Eliminating Clutter Revisited

Between our warehouse renovation and some recent construction at my house, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning out and reorganizing. In doing so I remembered my eliminating clutter flow chart from 2008. It’s as relevant now as it was then so I thought it was worth resurfacing:


How I Read Business Books In An Hour

About five years ago I almost completely stopped reading business books. I read a ton of them in the roughly 10 years prior as I was finishing college, leaving my job, and venturing out on my own. Some of it was that I had shifted my learning/doing balance to more doing and less learning. Another factor was that there just wasn’t that much out there new that interested me because of how much I had read previously. The biggest factor though, was that they just… Continue reading


Automation Instead Of Manpower

Last week I launched an interesting internal programming project that I had been working on for a few months. Whenever we run a sale or promotion there are an increasing number of things that need to be created and scheduled: a newsletter, a blog post, a home page banner, sitewide banners, social media posts, etc. All of this was previously organized by Mike in a Google Spreadsheet. If we wanted to run a similar promo to a past sale, at best we could reuse the… Continue reading


The Cognitive Savings Are Why I Really Love Amazon Prime

As a business owner I’m not always a fan of Amazon’s practices, but as a consumer one of the best purchases I make is the $100/year I spend on Amazon Prime. It’s not because of any of the obvious benefits of free 2-day shipping. It’s because of the cognitive savings. The definition of cognition is: conscious mental activities : the activities of thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering It’s those mental activities that I save big on with Amazon Prime. My shopping habits changed when I… Continue reading


Task Zero Days

Most people are familiar with the term “inbox zero” as it applies to email management. The idea is that any time you process email, you should empty out your inbox. Every email either gets answered, archived, or deleted. If something needs follow-up action, you set up some sort of trigger to remind you, typically with software like Boomerang or a to-do list manager (I use RTM). About once per week I spend anywhere from a half day to a full day applying this concept to… Continue reading


Using Gmail Label Notifications on Android to Disconnect

Last year I wrote about Freedom via Gmail on Android: On nights and weekends when I consider myself “off of work”, I used to occasionally check emails on my computer, which typically involves going into my office, booting up my computer, turning on my monitors, etc. Now I just open up an app on my phone to check to see if anything is important. If there is, I snag my Chromebook or my laptop and take care of it. If there’s not, which is usually… Continue reading


Freedom via Gmail on Android

Depending upon who you talk to, our ability to check email on our phones anytime and anywhere is either a blessing or a curse. I think most people see someone they know – a loved one, a friend, or a co-worker – glued to their phone at all hours of the day, constantly receiving push notifications for every email that comes through, and then jumps to the broad conclusion that always being connected to the inbox is pure hell. To that I say: they are… Continue reading


No Reply Necessary

As I’ve written about before, internal email can be challenging. The most ambiguous part of internal email – email sent within the company – is knowing when to reply and when not to. As I wrote in that post in 2012: Know when to respond and when not to. This is a tough one. I like to put myself in other people’s shoes. If I would want a response from them – even if it’s just “great idea!” or “keep me posted, I’m interested” –… Continue reading


Automating Out of Stock Products

Back in 2010 I wrote a post about Managing Out of Stock Products. There are some great comments on that post. They stood out to me so much that I still recall almost four years later that the prevailing theme was: why don’t you automate it? Well, a few months ago we finally did. The main hold up in 2010 was the accuracy of our inventory system. Since then we’ve made several initiatives and now have the system at the point where it’s as accurate… Continue reading


“What’s the most challenging part of working for yourself and how do you work through this challenge?”

I was recently interviewed by Laurel Staples of the Go Fire Yourself blog. I really dig her site and her approach to encouraging entrepreneurship. One of my favorite questions from the interview was: Q: What’s the most challenging part of working for yourself and how do you work through this challenge? A: I think the biggest challenge is time management. When you have partners, employees, suppliers, customers, etc all vying for your attention things can get hectic. It can be tough to prioritize what’s really… Continue reading