No smoke

Day 7: Tuesday 17 January

Nothing like a fire alarm to slow the flow and disrupt the afternoon.

Fair to say I wasn’t on fire today.

Tempted to say I needed a kick in the pants today. Wasn’t so much slackness as much as a day for acknowledging sometimes the work doesn’t always flow.


Had a good selection of tasks for the day.

The exciting part is having Reach Out ‘work’ lunch with a friend to start to tease out ideas about the new community project I’m thinking about to work towards a better representation of the profession through acts of generosity and radical communication. It’s with a view to enabling the profession to be a more integral part of the conversation about the city instead of apart. It’s not clear what it is yet. It’s a different version of A Question of Practice, but with a view to delivering something the profession can embrace and adopt as their own. Got some ideas, nothing like a bit of a rigorous intellectual tussle to test and improve them.

Other than that here’s what I put down at the start of the day.

  • Edit Skill Stacking article for Susie and send updated text for publishing by ACA
  • Complete draft of useletter
  • Review website in light of new thinking
  • Begin edit and rewrite of website

It’s quite a lot and will need to keep up momentum, but I know I won’t run out of things for today.


Byline – below par

Always struck by how hard it can be to write a succinct version of something. For example a byline. really struggled with this today. Spent far too long on it, and still not happy.

Going to place-hold it for now:

Michael Lewarne is an architect and founder of unmeasured. Helping architects work on the unmeasured human skills of practice. He believes the most effective way architects can elevate their practice is by developing better interactions with their people and work. Coaching them to enhance these relationships through skills development. 


The useletter, I’m pleased to say feels useful.

Here’s my draft of the useful bit:

eating the frog

Eating the frog is a framework to help you do the hard part first, to stop procrastination and to assist build a more productive workflow.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

Mark Twain

We’ll seldom procrastinate eating chocolate, but eating a frog, that’s a whole other story (unless it’s a chocolate frog).

How do you eat the frog?

Identify your frog. What’s the thing you’re dreading doing today, that feels hard or uncomfortable? Alternately, it might just be the most important thing to do that day. You can only pick one.

Don’t dwell on it, just eat it.

Do it first thing. Don’t open up a space to do it later.

Make this a daily practice.

Not only does it start to get easier. The small wins will add up.

Why eat the frog?

Unless you had one too many frogs the night before, it’s likely that first thing in the day is the time you’re most productive, mentally alert and effective. It’s the time you’ll do the best work on your most important task. If you don’t eat the frog first, you’ll have the angst of it at the back or front of mind and impacting the quality of the work you’re instead trying to do. Conversely doing it first sets you up for success for the rest of the day by having a win at the start.

Tips on eating the frog.

  1. It must be important – not necessarily urgent. Something that you might need a bit of a nudge to get done.
  2. Don’t make it too big. Aim for 1-4 hours work tops. If possible break it down into small manageable chunks. It must be achievable in that time.
  3. Do it first thing. If you’re not a morning person, that might mean 3pm in the afternoon. It doesn’t necessarily mean 9am.
  4. If it’s a really unsavoury frog, you might want someone to help you with accountability. Let them know you’ll send them a note when you’ve done it. Tell them when you’ll be done by and to contact you if you don’t hear from them.
  5. Do it first. Do it first. Do it first. Don’t get distracted.

It takes practice

It’s not easy, but like all things, with practice it gets easier. Remember the wins will help build momentum and confidence. Eat the damn frog!

You got this.

If you’ve stumbled across this and you’re interested in subscribing to my useletter HERE’S A LINK


Radical communication

How might architects be better seen and heard?

The trick is not leaping to solutions, it’s important to first understand the problem that’s being solved. The profession often sees this as more press, a spokesperson, a lobbyist, a louder voice and more respect. It may be some or all of that but unless we understand its for and what the problem is we can’t know if they’re the answers.

There’s too much in the public domain that doesn’t represent the architecture profession or their position well and that’s a loss for all. Too many people are trying to win arguments and not enough are listening, having conversations and trying to learn

I’m keen to start a forum for architects to investigate how they can shift their status and voice. Not sure what this looks like exactly, but lunch was to chat about this with Laura who is good for an idea and an insight. There’s some work and many more conversations in getting this going.


Website indecision

Might be time to call in the help.

I get caught overthinking, unsure and confused by what i should be writing and posting. I find myself being hesitant to change, rethink or rewrite. It screams – get help!

It’s likely I will.

In the harsh light of a new day, I’ll regroup and answer, What and who is it for? What is the story I’m trying to tell? Then email for help!

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