next alarm, unread messages and notifications in Facebook and my e-mail, and so on.


In this shot you can see some of my lists, taken from One Note, that’s pinned to my Home Screen. I have my almighty To Do list pinned; I also have an ongoing Shopping List pinned. The latter makes it really easy for me to add something when I realize we’re out; the former makes it easy to remind myself of what I need to do, and also gives me an easy way to check off items on my list when I finish (which I LOVE, haha).


And finally, in this shot you can see more pieces of of apps that I have sticking out. You can see I have a list of the songs I have prepared for the kiddos I lead in Sunday morning worship; I also have a pin of my Morning Routine, so I can just pop that open (without having to open the app first and search for it) in order to remind myself of what’s next and what’s left.

This all probably looks like one great big Windows Phone advertisement, lol. And I imagine that a lot of Androids (and possibly iPhones too, no idea because I’ve never used one) let you do things like pop lists out of their apps and pin them right to a screen. But Windows Phones have only 2 “main” screens: the Home screen and the Apps screen. I never minded scrolling from screen to screen in Android, trying to find the app I wanted, but I really enjoyed scrolling down on main screen so much better.

Just a thought, in case you’re dissatisfied with Droid or iOS and your phone is in need of an upgrade. 😉

Finally, day 20:

Batch! Batch! Batch!

A number of experts have written about this concept over the last few years and today I’ll add my own take.

Batching a series of tasks is often the best way to get them done.

For instance, I batch wrote seven of these challenges the last time I worked on them. I didn’t write one a day, I sat down and knocked out almost 25% of them in one session.

Why does this work?

Because momentum works.

When you get in the zone on some task, you break through all the inertia that keeps you stuck. Once that door is open, it’s easier to walk through a few more tasks. Here are a few possible examples:

1. Trying to eat better? Prepare three lunches in advance instead of just one.
2. Writing a blog? Write four posts next time you write instead of just one.
3. Applying to jobs? Send out five resumes each time you sit down instead of just one.

Every goal, no matter how unique can be broken into a batch process in some way.

Today’s challenge is to figure out a way you can batch your goal.


I’ve discovered this already to an extent. I have noticed that when I’m on a roll with housework, it’s better to keep it going than to stop to do something else (or stop, period, lol). When I’ve started writing, I often don’t stop until I’ve written more than I intended when I first stat down.

But reading this made me decide to rearrange the order in which I have my routines jotted down. Now, granted, I had been doing a lot of this already because I often just start going with my routine and do my tasks in whatever order feels right. But having it down in “stone” (ie on my phone) makes it feel a little more like a help.

Is it hard for you to feel treasured?

Do you have any “accomplices” in your life? Do you want to turn them into “friends”? Have you ever tried doing so and were successful?

If you don’t have a Windows phone (which I know covers 99.9% of you, lol), what features of your phone make your life easier?

(And if you do have a Windows phone, do you love it? Or are you itching to return to Android/iPhone?)

Are you familiar with “batching?” Have you found it useful? 


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