What I’d Like to Stop Doing in 2015

I really do love New Years. Reflecting on life and setting goals to make it better definitely feels like a process worth celebrating, and since my professional life began 10 years ago I’ve really enjoyed spending some of my time off in December preparing for the year ahead. I’d layered in a lot of goals over the years like getting up early, prioritizing self-care (nails, hair, skin etc.), and writing a TON more. This year, I will continue on the journey for self control and my focus will be on stripping away things that aren’t working for me anymore. I’ve chosen three things I will do a lot less of in 2015.

 

Public Speaking — unless it is in panel or Q&A format. It stresses me out, I don’t think I’m really good at it, and I feel guilty about the amount of time it takes to prepare and write a talk (which usually means I just don’t do it, which brings the stress).

Drinking Alcohol — it’s pretty amazing that I’ve gained 40 pounds since I started running my own company 3 years ago. It’s time to turn this around, and the first thing that has to go is alcohol. Drinking socially, or to cope with stress (e.g. “I need a glass of wine to wind down”) has to be replaced with walks, yoga, reading etc. if I want to get back my normal weight.

Traveling for Business — messing up my sleep schedule for business travel is the biggest productivity and health killer in my life, and often I find that the trips I book aren’t nearly valuable enough to justify it. In 2015 I will spend a lot of time in New York and Boulder, but when I do travel I will go for 1+ week at a time whenever possible, stay in an apartment with a real bed so I can feel like I actually live there, and make sure to set aside some time to actual walk around and enjoy the place I’m visiting.

 

Obviously my work won’t make it possible for me to completely stop public speaking or business travel, but any activity along those lines will be highly intentional and I will prioritize long term health and happiness over the short-term sparkle of opportunity. I am also hiring people on my team who can share these burdens with me, who will enjoy them and use them to build their own careers.

My online persona makes it sound like I don’t have much of a personal life, and that’s not exactly true — I just am pickier about the personal things I share as my inner life has become more developed. I look forward to sharing the New Year with my husband Kevin, my family and closest friends. In 2015 I’m sure I will travel somewhere warm and exotic, cook tons of amazing food, read a bunch of historical fiction and science fiction novels, finally furnish my roof deck and garden, celebrate as two of my favorite couples tie the knot, find a good reason to pop the bottle of Dom Perignon I’ve been saving, purge even more of my clothes and other clutter, and invent new things I haven’t even thought of yet.

Becoming a better CEO, learning how to work with my new board of directors, adding 50 people to the Mattermark team, continuing on my quest for a sustainable business model for high quality data journalism (I always wanted to be a writer, it just never seemed to pay very well)… these are adventures I’m already in the middle of and they’ll consume most of my creative output in 2015.

For the first time in 3 years I won’t be focused on fundraising! It’s to fully explain how wonderful that is, as my cofounder Andy puts, “for the first time in many years I’m working for a company where I’m confident it can’t go out of business this year”. A-fucking-men to that.

So cheers to 2014, a wonderful year, and onward!

  • Danielle, the public speaking can be good for you. It teaches you to be concise, tailor your words to the interests of the listener, and to communicate. The other resolutions are good. 🙂

  • johndodds

    I really like these. Will be interesting to see if the focus on a healthier you has concomitant productivity benefits (for want of a better phrase).

  • Really excited for you to be able to focus on these things, and take Mattermark to the next level. I am inspired by your focus and determination. Thank you.

  • Stuart Crane

    With $7M+ in the bank, I hope you don’t go out of business this year!

    • Haha yes, we would be hard pressed to burn through it in 2 years! It’s great to be thinking more long term

  • Danielle, LOVE these ideas.

    I’ve actually made the same decision, but a few with a twist.

    No speaking

    Yep, same here BUT I started doing webinars instead. I realized there was 1000x more leverage to offer a free webinar, promoted to a friends audience that I can conduct from my office in an hour then travel, loose a full day at a conference to give a talk to a couple hundred people. Also, It’s recorded and I use to quickly respond to emails when someone ask me for help on a topic I’ve given already.

    I’ve even taken it a bit further and started doing YouTube videos :). The secret is to write down all the things you want to blog/write about and then spend 4 hours x 2 days shooting 8-10 videos. Then I release one per week. You can see them here: http://www.youtube.com/danvmartell

    No drinking

    Most people don’t know this, but 2.5 years ago, when I found out Renee was pregnant, I decided I would never drink again. My mother was an alcoholic and the risks were too high for me. I also never loved the productivity hits on being hungover, or the hiccup to my workout routine. So totally on board with you on this… I’ve come to learn that A LOT of people don’t drink now, they just don’t talk about and still live a super fun life. Personally, nothings changed on my end.. I still go out, stay up late, I just don’t loose a day on the other end.

    Travelling

    On this topic, it’s been challenging. Building Clarity from Canada and having 2 little kids meant I needed to get smarter about it… so here’s what I’ve done. Every 7 weeks (5 times a year) I do a 5 day trip. NYC -> SF -> Vancouver or Toronto. Forcing all my business meetings to fit into that schedule means I’m WAY more productive, I still get to see the people I need to connect with, and I get way more leverage. Ex: every day I’m on the road I host breakfast, lunch and dinner meals with 4-8 friends. Doing less with more.

    Hope that helps think through your commitments because I think as we grow up, especially for us extroverts :)… we need to find a smarter way to work to still get our “fix” but requires less time.

    P.S. Re: speaking, another tip is to ALWAYS give the same talk (do that for a 1-1.5 years). I learned this from Mr. McClurre… how many times did you see him do his Pirate Metrics talk? Saved me SO MUCH time, and way less stress + did the audience a favor by giving them a better and better talk.

    my2cents.

    DM
    twitter.com/danmartell

    • Thanks Dan! Following along with how you live as an entrepreneur has been really instructive, I’m glad we’re growing up at the same time. Thanks for sharing this, I’ll give the webinars and videos a try! Always appreciate seeing you on your trips to San Francisco.

  • this is awesome, good luck!