Smart processing of the Inbox is great, but what about responsible email sending?

I love the topic of email and read articles with titles like “staying on top of your inbox”.

Most articles about email focus on processing your inbox and prioritizing which emails to read in what order.  Just yesterday Google announced Google Priority Inbox as a way to solve this problem.

Smarter processing of email is not the entire answer to our email woes.  We all need to be more responsible with sending email. Please do your part and start today!

Here are some examples of irresponsible email sending behavior:

1. “Thanks”
Most people feel the need to reply with “Thanks”, not as a sincere Thank You for something that was done but as a way to acknowledge that they have received your email.

Solution: don’t reply with “Thanks” ever, especially to email threads with multiple recipients.  Try this for a week and it will help, trust me.

2. “Thoughts?”
So often I receive an email saying “Take a look at this company, thoughts?”  Even though this is one of my favorite things to do, I dread these emails and they typically end up at the bottom of my inbox.  Using “thoughts?” implies some eventual response is needed but has no clear definition around what is needed.

Solution: ask specific questions about the company such as “Could ACME’s product be used to solve XYZ problem we are having?” or use your Project Management systems to have this conversation.

3. Attachments without context
I receive many emails with MS Word or Excel files attached that contain content that should not be locked up in attachments.  Examples are meeting notes, agendas and simple spreadsheets.  These emails often do not contain any context around the content in the attachments which is annoying in general but also makes finding these emails using search very difficult.

Solution: even if you used MS Word to take notes, spend a few minutes to craft a responsible email that is easy to read or use software like Evernote that lets you take notes and email them as text.

Here are some tips I have gathered that will help you be a responsible email sender:

  • Use “FYI” in the subject line – this implies you don’t need a response from the recipients, not even a quick “Thanks for sending this”.
  • Use “cc” the way it was intended – if you put a recipient as a “cc” you should not expect a response from that person, you are simply copying them so they can optionally follow the conversation.  If you want a response from them or require they follow the conversation then include them in “to”.
  • Use your Wiki, Intranet or whatever your company uses to discuss company wide ideas – when a discussion deserves thought and will last over several weeks.  This will help preserve the shelf life of the discussion and the contents won’t get buried in your email trash.
  • Use your project management systems for all project data – everything related to a project or client should be in a system like Basecamp or Rally.  Granted, these systems communicate using email, however by posting data to those systems you ensure it is in the appropriate place and recipients of emails from those systems can use filters within their email client to sort and organize their email more efficiently.
  • Use IM and the Watercooler to get quick questions answered – if someone is on IM or is getting a cup of coffee they are saying “it’s OK to interrupt me”. Use that as an opportunity to ask a quick question instead of sending an email that may not get answered until the next day.

Like many tools in the business world, email can be used for both good and evil.  Don’t be that guy that sends “Thanks for sending this” to 10 people on an email thread, be the responsible guy that lives in a world of Inbox Zero and helps others get there as well instead of adding to their never ending pile of email.

Related Articles:

How does Fred Wilson, VC Blogger, deal with email?

Empty your Inbox everyday, use Keyboard Shortcuts and other great tips from Michael Hyatt

Email Sucks. 5 Time Saving Tips (Kevin Rose)

Extreme Makeover: The Email Inbox Edition (Gina Trapani)

Why Email May Be Draining Your Company’s Productivity by Mark Suster

Related Posts from ktinboulder’s blog:

Being More Productive

Understanding NoSQL for Product Owners

If the product you manage requires content aggregation you may have heard your dev team say “we need to go with a NoSQL storage solution”.  Below is a summery of key points about NoSQL I found through some basic research.

How does NoSQL differ from SQL?

“Not only SQL”
NoSQL is a database movement which promotes non-relational data stores that do not need a fixed schema.
There are several primary storage techniques or “implementations” used by the NoSQL approach:

  • Document store – MongoDB, CouchDB
  • Eventually‐consistent key‐value store (“ColumnFamily”) – Cassandra
  • Graph – Neo4j
  • Key/value store on disk – Amazon’s SimpleDB
  • Key/value cache in RAM – Redis, memcached

Taken from this Wikipedia article on NoSQL databases
An introduction to NoSQL on Hacker News
A 10 minute talk from Brian Aker bashing NoSQL

What is MapReduce?

MapReduce is a framework for processing huge datasets on certain kinds of distributable problems using a large number of computers (nodes), collectively referred to as a cluster.

“Map” step: The master node takes the input, chops it up into smaller sub-problems, and distributes those to worker nodes. A worker node may do this again in turn, leading to a multi-level tree structure. The worker node processes that smaller problem, and passes the answer back to its master node.

“Reduce” step: The master node then takes the answers to all the sub-problems and combines them in a way to get the output – the answer to the problem it was originally trying to solve.

“GROUP BY” in SQL is very similar to “Map Reduce” in NoSQL.

Taken from this Wikipedia article on MapReduce

What is a Graph db?

A graph database is a database that uses graph structures with nodes, edges and properties to represent and store information.

Example:

Node firstNode = graphDb.createNode();
Node secondNode = graphDb.createNode();
Relationship relationship = firstNode.createRelationshipTo( secondNode, MyRelationshipTypes.KNOWS );

firstNode.setProperty( “message”, “Hello, ” );
secondNode.setProperty( “message”, “world!” );
relationship.setProperty( “message”, “brave Neo4j ” );

We now have a graph that looks like this:
(firstNode )—KNOWS—>(secondNode)

A popular vendor is Neo4j
Taken from this Wikipedia article on Graph Databases

What is a Document db?

As opposed to relational databases, document-based databases do not store data in tables with uniform sized fields for each record. Instead, each record is stored as a document that has certain characteristics.   There is no real hierarchy of data; just a collection of documents which may contain virtually any kind of data. The documents may not necessarily be the same length, as some documents may contain details of fields that other documents do not need to store. In other words, you are not constrained by a database schema.

Example:

FirstName=”Bob”, Address=”5 Oak St.”, Hobby=”sailing”.

Another document could be:

FirstName=”Jonathan”, Address=”15 Wanamassa Point Road”, Children=(“Michael,10”, “Jennifer,8”, “Samantha,5”, “Elena,2”).

Notice that both documents have some similar information and some different – but unlike a relational database where each record would have the same set of fields and unused fields might be kept empty, there are no empty ‘fields’ in either document (record) in this case. This system allows information to be added any time without using storage space for “empty fields” as in relational databases.

A popular vendor is MongoDB.
MongoDB manages collections of JSON-like documents. This allows many applications to model data in a more natural way, as data can be nested in complex hierarchies and still be query-able and indexable.

{
“username” : “bob”,
“address” : {
“street” : “123 Main Street”,
“city” : “Springfield”,
“state” : “NY”
}
}

Another popular vendor is CouchDB (Apache) as it works well with Rails.
Taken from this Wikipedia article on Document-Oriented Databases

What the dude at Salvagetti bike shop asked me that most Agile Product Owners don’t ask Customers

A few days ago I took a stroll down Platte Street in Denver and stopped into Salvagetti Bike Shop.    The conversation went like this:

Shop guy: “Hey man, what brings you in today?”

Me: “Beautiful day, out for a walk and felt like spending a few minutes surrounded by bikes”

Shop guy: “Cool.  If you have any questions about what you see, don’t see something you were hoping to see, or have suggestions to help us make our shop better please let me know”

I was strolling away from him the same way I do every time I’m in a retail store and don’t really feeling like dealing with anyone.  When he asked me my opinion I immediately turned around and began talking to him.

“You guys should rent high end road and mountain bikes, I would spend a few hundred dollars a summer with you.  Do you have baby bike strollers?  I just broke my helmet and need a new one, any recommendations?”

Bike shops are everywhere in Denver.  Heck, within a mile of our office there are about 5 places I could spend $$$ on bikes and accessories.  I am now going to spend my money at Salvagetti because I love their attitude towards me, the Customer.

After my trip to Salvagetti I began thinking about the Agile gospel I read over and over about soliciting input from your Customers, Stakeholders, etc.  It’s true, getting ideas from Customers is super important in the world of software and services today.  Along with Customers giving you great ideas for products and features, they are also feeling good because their opinion is being heard, the same way I felt after leaving Salvagetti.

A few of my Startup Ideas

I love my job but am always dreaming up new ideas.  I talk about these ideas with friends who usually have great suggestions.  I keep a diary of these ideas but that doesn’t seem like a good way to keep the ideas flowing.

Keeping these ideas private adds no value, so here’s the list:

Commute store

As eco themes, transportation, bikes, buses and trains command more attention and revenue from state and local governments more people are thinking about how they commute.  I envision a retail store where people could shop for products they use in their daily commute.  The store would need a learning component to it showcases new ideas in commuting and have relationships with other local stores to sell products such as bikes.

Gear Layaway

I love sites like Mint.com and SmartyPig.com that promote new ways to manage your money and save.  Consumers get into credit card debt by purchasing big ticket items then paying a high interest rate.  Retails Shops often feel “it’s the Consumers responsibility to manage their money”.  It’s time everyone comes together to create a better option.

Comment on the conversation here:

and on the Startup Weekend website.

Relationship timeline

My wife and I talk alot about dates of meaningful moments in our past.  Although I remember what we did, I can never remember the actual dates.  Providing a way for couples to enter key dates, upload photos and share these dates on Facebook would be a cool web app.  A nice timeline view and a public presence of this application would be key.

Nanny log

A relatively new idea I’ve been thinking about.  We have a 14 mo old daughter and a great Nanny.  She logs her miles and expenses, needs to post her vacation time and around tax time, needs us to provide her with a W2 showing her weekly paychecks and other payments (overtime, etc).  When our daughter was a baby, our Nanny would also log daily activities and feeding schedules.  Today, we use a binder and Basecamp to communicate with eachother, seems like their could be a web app to handle this better.

One Level of Knowledge

Around the water cooler I am talking about sports, pop culture and other topics relevant to our company.  I would love to subscribe to a daily email about these topics.  Did the Rockies just trade their star player?  Did the Broncos decide on a new QB for the upcoming season.  I love being armed with one level of knowledge to participate in these 2 minute water cooler conversations.

If you like any of these ideas I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What does a Product Owner do?

…continued from Part 1, What is a Product Owner?

As I strive to improve my role as Product Owner on our Scrum Team (“Agile”), I thought it useful to create this list of things that a Product Owner should do.

1. Create a Product Roadmap to articulate Product Strategy “as we know it”
I recently had a great email conversation with Kevin Donaldson, VP of Product Management at Balihoo. Kevin outlines his view of a Product Roadmap:

“I create a Product Roadmap to articulate Product Strategy as we
believe it to be right now – it maps market events, architecture,
features to a market map (who benefits). As you know it isn’t meant to
be a project plan – it’s a view of the world that we update each quarter
to help show our product strategy and vision of where we are heading (at
least based on our current knowledge of the market).”

I think this is a great summary from Kevin. The Product Roadmap can be used to guide other parts of the Product Owner’s job. This is something that should be internally public, so post it to your company’s wiki or intranet.

2. Host recurring Product Council meetings
The Product Council is made up of key Stakeholders from Sales, Customer Support, Marketing, Technology and Corporate Strategy. Use this meeting to provide updates to the group (usually consists of execs who won’t read your Release/Iteration notes), prioritize themes or epic features to prepare for your next release and ask/answer questions about the products you own. The Product Council helps steer you in the right direction. During this meeting, continually refer to the Product Roadmap you’ve created.

3. Have a good Release Planning meeting with the Team
One of the hardest parts of being a Product Owner is elaborating User Stories ahead of time so you can make decisions about what should go into a Release. The Release Planning meeting is hosted by your team’s ScrumMaster but you do most of the talking. The team asks you hard questions about specifics that haven’t occurred to you yet. You will be slightly embarrassed as you realize certain Stories are not well elaborated and you are not as prepared as you thought. Come out of this meeting with Plan Estimates for every Story inside your epics or themes. Usually we have 5 or so “Children” Stories for each “Parent” Story (we use Parent Stories to capture epics/themes). I have yet to see the team 100% committed to what we discuss during Release Planning. This meeting seems to be about helping me fully vet out everything and rough out a Release Plan.

4. Publish your Release Commitments internally
Create a blog post, etc that describes in English the stuff you plan on building in the upcoming release. Group things by Product or Function and make it a very easy read. Who does this feature apply to, give a one sentence “business intent” or “benefit”. Be careful how you write this because you are really “committing” to this and everyone will refer to this post in the future to gauge your success. I have had killer releases where everyone was cranking and we didn’t deliver on things in the Release Commitments, usually because the thing became irrelevant something before we began. Anyway, it still felt like we did something wrong during the Release because we had published that we would complete that thing.

5. Have a good Iteration Planning meeting with the Team
Iteration Planning happens every 2 weeks on Tues for our team and is taken very seriously, this didn’t used to be the case. Tues is great because it gives the team Mon to get loose ends wrapped up. As a Product Owner, you need to be ready to talk specifics about each User Story you have slated for the upcoming Iteration. Besides talking about the Story and what it will do, be able to answer 3 questions 1) Why are we doing this? 2) How will this be tested? and 3) What is the definition of done? I know many will argue that 2) testing is the responsibility of the QA lead however, I have noticed that the Product Owner’s understanding of how everything fits together directly relates to their understanding of how a new something should be tested. What other parts of the app is this new thing going to impact? How will users be using this new thing?

Never come to Iteration Planning with an Iteration overloaded with Stories. You need to understand your Team’s velocity so everyone on the team can be realistic about what will get done in the next 2 weeks. At the end of Iteration Planning, you should have a well tasked, well understood workload for the team.

6. Publish your Iteration Notes at the beginning and end of each Iteration
Export your list of Stories and Defects committed to during Iteration Planning and upload to your company wiki, etc. I have found this doesn’t need to be a detailed blog post, just a communication to the company so certain people who are waiting on specific items can scan the list, ask you questions, etc. At the end of each Iteration, create a blog post similar to your Release Commitments called Iteration Notes that summarizes in English what you accomplished, how it will be rolled out, who it benefited, etc. I have seen people print out the Iteration Notes I publish and keep them at their desk as they respond to support questions or talk with a new prospect.

7. Attend Daily Standup
In a lot of the Agile literature I’ve read it seems the Product Owner is expected to checkin at Standup from time to time but not be there everyday. The best Iterations our team has is when everyone is totally engaged and attends Standup everyday, including me the Product Owner. Standup gives me a feel of how things are progressing, helps me answer questions and make decisions about Stories on the spot to keep the team cruising along, and is a motivation for making sure my Tasks are getting marked complete (usually I have a few tasks during an Iteration).

8. Host the Iteration Demo
Every Wednesday our company has a “Lunch n Learn” in which pizza or burritos are brought in and we all sit in the conference room to have lunch together. Every 2 weeks I have an Iteration Demo in which I pick relevant Stories and Defects to discuss from the previous Iteration. I have tried to host this meeting a variety of different ways and was never able to get a good attendance, a company lunch is a great way to get people in a room to listen to you for a few minutes. The questions I am asked about each Story, even ones I felt were well elaborated, often surprise me. People bring up a scenario that has happened in the past 2 weeks since we decided to build the Story that challenges it’s usefulness or changes how it needs to work. The Iteration Demo is the best way to validate what you are building is actually good. Be well prepared for this meeting, don’t use slides, have the software up on the projector or web conference for people to see you clicking around, and don’t rush through. The best questions usually come right as I am about to move on to discuss the next Story.

9. Control Product Rollout and Production Deployments
Each company is different, you may have a Product Marketing person that helps you announce new features, you may publish to a Customer facing Product Blog, you may do nothing, in any case you are still managing the rollout of features including what code is deployed to production and the timing of everything. I include a brief summary of how each feature will be rolled out in my Iteration Notes (see 6.) as we roll some features into some products and not others. Every Monday, the entire team has a Production Push meeting in which we review each SVN checkin to make sure it has been tested and is ready to go to production. Although the Developers and QA team members are the ones talking and our ScrumMaster leads this meeting, the Product Owner is making the final decision of what should be deployed.

Summary
This list above assumes the prerequisites for being a Product Owner are already happening: absorbing everything about your industry, engaged in everyday discussions about product ideas, using the software you build, using lots of software you don’t build and so on.

Are you doing all of these things as Product Owner?

See a list of related articles I’ve tagged Agile

What is a Product Owner?

In the Agile Software Methodology there is a role called the Product Owner.  This is a new version of the traditional Product Manager.

My interest in team roles began after reading “I Sing the Body Electric: A Year with Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier” by Fred Moody.  Moody spent a year with a team at Microsoft observing them building a children’s encyclopedia product code-named Sendak (Encarta Junior).  The team was a mess and the project was a stress filled 2 years of seemingly bad decisions and unhappiness.  I won’t ruin the ending but highly recommend this read.  This book highlights the Product Manager role and how they work with the team.

As I pondered the Product Owner role during my run this morning I came up with these flavors of the same thing:

Army of One

This is the person that calls themselves a Product Owner but is basically told what features to build, writes the code and is responsible for testing everything with no help.  This is typically seen when organizations “adopt Agile” but are still small without the cash to hire multiple developers and testers that round out the team.

Dev Team Project Manager

This is the person who works on a proper Scrum team, works with Stakeholders to define priority and is doing many things right to produce results.  They are really a Project Manager that is lucky to have a killer team, especially ones that have Designers on the team to elaborate the User Stories.  The team is humming along well under this person’s direction but they can probably be replaced without too much impact.  Companies usually pair this person with a Business Analyst or Product Marketing person.

The true Product Owner

This person possesses a deep technical knowledge of the Products they are working on, has a strategic mind with an understanding of their marketplace and can talk to Customers.  They are focused on one product or product family, come up with their own ideas as well as translate input from Stakeholders and are a thought leader in the space.

I was very inspired by this WWDC video featuring Werner Jainek of Cultured Code.  He speaks as a true Product Owner.  Listen to how he easily explains why Things for the iPhone is important by saying “tasks hit you while you’re walking in the city or in the store buying something”.  Then he discusses the iPhone SDK and it’s importance to the success of Things, and concludes with analysis of the marketplace for ToDo List software and the impact of the iTunes store as well as the price point they selected for the app.

Of course, each organization is in different phases of their life and has resource constraints, not everyone is the same.  What type of Product Owner are you?

______

Read Part 2, What does a Product Owner do?

Read articles I’ve tagged about Product Owner and Product Management

What Powder Days say about your Professional and Personal life

Any dude that’s a real skier will talk about powder days as their best days ever after major life events like their wedding, birth of their children and graduations.

As a Skier myself, I have faced many situations caused by powder days, some extremely satisfying and some that test the core parts of my life such as my marriage and my job. I recall vividly an incredible Thursday powder day at Vail a few years ago with my brother, as we rolled into the Village I turned on my phone to see 10 voicemails, our servers were down and I was no where to be found, uh oh.

Over the years powder days have been harder and harder to swing. My heart is in it, but my schedule says that meeting is too important to miss or that look in my wife’s eye tells me it’s time for me to watch the baby while she sleeps in.

All of this got me thinking about powder days as a gauge to the control you have over your life and business. If I called you right now and said “Dude, A-Basin is getting dumped on, let’s hit it tomorrow!” Could you?

I think getting to the point in your life where you have this freedom is an amazing goal. You used to have it, but now responsibility has crept up on you. Work-Life Balance is all about being an incredibly responsible, hard working, successfully, total Bad-Ass that can sneak away and grab a powder day.

Here are 3 suggestions for helping you ditch work and ski pow:

1. Have you put process in place to help you manage fires in your daily life? Hopefully Yes, you need to be in a situation where the big decisions that cause tons of stress are made thoughtfully and slowly. Don’t be the guy that has to react to every single thing throughout the day. There is always a punching bag like this in every company, no matter how big or small, you need to work hard to not be that guy.

2. Does your company culture thrive on who is in the office when? I just heard Jason Fried of 37 Signals talk about this in a recent podcast about Remake, “Every office has the asshole that waits until everyone leaves then leaves 5 minutes later.” Work very hard and never let face time bother you, it has no value to your career and you just have to let it go.

3. Talk to your Boss with total transparency about this. “You know I love to ski, and this winter I would like to take a few days off, only when it is dumping snow in the mountains, to ski for the day. I will never let this affect my work and have worked hard so that everyone has me covered. I will always email the night before to key team members and check my phone throughout the day.” I have learned in my professional and personal relationships that sometimes if you want something you just have to ask, and be ready to work hard for it. When your boss says “Thanks for being so transparent with me, I think that’s a great idea.” it also means “I am granting you this freedom and you have to work really hard and not screw up to keep it.” Asking your Boss to take powder days can only be asked once, no second chances.

I write this post mainly as a motivation to myself. I am just as guilty of being sucked into responsibility as the next guy.

Good Luck, and Bon Hiver.

Being more Productive

Being More Productive
One of my hobbies is studying how to be more productive.  I have read David Allen’s GTD books, listen to 43 Folders podcast, thirst after Inbox Zero and talk to people about how they manage their time.  Below are some things I’ve learned.
Plan your year in context
I learned this from Brad Feld.  Think of your time in segments: Year, Quarter, Month, Week, Day.  Create a routine for each of these segments that you follow such as taking a vacation each quarter, wake up at the same time each day, etc.
Understand how your spend your time each day
I am using a utility called RescueTime that runs in the background and analyzes the applications you have open.  When you are away from your computer RescueTime asks you “What have you been doing?”.  You can view reports of “Time Wasted” and “Producive Time”.  I don’t run RescueTime everyday, just every once in a while to help me stay on track.  It’s amazing how much time I waste everyday!
Trust your System
I learned this from David Allen’s GTD books.  I use Things as my ToDo list.  Anytime anyone says anything that I need to follow up on I dump it into my Inbox on Things.  Each week I have my “Weekly Review” to organize this list.  The amount of stuff that I procrastinate on or drop has been reduced dramatically by using Things.
Morning Think
A few days a week I try and wakeup at 5am.  For about 2 hours I sip coffee and do whatever I want, usually read or research on my laptop sitting in my robe.  This time is extremely productive and helps me think about the big picture, read or just knock off small tasks.
2009 has been a transformative year for me as I’ve become extremly productive following the above tactics.  My goals in 2010 are to be more productive on the bigger things in my life now that I have the day to day figured out.

One of my hobbies is studying how to be more productive.  I have read David Allen’s GTD books, listen to 43 Folders podcast, thirst after Inbox Zero and talk to people about how they manage their time.

Below are some things I’ve learned.

Plan your year in context

I learned this from Brad Feld who calls this “The Rhythms of his Life“.  Think of your time in segments: Year, Quarter, Month, Week, Day.  Create a routine for each of these segments that you follow such as taking a vacation each quarter, wake up at the same time each day, etc.

Understand how your spend your time each day

I am using a utility called RescueTime that runs in the background and analyzes the applications you have open.  When you are away from your computer RescueTime asks you “What have you been doing?”.  You can view reports of “Time Wasted” and “Producive Time”.  I don’t run RescueTime everyday, just every once in a while to help me stay on track.  It’s amazing how much time I waste everyday!

rescuetime

This is a graph showing my day today.  I woke up at 5am for my Morning Think time but my daughter woke up as well so I spent my morning with her.  As you can see I took a break around lunchtime and mid-day is when I am interrupted the most with random questions and water cooler conversation.

Trust your System

I learned this from David Allen’s GTD books.  I use Things as my ToDo list.  Anytime anyone says anything that I need to follow up on I dump it into my Inbox on Things.  Each week I have my “Weekly Review” to organize this list.  The amount of stuff that I procrastinate on or drop has been reduced dramatically by using Things.

things

The above shows the Inbox view in my Things app.  Every task, usually life stuff but some work stuff, I dump into the Inbox for “processing” later.

Morning Think

I have written about my Morning Think Time on this blog previously.  A few days a week I try and wakeup at 5am.  For about 2 hours I sip coffee and do whatever I want, usually read or research on my laptop sitting in my robe.  This time is extremely productive and helps me think about the big picture, read or just knock off small tasks.

What’s Next?

2009 has been a transformative year for me as I’ve become extremly productive following the above tactics.  My goals in 2010 are to be more productive on the bigger things in my life now that I have the day to day figured out.

My Workspace at The Fuel Team in Denver

Recently we restructured our teams at The Fuel Team and I found myself not sitting with the Dev Team for the first time in my career.  I was hesitant at first but the physical move has created a new headspace for me to operate in.  Our Dev Team cranks hard, everyday.  They work on big features, production work, design work, work within multiple languages and platforms and find time to have a ton of fun as well.  Being separated from this has allowed me to slow down my pace, ween myself off the high that comes from cranking out work, and think hard about our products, product roadmap and software development approach.  It’s funny how the grass is always greener.  I always wished for more time to think about our products, now that I have it, I find myself longing to program….trying to learn Rails and Objective C in my spare time!

Running everyday in August

I was searching for a new fitness goal and decided to run, at least a mile or so, everyday in August. I completed my goal and encourage others to give it a try. Below is a list of Pros and Cons from my experience:

Pros:

  • feeling healthy on a daily basis
  • getting more fresh air than normal
  • having something interesting to talk about
  • lost 3 lbs
  • bought new running shoes
  • plowed through some of those podcasts I wished I had more time to listen to

Cons:

  • legs, especially my knees, were sore a few days and I knew I should’ve rested but instead I ran
  • my normal runs became shorter (averaging 2.5 miles), no long runs in August

This challenge was a great lesson in “glass 1/2 empty, glass 1/2 full” thinking.  You have to approach everyday with the right attitude.  Either it’s “This sucks, I am so busy and there is no way I can go for a run” or this “I’m sorry, I can’t meet you for drinks after work.  I am trying to run everyday in August and have to get my run in, you understand right?”

I recommend this challenge for anyone, runner or non-runner.  It’s a great way to turn just another normal month into something more.