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Self-Command: How to get yourself to do things, plus Self-Calm (based on Meditations by Marcus Aurelius)

You know what you intend to do.

You already have what you'll need to do it.

Yet, somehow, months or even years pass, and you haven't done it.

Why does that happen?

More importantly, what can be done to change it?

Many people today know what to do, but aren't doing it.

Before the internet, the major roadblock used to be a lack of information. We couldn't find next steps to follow. We couldn't find answers to questions we ran into. We couldn't find support services, systems, or software.

The internet has made it easy to find answers about what to do, and how to do it.

Access to information is rarely our bottleneck anymore. Instead, we wind up overwhelmed, having too much.

The internet gave us new, massive obstacles: unlimited distractions, infinite options, and an endless outlet for spiraling on our fears.

Why don't we do what we mean to do?

The short, simple answer: we're trying to do too much at once. Too many things at the same time. Too large of things to handle in one sitting. Things that are too advanced for our level of experience.

The net result is, counterintuitively, not merely doing less or less effectively, but sometimes not doing anything at all.

We grind ourselves down and wear ourselves out by attempting things we weren't quite ready to make happen. Then, making it worse, we beat ourselves up for not having much progress to show after burning all that energy and time stressing ourselves over it.

Learning how to untie (and prevent!) those knots takes a longer answer.

Philosophers have grappled with this question for thousands of years. They tended to deal with it from an academic angle, removed from everyday life, but this is a deeply practical issue.

Before I bring you down this rabbit hole - or, better, save you time by handing to you what I mined while spending years down in there - it may help to explain how I fell into it in the first place.

This began from game development, but isn't limited to that.

After more than a decade training people new to game development, I found that no matter which aspect of game making they were most interested in - code, art, audio, writing, marketing, or otherwise - I saw the same patterns and challenges over and over in their backgrounds.

They were feeling discouraged from failed past attempts.

They got overwhelmed during the unrewarding early stages of the learning curve.

They lost their way long before achieving the kinds of results that inspired them to start.

I've spent thousands of hours one-on-one with clients, and nearly half my lifetime facilitating groups of beginners, helping people from different backgrounds overcome variations of this universal problem. I refer to it as universal, because I found many of the strategies and ways of thinking that worked for new game developers, I was adapting from methods I'd already used in the past on unrelated tasks, to better get myself to do a wide range of things I meant to do:

• Blogging weekly for 5 years

• Writing a 550-page programming textbook

• Podcasting for 4 years, for more than 130 episodes

• Making prototypes nightly for 219 consecutive days

• Creating online courses used by 200,000 people

• Starting two businesses without outside funding

• Recording YouTube videos daily for over a year

In other words, these methods were in no way confined to learning how to make games.

The techniques are applicable whenever for the stage we're at we need to get ourselves to begin something, to stay with it, or even in the moment, to pull our actions back into alignment with our intentions.

This is not a typical audiobook. It's a real-life stat upgrade.

In this material you'll gain simple techniques and processes to guide your attention in a way that's more resilient to distractions. You'll pick up mindsets to push through uncertainty with greater courage. You'll get tools to confidently navigate common hangups that arise from pressures and perfectionism.

The same stress knots interfere with our taking action, whether it's to finish a project, advance our careers, or even just to finally use learning resources we've stockpiled from random sales. It applies to non-work, as well, whether that's getting to the gym more consistently, reading more fiction, or getting ourselves to meditate.

If someone wants to start a podcast, but has barely started, that is not a podcast problem. 

That's a problem of getting ourselves to do what we mean to do.

The same is true for starting a side business, writing a book, learning an instrument, practicing art, or countless other adventures we are technically free to do, but are not taking advantage of.

What will be your priority when you're better able to stay on task?

• Hone your employable skills?

• Pick up a new hobby?

• Finish and release your own product?

• Actively improve self-care routine?

It's time to advance in the direction you've intended to, but have been putting off.

It's possible to change your situation. This begins in a new way, today.


Responses to Self-Command


"Excellent job. Put a lot of thought into dissecting common problems and presenting solutions to those problems. For anyone who needs to get started, or to stay on task. Great way of explaining and delivering the content."

-Steven "Stebs" Solof


"Ever since I started Self-Command, I get so much more done in a day than ever before, with less unintended side tracking. I'm so very grateful for Chris' wonderful work. I highly recommend it."

-Sang Nguyen


"It's surprising how such simple ideas have such a positive effect, on both projects and morale."

-Klaim (A. Joël Lamotte)


"I love it! Honestly. Listening to it I think gives you a good kick! I like to listen to it while I walk or during my workout."

-Martina Natale


"I started using @ChrisDeLeon's 'Tiny Whiteboard' technique, and as a chronic scatterbrain I cannot TELL you how much it has improved my productivity... If you're very easily distracted like me and staying on task (especially during these hell times) has been a challenge, I super recommend it! ...absolutely check out his books at Self-Command.com. TONS of stuff on how to reprogram your mindset to be more productive and kinder to yourself. I don't think I know a creative professional who doesn't struggle with productivity issues and/or negative self talk, and Chris' work is a huge resource for doing better work and feeling better about it. Can't recommend it enough!"

-@RyanIkeComposer


"I was pleasantly surprised to find how well this fits in with all the GTD (Getting Things Done) stuff I've been looking into. In fact, it kind of seems like the missing element of GTD, or at least my implementation. At first, I thought I would be putting aside all of my current productivity systems I've been experimenting with, but it seems like this idea fits in with just about any type of organization system, planner, or productivity method I've ever heard of. Because, really, those tools help you focus on what you should be doing, while this system is a tool to actually do that thing. They should complement each other well."

-Anthony Juarez


"@ChrisDeLeon over-delivers in every possible way. Years of research and refinement, text, audio... even the opportunity to buy it by volunteering."

-@KarlNieberding


"Shoutout to Chris' method. I honestly don't think I could've handled all these things efficiently before adopting it."

-Brian Nielsen


"I've been using Chris's Self-Command method all year, it works... I'm a pretty organised person with todo lists and spreadsheets etc. I need to be in order to run my business effectively. But [the] Self-Command method helped me to take things to a new level in a difficult year (2020) and beyond. I recommend it... This is very easy to get started."

-Jake Birkett


"Veteran shoutout for Chris's book Self-Command. Talks about solving a meaningful problem many of us have. If you find yourself struggling to start, I can not recommend it higher. We all know service jacks you up, especially with setting independent, meaningful goals. Check it out"

-@RethinkJeff


"If you have any to-do list system, whether it be a bullet journal, a to-do list app, Trello, Asana, or anything else, you know how easy it is to get overwhelmed when looking at it. Heck, you may even have a large whiteboard right in front of you, chock full of tasks that are constantly staring at you, but never get done. The Tinyboard Method forces you to distill what you're working on down to one specific thing that you're currently doing. That's all you need to think about, which means your focus skyrockets and you get way more done in less time. And I'll let Chris' excellent book explain them in more detail. There's plenty more nuance to this system, and he explains it perfectly (and he's a great audio book narrator too!)... Get Chris' books."

-Akash Thakkar

From, "How to Get an Insane Amount Done Every Day"


"I love creative work. I'll start making something, maybe divert briefly to an exciting adjacent opportunity, perhaps explore and research it a little, think about how to fold it into the rest of the work, and in a few hours I've redesigned my project. And that's great! This is how projects improve. But, it's not how they get finished. When I want to finish something I need it to keep moving forward, so I have to commit to completing the occasional task. I've found Chris' tiny whiteboard technique excellent for this. I don't use it for everything, but when I know I need to get something done, and that my brain will need its leash, I pop the task up on my little whiteboard and get it finished."

-Farbs



Friends-and-Family Sharing License

We're all better off in a world where more people have an easier time getting themselves to do the things they mean to be doing.

Your download includes a fully transferrable friends-and-family sharing license. What this means is you are welcome to copy or pass these files on to people you know, at no cost to you or them.

Help out a friend, coworker, or family member.

This is built right into the agreement, so it's not stealing, or doing anything wrong.


The "I Will Volunteer" Option

Confident you'll benefit from this material, but not in a position at this time to afford the purchase?

This entire program is also available, at no direct cost, through a unique arrangement: the "I Will Volunteer" option. How this works is simple: you can receive all the material, free, simply by agreeing to spend a minimum of 2 hours on specifically helping other people within the next year, or fairly recently did.

That's it.

It's fully up to you when, how, or where to do this. Also left to your judgment is what "counts."

Guest speak at a public school. Run a workshop activity at a shelter. Organize a donations drive. Assist a non-profit with fundraising. Serve at a food kitchen. Participate in an important protest. Call and write representatives to support the USPS.

This is not required to be through a formal organization, and I'm not asking for any receipts or proof. Do this on your own in whatever way works for you. Help a neighbor who temporarily needs additional assistance. Pick up litter in your local park. Find some way to assist someone who you don't expect will be able to help you in return.

Worried or feeling unsure as to whether you'll be able to get yourself to follow through on this? Fortunately, that's literally what this material exists to address. Apply techniques from this content to search out and pick a way to help others, use the same techniques to sort out timing or other logistics, and to get yourself to do it.

If and when it works, you'll be more ready to get yourself to do this--and the many other things--you mean to do.

Let's even say, hypothetically, my particular approach here and this way of thinking doesn't help for you. Maybe you're worried, in that case, you might feel saddled with guilt, if it begins to feel those two hours are overbearing pressure and don't look likely to happen.

Well, I don't want that for you, either. In combination with that money-back guarantee below, if you choose to use this no-cost volunteering option, but it is not working well for you, consider yourself off the hook - can think of it as a refund on the volunteering promise. So if it does work, and helps you do it, then do it. Otherwise, no harm in having given it a shot, and nothing owed.

Here's the link, to use the I Will Volunteer license option:

https://gumroad.com/l/self-command/i-will-volunteer-2-hours-this-year

Or, the URL without that code on the end can remove the option, if you'd prefer to buy the material outright, not giving the volunteering aspect any further thought:

Normal (full price): https://gumroad.com/l/self-command/

Reminder: no proof or details are required to use the volunteering option. I'm trusting you to uphold your side of the deal, for the kids (or the homeless, local non-profits, etc.). People everywhere can use some help from another person who knows how to get themselves to do things.


Extended Money-Back Guarantee

If you purchase the audiobook and decide within 4 months of the purchase you're not 100% satisfied with it, and the difference it's making for you, simply let me know by email within that time, and I'll fully refund your payment through Gumroad. This leaves ample time to get completely through the material, to really test it out in practice, and to determine whether and how much it's helping. If this material doesn't work for you, I don't want your money for it.


Included Formats for Self-Command (Book 1 of 2)

After years of development, research, several rewrites, and integrating feedback from testing with dozens of people putting it into practice, Self-Command: How to Get Yourself to Do Things is ready.

Audiobook formats: DRM-free m4b, one-file mp3, also split into chapter mp3s (14 files)

Transcript formats: epub, mobi, azw3, plain text, PDF

Run time: 4 hours 54 minutes

Because this is self-published, to preserve authenticity and author control, it's only available here on Gumroad.


Bonus Example 1 of 2: Spreading Out Tasks

Self-Command is about how to get yourself to do things. Here's a quick demonstration of one way to flexibly, and easily, divide up the things you're getting yourself to do, making it easier to focus on one at a time.

This particular method isn't from the audiobook - but it pairs with it well!

Bonus Example 2 of 2: Task Interrupt


Self-Calm - Bundled Content (Added June 2020)

A complete second audiobook and ebook has been added.

It's a new, more accessible version of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Several parts of Self-Command reference this classic Stoic text for its influence on the techniques and thinking in the main audio program. This material covers additional points on sorting our thoughts to be less overwhelmed by regret, sorrow, anger, and fear.

The source material this is based on originated as two decades of notes the Roman emperor made to himself, now in public domain, mostly in bite-sized reminders or reflections on what he learned from his philosophy tutors, civic leaders, stories popular in his time, and his firsthand experiences in dealing with his unusual responsibilities. The original text has been thoroughly rewritten to modernize it, lightly updated for less dated examples, and tweaked throughout to make it easier for a modern listener to follow it more easily than existing public domain or scholarly editions.

Contrary to modern use of the word "stoic," the emphasis and strategy in this material is not on suppressing or ignoring intense feelings, but instead deals with taking a pragmatic perspective to help us think more clearly through times of stress, to live and act in a way that's more consistent with how we mean to be.

Though different in style, tone, and approach, this material pairs well with Self-Command. Whereas Self-Command focuses mainly on the external side of taking near-term specific actions, Self-Calm complements that by dealing more with untangling some common long-term internal barriers and anxieties which otherwise normally can bind us up.

This full second audiobook is included as a separate download alongside Self-Command, covering an additional 7 hours 11 minutes of audio run-time, or 251 standard pages in ebook form. This version of the text is not word-for-word, however the material is not abridged. Original paragraph numbers have been left in the ebook to easily compare or look up related parts in any available translation.

The friends and family license defined above does apply to this content as well. You are welcome and encouraged to share it directly with anyone in your life who you believe will find it useful. If you're mainly here for Self-Command but know someone who may be interested in Self-Calm, or vice versa, feel free to send your friend, family member, or coworker the other--or both!


Responses to Self-Calm

"I started my second listen through of Self-Calm. I can honestly say that the thoughts it provoked have contributed to a marked improvement in life as to how I cope with stress. Thank you for making this."

-Dmitri Roujan


"I sincerely appreciate your time and energy that went into this. I have always been very high strung that each of us need to maximize every second of every day since time is the only resource we can’t get back. While reading it, I could feel myself relaxing a little bit. It allows me to be much more functional and not so paralyzed. I’m starting to look at things differently than the way I had grown up with and into a way that makes more sense to me."

-Cassidy Noble


"Self-Calm lives up to its name. It takes on stoic concepts in clear concise language which I found was a helpful and centering way to start my days. For someone who is familiar with other modern stoic voices like Ryan Holiday but unfamiliar with the original text, this book helped flesh out my knowledge of the topic without feeling bogged down by historical language. Self-Calm helps give perspective to the common trials of life."

-Erin McCarty


"I'm going to keep re-reading it again and again as I did with the version of Meditations I had (Gregory Hays version). This makes the content of Meditations much more accessible because it's written in a much simpler and modern language. Looks good on the Kindle too!"

-Randy Tan


"I'm struck by the great sound quality! The mic and voice are nearly flawless, I love the relaxed vocal speed, sounds so professional."

-Christer Kaitila


Included Formats for Self-Calm (Book 2 of 2)

After years of development, research, several rewrites, and integrating feedback from testing with dozens of people putting it into practice, Self-Command: How to Get Yourself to Do Things is ready.

Audiobook formats: DRM-free m4b, one-file mp3, also split into chapter mp3s (13 files)

Transcript formats: epub, mobi, azw3, plain text, PDF

Run time: 7 hours 11 minutes

Because this is self-published, to preserve authenticity and author control, it's only available here on Gumroad.


For more information about Self-Calm, a preview of the audio from it, a couple more reader/listener testimonials, or even to pick up the whole ebook-only (without the audiobook) at no cost, visit https://Self-Calm.com

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  • 2 full audiobooks, including ebook/text versions of each, with friends-and-family sharing. Note: if the "i-will-volunteer-2-hours-this-year" code is in the URL, the "I Will Volunteer" Option terms below apply.
  • Run Time4 hours 54 minutes (Self-Command), 7 hours 11 minutes (Self-Command), 12 hours total
  • Audiobook FormatsDRM-free m4b, one-file mp3, also split into chapter mp3s (14 files for Self-Command, 13 files for Self-Calm)
  • Transcript Formatsepub, mobi, azw3, plain text, PDF

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Self-Command: How to get yourself to do things, plus Self-Calm (based on Meditations by Marcus Aurelius)

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