Subscribe to email newsletters to be more productive

#ProTip: Be more productive by subscribing to email newsletters.

Email is not dead

For more reasons than I have time to elaborate here, email is not dead. In fact, it is doing extremely well.

One way you can use email to be more productive is by signing up for email newsletters.
Thanks to the New York Times Morning Briefing I have rediscovered my love for email. Their Morning Briefing emails are always spot on. Here are two more I subscribe to and read:

  1. Strands of Genius: Weekly Awesomeness (from Faris & Rosie)
  2. Moz Top 10 (from

I also make sure to not miss Business Insider’s 10 Things In Tech You Need To Know and Search Engine Land’s emails.

In addition, I setup keyword alerts with Google and the New York Times to make sure I don’t miss anything throughout the day.

As a final #protip I recommend theSkimm. Yes, I know it’s geared towards women. But I’d be damned if their content isn’t always intriguing, spot on, and relevant. Even though they focus on female topics the newsletter is a great daily read for the male gender as well.

Anyone want to start-up theSkimm type newsletter for men with me?

Why email newsletters?

Instead of constantly checking social media for breaking news, email newsletters do a great job of aggregating the news in one place. This way you can be productive thought the day without obsessing over breaking news.

My iPhone 6s Plus unboxing video and thoughts

I finally decided to upgrade my iPhone and went all in by getting the larger 6S Plus. My first reaction after unboxing it: This thing is huge – especially in comparison to my last iPhone. Check out the iPhone 6S Plus unboxing vine above.

The bad stuff

tiny hands kristen wiigThe most obvious and noticeable downside to the iPhone 6s Plus is the large size and associated weight. You can’t really tell from the iPhone 6s Plus unboxing vine, but it barely fits where I have always stored my cell phones: the front pocket of my pants. It really does seem like a smaller version of the iPad mini. And, yes it makes me feel like I have tiny hands.

Luckily, this issue is somewhat mitigated by the fact that I also have an Apple Watch. This means that I do not have to pull the huge phone out of my pocket every time there is a notification or I want to check the time or something else quickly.

Now for the good stuff

iPhone 6S Plus 3D TouchOnce you get over the sheer size of the iPhone 6S Plus (which you will quickly due to how slim it is) it’s easy to review the positives of this iPhone. My favorite features so far are (I know a lot of these were already part of the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014):

  • Landscape mode: Turning the phone sideways like an iPad makes using it much more productive and often much faster.
  • Screen size: Watching videos and looking at pictures is making.
  • Speed: It really is as fast or even faster than most people say – or the tests indicate.
  • Camera: The image stabilization is amazing and helps people like me – who are terrible at taking photos – take great photos. Live photos are a great new feature that comes across as a gimmick at first. But, once you expertise it you’ll start to touch each photo in hopes that it will begin to animate. They are almost like the shots you see in Harry Potter. I haven’t played around with 4K recording yet, but look forward to checking it out.
  • 3D Touch: Having experienced this on the Apple Watch I knew what was coming. But, the implementation on the iPhone 6S is amazing. It’s kind of like when you first discovered the right click on a mouse. However, where a right click adds more options and can thus make things more complicated, 3D Touch simplifies everything.  For example, for the camera app you can quickly open it up  in selfie, movie, or photo mode. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg other things you can do include Trackpad and App Switching.
  • Taptic Engine: Again, having an iPhone gave me taste of how this would feel on the new iPhone 6S Plus. It provides 3D Touch feedback and also serves as the vibration for notifications. It’s much better than the previous vibration packed into the iPhone 6 last year.

Final verdict

iPhone 6S Plus website screenshotAll in all, I am super satisfied with my upgrade to the (huge) iPhone 6s Plus and love it. To me all the improvements packed into the iPhone 6s live up to Apple’s tagline of “The only thing that’s changed is everything” and exemplify the advantages of Apple’s integration of hardware and software.

#ProTip: Swing For the Fences

#ProTip: The best time to Swing for the Fences is when you’re in school.

A baseball player really only has two choices (besides to bunt) when he comes up to the plate. He can either swing to just make contact or swing to hit a home run. This home run swing is called “Swinging for the Fences”. Meaning, swinging hard enough to hit it over the outfield fence. Taking a big home run swing is risky, but big it has a big potential payoff.

This metaphor is great. It applies to basically any situation in life. Should you play it safe and swing for contact, or take a risk and Swing for the Fences?

The best time to let loose and swing for the fences is while you are in school. It’s a time before all the real world responsibilities hold you back.

Thus: Swing for the fences.

The Grind = Discipline

As a follow up to my recent post about why Fitness is about discipline and not motivation, I wanted to share one of my favorite videos that gets me going..

TCU Baseball called discipline “The Grind” in 2012. The beginning of the video perfectly describes why discipline is so important when it comes to fitness.

Rise and shine. It’s 6 a.m. and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you it’s too early, too dark, and too cold to get out of bed.

Aching muscles lie still in rebellion, pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move.

A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland.

This is exactly the way we all feel when we hear the alarm go off  in the morning – especially if it’s earlier than absolutely necessary. The easy thing is to do what we have always done: sleep in as late as possible while still making it to work on time.

But you didn’t ask their opinion.

The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance. A voice that’s says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place. So sit up, put your feet on the floor, and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do.

Welcome to The Grind.

Living “The Grind” is about discipline. Fitness is about discipline.

Learn how to get started with social media

I was asked to speak at a recent International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) event on the topic of Social Media.

For this audience I focused on teaching them how to participate in social media and titled my presentation “How to get started with social media”.However, first I went over what social media really is and what the top social media channels are. For this group the focus was on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The presentation ended with a few quick Tips & Tricks to help everyone get started.

I had a blast interacting and getting to know several of the local IAAP chapter members. See the “How to get started with social media” presentation in its entirety below. Continue reading Learn how to get started with social media

What is Grit? It’s the key ingredient to success.

According to the above TED Talk by Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, passion, perseverance, and stamina outweigh IQ as a predictor of success.

My observations of grit

My years of teaching at the University of South Florida align with this observation. While I only see students for one semester of their educational careers, it is often easy to spot the ones that “get it” and “will make it.” Now, I’m not saying that only a few of the students each semester “will make it”. Most, if not all will go on to have great careers in advertising and marketing. But, only a few show a long-term vision driven by necessary passion and perseverance to achieve sustained success during their career. These two factors combined with stamina are the most import in the beginning phase of careers – when the velocity for the rest of your career is set.

In other words, you need to have the end in mind no matter what you are doing. This is especially true in an educational environment.

Back to psychologist Dr. Duckworth, who says that the best predictor of success in a person’s life, including when it comes to goals in education is “Grit.”

So, what is Grit?

Of course, the key question is “What is grit?Continue reading What is Grit? It’s the key ingredient to success.

Apple Event Preparation 101: Block off your calendar

#ProTip: Block off your calendar for the upcoming Apple Event.

It’s almost here. The “Hey Siri, give us a hint” Apple Event is scheduled for September 9, 2015 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. For must of us Apple fans this only means one thing: clear your credit cards. Joking aside, there is one important item to complete in preparation of an Apple Event: Block off your calendar so that you can enjoy it in peace and quiet. Also, be sure to block off your calendar for at least two hours in case the Event runs longer than an hour (which they always do) and so that you can digest all the awesomeness that was just shared by Tim Cook & Co on stage.

Disclaimer: I am not advocating or recommending that any employees watch the Apple Event  on company time. This Apple Event Preparation #ProTip is for entertainment purposes.