Soylent, my experience

More than a year ago, I discovered Soylent through the founder’s blog where he was sharing his progress in looking for a recipe for a complete meal replacement drink.

Soylent is basically a mash up of all the nutrients your body supposedly needs in a day.

Benefits

I am attracted to the concept of being confident that I am giving my body the nutrients it needs throughout the day, and rather than hoping that the food I eat has enough of everything, I believe I can achieve a superior result by measuring my intake.

Some people are attracted to Soylent because it is generally cheaper than normal food (a DIY recipe could be as cheap as $5 a day), and some are attracted to it because it saves them time (2 minutes preparation if you use the official Soylent product or 10 minutes for a DIY version).

For me, I am attracted to the health benefits. The fact it is cheap and quick to make removes resistance to do it.

Also, I don’t want to replace all my meals with Soylent so I took a hybrid approach: breakfasts and lunches are replaced with Soylent and dinners stay “normal”. I have been doing that for a few months now and I am ready to reorder a new batch of ingredients.

Soylent in Australia

Unfortunately I cannot buy Soylent easily from Australia, they still don’t deliver it down under so I started looking for alternatives. There is an online community of people who share recipes of Soylent alternatives using local ingredients: DIY Soylent. After some browsing, I found a recipe that suited my needs: Australian Soylent 1.0. (I found the recipe too sweet for my taste so I reduced the sugar)

I bought the ingredients online (three different shops) and 3 days later I had the ingredients I needed.

Ingredients used for DIY Soylent

It takes me 10 minutes in the morning to prepare my day worth of drinks.

The final product:

DIY Soylent in Australia

Results

How does it taste? For me it taste a bit like cake dough before baking it. I added cocoa and banana to vary the taste a bit.

How do I feel during a Soylent day? I don’t feel any different than other days. I don’t feel more alert like other people reported. I feel full until about 4pm. I have a fast metabolism and I generally am hungry at 10:30am.

How about bowels problems? People have reported having diarrhoea or smelly farts with Soylent. I don’t personally experience any major changes with this australian recipe.

Headaches: For a time, I bumped up the level of proteins to 180g a day but it was giving me headaches. Keeping it at 100g like in the recipe solved that problem.

Colorful urine: this is due to the excess vitamins from the multi-vitamins pills. Not really a problem but I decided to only take one of these pills instead of two.

Overall, I really enjoy having discovered Soylent and a way to have it here in Australia, I need to find more ways to vary the taste.

 

UPDATE: Make sure to read Marc’s comment too. Very insightful!

Updated roadmap

Hi, I have worked recently on clarifying the roadmap for WEEK PLAN and thought you might be interested to see it.

Roadmap

1. Polish the Android app. We published the Android app silently a few weeks ago and unfortunately it is still very “experimental”. Because I am not an Android app developer myself, I have outsourced the development to another company and fixing and polishing the app takes an order of magnitude more time than I would like.

2. Publish a new version of the API. We will improve the documentation and the consistency of the API to make it easy for any developer to create apps on top of WEEK PLAN. The first product to come out of this API is the iPhone app which is doing very well now.

3. Rework the user experience. I believe I can make the experience on WEEK PLAN a lot more engaging by improving how a user enters information and navigates in the web application.

4. Calendar day view. This is our most requested feature and after several months of product design I believe I came up with an elegant solution.

5. Etc… There are more than 400 items in our parking lot, so we are not running out of ideas on how to improve the product… The timer seems to be a feature people use extensively so we might look into improve it.

 

What we have been working on lately

1. Publish the Android app.

2. Publish and polish the Google Calendar synchronization.

3. Hire another developer. Although we are making progress, things are going way too slow. So for months I have been looking to hire someone but I couldn’t find anyone that matched what I was looking for. Finally I met Dzmitry from Belarus and he is great!

4. Automation of the testing. One of the things I want to improve is the stability of the software and Dzmitry’s first task has been to automate the testing on many pages of WEEK PLAN.

5. The Outliner. I was looking for a way to connect long term vision with the weekly planner and this is what the Outliner is about. I am planning to publish a video about the Outliner soon.

My ideal week: free printable "planner"

Do you live your life as it comes (reactive approach) or do you prefer to live with purpose according to a plan (proactive approach)?

As the founder of WEEK PLAN, I try to expose my readership to new interesting techniques that can help them be more effective.

Today, I share a new tool called MY IDEAL WEEK:

Screenshot of my own ideal week

The concept is very simple: imagine what your ideal week would look like if you had 100% control over your time

I believe it is essential to color code your ideal week. It helps you find imbalance and attach you emotionally to this piece of paper. I personally use green for “Sharpen the saw” kind of activities, pink for relationships, blue for creative work, and grey for chores. 

Some comments on my ideal week: 
1. As you can see I still spend a lot of time consulting while I am bootstrapping WEEKPLAN. My true ideal week would replace consulting with Development work for WEEK PLAN.
2. I don’t plan much of my weekends. The weekends are the days I have the least control of.
3. I like to give each day a focus theme (admin, consulting, dev, etc…).

I have turned MY IDEAL WEEK into a PDF that you can download here[version with am/pm format] [version with Sunday first]

Enjoy! 

WeekPlan integrates with Google Calendar

We told you we had a couple of exciting announcements coming up. 

Today we are launching the two way integration with Google Calendar.

What it does
New events from Google Calendar will appear in your Week Plan (refreshed every hour). 
New tasks from your Week Plan will appear in Google Calendar.

What it means
What is exciting about this new integration is that you can now access your Week Plan tasks everywhere Google Calendar is available. All the existing apps in the App Store or Google Play Store that work with Google Calendar will work with your Week Plan tasks too.

How to enable this integration
This integration is available to Week Plan PRO users. If you are not a PRO user, you can review the plan here.

To connect to your Google Calendar, head to your workspace’s settings page, you will find the Google Calendar section.

Consider joining a mastermind group to achieve faster

If you are reading this blog, chances are you like to challenge yourself and you are likely in a situation today where you are being challenged.

I am the founder of WEEK PLAN, and running a business is a continuous stream of challenges. When you are working on the same thing day in day out, you start losing perspective on what you are doing and it becomes hard to figure out what the best next step would be.

When I started feeling I was the limiting factor in my business, I looked for external help. First I asked for feedback from my direct friends, but realized that most of my challenges were so specific that they couldn’t relate to my challenges and couldn’t offer me any relevant advice. This is when I decided to surround myself with people who were in a similar situation to mine.

My story with mastermind groups started in 2010, when I started a founder mastermind breakfast (you can still read the blog post I wrote at the time) where we would meet over breakfast and chat about our challenges and try to suggest solutions for others. I also wanted to be able to share my progress with people I knew from France (I am French but I live in Australia) so I also developed a web application that allowed us to reproduce what I was doing during the mastermind breakfasts online. Later on, I joined forces with the excellent coach James Short to help organize mastermind groups around the world. Nowadays I am not involved with this anymore but James is still at it and reports great results from his participants.

In this article, I would like to offer a practical guide on how to start being part of a mastermind group.

What is a mastermind group

Napoleon Hill popularized the concept of mastermind groups in his book “Think and Grow Rich”. He described mastermind groups as being a key component to success. Here is a video where you can see him explaining the concept:

A mastermind group is a regular meeting of people who share a common goal and are looking to encourage and help each other improve.

Why it works

  • Accountability: You are held accountable to the achievement of your goals. Just knowing you have a regularly scheduled meeting will internally drive you to make progress. Nobody wants to be seen as lazing around while others are making huge progress in their business
  • Perspective: Each individual has a unique history and set of skills. When you expose your challenge to someone else, you are likely to get a solution you may not have been able to think of.
  • Synergy: The interaction of several trusting people can produce a combined solution greater than the sum of their separate solutions.
  • The explainer effect: When you have to explain a problem to someone else, often, the solution becomes evident to you as you are explaining the problem.
  • Resources: By being part of this group, you gain access to everyone’s personal network.

How to be part of a mastermind group

Online

If you want to join a group online, you can check out Fizzle (for entrepreneurs) or Online Peers.

Alternatively, you can create a private Facebook group and invite people to it. The benefit of the Facebook group is that people are more likely to interact with the group because the messages will appear in their Facebook feed.

Offline

Check out the website Meetup.com. You will likely find groups around your area that meet around your topic of choice. You can go there and recruit people for your own mastermind group for example.
Starting your own meetup group is also possible but may take a bit more time and effort to put in place.

WEEK PLAN

I am considering organizing mastermind groups from within the WEEK PLAN application. If you are interested in giving it a try, please drop a comment to show interest.

WeekPlan for iphone

We have got some exciting news to share!

Week Plan is available as an iPhone app in the AppStore and a new release was just approved by Apple

Check out the app on the AppStore here.

In this new version you can access the following features:
– Setting time on tasks
– Calendar integration
– Reminders,
– Subtasks, etc… 

Also, the iPhone app has changed name from MyWeek to Week Plan to avoid any confusion in the future.

We have a few exciting announcements coming soon, stay tuned!

An introduction to outsourcing

As part of my work on WeekPlan, I constantly try to find ways to help people be more effective.

Being more effective comes from identifying what matter most and working on it. But what should you do with the things that are not that important and yet still need to get done?

Before working on WeekPlan, I created the outsourcing marketplace TaskArmy (http://taskarmy.com) to help people leverage the world of outsourcing.

I have always been passionate about finding ways to use my time meaningfully and I think that outsourcing can help tremendously.

But I understand that starting outsourcing from scratch can seem daunting.

  • What can a personal assistant do?
  • How to find the right person?
  • How much should you pay?
  • How can you collaborate with that person effectively?

I am going to answer these questions.

(more…)

New PRO feature: Customize the look of your weekly planner

I have implemented a new module available to the PRO users of WeekPlan (thank you guys!).

To access the personalization module, go to the Workspace Settings page:

New personalization module in WeekPlan

 

(more…)

20140711 Weekly status report

Weekly Status Report

Summary

I finished writing a 30 pages ebook that explains the methodology behind WeekPlan. I am currently asking for feedback to polish the ebook. The goal is to send the ebook to people who signed up on the mailing list a long time ago to “warm up” the relationship with WeekPlan a bit.

We welcomed a new team member in the development team. Khurram has started helping us by writing more automated tests.

I spent some time clarifying some of the incoming work. Having three developers helping me means that things should go faster and I don’t want the requirements to be the bottleneck.

Lots of bugs have been squashed and some usability issues have been ironed out.

A new feature that has been added is the ability to @mention someone in a task notes or comment. The @mention will add that person to the task.

20140706 Weekly status

I have decided to start a new experiment. I will document what has been worked on this week in a weekly status blog post.

The idea is to show the progress made, and to document how we use WeekPlan to manage WeekPlan.

Weekly Status for WeekPlan

Summary

The biggest focus was killing usability issues and publishing the app to multiple appstores.

WeekPlan can be found on the Windows Phone store, the Windows store, the Opera marketplace, the Firefox marketplace and the Amazon appstore.

Work has continued on new features for teams, like allowing @mentions and showing the time in the local time of the user.