Browsing Category



Why I still use Google Plus

Computers at work

Back in 2011, Google launched a social network that was poised to be a “Facebook killer.” I joined the wave of marketers that adopted Google Plus, and briefly considered abandoning Facebook.

Six years later — Facebook dominates our lives more than ever and G+ is widely viewed as a failure. I however, use Google Plus every day and find it an important part of my productivity.

Why I still use G+

I don’t use Google Plus as a social network, but rather as a convenient bookmarking tool that saves me a ton of time every day.

Like most people, I have a habit of getting easily distracted online — but G+ helps me stay focused in the moment by allowing me to quickly save interesting articles and websites so I can return to them later.

And I actually do this — when I’m stuck in line somewhere, I will open the G+ app on my phone and find what is basically my “to read” list. If I am signed into Google Chrome, things that I posted to my Google+ profile will float to the top of search results so I can find them later.

Two things that make this work:

  1. It’s easy: When G+ launched, it came with a wave of tools like an app and Chrome browser plugin. Every major WordPress theme also integrated G+ buttons, so it is very easy to post something to your G+ profile. I also use Buffer app to simultaneously send articles to G+ and real social networks.
  2. You won’t bother anyone: The lack of people on G+ is also an asset — unlike Facebook and Twitter, I never have to worry about cluttering anyone’s feed on G+. It’s like my own little notebook of things that I find interesting.

I recommend giving “Google Plus as bookmarking tool” a try — it significantly improved my productivity by giving me more control over when I consume interesting content.

Books Marketing Thomson Reuters

Machiavelli and Marketing

Computers at work

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli is one of my favorite books. I re-read it constantly.

This Italian political treatise is about 500 years old, but contains a lot of insights into human behavior that translate well into modern life, particularly politics and marketing.

I recently thought of my favorite passage from The Prince during an awful client meltdown.

This situation will be familiar to many of my digital marketing friends:

  1. The client previously had significant engagement on their blog and social media.
  2. Organic visibility fell off now that Facebook and other social networks started pushing paid ads.
  3. The client doesn’t want to spend money on social media advertising, and blames your firm for supposedly providing subpar content.
  4. A competitor comes out of the bushes, and makes unrealistic promises of organic reach and other snake oil remedies.
  5. Client is now pissed.

When dealing with a client who refuses to accept digital marketing changes, I think about Machiavelli’s warning to leaders who face resistance to change: Continue reading “Machiavelli and Marketing” »

Life Productivity

Why Keeping Up With The Joneses Isn’t Worth It

Highland Park Mansion

About those Joneses…

I often occasionally find myself distracted by the Joneses – those frenemies with glamorous careers, clothes, bodies, blogs, Instagram feeds, etc.

This leads to the occasional happy-hour griping, which my friend Jill often shuts down –
“Remember that for all of your “troubles” you are still in an elite position,” Jill says.

And *sigh* Jill is right.

The Struggle Isn’t Real – I have a law degree from a top school, whereas only a third of Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 have completed bachelor’s degrees or higher, and only 8% of that group had completed a master’s degree or higher.

Most of my coworkers and I make well above the national median for income as well. Continue reading “Why Keeping Up With The Joneses Isn’t Worth It” »


Grin and Bear It

Marisa Peer

Perhaps productivity is just a mind game?

British therapist Marisa Peer has an interesting take on productivity and willpower – she says that the secret to achieving your goals is effectively communicating with your mind.
“When you collaborate with your mind and tell it what you want, then you get what you want.”
Four things you need to know about the mind:

  1. Your mind does what it thinks you want it to do. If you haven’t got what you want, then you are not properly collaborating with your mind.
  2. Your mind is hardwired to move toward pleasure and away from pain.
  3. The way you feel about things is only about 1) the pictures you make in your head, and 2) the words that you say to yourself.
  4. Your mind is programmed to prefer the familiar. If you want to succeed, you have to program your mind to treat unfamiliar things as familiar.

I had some experiences with these principles during my first winter in Minnesota. Initially, I wore insane amounts of layering (long-johns, 3 pairs of socks, etc.) because I thought the cold was going to be so awful.

Blizzard in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My car was buried.

Blizzard in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My car was buried.

Continue reading “Grin and Bear It” »

Productivity Thomson Reuters

Other People’s Monkeys

I spend a lot of time thinking about monkeys at work.

One of my favorite time management concepts is “Who’s got the Monkey?” by William Oncken, Jr. This time management classic is targeted at managers, but I think this time management skill works great for non-managerial employees too.

The author uses the “monkey on your back” metaphor to describe how we assign tasks to each other. The “monkey” belongs to whoever has the next move.

You typically have a monkey on your back when someone has a task that you agree to take on, or a problem that you agree to look into. You get the monkey because the burden is on you to act.

The monkey doesn’t jump back to the other person until you complete your task and the next move is theirs.

Other people’s monkeys can quickly pile up and prohibit you from focusing on your own priorities.

Monkeys from bosses and customers are inevitable, (and part of your job to deal with), but monkeys from peers and subordinates can sabotage your performance. Continue reading “Other People’s Monkeys” »