Go Beyond the Checklist

Checklist IILet it be known that I’m a fan of checklists. There’s a certain excitement felt by checking off items as they’re completed.

Recently I met with several managers in the company regarding a specific project. Each of them, myself included, owned a portion of the project. One by one they told me they had completed their portion. Each person truly had checked off their assigned task.

However, the overall project wasn’t progressing.

Too much focus had been placed on the tasks – and not the overall goal of the project. Each step was being done but without a visual of what needed to be achieved.

Communication, coordination and a drive for project success (not just completion) were lacking.

Look at your to-do list this week – which tasks are achieving higher, overarching company goals?

I’m reviewing my checklist, updating my priorities, and emphasizing success that exceeds my individual tasks. We’ll see what improvements this makes over the next few weeks.

3 Apps to Keep You Motivated

Motivation appsSix months ago I decided it was time. Time to get serious. Time to stop making excuses and start making real change. Time to get in shape! Yeah, that’s what everyone says in January, right!? Most people want better health, more energy and to feel a sense of accomplishment. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with it for six months now. I’ve lost 25 pounds, built muscle and increased my overall stamina.

My focus has primarily been strength training with some cardio. And, for most of the time I’ve done a pretty good job eating a healthy diet.

It hasn’t been easy, but there are a few key factors that have contributed to successfully keeping me motivated.

Having a workout buddy has been crucial. Rain or shine he picks me up at 6:15 am to head to the gym. Thursdays he’s quite chipper as those are dedicated “Shoulders day” for us. For the record, I hate shoulders day. #Ihateshouldersday

Technology has been my other secret weapon to staying consistent with both daily workouts and healthy eating. While there are countless apps available I’ve found three apps especially beneficial for staying motivated. All three apps have a free versions and are available for Android and iOS.

Make My Plate#3 Make My Plate

This beta app provides detailed meal planning, recipes, and shopping lists. Simply input the daily calories you’re targeting – including macros, and the app creates three meals, plus two snacks daily. Even if you don’t follow it religiously the app gives plenty of meal ideas, so you don’t get stuck eating plain chicken and broccoli every day.

One of my favorite features is the Restaurants sections. Make My Plate gives you suggestions and nutritional information for forty national fast food, fast casual and full-service restaurants. A perfect resource for when you’re on-the-go.

 #2 BodySpacebodyspace1-675x449.png

This app is an extension of the BodyBuilding.com website with articles, exercise tips and a supplement store. The app allowed me to pick a workout routine based on my fitness goals. It gives me a daily plan with detailed exercises including videos to ensure you use proper form while lifting to guarantee maximum results. From novice to pro that app has all the workout routines and advice you need.

#1 My Fitness Palmy_fitness_pal_logo

Now owned by Under Armour, this is my #1 app for keeping a daily food log of everything I eat. Helps me ensure I’m getting a high amount of protein, while keeping fats down and managing carbs effectively. I enter my weight on a weekly basis to visually see my progress. Yes, I even enter the cheat day calories so I know how much I’ve got to work off the next morning.

Motivational blog articles and recipes can also be found in the app. And of course, a link to buy Under Armour gear.

MyFitnessPal syncs with my FitBit to track my steps and approximate calories burned, adjusting my daily calorie intake from food. It’s pretty slick! I don’t track my workouts here, but the functionality exists.

Here’s the next six months of success!

DJ

 

How are you using technology to keep you motivated?

2016 BUCKET LIST

2016 BucketlistReally nothing too crazy this year, but still a lot I’d like to do. Not officially on this list but something I’d like to find a way to do is travel to this Brazil this year. it’s not exactly in the plans, but hoping to find a way and make it happen.

  1. Get a job
  2. Attend a trade show or marketing conference
  3. Give a public speech, talk or presentation
  4. Travel internationally
  5. Visit a new state
  6. Go on a trip with Melissa
  7. Travel to a soccer tournament for Brendon
  8. Travel to Arizona to visit my sisters
  9. Spend a day at the beach
  10. Go on a family campout
  11. Go to a zoo or aquarium
  12. Go Snorkeling
  13. Go stand up paddle boarding (lots!)
  14. Go on a family picnic up the canyon (roast marshmallows)
  15. Attend a play or musical
  16. Attend  a cultural festival
  17. Get a gym membership – for the first time in my life
  18. Lose weight – get down to 210 lbs
  19. Stick to a 90-day workout routine
  20. Go mountain biking
  21. Hike Timpanogos Cave
  22. Coach one of my kids’ sports teams
  23. Play on an indoor soccer team (again)
  24. Attend a Real Salt Lake game
  25. Have a water balloon fight
  26. Take the family sledding
  27. Go fishing with my boys
  28. Get off automatic mode on my DSLR
  29. Try a new food or new cuisine
  30. Try a new restaurant
  31. Take Melissa horseback riding
  32. Have a candle lit dinner with Melissa
  33. Help someone move in
  34. Help someone move out
  35. Finish the home office (it flooded again)
  36. Read 4 books
  37. Listen to 12 audiobooks
  38. Write 20 blog posts
  39. Reach 100 total blog followers (82 on Jan 1st)
  40. Gain 93 new Twitter followers (507 on Jan 1st)
  41. Write 2 chapters in a book
  42. Prepare a will

Notably absent from my list this year is to go ice fishing. I tried to add it three years in a row and it just never happened.

Happy 2016 – Hope you can do and achieve all of your goals or Bucket list items this year.

– DJ

Is Hubspot’s Inbound conference worth it?

GOPR0685_1442470760028_lowLast week Hubspot held its annual marketing conference in Boston, called “Inbound”. Inbound15 reportedly attracted 14,000 attendees, an increase of 40% over last year. The conference focused on the inbound marketing philosophy referring to marketing activities that attracts and draws customers in compared to more traditional push advertising tactics. #Inbound15

The conference consists of daily keynote speakers, bold talks, and breakout sessions. Additionally refuel areas contain power chargers, massage chairs and snacks (and coffee) to help visitors recharge both physically and metaphorically. Lunch is provided daily from a dozen local food trucks offering a wide variety of different cuisines.

This was my first time attending Inbound. Although I’ve participated in committees evaluating marketing automation platforms, I’m not currently a Hubspot customer.

This blog post is a multiple part series addressing the question:

“Is Hubspot’s Inbound conference worth it?”

Throughout the different sessions I took scrupulous notes. Rarely do I take notes specifically on what the presenter shows on their PowerPoint Presentation. If I like the PPT, I simply take a picture of it for future reference. My notes are more thoughts, inspirations, ideas, concepts, key takeaways and action items – relevant to me. The final day of the conference I received an app update for the Inbound15 app. The latest app update wiped out ALL of my session notes. Why do I mention this? Obviously, I’m still bitter for losing all my notes. Inspiration is like lighting – it strikes hard, fast and bright, but is gone in a flash. So unfortunately I have fewer thoughts to share than expected.

Here’s my main takeaway from Inbound15-

Thinking about the job I have now. Now think about 1, 2 or 3 years from now, what is my Keynote speech I want to give? Meaning, what do I want to achieve in the next year that would be Keynote speaker worthy? That’s my goal – to achieve something extraordinary, inspirational, amazing! Something worth sharing with an audience of like-minded professionals that can help then do more and achieve success in their jobs.

This is more than a takeaway. This is my QUEST!

So Hubspot, be ready to slot me into one of your sessions next year, because I’ll have an awesome story to share.

Until then, I’ve gotta go make it happen!

3 Tips for Managing Summer

window outsideSummer is here – warm weather, barbecues, and outdoor activities.

The beautiful thing about living in a state like Utah is the four distinct seasons. We enjoy cold snowy winters, mild springs, hot summers and cool falls. The downside, the joys of summer come and go very quickly.

Working during the summer months can prove challenging. With the kids out of school and late summer nights, there’s so much to do including swimming in pristine pools and retreating to clean mountain air (yeah, it’s a Utah thing). With so many fun things to do in the summer overworking yourself and your team seems… wrong.

So, you need to take the time to enjoy the season.

I’m not talking about personal time off (PTO) for vacations, but that’s important too. Instead I’m referring to the way to be highly productive at work, while enjoying summer.

The key then is to find the right balance between work and play. Yes, I’m still on this quest for balance.

3 Tips for Managing Summer:

  1. Accept it: Instead of fighting the situation, accept the fact that it’s summer. Life may run a little different for a few months. That’s okay – embrace it! That means not becoming frustrated. Enjoy this time of year.
  2. Take Advantage of the Weather: The allure of sunny skies and warm sunshine is tempting. Look for ways to get outside a bit. Examples include:
    • Offsite team lunches – a way to both get out of the office and get people offsite where they’re more inclined to relax a bit.
    • Visit key contacts – Jump in the car and go visit people. This may include top accounts, prospects, partners, or vendors. The extra rays will help boost your Vitamin D levels, while strengthening relationships in ways only possible through face-to-face meetings.
    • Take it Outside – A lot of heat and a little sweat will make you appreciate the refreshing A/C once back in the office. For example, eat your lunch at a park or take your 15-minute break by strolling outdoors.
  3. Switch-up Your Schedule: Instead of the normal 9-5 schedule, mix things up a bit to take advantage of summer weather.  Arrive early, stay focused, get a ton accomplished, and then leave early. You’ll get your work in and still have plenty of time for summer recreation late afternoon and evening. I find a ton can be accomplished from 7-9am, before most people have arrived at work. Another option to consider is requesting a few times during the summer to work 4-ten hour days, allowing for the occasional 3-day weekend.
    • Note: Make sure to clear it with your supervisor first – a good leader will see the wisdom in allowing you to do this, and may even decide to do the same.

Bonus Tip:

Plan for and Enjoy the Weekend: Don’t go to bed Sunday night thinking “Dang, I didn’t do anything all weekend long”. Plan ahead to spend weekends outdoors – enjoying the weather, having fun, being active and spending time with friends and family.

Maximizing summer can make it the best time for both your work life and personal time.

Now, get back to work – then feel free to take off a bit early today!

 

Photo cred: Idea go

The Work/Life Balance Myth!?

dragons and knightsDragons and unicorns sort of intrigue me. They are merely mythological creatures. They’re not real. Yet, each has created an eternal legacy around itself. Leprechauns, Minotaurs, and even Bigfoot and the Lock Ness Monster fall into this same category. Despite their fabricated nature, their “existence” is very alive and well. They live on and cannot die.

Fascinating!

The average full-time hourly employee works 2,080 hours a year; salaried employees generally far exceed the two-thousand hour mark. That’s 250+ days of work (after removing holidays and maybe a few vacation days). Of course, one has to factor back in the various weekend hours for business trips, checking emails, and finishing projects. Yes, as Americans we work… a lot.

At some point over the past several years a new term emerged most often referred to as… Work/Life Balance! It is described in many different ways and can take on many different forms. However, its general essence is understood to be the perfect union of one’s work life and one’s personal life.

Is Work/Life Balance real or another fictitious mythological creature?

The Minotaur is illustrated with the body of a man and the head of a bull. It is very easy to visualize because we know what a human body looks like and we know what a bull’s head looks like. (Oh yeah, in my mind the Minotaur has extra-long horns and wields a wicked sharp ax).

Similarly we know what work looks like, as referenced in the plethora of working hours mentioned about. We also know what our personal lives look like – all the stuff we do after leaving the office. Therefore we should be able to visualize this Work/Life Balance formation.

Somehow it’s not that easy.

Balance suggests equal weight is given to each component, or better stated the two components cannot be in opposition with each other. Furthermore, one’s personal life has to be independently healthy and happy. Same goes for one’s work life.

I’ve had jobs with great flexibility, company culture, and worked with amazing co-workers – but didn’t enjoy the job. The work itself wasn’t engaging or fulfilling. Everyone said it had great balance because it allowed “Life” to thrive even though the work part “suffered”. To me, that’s not balance.

Oppositely I’ve had jobs where I loved the work. However, other challenges around lower than expected earnings, difficult co-workers, or negative company culture caused these jobs to be less than satisfying.

So I get what Work/Life Balance should look like. I can even breakdown and understand the different components that make it possible. However, I’m still left searching to find it.

Will I eventually boldly declare Work/Life Balance’s reality?

Or will I endlessly search for the illusive entity?

If you have found it, let me know.

 

Image courtesy of saphatthachatf at FreeDigitalPhotos.net