Tag Archives: Zen Habits

How Building a Business Is Like Building Good Habits

I really like Leo Babauta’s work on his blog Zen Habits. Zen appeals to me personally and Zen Habits strikes me as full of real-world wisdom for dealing with actual life. And sometimes it strikes me that what Leo is saying about personal life applies just as well to business.

For example, here is the summary of his post How I Changed My Life, In Four Lines:


He’s writing about changing life habits, as in getting regular exercise, eating healthier, getting out of debt, and — his words — “so on and so on.”

But I read this as a perfect four-line summary of the right way to introduce regular planning process into your business or organization.

  • Don’t try to do the whole plan at once. Start small, with a SWAT analysis, sales forecast, vision or mission, whatever works for you.
  • Don’t try to push the whole thing into a pre-defined box. have patience. Work with specific goals, people, metrics, and milestones.
  • Look for progress in the specifics. Focus on manageable deliverables, components you can impact. Don’t get impatient looking for sweeping change.
  • Settle in for the steps, one step at a time. Stick to the fundamentals. Enjoy it.

Planning and good planning process is in fact a lot like healthy eating and regular exercise — something you do consistently over time, not in sudden random bursts.


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Zen Habits and the Art of Focus

Every so often I’m struck with the beauty and eloquence of simplicity. Like this blog, this post, this simple look and feel:

I particularly liked this post, but it reminded me that the blog itself, zenhabits, is a wonderful example of how well focus actually works within a real business, small business, context. As the tag line suggests, it’s about “simple productivity.” I love how much both the design and the actual content reinforce the “simple” focus. It’s surprising how rarely that kind of deep conceptual integration actually happens.

This is a great example. You might also try 30 Things to Do to Keep From Getting Bored Out of Your Skull at Work, or 20 Things I Wish I Had Known Starting Out in Life. Or any of the other posts on this blog.

Marketing Textbook in Top 250 Blog List

What if the question was: what’s the best book about marketing to read and recommend? And the answer was: read this compilation: Top 250 Blog Posts – Advertising, Marketing, Media and PR Spotlight Ideas. How things have changed. 

Not Kotler’s Principles of Marketing, not Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing, not even Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing. But read the 250 posts included in this top 250 posts list at SpotlightIdeas, and you’d have a marketing education.

The posts are divided into meaningful categories, and include a highlights list of best bloggers in any of these marketing-related topics. Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Leo Babuta, Robert Scoble, and many other generally-recognized blogging leaders.

Irony: Fewer Words, Better Communication

It was sometime in the 1970s when I first ran across the Procter and Gamble one-page memo policy.  I was a journalist then, interviewing an executive from P&G. It seemed to make so much sense. The people who worked there, I was told, loved it.

What can’t you say in a full page?

Think about emails, which are the memos of this millennium. What can’t you say in a page? Sure, there are special cases, but those are special cases. Most of the time, shorter is better.

A great learning moment for me, years ago, was when the editor of the business school resume book insisted that no resume be more than one page.

“Even the president of the United States can do a one-page resume,” she said. “Summarize.”

For better or worse, one of the things happening to us as we approach the second decade of the third millennium is fewer words. And I hope better words.

Blog posts seem to do better when they’re shorter. The better books break things into smaller pieces.

In Zen Habits, Leo Babuta calls it “The Elegant Art of Writing Less.”

Novels? A good novel contains no extra words. Emphasize “extra.”

White papers? There’s a medium built around words, and sections, and subsections, and organized, structural writing.

How does the saying go? “I’m sorry for this long memo; I didn’t have time to make it shorter.”