Category Archives: Tips

It’s OK To Ask For Advice

Today I learned a few lessons and potentially eased some workday stress. I thought I’d share my experience here in the hopes it could help you too!

Here’s my story: Every week at work I have a very time consuming, detail oriented project. It is easily my least favorite part of the week and takes several hours to complete. It also happens to land on Friday at a busy and stressful time.

Week in and week out I dreaded Fridays knowing this task was looming. Today I decided to do something about it.

I sent a group email to a bunch of people that do what I do at other radio stations within our company. These people are spread out around the country and are faced with the same task each Friday.

The purpose of my email was to share the workflow I use weekly and to see if others had input on how I could streamline the process.

It didn’t take long and the replies started coming in. Some expressing the same frustrations I had and others offering really great suggestions. One even took the extra effort to type up detailed instructions on what he does. Some told me I should automate my process completely by using a service made by companies like SDLC Partners and others.

Before the end of the day I had gained some knowledge and came away with two ways to potentially cut the time spent on this task in half! That’s a definite win for me… but I wasn’t the only winner.

I got a couple emails sent only to me thanking me for asking for advice. Turns out they picked up some timesavers in the email exchange too!

So what did I learn today?

  1. That my way isn’t always the only way… or the best way.
  2. That you’ll never know unless you ask. I could have asked months ago and eliminated a lot of stress.
  3. That if I have a question about something… somebody else probably has the same or similar one.
Never assume you know it all. Ask questions. - Lailah Gifty Akita Click To Tweet
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Smartphone Camera: A Useful Tool

Smartphone cameras are great.  They are quick, convenient, and always with us.  Smartphone cameras have been the only cameras my wife and I have used to document our daughters over the past few years.

There are other ways to use your smartphone camera besides taking pictures of your family, food, and memorable moments.  You can take pictures of things you need to remember and get right.

In the past few weeks my wife and daughters have taken pictures of several things and sent them too me.

I needed to get batteries for our digital thermometer so my wife texted me a picture of what we needed.  That made it easy to get replacements.

Energizer batteries

My oldest wanted to use some of her commission money on makeup so she sent me to the store with a picture of what she wanted.  It’s a good thing too… otherwise I would have bought the wrong thing!

Urban Decay package

I take pictures of things I need to get but would probably forget the exact item and size…. like dance tights for my girls.

Tights

You can even take pictures of items and price tags to research later!

Fender in store price tag Justice swimsuit pricetag

What are some ways you’ve turned your smartphone camera into a useful tool?

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Saving Time & Getting Productive

Recently I’ve been spending some time figuring out ways to get better organized and more productive. What I discovered is 3 very useful tools to help.

Computer and smartphone

The first is Dashlane. I’ve known for a while that I needed to take my online security more seriously. I need to learn more about how virtual private networks could help me, but for now Dashlane is helping me.

It’s an online password generator and manager. There’s a free plan and a paid plan. I got a year of the premium service free but can already see the value in paying the $40 yearly fee when my trial is up. It’s already saved me a ton of times and made my online accounts more secure.

computer monitor eye

The next way I’m getting organized and getting more done is by utilizing IFTTT. It’s a computerized way to organize and automate just about any task you can think of.

IFTTT stands for If This Then That which can be easily translated to tasks: If This happens Then That should happen. I scan through their website searching for new ways (recipes) that I can utilize the service the way a shoe fan scrolls through Zappos!

Computer Keyboard Closeup

IFTTT is free. Here are just a few of the ways it’s helping me out:

Whenever I share a a picture on Instagram I have IFTTT tweet it out. If you use Instagram’s built in Twitter sharing it just shares a link. IFTT shares your picture… so it’s likely to get seen more.

I also use IFTTT to track the hours I spend at work and to remind me if I have missed phone calls to return. These examples barely scratch the surface of what you can do with IFTTT. You really need to check it out for yourself!

The other piece in my getting organized puzzle is Todoist. Todoist is a way to create lists of tasks and mark them off as you complete them. This is right up my ally as I like lists almost as much as I like checking things off lists.

There are iOS and Android apps as well as Chrome browser extensions so you’ll always have your tasks with you. One thing that Todoist does is to ad a gaming element to your lists with karma points.

The more tasks you do and the more consistent you are in doing them the higher your karma points go. I’ve only been using Todoist for a few days but I will say this has kept me motivated.

Todoist has both free and paid premium plans. I just started a free 6 month trial of the premium plan and already plan on paying the $29 yearly fee when my trial is up.

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them. - David Allen Click To Tweet

These are some of the ways I’m getting organized and getting more done. What are some of the tips and tricks you use?

(BTW, the way I’ve gotten free trials of Dashlane, Todoist, and several other online options is though AppSumo.)

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