The new brand identity

I stumbled upon the concept of margin while reading a post by Michael Hyatt, which led me to design my ideal week. Richard Swenson, M.D. (who wrote the book: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives) describes margin like this:

Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.

Last year I wrote about why booking too far in advance can be dangerous for your business, and this concept of margin so eloquently captures what I had recognized had been my problem: I was so booked up with clients that I wasn’t leaving any margin for error, growth, planning, or reflection. I wasn’t really growing my business in a sustainable way; I was just booking one client after the next. At the time this seemed like a good thing: doesn’t growing my business mean getting more clients?

A long redesign.

What if instead of booking up to 100% capacity (which more often than not ends up being closer to 120%), we only booked up to an 80% capacity?
What if we left more room for growth (personal or professional) and stopped being one with “busy-ness”?
I spent nearly a year turning down every new project (and even getting rid of old ones) so that I could reduce my workload, build in more margin, and create what is now Digital Strategy School. It takes time to build margin into your schedule.Write a book. Create a program. Update your contracts and proposals (which has been on your to-do list for how long..?) Spend more time with your family. Go above and beyond for a client. Learn something new. Actually follow through on the things that have been nagging at you for a long time.

When you design your ideal week, you start to see that the time you think you have is often not in alignment with how much time you actually have.

After designing my ideal week, I had a much clearer idea of how to create a framework for my week that would empower me to feel more focused by theming days of the week, and even parts of the day. SO simple, I know. Some of you have been doing this for ages and you’re already a pro, and some of you who saw my schedule said “woah, that’s so rigid, I need more flexibility!”

Structure enables flexibility.

If you’re not sure how much time you are actually spending on various tasks, use a tool like Rescue Time (their free version is excellent!) which runs in the background and tracks where your time is being spent. It can even send you weekly reports so you know exactly how much time you wasted on Facebook, or spent in your email inbox! You can assign different websites or programs/applications on a scale of very distracting to very productive, so you can see at a glance things like: which days of the week you’re most productive, which times of the day you’re most productive, and the sites on which you’re spending the most distracting time. Turns out I’m consistently “in the zone” around 3pm in the afternoon; so instead of trying to tackle highly creative work first thing in the morning (when my brain is barely functioning), I handle it in the afternoon, when I know I’m at my peak!

Creating more margin has been game-changing for my business.
What would be possible for yours?

Sounds from the streets

Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I mainly managed projects and worked as a video editor. On production, there were times that I was called on to work as an audio tech and was made to wear headphones on long production days. In those days, having a really good set of headphones that picked up every nuance of sound was essential to making sure the client got what they needed.

It’s safe to say that because of my unique professional experiences, I’ve tested out a lot of headphones.

First impressions.

Naturally, my first impression of these headphones is based off of the look of them. They have a classic over-the-ear style that is highlighted by a blue LED light that indicates the power for the noise canceling. The padding on the ear pieces seems adequate for extended usage periods.

They are wired headphones, but the 3.5mm stereo mini-plug cable is detachable. Something else I noticed right of the bat was the very nice carrying case that comes with them. It has a hard plastic exterior with a soft cloth interior that helps to protect the surface of the headphones from scratches. I never truly appreciated cases for headphones until I started carrying them from place-to-place. Now I can’t imagine not having a case.

A perfect fit.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable.

Quality.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.

I would highly recommend these to any sound mixing specialist.

A day alone at the sea

Just the other day I happened to wake up early. That is unusual for an engineering student. After a long time I could witness the sunrise. I could feel the sun rays falling on my body. Usual morning is followed by hustle to make it to college on time. This morning was just another morning yet seemed different.

Witnessing calm and quiet atmosphere, clear and fresh air seemed like a miracle to me. I wanted this time to last longer since I was not sure if I would be able to witness it again, knowing my habit of succumbing to schedule. There was this unusual serenity that comforted my mind. It dawned on me, how distant I had been from nature. Standing near the compound’s gate, feeling the moistness that the air carried, I thought about my life so far.

I was good at academics, so decisions of my life had been pretty simple and straight. Being pretty confident I would make it to the best junior college of my town in the first round itself, never made me consider any other option. I loved psychology since childhood, but engineering was the safest option. Being born in a middle class family, thinking of risking your career to make it to medical field was not sane. I grew up hearing ‘Only doctor’s children can afford that field’ and finally ended up believing it. No one around me believed in taking risks. Everyone worshiped security. I grew up doing the same.

‘Being in the top will only grant you a good life’ has been the mantra of my life. But at times, I wish I was an average student. I wish decisions would have not been so straightforward. Maybe I would have played cricket- the only thing I feel passionate about. Or maybe I would have studied literature (literature drives me crazy). Isn’t that disappointing- me wishing to be bad at academics. It’s like at times I hate myself for the stuff I am good at.

This is what has happened to us. We want the things we have been doing forcefully to fail. And then maybe people around us would let us try something else or our dreams. We are accustomed to live by everyone else’s definition of success. We punish people for the things they are passionate about, just because we were unable to do the same at some point in our life.

I feel like these concrete buildings have sucked our desires and our dreams. We are so used to comfort that compromise seems like a taboo. We have lost faith in ourselves. If we can make through it right now, we can do the same in the days to come. You only need a desire to survive and nothing more- not money or cars or designer clothes.

Staying locked up in four walls have restricted our thinking. I feel like our limited thinking echoes through this wall. We are so used to schedules and predictable life that we have successfully suppressed our creative side.

When you step out of these four walls on a peaceful morning, you realize how much nature has to offer to you. Its boundless. Your thoughts, worries, deadlines won’t resonate here. Everything will flow away along with the wind. And you will realize every answer you had been looking for, was always known to you.

It would mean a lot to me if you recommend this article and help me improve. I would love to know your thoughts!

TheWorldvsMS

Zoals jullie weten was ik in november aanwezig bij de HackAMSterdam. Een initiatief van TheWorldvsMS. En laten zij nu gevraagd hebben aan mij of ik een verhaal wil schrijven over mijn verhalen. Waarom ik het belangrijk vind om te schrijven over MS? En dan met name ik als partner van een MS’er.
Het verhaal komt binnenkort online. Ik hou jullie op de hoogte!

Some amazing buildings

Minimalism and geometric.

When you are alone for days or weeks at a time, you eventually become drawn to people. Talking to randos is the norm. I’ll never forget the conversation with the aquarium fisherman, forest ranger, and women at the Thai market. It’s refreshing to compare notes on life with people from vastly different backgrounds.

When you meet fellow travelers, you’ll find they are also filled with a similar sense of adventure and curiosity about the world. Five days of friendship on the road is like five months of friendship at home. It’s the experiences that bond you together, not the place. A rule I followed that worked well: be the first to initiate conversation. I met some incredible people by simply being the first to talk.

Long term travel is different than a luxury vacation. The point is to see the world, not stay in a 5-star hotel. During the trip, I stayed on a strict budget. The goal was to spend no more than $33 per day on accommodations. After a year, I was able to spend only $26.15 per day by booking through HostelWorld and Airbnb. When I wanted to meet people, I’d stay in a shared room at a hostel. When I wanted to be alone, I’d book a private room with Airbnb.

Take the cost of your rent or mortgage + food per month and divide it by 30. This is how much it costs per day to live at home. You will find that it’s possible to travel the world for roughly the same amount. Or, if you live in an expensive city like San Francisco, far less.

An universal language.

I was surprised how many people spoke English (apparently 1.8 billion people worldwide). Places where English was less prevalent, I made an effort to learn a handful of words and phrases in the local language. Even though it’s passable, I do desire to learn another language fluently. You can only take the conversation so far when all you can say is: “¿Esto contiene gluten?”

It’s possible to communicate a lot without saying a word. For instance, I left my phone at a restaurant in Chile. I pointed at the table where I was sitting, put my hand to my ear like a phone, then shrugged — 2 minutes later, my phone had been retrieved.

Eerste week peuterspeelzaal (psz)

De eerste week peuterspeelzaal zit er op. Conclusie: mijn vrouw vindt het heerlijk. Ze kan lekker veel in de ochtend ‘plannen’ en dan er vervolgens achter komen dat een ochtend toch ook wel heel kort is. Onze dochter gaat van 09:15 uur tot 11:45 uur naar de psz. Mijn vrouw is dan rond 09:30 uur weer thuis en kan dan aan de slag met wat huishoudelijke klusjes. Ze heeft dan, efficiënt gezien, 2 uur de tijd om de klusjes te doen. Buiten de efficiënt reken ik de plaspauzes, weersomstandigheden etc.
Als mijn vrouw dan een klusje calculeert voor in de ochtend en zij komt hier niet aan toe, dan is dit nog een beetje ‘onwennig’.
Anyway, onze dochter vindt het helemaal te gek. En wij moeten nog even op zoek naar een beetje structuur 😉

Working from your home?

[vc_row row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”3″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_column_text]

01. Wake up at the same time every day.

Naturally, my first impression of these headphones is based off of the look of them. They have a classic over-the-ear style that is highlighted by a blue LED light that indicates the power for the noise canceling. The padding on the ear pieces seems adequate for extended usage periods.

They are wired headphones, but the 3.5mm stereo mini-plug cable is detachable. Something else I noticed right of the bat was the very nice carrying case that comes with them. It has a hard plastic exterior with a soft cloth interior that helps to protect the surface of the headphones from scratches. I never truly appreciated cases for headphones until I started carrying them from place-to-place. Now I can’t imagine not having a case.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_height_percent=”50″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”0″ back_color=”color-wayh” back_image=”23168″ back_position=”center top” parallax=”yes” overlay_color=”color-wayh” overlay_alpha=”70″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ position_vertical=”middle” align_horizontal=”align_center” override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”2″ style=”dark” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/1″][vc_custom_heading heading_semantic=”h6″ text_size=”h1″ text_height=”fontheight-357766″ text_font=”font-134980″ text_weight=”300″ sub_lead=”yes” sub_reduced=”yes” text_uppercase=”” subheading=”Joelle Steiniger”]It’s funny — the thing I feared would take away my “freedom” is the one thing that has allowed me to have it.[/vc_custom_heading][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”3″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_column_text]

02. Have a routine when you wake up.

Once I gave the headphones a thorough once-over exam, I tried them on. As I mentioned, they have a classic over-the-ear style and just looking at them, the padding on the ear pieces seem adequate and the peak of the headband seemed to be a bit lacking, but you don’t really know comfort unless you try on the product. So, I slipped the headphones on and found them to be exquisitely comfortable. In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”0″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”5/6″][vc_single_image media=”11298″ media_width_percent=”100″ media_ratio=”three-two” media_title_uppercase=””][/vc_column][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/6″][vc_column_text]I’d start my day by checking email, Twitter, Facebook. Reading the “news”. I’d look at my to-do list and start working on something.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”3″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_column_text]

03. Plan your workout time — stick to it.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”0″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/6″][vc_column_text]Distractions aside, there was no real rhyme or reason to my workflow. The not-so-fun (but necessary) stuff kept getting neglected.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”5/6″][vc_single_image media=”15074″ media_width_percent=”100″ media_ratio=”three-two” media_title_uppercase=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”3″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_column_text]

04. Call it a night.

Now that I had the headphones on my head, I was finally ready to plug and play some music. I plugged the provided cable into the jack on the headphones and then the one on my iPhone 6. Then I called up Pandora. I tend to have a very eclectic music purview and have many stations set up for different moods. From John Williams to Fallout Boy, the sound quality of these headphones was remarkable. There is an amazing depth of sound and incredible highs and lows that make listening to music a truly breathtaking experience.

In order to test how voices sounded, and the overall art of sound mixing, I pulled up Netflix on my iPad Air 2 and watched a few minutes of a movie to hear all the nuances of the film. None of them were lost. In fact, I ended up hearing sounds that I hadn’t heard before. Echoes…birds chirping…wind blowing through trees…breathing of the characters…it was very impressive what the headphones ended up bringing out for me.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row unlock_row=”” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”2″ top_padding=”0″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″ row_height_use_pixel=””][vc_column column_width_use_pixel=”yes” overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ column_width_pixel=”800″][vc_single_image media=”11306″ media_width_percent=”100″ media_ratio=”three-two” media_title_uppercase=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Peuterspeelzaal (psz)

Onze dochter gaat sinds deze week naar de peuterspeelzaal. Mijn vrouw heeft hiervoor gekozen (in overleg met mij uiteraard). Ze merkte de laatste tijd dat ons kind toch ietwat druk/onrustig is in de ochtend. We hebben er een aantal keer over gesproken en eigenlijk zei ik altijd;

“Schat, als het jou een rustiger gevoel geeft, dan moeten we het gewoon doen. De kosten zijn het probleem niet. Als we het nu niet doen en door de drukte wordt jij vermoeider, geïrriteerder en noem maar op, dan ben ik liever wat extra knaken kwijt dan jou elke avond moe en geïrriteerd te zien.”

Dus deze week voor het eerst. Volgende week horen jullie of het een succes is…

Gevallen van de trap…

11 januari 2017. Een woensdag waarop wij te horen kregen dat er op de MRI-scan geen nieuwe vlekjes waren te zien en dat de bestaande vlekjes geen activiteit lieten zien. Wow! Goed nieuws!
We stonden met 10 minuten weer buiten en keken elkaar met een glimlach aan. Wat een goed nieuws! “Ja, het kan wellicht helemaal niks betekenen,” zeg ik, “Maar het is gewoon grandioos!” “We hebben vanavond wel een wijntje verdiend.” zegt mijn vrouw.

‘S avonds drinken we een wijntje en praten over de MRI, vakantie en het aankomende congres waar mijn vrouw mag spreken over haar MS. Rond 22:47 uur maakt mijn vrouw een kruik klaar en poetst haar tanden. Om 23:11 uur hoor ik gestommel en een enorme klap! Ik ren en roep “Neeeee, Neeeee!!! Schatttt!!”

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Uitslag MRI-scan

Man, wat zijn we de afgelopen week zenuwachtig geweest. Ondanks dat het heel goed gaat met mijn vrouw, had ik stiekem wel verwacht dat er ‘iets’ aan de hand zou zijn. Dat we iets op de MRI-scan zou zien. Nu blijkt dus dat er geen nieuwe vlekjes bij zijn gekomen en dat er ook geen nieuwe activiteit is. Eén vlekje is wel iets groter geworden maar vertoont geen activiteit. Yeah!!! Goed nieuws dus 🙂
Het kan dus zijn dat de medicatie haar werk doet. Het remmen van de ontstekingen.
Is de MRI-scan een goede indicatie van het ziektebeeld van MS? Het is een momentopname, dat is zeker.

We zijn in ieder geval blij met dit nieuws. Over een half jaar een nieuwe MRI-scan. Ik houd jullie op de hoogte!