Archive for 'Wrk'
Posted on 26. Jun, 2010 by Brett.
NOTE: If you didn’t read my post from Thursday night, you need to read that first, or this won’t make sense. Read it here.
Wow! I am blown away! At midnight on Thursday night I kicked off a little fundraising campaign to help bring clean water to Kenya. I honestly didn’t know if anyone would get behind it, but I thought it was worth a shot. Well, it exceeded my expectations! Many of my friends stepped up and helped raise more than $2266 for the cause!
Also, I won the ipad! Like I said, I’m going to give it away and do a random drawing from the pool of people who gave. Still working through the details of how that’s going to work, but know that it will be done with integrity (will do a video of the drawing and post it to Youtube). I should be able to do this in the next couple of days.
I’ve tried to thank everyone who gave but hear me say it again, thank you. Ultimately, this was not about me, Twitter, blogs, or ipads. It was about all of us answering the call to use what we have to help others. Most of you are like me in that we feel incredibly blessed. With everything in me I want to know that I stewarded my stuff well. I want to know that I didn’t ignore the cry of the helpless.
I’ll be giving more updates next week, but I just wanted to stop and say
Posted on 10. May, 2010 by Brett.
1. Using my laptop battery in my favor - If your laptop is a couple years old like mine, then your battery probably has the lifespan of an Iranian bid for the winter Olympics. Mine lasts about an hour these days. But I’ve learned to use that in my favor. If I need to get something done, I’ll take my laptop to Starbucks without the charger. That way I know I’ve got exactly one hour to get it done. The clock is ticking and that limited timeframe channels my focus and forces productivity.
2. Taking the first step, first - When I sit down at my computer to get work done, 99% of the time I tell myself, “I’ll get started in a minute, right after I check facebook and Twitter.” Well 15 minutes turns into 30 minutes which turns into an hour which turns into me watching shark videos on Youtube. By then I’ve completely forgotten what I initially set out to do.
So I’m learning: Open my work files FIRST.
It’s okay to browse around online a bit before I get started, but if my Word or Excel or Photoshop file is open and on my desktop, it serves as a big flashing reminder of my goal.
3. Redeeming the downtime - I assume everyone does this, but maybe not. I’ve been trying to take all the predictable downtime in my life and redeem it with productivity. For example, while my gas is pumping, I clean out my car. When I’m waiting to get my haircut, I read Fast Company magazine. I have a friend who flosses at red lights. I have another friend who runs without an ipod and he uses that time to pray. My tendency is to fill these times with music or mindless Internet browsing, but I’m disciplining myself to make that time count.
4. Shortcuts, shortcuts, shortcuts - I’m always surprised when I see people not using keyboard shortcuts on their computers. Microsoft and Apple have built tons of time-saving tricks into the keyboard. Here is a list of Windows shortcuts and here is one for Apple shortcuts. These lists can be overwhelming, so don’t feel like you have to learn them all. I’m trying to expand my use of shortcuts, but if you’re a newbie, start with these five most common ones:
- CTRL S – Save
- CTRL A – Select all
- CTRL C – Copy the selection to clipboard
- CTRL X – Cut the selection to clipboard
- CTRL V – Paste
5. Checklist-mania - There’s a book that’s been circulating in our company that’s been making waves. It’s called the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. It’s all about the value of checklists–not the sexiest of topics, to say the least. The author is a surgeon and he explains how operating room errors have been dramatically reduced by incorporating detailed checklists into each procedure. Pretty simple concept, but no one does it. So I’m working on all sorts of checklists for work and personal life and it’s making a big difference in bringing a system to those areas where I normally wing it.
What are you doing to be more productive these days?
Posted on 06. Apr, 2010 by Brett.
I have no intention of starting a new job anytime soon, but if I did, here are 9 things I’d start doing immediately:
1. Humble myself – Humility is such an endearing trait and underrated in the business world. Walk in every morning with an attitude that says, “It is a ridiculous privilege that they pay me to come to this building every day.” Oh, and humble does not = timid pushover.
2. Serve like crazy - Intentionally seek out the most inglorious tasks in the office, the things that suck and no one wants to do. The things that drive everyone crazy. Do those things.
3. Ask questions about work - I’d ask 25-50 work questions a day. Seriously. By doing this, I accelerate the learning process tenfold. Most will passively wait, hoping to absorb what they need. Blah. That’s only good for sponges and girls in tanning beds. The people around you are like old rusty treasure chests of knowledge. Get out a crow bar and go to work with tons of questions.
4. Ask questions about people – People fascinate me. They have interesting lives and colorful stories they’re dying to share. But no one ever asks. No one. Activate joy in your co-workers by asking questions about them, their families, and their interests.
5. Smile a lot - And while I was at it, I’d high-five, hug, and yell some too. Just try it.
6. Work late - I’d work a lot, and I’d work late. If you haven’t figured this out yet, successful people don’t get that way by working from 9 to 5. It doesn’t matter how many hours they’re paying you for! How many hours does it take to get the job done, and then some? I don’t worry about becoming a work-a-holic. I worry instead about farting away my free time on fun, meaningless things. Of course, there has to be balance and I don’t ever want to neglect my family and friends. I’d invest lots (not all) of my free time back into my trade.
7. Tell my boss that my job is to make him rich – Not every day. But tell him this once. Mean it, and then go do it.
8. Subscribe to 10 blogs – If I hadn’t already done it, I’d subscribe to a blog reader like this one. Then I’d search for the top ten blogs in my field. Who are the top bloggers on commercial real estate, or accounting, or human resources? I’d subscribe to all those blogs and read them every day, first thing in the morning.
9. Follow 10 new people on Twitter – Like #8, I’d track down the top people in my new field on Twitter (trust me, they’re on there). I’d follow them. I’d watch who else they talk to. I’d read the links they post. I might even reach out to them and ask if they’d mentor me for 15 minutes a week via Skype. Yes it will feel awkward, and yes you should do it anyway.
What else would you do if you started a job tomorrow?
Posted on 03. Mar, 2010 by Brett.
Every now and then a reader of this blog will ask, “What exactly do you do?” Though I do make a small fortune off this blog–and by “a small fortune” I mean nothing–I still have a day job.
I took a job with a new startup company when I graduated college in 2005, and I’ve been there ever since. The name of the company is Booster. I was attracted to Booster because of the entrepreneurial feel and the integrity of the people involved. We do several different things but our primary offering is the Boosterthon Fun Run. The Boosterthon is a fitness and character-based fundraising program for schools. The founder of our company, Chris Carneal, and his wife, Lyndie, had the idea when they were in college at Samford University.
Booster helps transition schools away from “sales-y” fundraisers–gift wrap, cookie dough, candles, whatever. The Boosterthon is pledge-based, so that means there’s nothing to sell. And the best part is that we bring an enthusiastic team to campus to organize the whole thing and also teach students about fitness and character. That’s what I did for four years–leading a team, working on campus, and walking the halls of schools all over the south (130,000 miles on my car in three years!).
I’ve moved three times with Booster (Birmingham>Nashville>Atlanta). I landed in Atlanta in June, 2009, and have settled into a new role in our home office. My title is Lead Innovator, but my main role is brand manager where I help craft and tell Booster’s story. I also stay busy with lots and lots of project management–web, print, theme, and events.
When I first started, we served just a handful of schools. This year we’ll work with 250,000 students. It’s been fun to see that growth happen in the last five years. That growth has come directly from a strong company culture and ridiculous commitment to making Raving Fans of our clients. My love for business now (and inspiration for much of this blog) comes directly from hands-on experience with Booster. I love what I do and am excited about the direction we are headed. At our core we are a leadership development company, and we’re going to be rolling out some awesome new stuff in the next 6-18 months.
I genuinely feel like I work for the greatest company in the world, and I’m surrounded by leaders who demand integrity, draw out enthusiasm, inspire leadership, and require results. Every time our leadership team meets, I feel like the least talented person in the room. And I’m okay with that–usually, haha.
So that’s me. What about you? If you read this blog and we’ve never met, why don’t you shoot me a quick email telling me about yourself. I’d love to connect. (email@example.com)
P.S. This is my personal blog, and the views, opinions, and ideas I share here are not necessarily reflective of Booster.
Posted on 21. Jan, 2010 by Brett.
I’ve been trying to wring the water out of a sponge with ten broken fingers.
Sweating, stressing, feebly twisting that sponge around in agony. But I get nothing. No matter how great my effort is, my grip is just too weak.
The sponge is a day, and all the water is the maximum amount of productivity I can squeeze out of that day.
With every digital distraction I indulge, with every pointless task I engage, with every goofy bit of nonsense I drill into, a finger breaks and my grasp on that day weakens.
I’m learning: Inspect. Prioritize. Work. Repeat.
Inspect. Prioritize. Work. Repeat.
Inspect. Prioritize. Work. Repeat.
My work day can be a towering waterfall of tasks, projects, priorities, emails, appointments, phone calls, and relationships. Each item tumbling down the falls and gathering in a big pool of stress at my feet.
But I’m learning.
I’m learning to disengage from the urgent. That’s the tough part–turning down the volume on the swarm of howler monkeys wanting my attention. When I do that, the waterfall freezes in time. The scene goes quiet, I take a step closer, I squint my eyes, and I…
What am I looking at? What’s really important? What does my time window allow for? I write it down. After I inspect it, I judge the value of every item and how it aligns with my bigger goals, shifting and sliding my To-Do list around like a Rubiks-cube. That’s how I…
It’s fun to get underneath the Waterfall of Busyness and splash around and kick my feet. All the motion and noise and excitement make me feel important. But commotion isn’t productivity. I need to call a timeout–Inspect and Prioritize. And only then should I begin my Work. A few hours later, I Repeat it all over again.
And as I do that, the bones heal, the color comes back to my fingers, and I’m ready to strangle every ounce of goodness trapped in this day.
Posted on 07. Jan, 2010 by Brett.
Advertisers and marketers have always used subtle, psychological gimmicks to persuade to buy their products. Back when Miley Cyrus’s mega-hit, Party in the USA, was number one, I wrote about how that song is one big crockpot of teen marketing madness. Well now the fine folks at AT&T have given us a little fodder here as well. I noticed it last week in their anti-Verizon ad campaign featuring actor Luke Wilson…yes the same Luke Wilson from Old School. The purpose is to strike back at Verizon’s claim of a better, stronger network. Look at the picture below which is a snapshot from one of the commercials (If you can’t see that pic, click HERE).
On the left, you have the AT&T side, showing how their network’s superior downloading speed. The right side is the Verizon side and the download is creeping at a much slower pace.
Now notice the background.
First, the AT&T “side” fills about 2/3 of the left side of the screen. The Verizon side is decidedly smaller.
Also, the walls on the AT&T side are set much further back and provide for much more depth. On the Verizon side, the walls come up a lot closer, almost into the foreground.
By taking up 2/3 of the screen AT&T is subtly communicating that they are BIGGER. By setting the walls back on their side, they are communicating that they are DEEPER.
And isn’t that the whole point of this gazillion-dollar ad campaign? To convince us that AT&T’s network is BIGGER, DEEPER, MORE EXPANSIVE, and just all around better. Verizon ads show the bigness of their network with all those people following around that annoying guy with the thick-rimmed glasses. After all, more is better right? We’re Americans! Of course! This is AT&T’s counter, just a little more veiled.
Back in college when I was studying English, they taught us that every detail in a story is put there on purpose. The author doesn’t just add superfluous details. There IS a reason. Same principle at play in this commercial. But as a lifelong Verizon fan, I ain’t buyin’ it. Go build more cell towers AT&T and stop it with your shady ads. :)
Posted on 11. Nov, 2009 by Brett.
It started with Myspace, escalated with Facebook, and has peaked with Twitter. I’m talking about the friend landgrab–the race on social networking sites for the most friends or followers or buddies or sidekicks or whatever they’re called. These websites provide what our insecure souls crave–tangible and numerical confirmation that we’re…
But as I scan my friend list like an Outback menu, I wonder how much depth is really there. How many of these people do I really know? Of 1000 facebook friends, how many know my struggles? How much real community is taking place on Twitter?
It feels like everyone is trying to amass an army of “followers” who would take them out for coffee. But I think we ought to be more concerned with how many would take a bullet for us instead.
Taking out to coffee vs. taking a bullet for us…hmm.
Churches full of coffee-takers don’t change the world. Businesses that create coffee-takers don’t thrive. Individuals surrounded by coffee-takers feel empty and shallow.
Jesus preached to the coffee-takers but he spent the majority of His time with the bullet-takers–12 men who he discipled with a holy intensity. He lived with these men–walking across deserts, fishing, sitting around the campfire. The disciples’ proximity to Jesus forged a canyon-deep love for him. It was those twelve men who went out and spread the Gospel and it eventually cost most of them their lives.
Focus your time and attention on loving and serving the people right in front of you so intensely that they would take a bullet for you if the opportunity came up.
Screw the coffee.
Posted on 06. Nov, 2009 by Brett.
All right friends, today is the big day! I’ve been working on this project for a couple of months now with my friend Josh McFall and we are extremely excited about it! The website is www.TheIronBowlisBetter.com. Josh and I are on a 21-day campaign to motivate Alabama/Auburn football fans to support this rivalry and support a good cause. We’re going to raise $54,000 to build a primary school in Angola, Africa. We are partnering with an amazing organization called Rise International. Check out what they do right HERE.
Since I know TRAPPSTR fans are the most educated, most passionate, and wealthiest readers online, I need you to go ahead and make a donation. You know you’ve been looking for something to do with that extra $1,000 lying around ;).
We’ll be updating the site several times a week, so go ahead and bookmark it and check back often. It’s going to be fun to see the thermometer go up as we get closer to kickoff.
Get fired up Iron Bowl fans!
Posted on 19. Oct, 2009 by Brett.
I’m just going to say it…
I’m really good at tying my shoes. Really good…
I am a shoelace-tying expert, a guru, a virtuoso, a prodigy. If shoe-tying were a sport, I’d be Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and Lebron James all rolled into one mass of talent and expertise.
I could tie my shoelaces anywhere–in a tree, on the space shuttle, on the back of a horse, in Paraguay or Panama, on top of the Eiffel Tower, amidst the din of battle. I could teach classes at Harvard on tying your shoelaces. You could blindfold me, and I’d still be able to tie my shoes. I could travel the world and lecture to huge arenas, pontificating on proper shoe-tying technique.
Though the act itself is a relatively complex combination of twists, turns, and finger gymnastics, I can tie my shoes with virtually no mental energy expended. I can’t recall one time I’ve had to concentrate to tie my shoes. Better yet, I can’t even remember tying my shoes once in the last month. It has become a totally brainless and effortless act, as natural as breathing.
How have I become such an expert on tying shoelaces?
Well by my calculations, I’ve tied my shoes more than 40,000 times in my life.
There is mounting research that the super-successful among us are simply those who logged thousands and thousands of hours of practice in their field, gaining more experience and outlasting the less determined.
How do you think unbelievable stories like this could be possible?
What dream or goal are you pursuing? You aren’t just going to luck into it. Repetitiveness is good…
So start tying.
Posted on 14. Oct, 2009 by Brett.
I have a friend named Rachel. She’s really smart–so smart she made a 35 on her ACT. She’s finishing up her Phd at a prestigious university in New England. I’d bet her 12 year-old self was smarter than my 27 year-old self.
I have another friend named Chris. Everyone wanted to be like him back in the fraternity. He could slam dunk a basketball and he’s one of the funnest guys I know. He makes me wish I wasn’t always so serious.
I also have a friend, Billy, who played professional baseball and later emceed huge events for big corporations. Oh yeah, and he can freestyle rap like freakin’ Eminem….
My friend, Kelly? She remembers everyone’s birthday and she listens…no, really listens. When you’re sad, she’ll cry with you. She really cares. Not me. I walk through life feeling like the only person I care about is my-own-stinkin-self.
Then there’s JC. He’s from Guatemala, so he has a cool accent. Oh yeah, and he also helped create some of the graphics for the Chronicles of Narnia movie. Now he produces videos that would blow your mind.
I have two older brothers. Both of them are incredibly talented. One’s a philosophy/theology expert who can quote Descartes and Plantinga and Lewis. The other is a master craftsman and people from all over call him to come and build things for them. And they’re both married with kids. Little bro? Er…Notsomuch…
There’s also these guys named Tyler and Tripp. I met them last week at this blogger thing. They have successful blogs and make hilarious videos that millions of people laugh at. They make me wish my blog was funnier.
And then there’s my boss Chris. He’s a leader. No, I mean a L-E-A-D-E-R. If William Wallace, Abe Lincoln, and John Maxwell had a baby…it’d be Chris. He’s started a zillion companies and he’s super extroverted and enthusiastic. He makes me want to brandish a sword and conquer stuff.
Cemeteries are filled with men who marveled from a distance at the shiny instruments God did not give them all the while failing to see the grand piano collecting dust in the corner.
God protect my covetous heart. Blow off the dust. Sit next to me. Close.
Teach me to play.