The reason why you haven’t made an app yet

I had the idea for my podcast long before it actually launched. In fact, I even had “launch podcast” on my to-do list for months, but it just kept getting pushed to the next day, and then the next day. It never actually got done.

But while I was procrastinating, I started thinking about the actual logistics of creating a podcast. What would I need in order to launch this project? I’d need basic things, like a microphone, and guests.

Eventually, I changed my to-do list. I took off “launch podcast” and added a small simple task: get a microphone. That one was easy — it took just five minutes on Amazon.com.

The next day, I added “find guest for podcast” to my to-do list. I shot out four emails to potential guests that afternoon, inviting them on the show. It took about ten minutes. Check.

Then, I figured out all the other individual steps I’d need to get my podcast published. I thought about things like audio recording software, editing tools, and a podcasting plugin for WordPress. My to-do list filled up with items such as “write podcast description,” and “get intro music.”

Two weeks after my microphone arrived, I launched the Novice No Longer podcast.

So why did it take me so long to get started? Was I just being lazy? Continue reading

How to quickly make GIFs and become an outsourcing master

Using GIF Brewery to make a GIF

I still have the chat logs from my endless hours spent on AOL Instant Messenger back in high school (2000 – 2004). I rediscovered them recently and spent about ten minutes reading before I couldn’t go on any further. Every other word made me cringe.

There’s a very specific reason why I was cringing: I remembered exactly what I was thinking as I had those conversations, but that is not at all how it came across as I looked back at things. I thought I was properly communicating my thoughts, but everything was actually coming out all wrong. I wasn’t being witty, I was just being a jerk.

I’ve become slightly better with words since then (I hope!) but there’s only so far that text chats can get you. When you’re trying to explain something to someone, there are times when words aren’t enough. You need to show them.

But when you’re not sitting right next to that person, showing can be difficult. There are a few different ways to solve this problem. Chris Ducker, of Virtual Freedom, crafted what he calls the VA Training Trifecta, in which an entrepreneur can either text, audio, video, or some combination therein to communicate tasks with virtual staff.

But there’s another powerful tool that I use nearly everyday to quickly show people exactly what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about GIFs.

A GIF is the perfect communication tool for describing small bits of dynamic information, like how a button animation should work or the way something is working on your computer. You can guarantee that whoever you’re talking to can see exactly what you’re seeing, and it’s much easier to show rather than trying to describe the problem with words or going through the hassle of creating a huge screencast.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a GIF is worth over 9,000!

I’ve perfected a system that lets me make GIFs on my Mac in about 30 seconds. I’m going to show you exactly how I do it. Continue reading

My Menu Bar: 16 Apps That Made the Cut

Menu Bar

I don’t allow just any app to take up space in my menu bar. It’s prime real estate — always on the screen and accessible regardless of whatever app I’m currently using. It’s the perfect place to store small snippets of useful information, like how many unread emails I have or which apps are connected to the internet.

I’ve spent a lot of time building the perfect menu bar, and I want to share with you what I’ve crafted. Here’s my essential menu bar apps, listed in the order in which they appear. Continue reading

How often do you floss?

Looking at floss

The best new habit I picked up in 2013 is flossing daily. But I was weary of calling it a new habit at first because I’d had plenty of false starts when it comes to flossing — a few days of inspired flossing before it was back to my old routine of only brushing.

The problem wasn’t building an entirely new routine, it was that I already had an established routine that didn’t involve flossing. Plus, the routine already had a cue and reward system (cue: time for bed! reward: minty-fresh mouth!) so it would be significantly harder to cram even more into the routine.

But I’ve been flossing now, every day, for over four months — and I think the habit is here to stay.

How was I able to successfully build a new flossing habit? Continue reading

5 easy changes that will drastically improve your life

When building new habits or learning new skills, it’s important to focus on the smallest changes that will result in the biggest results. This is known as the Pareto principle, or the 80-20 rule, which states that “for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.” This is an extremely powerful rule, because it means that you can have a huge impact on your life, or your work, by simply focusing on the right tasks.

I’ve compiled a list of five easy changes that will have a huge impact on your quality of life. These aren’t huge systems nor will you have to change your entire life around. Rather, they’re small habits that will become second nature in a couple of weeks yet have long-lasting effects on your productivity and mental state. Continue reading