One of my favorite weekly routines is doing “Sunday Night Planning”. This is one of many things I have picked up from the good people at Manager Tools/Career Tools that truly does make a difference.

What it means is that I spend a short time every Sunday evening to review the coming week. What are the important items that need to be taken care of the coming week? Which projects need your utmost attention? What are your main goals?

Having taken care of these items you start your Monday morning in a much more controlled and calm way. When most people are scrambling to get to grips with the week, you are already on your way towards the first goal. And the best thing is that it doesn’t take much time.

On Criticizing Ideas

Today we place a high value on brainstorming. In many workplaces the process of coming up with ideas which can under no circumstances be criticized is almost regarded as a holy institution. This has never sat well with me.

It is not that I don’t think there is value in coming up with new ideas. There is. However, what there is not is a need for ideas which immediately have flaws. As much merit there is to coming up with new things, having to come up with something viable is even more important.

While some will argue that there is always time to refine later, I still think we allow too many highly flawed ideas to go unquestioned for no good reason.

By criticizing an idea you are allowed to quickly iterate on it, using shared knowledge to either reach a better spin on it, or reject it for good reasons. The added bonus to me is that you also learn a lot from this process and quickly evolve and learn.

It’s a hard balance. Just coming up with something, and coming up with something good and viable. We should drop our fear of just criticism and love of limitless praise to everyone’s benefit.

On Business Success

In today’s startup/entrepreneurial world everyone is focused on “making it big” or achieving great success. This success is usually defined as “the next Google”. A company that is operating at a vast scale, with equally vast numbers in all kinds of metrics.

I often find that as a business owner, considerable judgement is placed in the amount of employees you have. It’s one of the first things that somebody inevitably asks, and if you state a low number, you can almost hear the interest vanish and doubt rising.

Why is this the case I wonder? Business success could be measured in many ways, but you are financially stable and are able to live a good life through your business, why is that not seen an excellent business? Too many startups and entrepreneurs fail to do this—ever.

In my case, I am perfectly for my business to remain small and agile, doing excellent work for really cool clients around the world and earning a great living doing so.

Scale is a necessity for many business models, but many overlook that small is also a viable business model, and that scaling to everyone isn’t a must for a highly successful business—even to earn a good deal of money.

So drop the thought that a huge scale is necessary and start looking for the high-earning niches that could earn you a lot of money if you want.

Over the past few years I have noticed that I’ve been doing less and less personal projects. Coincidentally, I have also felt that my skill level has not increased at the same level as before. These two I believe go hand in hand, and not doing many personal projects is definitely due to perceived busy-ness or stress.

Personal projects are excellent for many reasons. To me the most important of them is that you get to connect with your inner passion for the field. In web development as in most fields, a personal project is also the place where you can try out the cutting-edge workflows and technologies, which you can then use for clients.

By doing more personal projects, not only do you get to have some fun, but you learn new things. As we know, learning new things and trying new things is the best if not only way to be a great developer/consultant/[insert job title here]. Especially as a consultant, it is my duty to try out different things and then advise and use the ones who I have found to work.

It comes as no great surprise that Google has become famous for their 20% time projects, where employees could use 20% of their time to build something cool. Not only am I convinced that this is great for their skill-set, it is also bound to result in some great new products that could potentially be good for business too.

As I started out saying, I’ve been doing less and less of these because of perceived “busy-ness”. Filling my schedule to full with client projects eventually means pushing yourself to the limit where work is almost not fun anymore. I do believe that scaling back and spending a little more time on personal projects and furthering your skills makes you a better professional.

To sum up. Doing projects outside of client work, or “work” in general has many added benefits. Not only does it add to your passion for the field but it helps you further your skills and become better at what you do. Scale back a little and get cracking on something fun!

Like many others, I have plenty of ideas. Every week, or even every day, there is a new idea of something smart, fun or interesting that I ought to do. Either this is for my business, for myself or as a new venture.

Had I taken action on all of these passionately in one go, I would never have gotten anything done. It’s a shame though not to have a decently organized system in place to capture the ideas. When you get one, you should have some way of capturing it so that you can refer to it later. Personally I do this with an Evernote notebook, but any way you feel comfortable with works.

The crucial aspect is to revisit these on a regular basis. Browse through your ideas and perhaps refine them slightly, maybe disregard some completely, or go ahead and action on them.

What you are after is the routine to always be storing your ideas. We all have brilliant moments, but when failing to write down our thoughts and ideas, we might loose them forever.