In Times of Uncertainty, Refine Your Purpose

‘In times of great uncertainty refine your purpose.’

That was the inspiration that startled me awake one morning last week, a few days after we felt a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that shook our house for 30 seconds.

The shaking of the earthquake was tame in comparison to many other tragic events across the globe, but the circumstances of the last few weeks and the morning inspiration to refine my purpose was startling.

I keep asking, ‘Am I in a movie? Is this all for real?’

No, and yes. Life has indeed changed in some real ways and I found myself reflecting on three words:

  1. Learn
  2. Serve
  3. Build

I will tell you more about my morning inspiration in a moment, but first, two thoughts:

    If you haven’t already, now is the time to get things in order, to organize, to prioritize and to plan.Every day I do that in my Todo Cloud app. I began the practice in 2015 and since then, I attribute so much good to my use of Todo Cloud. I put all my ideas into Todo Cloud. Some are dumb and will never get done, but others will change the world and Todo Cloud is where they gather. It is there that I sort, prioritize, discard and proceed to track my work every day and it is there that great things begin to happen.
    Todo Cloud has even become my retrospective digital work journal. Yes, not only does it remind me of things to do, but it also tracks things that never made it into Todo Cloud until they were done. Todo Cloud is my complete system of productivity for planning, tracking and oh yes even for remembering and . . . we have lots of ideas about how to improve the recounting or reporting on work completed.

    I hope you are using the app and if you aren’t, what is holding you back? The price is less than a couple’s dinner out and even in uncertain times, an investment of $29.99 USD is money well spent. Invest in yourself and we’ll teach you how to use it.

    Plus, we need your investment. If you want more features, subscribe. Tell a friend. Give us a 5-star review. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel. Post a demo of the product. Tell us what to fix. We are listening and acting.

    People want dark mode. They want an Apple Watch. They want attachments. So do we! But, our bootstrapped budget needs a kick in the tail so we can fund that work to happen faster. We have to increase revenue and you can help by subscribing and we are contemplating how long-time users may be able to fund specific improvements in partnership with us.

    We have made huge strides in the last 8 months and we are battling to deliver value that makes a difference. Yes, some competitors have the things we lack but don’t forget what sets us apart like recurring tasks, cross-platform sync, an intuitive interface, powerful customization, and awesome support.

    Right now, we are the underdog, but we have a soul and you know our names and we are building the product the way you want it. Root for the underdog with your wallet.


    We have pushed out some awesome updates lately. Make sure all your apps are updated. Watch this Getting Started video and subscribe for Youtube updates. Then use all of the features in the product. Use the chapter markers to skip ahead. Turn on the caption in your language. Tell us What you think.

Todo Cloud Youtube

Because our goal is to share ideas that inspire you to do more of the things that matter most in life, let me share more about my inspiration to ‘refine my purpose.’


For me, this call-to-action to ‘refine my purpose’ was more about revisiting my priority system than it was to change it, to think about the way I valued my time and effort to ensure my day’s effort mattered.

And so, I did some reflecting on these three purposes that represent my prioritization criteria and then I reviewed my tasks against the criteria by asking three questions.

If I could say yes about the task fulfilling that purpose, then I proceeded. If it didn’t, I abandoned the task. It was that simple. Below I will give you a few examples of tasks that made it into my week.

  1. LEARN — Do my activities make me a better person?
    This last week I learned to be more tolerant as I watched Jojo Rabbit, an irreverent albeit brilliant satirical comedy focused on a 10-year old boy and a 15-year old girl tackling issues of hate, bigotry, and cruelty between two groups of people and the boy’s heart changes. Together, they dance to celebrate freedom. It made me more tolerant.I watched Saving Capitalism, a documentary tackling topics of political influence as power has shifted from the people to big business. Despite years of my own apathy, I became convinced that I must become politically active if I want to make a difference. Otherwise, my voice will be drowned out.
  2. SERVE — Am I giving time to the people that matter most?The words of Mother Teresa lingered in my mind this week as mentioned by one of my heroes, Dr. Devi Shetty in a documentary I co-produced. She said, ‘The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.’

    Because of those thoughts, and because prayer still matters, I created a prayer roll with the names of people that were on my and my family’s mind. I said their names and asked God to help them and then I put their names on a whiteboard so I could plan out things I could do to serve them.

    That led me to write a long-form birthday wish to my niece—first ever of the sort. I helped my son submit 16 job applications. I helped my daughter to fix a light. I made time to upgrade my child’s cello. I made calls and sent text messages to my parents and a few friends.

    The point: I took actions to serve the people that came to mind, but the names and service opportunities only came to mind because I gave time to think about the people that matter most. Only then did inspiration happen.

  3. BUILD — Am I making the world a better place?
    The mission of building Todo Cloud is tied directly to this last purpose, and it is accomplished as you all collectively do more of the things that matter most. This last week, I spent loads of time thinking about improved task note formatting and Apple Watch capabilities: on-the-go notifications, information referencing and quick Siri enabled voice entry.Outside of my work on Todo Cloud, I also thought about my impact on education, a cause I have cared deeply about for 30+ years. It was amazing to see my children doing school from home. Their teachers are embracing technology to teach and they used video to teach my children dance, Spanish and cello, among other things.

    The net effect of my ‘refine your purpose’ inspiration led me to spend more time on the things that matter most. We hope the same for you. Let us know your thoughts about this newsletter. Was there something insightful here that improved your work?

Stay safe and may you find peace in your circumstances.