The “One Thing” I’m Doing That Will Make A Big Difference

Eric in Bali - profile pictureI’ve started a process that’s changing my entire attitude about life and work. Day by day, this powerful catalyst will allow me to transform myself and the way I approach everything I do.

10 days ago I consciously started two new daily habits. I’ve been consistent and motivated, and taken care of these two things every day, even when I didn’t feel like it.

I’ve committed myself to 30 days, then if things have gone well, another 30, so that they truly become habits. Once I’ve instilled them as habits, I know it will get MUCH easier.

What are these two magic things? These are two little hinges that will swing the door of my life and work. I’ll tell you about them in a little while, but first, it’s important to know the back story.


The-One-Thing-bookAs an independent entrepreneur, I continually struggle with focus and always have more tasks on my To Do list than I can possibly accomplish. On my plate are things I know I should do, or want to do, or have promised to do.

Day by day, I chip away at whatever is in front of me, but all too often, I find that at 5 pm, I still haven’t done “the thing” that I told myself was important to do that day. I had answered everyone’s emails, taken care of lots of little things, but not focused or prioritized well.

I realized that I needed help with this core issue, and discovered two very inspiring and practical books that I highly recommend:

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months – by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

The-12-Week-Year-bookThey both deal with focus and prioritizing what’s important by setting specific goals in line with your long-term vision and mission.

I created a 12 Week Plan that lays out what I’m setting out to accomplish in that time frame, broken up into weekly task lists and targets. To have success with this system, it’s important to start each day by reviewing the planning document, seeing where things stand, and deciding what to focus on and when.

I’ve never been very good at planning my days or my long term goals. When I have a specific project, such as launching the Masters of ArchiCAD Summit, there is urgency and I make sure the most important things get done. However when it’s more long term, my efforts are sporadic and vulnerable to getting sidetracked with the many small but seemingly urgent tasks that each day brings up. And I’m often jumping from task to task, or multi-tasking, rather than focusing on one thing and getting it done.

My usual solution when I realize that I haven’t taken care of things that need to get done that day is to go back to my desk in the evening and work until midnight or 2 am, whatever it takes. Of course, this is not healthy, and impacts my family and my enjoyment of life, as well as my health.

And since I am always a bit tired from the long day before, with a never-ending task list, my only exercise has been my 15 minute walk to Peet’s Coffee each morning (where I work for an hour or two on my laptop) and walking the dog with my wife a few times a week.


  1. When I get to Peet’s Coffee and settle down with my Latté and my laptop, instead of starting by going through my email, I’m reviewing my Weekly Plan and setting out my priorities for the day. Even though I may not get everything done, I’m making sure that first thing in the day I’m getting in touch with my “most important” goals and tasks, so I can make effective choices.
  2. After going through emails and doing some writing or other creative work at the café, I go home and do a workout (for the first time in years). I’m using the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout app on my iPhone, which guides me through a series of exercises. They’re scientifically designed to alternate muscle groups with 30 second intervals of vigorous or isometric exercises, getting the maximum out of a short workout (you can do longer sessions, up to 20 minutes, with this app).

Johnson-and-Johnson-7-Minute-Workout-appThe daily planning process will lead me to making more effective choices of how to focus my time throughout the day, and ultimately, getting traction on the most important things in my work and life.

The daily workout sessions will give me more strength and fitness, as well as more energy to enjoy life and work even more effectively. This is an investment in my body and my life that will pay many types of dividends.

In the book The One Thing, the authors point out that trying to be extremely disciplined with everything in life is awfully hard, and that “will power” to follow through usually falters and gets used up while pushing through challenging tasks. They recommend choosing and developing productive habits, instilling each one by doing it consistently over a period of two months. Once it becomes a habit, it takes virtually no will power to do it, so you reap the rewards without expending as much effort.

I feel really excited as I create these two specific habits, since they will definitely help make everything else in my life flow more easily. I’ll share my progress with you from time to time, and look forward to sharing the journey with you if you choose to try something like this yourself.

I’d love to read your thoughts. Can you relate to my feeling of having too many tasks on an endless To Do list? Have you ever tried anything like this? Please click here to post a comment…

The Masters of ArchiCAD 2016 Summit Explained – Themes, Topics, Program Info

cropped-eric-bobrow-headshot-circle-revised.jpgPeople are calling this week’s Masters of ArchiCAD Summit the online ArchiCAD event of the year.

It’s our second annual virtual conference featuring presentations by a dozen ArchiCAD veterans from around the world.

These are users who design buildings, create models, produce construction documents, and deal with clients.

Just like you, only a bit further down the road, perhaps.

So…what’s in it for you?
Why should you care?
What’s this all about?

In this post I’ll tell you!

The Masters of ArchiCAD Summit is a unique, “can’t miss” event for all passionate ArchiCAD users. It’s absolutely worth your time to watch these webinar sessions, either live on Thursday and Friday (see schedule below), or later as recorded videos.

First of all…

Masters of ArchiCAD Summit is made for YOU if…

  • You want to get the most out of ArchiCAD
  • You get excited when you learn how something tricky and/or time consuming can be done more easily and quickly
  • You know your 3D model could be taken further
  • You aspire to deliver higher quality documents that make construction go smoothly
  • You aim for continual improvement; “good enough” isn’t good enough for you
  • ArchiCAD is a key competitive advantage that helps you win projects


I’ve carefully selected presenters who push ArchiCAD to the limits. Not necessarily in terms of exotic architecture (although a few of them do projects that are pretty “far-out”), nor in terms of size (most work on smaller projects), nor materials.

However all of them drive this tool hard, and make it deliver the goods. In general, they’ve figured out how to make it perform like a precision instrument, carrying their design firm to success, making clients happy and actually having some fun themselves.

Here are some of the themes that we’ll be exploring during the Summit:

  • CONCEPTUAL DESIGN – making conceptual design more fluid, efficient and flexible (Yanes, Gilchrist, Haynes, Horvath)
  • DATA AND COLLABORATION – leveraging data / building information flow / improving collaboration (Hopkins, Ball, Lettner, Matthews)
  • WORKFLOW AND SPEED – optimizing project workflow and speed of delivery – (Hohman, Matthews, Lawes, Bobrow, Horvath)
  • CLIENT COMMUNICATION – creative adaptations of tools and methods (Horvath, Haynes, Hohman, Gilchrist, Allsopp)
  • PUSHING THE LIMITS – cutting edge tools and ideas (Allsopp, Ball, Hopkins)

The Masters of ArchiCAD Summit will inspire you and teach you practical methods that you can take back to the office. It’s an event AND it’s a reference library of case studies, tips and tricks, and eye-opening peeks behind the curtain and over the shoulder of these veterans.

CLICK HERE for advance price tickets at half-price
(Only $147 through Wednesday night)

Hey – what if you can’t fit this in to your schedule?
Or can only watch a little bit this week?

No problem.
Sign up now and you’ll get permanent access to the video recordings.




9 am – Phil Allsopp, USA
Using Point Cloud Files from Laser Surveys for As-Built Data

10:30 am – Gary Lawes, UK
Hacking GDL – Practical Parametric Object Making, Part 2

12 Noon – Timothy Ball, UK
IFC Automated Specifications and Keynotes

1:30 pm – Van Hohman, USA
Optimized Workflow and Client Communications for Remodels

3 pm – Eugenio Fontán Yanes, Hong Kong
From Concept to BIM: ArchiCAD Design Strategies

4:30 pm – Karoly Horvath, Australia
Managing Colour Schemes in ArchiCAD


9 am – Ed Haynes, USA
ArchiCAD Design for Live Events, Restaurants and Theater

10:30 am – shawn B hopkins, South Africa
Using Data to Inform the ArchiCAD Design Workflow

12 Noon – Andreas Lettner, Austria
Collaborative Design with ArchiCAD BIM Server

1:30 pm – Duncan Gilchrist, USA
Concept Modeling: Complex Geometries and Large Projects

3 pm – Eric Bobrow, USA
ArchiCAD Speed Tricks, Shortcuts and Power Tools

4:30 pm – Rich Matthews, Australia
How to BIM an Indian Palace in Australia

Click here for complete information and registration for the Masters of ArchiCAD Summit.

REMINDER: The half-price advance ticket offer ends Wednesday night.


Registration opens for Masters of ArchiCAD Summit 2016!

The Masters of ArchiCAD Summit returns for a second year on February 4 & 5, 2016.

A dozen ArchiCAD experts from around the world share their knowledge, insights and tips in this virtual conference, a series of live webinar presentations over two full days.

All of the live sessions are recorded and may be viewed later on demand, creating a powerful, inspiring reference library of best practices, case studies and training materials.


Almost 450 ArchiCAD users participated in the 2015 Summit, one of the biggest ArchiCAD events ever held.

Feedback was extremely positive, with many attendees reporting they were “glued to their chairs.” Some wrote in that it was the most inspiring series of ArchiCAD presentations they had ever seen.

With that sort of feedback, we’ve scheduled an encore performance, or perhaps more precisely, a sequel!


Six of our most popular presenters return to share their latest projects and experiences, plus we’re adding six new presenters, dedicated ArchiCAD users doing inspiring work, to cover new topics.

Masters of ArchiCAD is a rare opportunity to peek into the working methods of experienced users, to help you learn and implement optimized strategies in your own office.

Each presenter brings their unique perspective to the virtual table, focusing on one or more projects or on a topic that they are passionate about.

Topics include:

  • conceptual design strategies and programming
  • Morph tool usage for design development
  • speed tips and tricks to boost productivity
  • hacking GDL to quickly create custom parametric objects
  • how to leverage quantity data as you design
  • automated generation of specifications and other reports
  • managing client communications for remodels and additions
  • using laser scanning and point clouds for as-built surveys of historic buildings
  • ArchiCAD case studies for live events, themed restaurants and live theater
  • and 3 more fascinating, inspiring and eminently useful presentations!

During the Summit, you’ll get to see how ArchiCAD can be deployed in different contexts, often with distinct workflows as well as building sizes and styles.


This is a can’t miss, unique event for all active ArchiCAD users. It will enrich your understanding, expand your knowledge and give you practical tools to take back to your own office.

CLICK HERE to read all about this year’s Summit, and take advantage of the $200 Early Registration discount (this week only)

Questions? Comments? Feedback?
Post a comment, I’d love to hear from you!