video

[video] Travel baggie hack!

[watch Travel baggie hack on YouTube; running time 3:01]

Amazingly simple tip that has helped quell my (considerable) anxiety about arriving or departing without mission-critical dongles, USB cords and other electronic doodads when traveling.

Required:

  • the appropriately-sized zippy freezer bag for electronic crap
  • an index card and writing device

What you do:

  • make list of the crap that goes with your crap on index card
  • stick in bag
  • check list ITEM BY ITEM when packing on either end

As I show in the video, you want to account for all moving parts, as it were. So I don’t just list “remote”, I also list “USB stick for remote” and “hideous foam case for remote.” (Well, I abbreviate.)

And don’t forget: putting your name and number on all your stuff makes you a nerd, but it makes you a nerd with a much higher chance of being reunited with your crap if the two of you become separated.

Questions? Comments? Improvements? Leave them in the comments!

Thanks, and safe travels.

xxx
c

Tip via my pal Sean Bonner, who probably doesn’t use it anymore because he is a mad-crazy citizen of the globe and travels light.

[video] Roll your own “flix” queue

[Watch “Create your own ‘flix’ queue” on YouTube; running time 3:34]

I’m a big fan of Netflix streaming video, but there are also other groovy things on the Internet that I might want to watch sometime, “sometime” being “later, not now while I’m busy trying to stop procrastinating with these other five things and get back to work.”

As I say in the video, I used to just save videos to my delicious bookmarks, but I’d find myself forgetting to go there and look for stuff in the heat of the video moment. And because I lurve how easy and delightful it is to create nice-looking, well-behaved drop-down bookmark folders in Chrome, I experimented with storing them there, and found it made much more sense. I mean, I’m there, at the computer, usually about to be four feet away, doing Nei Kung or ten feet away, making lunch, and why not just have that stuff at the super-ready.

So if you cannot bear to watch video (I sympathize and empathize), here’s the drill:

  1. Create a folder in your bookmarks bar labeled something you’ll remember.
  2. Bookmark the video you want to save for later.
  3. Edit the title that propagates the bar (I like to have 00:xx first, then a spacer, then something just brief enough to quickly parse)
  4. If desired, get Virgo on that shit and drag your movie bookmark into ascending or descending order, time-wise.

That’s it!

Have fun, and if you use and like this (or modify it to like it better), please do let me know.

xxx
c

P.S. I know it is a totally crazy nutball thing, but as I was working on this video, Netflix went down. I KNOW.

* * * * *

Various & sundry:

If you’re a professional photographer, you should definitely get your shutterbug ass to Chicago for next week’s Midwest tour stop of Strictly Business 3, the outstanding biannual conference put on by the American Society of Media Photographers. Insane quantities of high-quality workshops, sessions and talks, including mine (mine…MINE!!!), “How to Make People Love You Madly: Selling Yourself in the Postmodern Marketplace.” April 1-3, the Allerton Hotel (tip-top-tap, old-timers!), Chicago.

As a past speaker at the Creative Freelancer Conference, I have a (not very) secret code to get you an additional $50 off the early bird registration, for a total of $80 off: CCW11. The CFC is back in Chicago, which is a lovely place for a conference, and if you’re a creative type who’s self-employed, I encourage you to take a look. Lots of great relationships have been born and blossomed at the previous three CFCs, and the information and personal attention is top-notch. (I make nothing on that link, baby, it’s all you.)

Finally, I’m DELIGHTED to be performing at this Sunday’s Tongue And Groove, Conrad Romo’s outstanding spoken-word showcase at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, 1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd., 90028. Six bucks, cheap; starts PROMPTLY at 6pm, and we’ve got a hard out at 7:30. OLD PEOPLE NIGHT. (Just kidding, I’m sure you’ll go out clubbing all night afterward.) The rest of the lineup: James Brown (This River), Jo Scott-Coe (teacher at Point Blank), Alan Berman, J. Keith van Straaten, with musical guest Juli Crocket and the Evangenitals (my new-favorite band name).

[video] Curbing (online) impulse spending

[Watch “Curbing (online) impulse spending” on YouTube; running time 2:24]

What this is:

Having taken quite the hiatus from earning money last year, even dealing with it, you might say, I’ve been getting very serious about becoming a grownup with money. I promise not to turn this blog into a big, long, snoozy preachfest, but as I think of little ideas that might be useful or fun to share, you know I’ll do it. Because that’s how I roll, baby!

In this video, I explain a little browser-bookmark action thingy I do to maintain some control where there might otherwise be impulse spending. Basically, it’s a semi-nerd version of creating a little distance between you and the purchase, to see if you really want it. You’re probably doing this anyway, because you are way smarter about curbing your impulses. As I say in the video, I’m not half-bad at it in real life, outside of bookstores and when there is delicious (legal) food around.

Some notes on this week’s video:

I got all CRA-A-A-AZY with ScreenFlow this time and taught myself two new tricks. See if you can spot ’em! (Just kidding, I learned how to make things bigger and smaller and how to make a spotlight thingy. I feel omnipotent and will probably try to chew through a car bumper now, just for fun.)

The site whose amazing stuff I’m lusting over is Tinkering Monkey. I want that Don lamp so bad I can taste it. (Tastes like car bumper! Rrrrrawr!) But the pendant, now that’s a nice, modest treat a lady could get for herself if she did a really good job at something-something, right?

Sigh. I can point fingers all I want, but I’m as much a product of consumer culture as anyone I’d be pointing at.

xxx
c

UPDATE [03/16/11]: I’ve removed the pendant from the menu bar because (drumroll) my friend Mike Monteiro surprised me with one at SXSW. Thank you, Mike! And I love you, little tinkering monkeys!

[video] Better yogurt through Post-It notes

[watch “Better Yogurt Through Post-It Notes” on YouTube; 3:03 minutes]

Like last week’s video, this crazy little how-to is more about systems thinking, viewing things though the lens of friction reduction, than it is a nutty one-off hack about closing browser tabs or sticking Post-Its on things. Actually, when you really think about it, most of my videos are about that, excepting the spicy ones.1

In this case, my points are two-fold.

First, when you get stuck, stop and think (after briefly raging at the heavens or whatever): what stuck me, and what might prevent that from happening again aside from my own deep feelings of frustration and personal inadequacy.

Second, for tasks or processes you tend to repeat, in my case, making tub after tub of yogurt, look for ways to streamline up to, but stopping short of, the point of ridiculousness. In this case, it cost me zippo to write out two sticky notes at once.

I guess there’s a third point, as well: a system that’s working is fine. You don’t have to change it! And as I hinted at in Point the Second, you don’t want to go too nutty with the tweaking. Keep the goal in sight, and remember: forest, not trees.

As to all the yogurt-talk, here is a fine explanation of our delicious yogurt, including how-tos for making it in a yogurt-maker or (gas) oven. They spell it with an “h”, but it works just fine down here in Canada South.

And here’s that SCD page on my site, because I keep taking links off the front page in my decluttering rampages.

Now, back to bed!

xxx
c

1I owe what little I’ve been able to absorb and implement on systems thinking to my friend and client Sam Carpenter, who literally wrote the book on it. It’s an easy and useful read, and the stuff is applicable to any line of work or area of interest in the physical world: kind of like uber-hacking. I wrote a review which you can read here. I also highly recommend Sam’s newsletter (sign up via his website) and not just because I taught him everything he knows about making that particular system work better. (Insert winky emoticon here.)

iPhone addy hack for introverts [video]

[watch “iPhone addy hack for introverts” on YouTube; 1:35 minutes]

This is so dirt-simple and so effective it will blow your mind. And you don’t even have to watch the video, although it’s kind of a cute one, complete with A SURPRISE PLOT TWIST, so maybe you might want to.

Here’s the deal: many, many introverts hate answering the phone. Hell, as far as I can tell, there are a fair number of extraverts who hate answering the phone. The phone sucks! Except when the phone is awesome, like when it hooks you up with your fave people who cheer you up and make your life nicer and better for five minutes.

So what you do is, dirt-simple, remember?, assign a nice photo to each person you need or want to talk to on your smartphone. Er, iPhone, I’m pretty sure you can do this with any phone that has a camera, but I’m Apple-centric and what do I know from other telephonic devices? Nothing, that’s what.

Bonus-extra ridiculous-but-useful tip: if there is someone you really, really do not want to talk to but must for some reason, name them something cute in your address book (“Rainbows and Flowers!” “Ice Cream and Doilies!”), pick an adorable picture of bounding puppies or bunnies in cups, and you will answer every stupid, hateful call with a secret smile on your face. Or, you know, just smile as you watch them go into voicemail.

xxx
c

People in this video (besides me): Heidi Miller (social media/self-promo junkie); Jodi Womack (women’s business networker extraordinaire)

Making gatherings better [video]

[Watch “Helpful Networking Thingy” on YouTube; 03:12 minutes]

We had a great time at last week’s Biznik event at Jerry’s Deli. We pretty much always do, but this time, we introduced a new, fun, sharing-kinda thing that really reinvigorated everyone, provided interesting things to talk about and gave each of us insight not only into each other, but some ways we might improve our lives and businesses moving forward.

I describe one of the tools I used in the video above. Basically, it comes down to this:

  1. Have each attendee to your gathering come with a problem or question they’d like to crowdsource.
  2. Provide some means for them to write the question and collect answers, we used 8.5×11″ sheets and markers, and laid them out on a table. I rolled out some kraft paper underneath it all so I could tape the sheets neatly. You could also put giant sheets up on the wall, or use a big whiteboard and take pictures after.

If you’re the organizer, it’s helpful to seed things with a question or two, or press a willing friend to ask one as well. It will help people get over their initial shyness with the new idea.

If you were one of the attendees and happen to be reading this, please feel free to leave your thoughts about how this worked in the comments.

If you’ve done something like this and achieved great success with getting people to loosen up right away and share, I’d love to hear your methods.

Oh, and if you’re an entrepreneur in the Los Angeles area, I’d love to meet you at an upcoming event. There’s one on February 16th; sign up for Biznik (free!), then you can RSVP to the event.

Thanks!

xxx
c

Corralling unruly receipts [video]

[watch “Corralling Unruly Receipts on YouTube; 1:54 of your life]

This week’s video installment features a verrrrry old trick I use to keep all of my credit card receipts in one spot, but as I mention in the video, hey, it occurred to me once out of nowhere; maybe it hasn’t occurred to everyone yet.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR CREDIT CARD RECEIPTS IN ONE PLACE

  1. Get a large envelope—mine is a size 12 (4.75″ x 11″)—of the type my union used to use to send me big, fat residual checks. Bank statement envelopes are also good, if you still get those in the mail. You can also use a regular letter-sized envelope, of course, but you will not be able to shirk your bookkeeping duties for as long as I do.
  2. Trim off the flap of the envelope.
  3. Staple the top (cut) edge of the envelope to the top, inside flap of a manila envelope.
  4. Insert in file drawer and watch your life magically change!

I guess I should note here that if you do not have a filing cabinet or use files, this will be of little-to-no use to you. However, you may find the video entertaining. (You would have to be really bored to do so, but oh, well.)

Thanks, please feel free to leave helpful comments, and if you do, please don’t forget to be nice!

xxx
c

P.S. January’s newsletter went out today! If you’re subscribed and did not get it, please check your spam folder. Partly because it’s a good one and partly because, well, there are going to be a few changes in newsletter-land soon, and them what ain’t opening their newsletters regularly are likely to find themselves out in the cold. And if you’re not subscribed and you like this blog, you should be!