Build Your Hustle

A lot of us would like to do more with our lives, but find ourselves getting blocked by our own laziness, lack of motivation, or simply not being sure which thing to do first. The guys discuss some strategies you can use to get past this tendency as well as why you need to shift your thinking to be truly effective. While these skills apply to your career as a software developer, they are also broadly applicable across your entire life.

These are just a few ways in which you can improve your hustle and be more productive with what you have. Most of them you can start applying right away and will quickly see a difference in you life, motivation, and stress level.

Episode Breakdown

6:06 Examine the reasons why you are “lazy” to look for opportunities.

“It’s very rare that someone is legitimately completely lazy.”

Sometimes “laziness” is a result of other things like fear, decision fatigue, or other stressors. If you can get a handle on those in some way, the whole process gets a lot easier.

7:48 Ditch your distractions.

Ditch distractions like TV, facebook, and video games. This doesn’t mean ditching them totally, but rather that you should only consume them when they provide value to you. Distractions can be valuable when they help you recover from work or if they otherwise improve you mood, but watch that you aren’t consuming them by default.

10:25 Make continuous small improvements.

“It takes some intentionality to do that.”

Get over the notion that you can suddenly become totally productive. It won’t happen overnight. Change a couple of small things at a time and stick with small discipline until it is automatic, then add more.

13:03 Watch your excuses.

“We’re not good at calling out our own excuses.”

Excuses are similar to distractions. They should only be indulged when they provide value. In other words, an excuse for failure is valuable when it informs you how to avoid a situation next time, and is useless when it simply informs you that you aren’t at fault. Excuses can also be extremely disempowering, in that if you aren’t at fault, you probably aren’t in control either.

15:08 Dedicate and schedule time to things that are important.

You’ll see an internet meme around about “if something is important to you, you’ll do it”. It’s half-right. If a goal is truly important and isn’t scheduled, then you aren’t treating it seriously enough.

17:28 Connect with others.

“I went to MicroConf to be around other entrepreneurs.”

The company you keep will normalize behavior. Ensure that it’s the behavior you want. A good social network can be leveraged to improve just about every aspect of what you do.

19:17 Track your progress.

Track what you are going to do and what you’ve done. When you can look back over even a relatively short section of progress, it can be very inspiring.

22:34 Hang on to ideas that you can’t accomplish yet.

“I keep a notebook full of ideas basically that I can’t execute on yet.”

Will and BJ both have notebooks full of ideas. Keeping ideas to the side like this will also let you get them out of your head until you can deal with them and keep you from losing important things later.

26:43 Take a little learning pain now to prepare for big stuff later.

If you know you are going to need something in a few months, start learning the basics now to be prepared. Note that this also applies to habits.

30:20 Use rejection and failure as fuel.

You’ll fail as you are going along, and you’ll likely get rejected as well. Instead of being unprepared, think about what you can get out of the failure. You may have to set things up a certain way so that this works, but the biggest thing to remember is to take good notes when you try something new, so that both success and failure can be instructive. This also means a retrospective/postmortem.

33:45 Treat your goals like a business.

“It doesn’t help to be industrious and not point in the right direction.”

Realize that you have limited resources to pursue goals and pick the ones that give you the most return on investment. Don’t pursue a goal to such a degree that it damages everything else. Think of improvement as more like a research budget for a company. Prefer goals that continue to pay off over time versus goals that only pay off once.

36:44 Put yourself where opportunities live.

Don’t stay in situations that stunt you, but get out of them in a sustainable manner as soon as possible. Look for environments with other people doing what you are trying to do, or who need what you are trying to provide.

40:15 Make your story public.

If you are genuine, most people are actually decent. Public accountability and telling your own story are huge attractions to other people, including the sort that are well-equipped to help you. This entire podcast is the result of Beej deciding to take his own story public.

42:10 Re-invest your winnings.

When you gain something from hustling, put as much as possible back into being able to hustle better. This includes the time you save from gradual efficiency gains. This is a core principle of our podcast production workflow. Most of the productivity gains we’ve had have been followed by rolling out more stuff.

IoTease: Project

IoT Electronic Door Opener

Using internet of things technologies this automatic door opener allows a person with access to open the door remotely. You can put a camera on the door and then allow remote entry for persons leaving packages or for cleaning personnel so they don’t have to have access if the personnel changes on a regular basis.


  • Power Supply Adapter
  • Rectifier
  • Regulator
  • Atmega Microcontroller
  • LCD Display
  • Mini Motorized Door
  • Wifi Module
  • Resistors
  • Capacitors
  • Diodes


  • Arduino Compiler
  • MC Programming Language: C
  • IOTGecko

Tricks of the Trade

Lack of productivity is a systemic problem, not a motivation problem, not a time problem. It’s systemic because it’s the result of multiple processes going wrong. There’s a reason we didn’t say anything about laziness – it’s because it doesn’t matter that much. You shouldn’t build a system to fight against your laziness, rather, you should build a system such that laziness is not a default.

Editor’s Notes:

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One comment on “Build Your Hustle
  1. Mark says:

    “I went low-carb between breakfast and lunch today. Why haven’t I lost 10 pounds?” 🙂