May 21, 2018

Lead vs. Manage

If you want to build a ship, 
don't drum up people to collect wood and 
don't assign them tasks and work, but rather 
teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. 

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Dear Startup CEO

Sometimes, we just need to hear it again: 

Inspire & Motivate

May 19, 2018

New home for PlayToday™, aka: EZchecklist™, The System™, TheChecklist™, etc

The product I've been working on for 3+ years has finally got its own web URL.

For all future information on these products, go here:

May 15, 2018

PlayToday™ V.11.1

Introduction to version 11.1
So many improvements it needed a new version number!

New name
As the product evolves, so does its name.
Introducing PlayToday

Because the great game of Life can only be played one Today at a time.
And you can't win if you don't play.

New features and improvements
Goals driven, new tab to state your Goals, where are you going today?
HELP!! new tab added with resources to help you get where you want to go.
Coaching help is highlighted, and books, videos, courses, +++
Dashboard all new, greatly expanded, 
Many new graphs and charts, etc.
Publish your Dashboard to the Web, share with friends, coach
Scoring improved
Streaks! and special bonus points for Streak Improvements
Checkboxes to speed status changes, and data entry.
Simplified in many ways
Financial KPIs 
Gamification enhanced 
Big Points for Next Steps and Goals achieved
Game Over timing
Game Number
Notes galore, popups to guide you. Delete the Notes when you "Got it".
Navigation enhancements
Shortcuts tab, to get you where you want to be
Viewing Options, at top level menu, Focus made easy.
Metrics section improved
Reliability improved with many internal improvements

Learn More
1. Watch a live example
click here for my Live checklist, View Mode (just for you, don't share)
(will direct you to request access the first time)
2. Read the User Guide
Yes, I know you would prefer to skip reading and jump right in, but this User Guide is all new with lots of pictures, easy to read and learn.
3. How to Start with your own PlayToday™:
After you have completed the 2 steps above,
and you're ready to dig in,
email me and I'll set you up with your own copy. 

About bugs

Allow me to lower your expectations.
Software is an imperfect science.
Some would call it an art.

In either case, I am human, 
and my software has been known 
to create unexpected results occasionally.

I relentlessly pursue perfection,
and get close, sometimes,
but it always seems to be one more bug, 
one more cosmetic glitch.

And of course, one more Big Idea is right around the corner.

But software needs to be published
even knowing that it may have flaws.

If you find one,
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience,
but please let me know,
so i can fix it and we can both
save another person the frustration.

Thank you for your understanding, and your help.

With these new super powers you become Invincible!

🙏Thank you for the opportunity to be of service! 🙏

May 2, 2018

Success is...

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

R. Collier

April 17, 2018

Ten point one

Great news...

surprise major upgrade, free, for EZchecklist™ users.

with features that give you super-powers!

Version Ten was a huge advance.

You've come to expect innovation from DoubleM Systems.
We delight in delivering it.

It's more than that with us, really...
we are relentlessly driven to improve
as we have been doing for the last 3 and a half years
of daily using and improving the system.
When Drive finds Inspiration and good timing,
nothing can hold back the tides of productivity. 

Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.

Victor Hugo

That's the long way of saying that we are now at Version Ten point one
Ten.1 for short.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.V 

What could possibly improve an already amazing app?

Behold, forthwith, below, and Rejoice, for it is here.

Ten.1 gives you super-powers!

1. Streak counts!

     Once you're on a streak, you don't want to break it. EZchecklist™ counts the number of days you've been on a streak, by activity. Displays to the left of each activity. under that Great Ball of Fire!

2. Goals!

    Most people have no written goals. 
    People who do have written goals will succeed in achieving their goals with greater certitude, faster, and with less stress, than those without written goals.*

    Now that we have the sermon out of the way, let's get to how this new version works with Goals. First, there's a whole new sheet, called "Goals" of course. This is where you write your goals. Easy. Look how easy:

     A Goal is usually achieved after performing a series of Next Steps. Each Next Step can have a target date, and if a date is selected, the number of days remaining is also shown. This helps a lot with planning and prioritizing.

     You can have many Goals, and each Goal can have many Next Steps.

     The first 3 Goals shown at the top of this Goals sheet are automatically imported to a special Goals section of the main checklist. Additionally, the first 3 Next Steps for each Goal are imported.

     The idea is to look your Goals in the eye every day, and have on your checklist the 3 Next Steps to do. 

     Is it just me, or does that seem like a powerful plan?

     Of course you have to actually write your goals.

     Short term goals will deliver best results, less than 6 months, definitely not more than a year. You can write those goals here too, but the best results from Goal achieving is a focus on a short term.

    When it comes to Next Steps, select from the handy drop-down menu, or enter your own.
    Prioritize simply by moving the rows around. The top 3 get put on the Checklist.

    Add a couple of minutes to your "Plan the Day" activity to review your Goals, prioritize, add/delete Next Steps, and visualize each step playing out successfully. This is an activity with great power to energize your imagination, and commitment. 

    There are interesting possibilities for having Goals that can be put into position for Today Only, or for just this afternoon, or when I'm on vacation. Lots of potential with this new feature, but of course it can only serve you if you use it... and the more you use it the better it gets.
Goals? Or Systems? Read another perspective and see why EZchecklist™ is an excellent combination of Goals, Systems, Activities, Analytics, Accountability, and Graphics, with touches of Gamification!

3. Sleep Time! 
      Now calculating and charting your Number of Hours of Sleep each day.
Finally. Celebration time is here!

4. But wait, there's more!
     Of course there's more, but there will always be more. Have patience and all will be revealed quite soon. Meanwhile, check the User Guide, now updated with more graphics and info on the latest version. 

5. Mikie Likes It
     I have been using these features as well as other cosmetic improvements, for almost a week, debugging and improving. I like what it is, and what you can do with it. Thank you in advance for your feedback. 

 6. The Future

     Based on usage data and user feedback, it's time to move to native mode apps. The spreadsheet format has been a convenient prototyping framework, but it comes with limitations. So much more will be built into the system as it evolves into native apps.

7. Thank You!
🙏  Thank you for the opportunity to be of service!  🙏


March 30, 2018

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

This article is a blatant ripoff from the neuroscience-based blog "Barking Up The Wrong Tree" which has become my new favorite after spending considerable time reading a lot of their content. Check it out, enjoy, learn, thrive!

How To Make Your Life Better By Sending Five Simple Emails

How to make your life better? All you need is email.
I’ve covered a lot of research on how to make your life better but many people struggle with implementing changes because it seems like a major undertaking. It doesn’t have to be.
You can make strides in 5 fundamental areas by just sending 5 emails.


Every morning send a friend, family member or co-worker an email to say thanks for something.
Might sound silly but it’s actually excellent advice on how to make your life better.
There’s tons and tons and tons of research showing that over time, this alone – one silly email a day – can make you happier.
Via Harvard professor Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage:
This is why I often ask managers to write an e-mail of praise or thanks to a friend, family member, or colleague each morning before they start their day’s work—not just because it contributes to their own happiness, but because it very literally cements a relationship.


At the end of the week, send your boss an email and sum up what you’ve accomplished.
They probably have no idea what you’re doing with your time. They’re busy. They have their own problems.
For your boss, this let’s them know what you’ve been up to without having to ask and saves them from wondering and worrying. They’ll appreciate it and probably come to rely on it.
For you, it’s proactive and shows off your efforts, which Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer says is the key to success in any organization:
…you should make sure that your performance is visible to your boss and your accomplishments are visible. Your superiors in the organization have their own jobs, are managing their own careers, are busy human beings.  And you should not assume that they’re spending all their time thinking about you and worrying about you and your career.


Once a week email a potential mentor.
Doesn’t have to be related to your job. Who do you admire that you could learn from?
As I’ve blogged about before, mentors are key to success.
Any person lucky enough to have had one great teacher who inspired, advised, critiqued, and had endless faith in her student’s ability will tell you what a difference that person has made in her life. “Most students who become interested in an academic subject do so because they have met a teacher who was able to pique their interest,” write Csikszentmihályi, Rathunde, and Whalen. It is yet another great irony of the giftedness myth: in the final analysis, the true road to success lies not in a person’s molecular structure, but in his developing the most productive attitudes and identifying magnificent external resources.
This is one of those things everyone seems to know but nobody does anything about.
It’s the age of the internet, folks. If you have Google and half an ounce of resourcefulness it’s not that hard to find almost anyone’s email address. If they have a website, their email is probably listed on it.
What do you write? Try Adam’s method or Tim’s method or Ramit’s method.
(More on the power of mentors here.)


Email a good friend and make plans.
What does research say keeps friendships alive? Staying in touch every 2 weeks.
Got 14 friends? Then you need to be emailing somebody every day.
And what should you email them about? Make plans to get together.
The results were unequivocal. “The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are,” he says. “The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.” Surely, I suggest to Cacioppo, this means that Facebook and the like inevitably make people lonelier. He disagrees.Facebook is merely a tool, he says, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on its user. “If you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact,” he says, “it increases social capital.” So if social media let you organize a game of football among your friends, that’s healthy. If you turn to social media instead of playing football, however, that’s unhealthy.


Send an email to someone you know (but don’t know very well) and check in.
These “weak ties” are the primary source of future career opportunities.
From Charles Duhigg’s excellent book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:
In fact, in landing a job, Granovetter discovered, weak-tie acquaintances were often more important than strong-tie friends because weak ties give us access to social networks where we don’t otherwise belong. Many of the people Granovetter studied had learned about new job opportunities through weak ties, rather than from close friends, which makes sense because we talk to our closest friends all the time, or work alongside them or read the same blogs. By the time they have heard about a new opportunity, we probably know about it, as well. On the other hand, our weak-tie acquaintances— the people we bump into every six months— are the ones who tell us about jobs we would otherwise never hear about.
“But I don’t know what to say.”  Do any little thing that benefits them, not you. Try Adam Rifkin’s 5 minute favor.
Or just send them a link they might find useful.
Still stuck? Okay, send them the link to the post you’re reading right now.
If this has helped you with how to make your life better it can probably help them too.  ;)
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March 24, 2018

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March 22, 2018

CEO School: Streaking for Fun and Profit

The value of doing a thing one time pales in comparison to doing it consistently. Aristotle saw this clearly when he said:

We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a Habit.

In the latest version of TheChecklist™(version Ten) we've added a feature that calculates the number of days in a row, without a miss, that the user has done the desired action. We call this a "streak". It has also been termed the Seinfeld Strategy, named after a favorite comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Call it a habit, if you want, but we like "streak" because it sounds more fun and action oriented. Habit sounds somewhat dull and onerous.

Streaks are highly motivational. Once you get a good streak going, you are more inclined to keep it going because it feels good and you don't want to start over at zero.

Stats from the Calm meditation app
I have some personal experience with this. Regular meditation had always been something I wanted in my life, but I just couldn't seem to get into the habit. After I put it on TheChecklist™and started doing a count of the number of days in a row, I became more consistent, but with occasional missed days, still not a habit. Once I got to 56 days in a row, but then, incredibly, I missed a day, and that really bummed me out because it would take me another 56 days to get even with my previous streak. But I hung in there, and now I've achieved a streak of 469 days without a miss, as of the morning I'm writing this. Every day I look at the increasing count, I'm reminded of my increasing achievement. So it works!                                                                                                                                                               I also wanted to be a person who takes a walk every day, for the health benefits. It was only after I started counting the streak days that it started motivating me to "get out of the building" and go for a walk, usually around sunset. Now I'm up to 247 days in a row, and feeling much stronger because of it. 

Achieving goals starts with the idea, then the intention, and the commitment. But action is the absolute requirement. The goal becomes much more probable when you have a system for achieving your goals. The DBLM system is TheChecklist™ and it is a remarkably effective method for taking action to achieve Success in Life and Business.


The fire emoji at the top of this post is a modified version of the Snapchat streak emoji. A "Snapstreak" is the number of days in a row a user has communicated with another user. The idea is to improve and reward consistent behavior.