Productivity Booster

11 Little Secrets

Going through the draft bin I had a note about 11 Little Secrets from Christopher S. Penn, my co-host on Marketing Over Coffee. Check out his list of 11 things that can make you more productive. None of them are earth shattering, but when applied can deliver significant results.

Here are some things that help me:

  1. Get enough sleep – the goal is to be able to live without an alarm clock, which may be more wishful thinking than reality. You’ll find that if you pay more attention to getting adequate rest you won’t get sick as often and I find that when I am more tired, my patience suffers.
  2. A place for everything – Being organized saves time in the long run, my keys are always in the kitchen near the door. I never lose time looking for my keys.
  3. Travel Bag – I have a second set of the things I need when I travel. Rather than keeping a list or possibly forgetting stuff, the bag always has my chargers, toiletries and an outlet extender in it.
  4. The Calendar – Where it all happens. Quarterly goals get broken into monthly and weekly chunks, the calendar is where you allot time to make your plan happen. By scheduling the important stuff first you won’t get crushed by the tyranny of the urgent.
  5. Quicken – Managing cash flow and being able to accurately forecast expenses is invaluable
  6. Avoid the white stuff – flour and sugar. This alone will allow you to drop weight at will.
  7. You need more than one monitor – Having a laptop with a docking station that lets you use a second screen is a huge productivity boost. As I write this post I can grab affiliate links from the other window and refer back to Chris’ original post.
  8. Notes – Between your calendar, a shopping list, and the draft bin for your blog, you should never have to remember anything. Write it down and leave your brain free to be creative or solve difficult problems, not “remember the milk”
  9. Media On Deck Circle – Have a couple of movies, books, and music playlists ready for when you travel. Running around the night before you leave trying to get a 2GB file down from iTunes is not always easy.
  10. Buy the tools – Anytime something breaks, consider learning how to fix it. If you know how to fix a leaky pipe or repair your own cellphone you not only save money, you are no longer at the mercy of others
  11. Buy Cheap, Buy Twice – This was the motto at a ski shop I worked at in High School. Yes, you can get the cheap one, odds are it’s also the crappy one. Yes, the Honda Lawnmower is a lot more expensive, but ask around and you’ll hear the stories of people that have had them for 20 years. Nothing’s worse than getting the cheap drill from Home Depot and having it crap out when you need it.
Daily Life

Operation Comix Relief

With the holidays gone I wanted to give some ink to Operation Comix Relief. Chris runs this non-profit organization and is nearing ten years of sending comics to soldiers around the globe – approaching 2,000 packages!

With year end approaching I sent over a check as part of my charitable donations goal for the year and he sent me an email back thanking me personally and said that I enabled 15 packages to go out over the holidays.

If you value the freedom we enjoy that was earned by others and could spare a few moments you could make a big difference to those serving throughout the world (especially those in hospitals), by visiting Chris’ site and clicking on the Paypal link to make a donation.

Daily Life

Mind Mapping

In the Marketing Over Coffee LinkedIn group MindMaps came up as a topic. We talked about it this week and I said that I’d share more than I normally show in my Quarterly Review posts.

Here’s a full screenshot (click it for full size) with my gory details removed:

Here’s a zipped file if you have MindManager, or an exported Word Doc.

The process is simple – at the beginning of the year think about what you will accomplish on four fronts:

  1. Family
  2. Personal
  3. Professional
  4. Financial Goals

You’ll probably find that you have many of these quadrants already full of items, and that’s fine, it’s good to be able to give yourself some credit for your dumptruck full of stress that you’ve been taking for granted.

Some notes:

Family – Remember that your life is juggling, but not all the balls are the same. Your family is one of the glass ones, you drop that and it will never be the same. It doesn’t have to take all your time, but it does need to be first in your planning.

Personal – Here’s your one shot to pick something fun to do. Fitness also sets here, you’ve only got one body so you need to plan for it to last a while.

Professional – This will be different for everyone, but my mix has been the current job, side projects, and keeping your personal brand strong.

Financial – After the sands of time have blown away nobody will care about a few thousand bucks, but you do need to put some food on the table today. If you’ve been using Quicken, it’s pretty easy to forecast this stuff.

So from here, you need to check in at least once a month, better yet have a day once a week (Sunday nights tend to work well), where you look at your upcoming calendar and make sure you’ve made time for the big stuff.

Every quarter, update the scorecard to see how things are going. If you’ve got anything big planned please tell me about it, I’m still trying to fill my 2011 card.

Daily Life

Man’s Best Friend

My blogging holiday is over, having hit my 52 post goal before Thanksgiving I’ve been playing around with a bunch of other projects including a new laptop (and workflow) for me, and dumping 28 tons of gravel into a half filled root cellar in the garage (but that’s another post).

The first day of the new year was not a happy one here. Carin’s dog Hannah had reached 15 years old and has not been doing well for a couple of years. She went deaf about 3 years ago, and had a tumor removed two years ago. As we were driving out to see our family on New Year’s Day, even with her in the way back of the car I could see that a small growth she had in her mouth had exploded.

We had been preparing for this for a long time but it’s still so sad when the day arrives. Carin got her as a puppy 5 years before we started dating, and I used to joke that she took care of her until I showed up.

I’ve had many dogs and she was by far the smartest. Many of them would get their toys when told to, but you could say “No, the Blue one” and she would go back for the right one. Sadly, she is survived by Carter, who walks into things all the time.

We miss her, but it’s good to know that she’s no longer in pain, but the house still feels kind of empty.