The Productivity Manifesto Checklist

I was talking with my sister over the XMAS holidays and somehow we landed on the subject of being MORE productive in the coming year and started comparing "time management" systems, tips, and tricks.

What started as a simple email the next day grew into a "The Productivity Manifesto Checklist". It was a list of the most powerful and useful tools that made a difference to me.

FULL DISCLAIMER: I'm a just a normal dude, not a certified project manager. I'm a DevOps at heart and thus constantly tweaking things in my own life to make it better. There are a few affiliate links to fund my site and ongoing ventures. 

Dear Red,
In continuing our conversation about “systems” and “time management” last night here’s the best ideas and tools I know to jump start your new year:


1. Fill up the day using a “Zero Based Calendar” or an “Unschedule Calendar”
The Zero Based Calendar is something I stumbled on at VideoFruit who posted a great video sharing his method.  He references Stephen Covey's great Big Rocks story.

An Unschedule Calendar on the other hand is great way to get some clarity (or scare the hell of yourself) by actually seeing how your time is set up.

Essentially you take a regular calendar and fill it up with EVERYTHING (e.g. sleep, meals, commuting, etc) and then identify your true free blocks of time.

As you can see from my work week my only free blocks of time (the green blocks) is first thing in the morning and in the evenings.

I will do an Unschedule from time to time to see if it actually makes sense and whether it works still.


2. Watch Randy Pausch’s Lecture: Time Management

Randy Pausch's lecture "Time Management" is a must watch.  (PDF of slides)

BONUS: If you want some serious inspiration watch his "Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams".

You may cry BTW… just saying)


3. Try Pomotodo

I just started using Pomotodo and I LOVE it!

It's both a iPhone app and web application. With either I can track my time usage on very specific projects and aim to always bump up my stats.


When I’m really a rock star at work I have my headphones in, email minimized with notifications off, phone ringer off, and I listen to something in the background while running this app also in the background.

It will sound when your “25 min” sprint is done.  A "5 min" break.  Then you do another sprint.


4. Eben Pagan’s: Wakeup Productive Course

I purchased this program a few years ago and I’m ready to start it again. It's by far THE craziest program to get your shit together! I'm not going to lie, it's not cheap. But how much would you pay to get your life on track?

It’s basically a 12 week program to increase productivity. You listen to a track a week and slowly implement the changes.

Here’s a new video from Eben Pagan that explains the 1 most important key to increasing your productivity, success and profit in your business and personal life (just opt-in to watch it free):

Free Video: The Key To Higher Productivity

Make sure to get the PDF download, and the 1-page summary sheet download as well, and do the exercise to identify the ultra high-value “money making activities” in your business.

In the video, Eben explains how he transformed and dramatically increased his productivity with one simple mindset and action change.

This video is about 18 minutes long, and will change the way you think about time management and productivity.

The best part is that you can watch it for free, by just opting-in.


5. Read or listen to the following books… one day.

Maybe you’ve already read these, if not you have to one day! This should be mandatory reading for every office worker.

The 4-Hour Workweek”, Tim Ferriss

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey

Getting Things Done”, David Allen

And I’ve just started reading this book …

The Power of Full Engagement", Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz:


BONUS: Transcendental Mediation (?!)

I've heard now from several places, notably from interviews on Tim Ferriss' podcast, that several superstars practice using TM (Transcendental Meditation).

Although I have nothing to report or expand upon as I just started dabbling with meditation as part of my morning has given me a little more calming energy. Very unusual.

Jerry Seinfeld does a great job promoting its benefits.


I hope some of these ideas help you out in the new year Red!

Experiment with abandonment!


43Things no more!

As you can guess from the previous posts, I'm quite fond of setting goals then finding ways to monitor my progress to completion. It's become something of an obsession to setup my life so I accomplish things automatically by putting the right "systems" in place.

Well it's usually this time of year that I set my New Year Resolutions, SMART(er) goals, etc. I have loved playing with a free social site called

Unfortunately they're pulling the plug. 🙁


I have to say I did see trouble when ads were polluting the site and making it a fraction of its once greatness...I hate it when I'm right.

At least they were decent enough to let their users export their goals. Here's mine for those that care: paulywill's 43things

A little searching did reveal some scandal or finger pointing to the fact 43things was connected to Amazon.

Meh...I found it useful once upon a time.

Thanks again 43things!


A little past the half way mark to review my SMART Goals (or SMARTer Goals - Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; Time-specific; Evaluate; Revise. ).

Yes, my plate is full!

Despite that I still seem to have plenty of time to sit on my ass and watch Netflix 😛



Some of my remaining SMART Goals for 2014:

□ Get Married (seemed appropriate to add to the list and deserving attention)

□ Honeymoon in San Fran (tickets booked…very little planned thus far)

□ Credit Card paid off (aggressive payment and careful monitoring of usage)

PYOP in production (75-80% complete…received REAL feedback from actual customers)

□ 170-175 lbs; < 9% BF (Monitoring weight daily and tracking with dashboard chart; still need to re-test BF more precisely…perhaps with calipers)

□ 100 pushups (Weekly attempt and chart; Utilize 100 Pushups iPhone app)

LingQ: 14,000 known words in French ( I will systematically create a daily study ritual)

□ Canadian Sports Parachuting Association Coach 2 Rating Certified (I have several coaching contacts to complete)

□ Complete my Competent Leader for Toastmasters (Not certain the remaining items...but I will print out and review before EVERY TM meeting)


Completed SMART Goals for 2014:

■ Passed my DELF B1 (French Intermediate fluency test)

■ Completed 20 Chin-ups

■ LingQ: Listened to 75 hours of French

■ Canadian Sports Parachuting Association Ground Control Instructor Rating Certified

■ Completed my Competent Communicator for Toastmasters


PayPal’s Ascii Art

A random find...if you're to look at the source code on Paypal's homepage (<3 the background movie BTW).... you'll see the following ASCII art and job posting!


I like their style!!!  Who else would be poking in their code?  People they ideally want to hire.  Reminds me of Google's math problem job offering on a billboard.

“A Good Friday”

Here's another video I put together for fun.

My family and their friends gathered all those of young and young at heart at the famous Anchor Park in Holland Landing, ON on Good Friday for an Easter Egg hunt!!!

I am a little discouraging that YouTube has limited the viewing of this video because I used a copyrighted track, Imagine Dragons - On Top Of The World. I am unable to "syndicate" to mobile devices, meaning unable to play MY video on mobile devices.

Fair enough.  It's a good tune and seemed fitting regardless.  Sorry mobile users!

It really was A Good Friday!

“No sky for you Germany!”

I just made a quick video of my first skydives for the year up for my other blog 30journey.

YouTube indicates my video is block in some countries because I used NOFX as the soundtrack.

Which country you ask?  Germany(?!).

Does Germany have a beef with Fat Mike and company?

If any of my Germany brethren want a copy of this AMAZING typical shaky cam skydiver video...I will be MORE than happy to Dropbox; S3; whatever!

Windows .BAT Scripts for Uploading files to z/OS Mainframe

.BAT Coding for z/OS Uploading

As mentioned on Millennial Mainframer.

Here's some glorious nerdry I've been laboring at work to make my and others' lives easier creating Windows .BAT scripts for uploading files to z/OS mainframe.  Before this all this all the declarations for z/OS allocations were manually done and very time consuming.

The code is pretty straight forward once you start playing with it.

Some irritations you'll find with Windows batch files (we're still using XP regretfully) is that while it's not CASE sensitive...there's some strict syntax and limitations.

For example I was struggling with IF ELSE statements which require a strict format; spacing when outputting to a textfile; and using global and local variables within the script which ended up with me creating multiple procedures as a workaround.

Since Batch files in Windows are pretty limited I would have LOVED to use PowerShell.
However I knew that a simple .BAT would at least guarantee to work on our secure workstations.

(Note: The following code below works as presented with spacing and format.)

Continue reading "Windows .BAT Scripts for Uploading files to z/OS Mainframe"

REXX Message Shenanigans

Here's the REXX EXEC that I made this light Friday as a cheeky message for people trying to run something at work.

As mentioned here on Millennial Mainframer.

/* REXX EXEC */                                                                 
/* FOR TIVOLI DECISION SUPPORT FOR Z/OS (TDSZ)                */                
/*                                                            */                
/* PAUL GAMBLE - Mar 14 2013                                  */                
/*                                                            */                
/* Workaround for userid.DRLFPROF req.                        */                
/*                                                            */                
ADDRESS ISPEXEC "VGET (ZUSER)"                                                  
savemem = zuser||'.PROF'                                                    
"ALLOC DA('"savemem"')"                                                         
If rc > 0 Then do                                                               
say '*******************************************************'                 
say '                                                       '                 
say 'YOUR USERID HLQ.                                       '                 
say '                                                       '                 
say '                                                       '                 
say 'COPYING "SOME.DATASET.PROF" to 'zuser||'.PROF'                 
say '                                                       '                 
say '                                                       '                 
say '                         oooo$$$$$$$$$$$$oooo                             '
say '                      oo$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$o                         '
say '                   oo$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$o         o$   $$ o$   '
say '   o $ oo        o$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$o       $$ $$ $$o$  '
say 'oo $ $ "$      o$$$$$$$$$    $$$$$$$$$$$$$    $$$$$$$$$o       $$$o$$o$   '
say '"$$$$$$o$     o$$$$$$$$$      $$$$$$$$$$$      $$$$$$$$$$o    $$$$$$$$    '
say '  $$$$$$$    $$$$$$$$$$$      $$$$$$$$$$$      $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$    '
say '  $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$    $$$$$$$$$$$$$    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$  """$$$      '
say '   "$$$""""$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$     "$$$     '
say '    $$$   o$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$     "$$$o   '
say '   o$$"   $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$       $$$o  '
say '   $$$    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" "$$$$$$ooooo$$$  '
say '  o$$$oooo$$$$$  $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$   o$$$$$$$$$$$$$$  '
say '  $$$$$$$$"$$$$   $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$     $$$$""""""""     '
say ' """"       $$$$    "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"      o$$$              '
say '            "$$$o     """$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"$$"         $$$               '
say '              $$$o          "$$""$$$$$$""""           o$$$                '
say '               $$$$o                                o$$$"                 '
say '                "$$$$o      o$$$$$$o"$$$$o        o$$$$                   '
say '                  "$$$$$oo     ""$$$$o$$$$$o   o$$$$""                    '
say '                     ""$$$$$oooo  "$$$o$$$$$$$$$"""                       '
say '                        ""$$$$$$$oo $$$$$$$$$$                            '
say '                                """"$$$$$$$$$$$                           '
say '                                    $$$$$$$$$$$$                          '
say '                                     $$$$$$$$$$"                          '
say '                                      "$$$""                              '
say '                                                                          '
say '        EVERYTHING IS WORKING...                                          '
say '                                                                          ' 
say '        LIFE IS GOOD.                                                     ' 
say '                                                                          ' 
say '        PLEASE ENJOY.'                                                      
say ' '                                                                          
say '*******************************************************'                    
  profmem = "SOME.DATASET.PROF"                                            
  "ALLOCATE DA('"savemem"') NEW SPACE(10,5) DSORG(ps)                            
   RECFM(S) LRECL(80) BLKSIZE(32720)"                                            
  "ALLOC F(SYSUT1)   DA('"profmem"') SHR"                                        
  "ALLOC F(SYSUT2)   DA('"savemem"') SHR"                                        
  "ALLOC F(SYSPRINT) DUMMY"                                                      
  "ALLOC F(SYSIN)    DUMMY"                                                      
  "FREE  F(SYSUT1 SYSUT2 SYSPRINT SYSIN)"                                        
end /* Then do */