September 23, 2017

EZchecklist™ - how to be happy and productive

This is good advice. Life is about doing what makes you happy, right? The problems occur when we forget this because of all the Other Stuff that seems to take over. If you really want to do the things that make you happy, I recommend making a checklist (not just "a list" as mentioned in the graphic). Then use that checklist, and improve it, every day, to remind you to do the things that really matter.

I've been doing this for about 3 years, and have built an automated Checklist to help build the habits that are the foundation for a happy, productive life. It works for me and also for my clients!

I call it EZchecklist™ and it's available now in beta form, using Google spreadsheets. I'm looking forward to programming it as an app for mobile devices. Meanwhile, the advice below is still valid. You don't need to wait for the finished product to be happy now!

September 4, 2017

One Percent Better Every Day

The last 3 years of my life have been devoted to discovering the secrets of building good habits for myself and to share those secrets with my coaching clients. During that time I discovered James Clear and learned a lot from his writing. The product I've been building helps make success with good habits even easier. This video is a great place to start. This is a Must Watch if you want good habits to work for you.


September 3, 2017

Checklists for software development




The checklist is one of the most high powered productivity tools ever discovered.
Brian Tracy

No wise pilot, no matter how great his talent and experience, fails to use his checklist.
Charlie Munger 

Introduction to Checklists

Big Picture  
   What is a checklist - Wikipedia
   The Checklist Manifesto, How to get things right - in depth, the best book about checklists
   To Do List vs. Checklist - what is the difference?
   Advantages of using checklists - from Quora
   Quotations about checklists from the Checklist Manifesto

Who needs checklists?
   We don't need no stinkin' checklists! - if you're like these guys, you can forget about it.

Origin of checklists
   How the Pilot's Checklist Came About - people have to die before anything changes

Poor Examples of Software Development Checklists

Any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it. (Conway's Law)


Planning
   App Development checklist - from Enola Labs, What to consider before beginning
   20 Things to do before you build an app - from Blue Cloud Solutions, Mobile development

Design
   Usability checklist - from Stay in Tech, Catch common usability problems before user testing

Programming
   This is NOT a checklist; it is a list of Do and Don't, right and wrong, but not a checklist.
   This is a checklist. Not a great one, but you will notice the difference.

Testing
   US Department of Energy software testing checklist

Deployment
   Ultimate Checklist for App Deployment Success - from Stackify (Not app specific)

Build Your Own Checklists

   A checklist for building checklists - of course there is one of these!
   Checklist.com - very basic, free, and worth what you pay for it
   Checkli.com - very basic, free, and worth what you pay for it
   Process Street - better, freemium model, inexpensive
   Google Spreadsheets - free, basic yet very powerful, sharable, recommended


Checklist Secret Sauce by DoubleM

Research. Google for existing checklists to do what you need done. Modify to suit. No ego.
Begin it Now. Any checklist is better than no checklist, if continuously improved with feedback.
Delegate. Every team member has responsibility to create/use/improve checklists.
Manage. Team managers must approve changes, and for adherence to standards.
Reward. Recognition and rewards for excellence in checklist development, use, feedback.
Standardize. Add the following to your checklist for building checklists.
   
   Standard Heading at the top of every checklist 
      Checklist name
      Checklist number (Form number)
      Department
      Responsible Person - Who is the "owner" of this checklist
      Date last updated.
      Link to Change log - (Who made the change, When, What changed, Why)
      Signature of team member Who executed this checklist, When, and for What job.
   
   Sections. Break up the list for readability. Lots of white space.

   Standard Formatting
      Standard font, point size, colors, links, etc.
      Headings for sections. Indent items under sections.
      Keep it short. One line per item.  Maximum of 10 items per section. 
      Action verb to start each item, if possible. See above.
      Graphics, charts, photos. What is that about a picture is worth... how many words?
      Paginate.


August 31, 2017

ToBeWise™ Android version now available


For all of you who have waited so patiently for the android version of ToBeWise™
here's the link: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=tobewise

Notice the free version (ad supported) and
the ridiculously inexpensive version (extra features and without ads).

What is ToBeWise™ all about, you ask?

How about a collection of the smartest things said by the smartest people in all recorded history. If you think that could help you, then you have the link. What are you waiting for?

But wait, it's more than a collection of wisdom of the ages, it's a system for internalizing it all and making it part of your everyday being. If you're still reading this and have yet to click the link, what are you waiting for?

Here's the link again: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=tobewise

Notice the last line in the graphic above?  It's a GREAT GIFT!

The iOS version is available here: ToBeWiseApp.com

--------------------
Both versions of this extraordinary app were built by Raj Sanghvi, the genius founder/CEO of Bitcot.com so if you need an app built, for mobile, or web, or whatever you can imagine, now you know my go to solution.

August 9, 2017

Scaling challenges


Every once in a while I come across something so true, and well written that I just makes sense to copy and paste it without comment, confident that you will get it without me making things worse...  Here's an example, from my favorite newsletter from CBinsights.com.


Scale challenge #1 - A culture of helpful

As we've grown to 130 folks on the team, there are a few things that have become increasingly important and that we've been thinking of a lot.

A common question we now get from the team is what is our biggest risk. We covered it at our recent offsite (slides here) but the big thing boils down to having people who are 4s and 5s on the helpfulness hierarchy.

I learned about this framework in a great essay by Daniel Debow which is linked below.




Scale challenge #2 - A culture of speed

The other thing we're really focused on is speed. As an insurgent company, speed is a killer weapon. A great essay on this topic comes from The First Round Review by Dave Girouard, founder and CEO of Upstart and former President of Google Apps Enterprise.


He writes:




Scale challenge #3 - A culture of intellect & critical thinking

While there is a lot of talk about hiring people with high EQ (definitely important), we also increasingly hire for smarts.

Isht as we scale remains uncertain and smart folks with high intellectual capacity can think critically of how to solve these challenges and know where to focus.

An oldie but goodie from HBR is linked below on this topic.



Scale challenge #4 - Stay humble. Outwork everyone.

And finally, we have to outwork everyone else. Grit, as it's come to be known.

One of my favorite essays on this is by Ray Allen, former NBA star. In his essay entitled "Letter to My Younger Self", Allen writes:

August 1, 2017

Overnight Sensation, 12 years later


When I met Jacqueline Butler 12 years ago she was an unknown but amazing artist with huge talent in what I thought at the time would be an obscure niche market. Today Jackie travels the globe as an international celebrity teacher with a quarter million followers at Petalsweet's Facebook page. At dinner on Sunday, Jackie presented me with her Opus Magnum, a most extraordinary and detailed how to book available in many languages. Check out her awesome book on amazon.
I'm so proud of her I could pop!






June 29, 2017

Michael McCafferty Changes The World...

... by inventing CRM."

That's the headline for the podcast interview with Mitch Russo.
And it's Mitch's headline, which to me seems a bit grandiose, but who am I to judge, right?

I was just writing some code to fill a need, not figuring I was going to change the world, but it does seem to the world was ready for my software. It was unthinkable that it would explode into an industry worth hundreds of billions. It quite boggles my mind when I think of it, so I focus on something else, like "so what"?  What have I done recently?

That's such a good question,
And the answers will revolve around MyChecklist™
so stay tuned for more...

Back to the main topic:
Mitch Russo is doing a series of podcasts about/for entrepreneurs,
and he calls the series "Your First 1,000 Clients."

Important stuff for any entrepreneur, even you, Elon!


Then click the play button, but don't click the big button that says CLICK HERE! 
Look right under that and you'll see the right-arrow Play button.



Click here for the podcast with DoubleM himself. Then click the play button, but don't click the big button that says CLICK HERE! Look right under that and you'll see the right-arrow Play button.

June 27, 2017

Mind Tricks of a Master Salesman



The client was having trouble doing the job,
the expected number of calls per day, primarily.

The calls were spoken of as something they 'had to do'
something undesirable, forced, etc.

We talked about having Fun,
and making each call a Fun experience (for you And them)
by actively focusing on that;
reframing the experience from one of "have to do" (dreading it)
to an experience you "get to do" (looking forward to enjoying it).

This work, like most other activities, benefits from enthusiasm.

Another perspective that is easy and productive to adopt in the calling process
is one of Building / Creating something that grows in Value
with every time you make a call.

The point is that every call you make, you learn something,
and when that something is added to your contact database,
it creates added Value. 
It can be thought of as compounding interest.

Over time that database, 
and your personal experience with it and the data within it,
becomes an amazingly powerful and hugely valuable asset.
Each bit of information you add is like adding another brick to a fortress wall.

While the Goal of each call might be to 
move the prospect to the next step in the selling process,
another goal is definitely to get/record as much information as possible.
Keep asking questions and building your database.
Everything you learn becomes gold...

So every call becomes an adventure in curiosity,
a learning experience,
and a banking experience.

It's also an opportunity to help the prospect,
and to share valuable information with them,
to represent yourself and your company
as a resource they can turn to when/if needed.
You are a haven in a turbulent storm.
You must earn their trust.

Trust builds over time,
with repeated encounters.
As you build your database with every call,
you build their trust with every call.
The information you share with them
builds their own value,
and the relationship is made stronger.

All this happens on each call.

O boy! I want to make calls...
:)

Let's talk numbers.
Specifically, how many calls is the right number of calls, per day/hour/etc?
There are a lot of variables to consider to come up with a number,
but the number that comes to mind immediately is the number that is 
assigned as our Quota, or Target.

You'll be informed that you have a quota of, say, 50 calls to make every day.
And you'll need to provide proof that you are doing that
by completing call reports or entering results in your contact database.

Another number that is sometimes assigned to your process
is When your calls are to be made.
For example, it may be that your prospects are more available 
early in the mornings, 
so you should make most of your calls at that time.
But this number (when) has other contributing factors,
like your own personal effectiveness might be low in the mornings.
You need to find what works instead of accepting

This is Old School Sales Management.

The fact is that whatever number you are given 
for number of calls to make,
and when to make them,
the only thing that really matters is how many dollars in Sales you make.

There will be a ratio that develops over Time,
you will learn that the more calls you make
the more money you will make
and you can even say with confidence
that every time you make a call
you will earn X dollars
regardless of whether that individual call is even a wrong number!

As an example, 
management says that if you make 50 calls per day,
on 5 days a week, for 50 weeks per year,
you will earn 150,000 dollars a year.
That's 12,500 calls per year to make 150,000 dollars.
Therefore, with the absolute certainty of math,
each call we make is worth 12 dollars.

Interesting concept to get paid 12 dollars
every time you tap a phone number on your screen.
It might be a wrong number, or busy, or go to voicemail,
or some other recording,
and you won't even have the chance to say anything at all,
but you'll get paid 12 bucks for making the call anyway.

On the other end of the call results spectrum is the Bluebird of Happiness.
It's when you call and they are in a buying mood at the same time.
It does happen, and with relatively predictable frequency,
so every call you make is another step closer to finding the Bluebird.

Therefore, whatever number of calls is assigned to you...

Do More! 

You'll have more Fun, 
build a valuable database,
and make more Money!



June 21, 2017

My Checklist™ Version 9.3 optimized for mobile devices



We are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a Habit.

Aristotle


I think Aristotle would be pleased with how My Checklist™ has continued to evolve.

The new Version 9.3 has many improvements  optimized for mobile devices.

The improvements in the donut chart, above,  help you spot trends more quickly by showing stats for the last 10 days. Year-to-date is also included, of course. This single feature has shown to be highly motivational.

You'll love the Financial section showing daily burn rate, calculated from a new Budget in the Controls tab.

A major time saving improvement helped reduce a few of the early morning activities into one step. We are all about simplifying as much as possible! See this previous post on the recording I use to start my day.

We continue to enjoy the ease of personalizing the newest versions by adding/deleting/moving activities. And the Data Validation drop-down lists are very easy to modify.

There are so many improvements in this new release it would be too time consuming to list them all, so you'll want to Click here for the NEW online, continuously updated documentation.

Shown below is the entire sheet that I'm currently using (columns showing days in The Past are hidden). The down-arrow in most cells indicate a drop-down list is available.





Notice the motivational quote at the bottom of the checklist. This is the newly implemented integration with the database that drives the app ToBeWise. This random quote changes many times throughout the day. 

In summary, and on this first day of Summer (pun intended), if you have any interest at all in improving your Life and Business, you will certainly agree with the quote by Aristotle at the top of this post. It's all about building good habits and eliminating bad habits. We propose that you start using this checklist every day, for it is truly the "Mother of All Good Habits."

June 15, 2017

The recording I use to start my day


I have always been interested in the philosophies of Ben Franklin. He's one of the most fascinating people in all history. One of the first things he would do each day is to ask himself the question: "What Good Shall I Do Today?" With that attitude, it's most likely going to be a good day!

Over the years I have become convinced that we can choose our thoughts, and that positive thoughts will most likely produce positive actions, and that positive actions will most likely produce positive results. With this in mind, I have created various methods to be sure that I think positive thoughts as much as possible.

Ben Franklin did a lot of reading. This reading created his thoughts, his thoughts created his actions, and his results. His results are legendary.

I read a lot too, but nowadays we have tools that are more effective at creating positive thoughts and results. For example, we can record our own voice, thanks to Edison, another legendary inventor.

That's one of the tools I use to pattern my mind with positive thoughts. You might want to give it a try. I like audio recordings because I can play them while I'm doing something else, like exercising, walking, waiting in line, driving, etc.

My days start with meditating, and for that I use the iPhone app called Calm. There's a different meditation recording each day, lasting about 10 minutes. Next, I'll do some light exercise, stretching, and some weights. Here's where my own custom recording comes into play because I can be listening to it while I'm doing these other mindless activities. The recording may occasionally change over the years, but only a little. It's all about Gratitude, Values, Priorities, Affirmations; the stuff we have often heard that we should think about, write down, and review often. But of course almost nobody does it. It's actually boring to read the same stuff over and over, so it falls into disuse. But the key to getting results from almost anything is repetition.

That's why I make a recording. This is the first time I have revealed one of the major secrets I have used to create my life over the last 35 years. I recommend that you find a way to do your own recordings, and to play them frequently, and let me know how they work for you.


Shown below is the text I wrote down, then read, while Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is playing on another device for background music. Six and a half minutes. What have you got to lose?  :)

             Gratitude

I get to live another day!  Yay! :)

The Opportunity to help others 

Excellent Health
Home by the sea in Del Mar
    (the climate, security, quiet)
Loving Family & Caring Friends
Comfortable finances
Sense of Humor, 
positive attitude, 
driven to improve,

------------------------------

                  
    Live based on these Values:

Integrity          
Do my best 
Help others.
Continuous Improvement.

--------These are my priorities:

Health, physical & mental
     Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise,
     Meditation, Solitude
  Family, Friends, Help Others
  Home, financial independence

--------Affirmations, my thinking:

I am Nature's Greatest Miracle
Today I Begin a New Life
I Greet today w Love inMyHeart
I Laugh at the World
I am Master of my Emotions
I Live Today as if it is my Last
I Multiply my Value 100-fold
I Persist Until I Succeed
I Act Now
I ask for Help

 ---------------------------

Whatever you can do, 
or dream you can, 
Begin it.
   
Boldness has Genius, Power, and Magic in it.  
Begin it Now!

------------------

The Optimist Creed
      Promise Yourself:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

            ----------------

Think - Plan - Do - Repeat

Sales Solves All Problems

Always Be Recruiting

Do it. 
Document it. 
Delegate it.

Do Good Now, 
make it better later.

Begin it Now!

Everything is 
Prototype Product.

Breathe. Smile. Repeat.

Be. Do. Have.

I Recruit and I Delegate, therefore I am...

As team leader my job is
to nurture the conditions that encourage the team to be effective.