Archives For January 2013

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

Today’s productivity hack is exactly how it sounds, beat people to the busy places of life. There is a coffee shop I frequent often. I have written about how many times I have visited here. I have noticed that they get really really busy from 8:30AM until about 2pm every single day. Maybe you like the chaos of 50 people trying to get their drinks and find a seat, I on the other hand get distracted very easily. That is why every morning at 8:30 I leave that coffee shop.

My motivation for beating people to the busy places is to be more productive. I get to my coffee shop at 7AM, when it is just me and the baristas.

But this productivity hack doesn’t just end with physical places, beating people to the busy places also has to do with beating people to the busy market spaces.


I try to remember this hack for specific areas of my life. Paying attention to what is going on around me, I note the busy times of ideas, strategies and trends and then try to beat people to the places that have plenty of space to breathe and stretch. This productivity hack has more to do with anticipation and paying attention then anything else.

I remember when I played basketball in high school, anticipation was a huge part of the game, but along with that anticipation I paid attention to certain players habits so I could predict what they were going to do next. I wasn’t very good at basketball, but I got a lot of playing time because I hustled and out beat my opponent simply by paying attention and anticipating.

Beating people to busy places doesn’t mean that you go where no one is at, it means that you go to the popular places just not when they are there. So instead of using twitter as a place to share your links you use it as a place to other share quotes or ideas. It is all about taking the time to get there during the off hours so you can get more done. This hack becomes very productive when you can start to capitalize on a market that is ready for something new.

It is what Jon Acuff did by challenging people to wake up early and work.
It is what Jeff Goins did by encouraging people to declare themselves writers.
It is what Gary Vee did by offering up interviews daily.

Each of these guys didn’t come up with the “place” (idea or thought) but instead chose to look at it in a different way and use it to benefit their ideas. They beat people to the busy places.

How do you hack productivity? Pay attention to the trends and anticipate where people are not.

This post is a part of a series of post entitled Productivity Hacking: How to hack productivity to get more done and get results.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

Ask anyone one thing they would like more of besides money and the common answer would be time. But surrounding the desire for more time is something that I think we all miss, silence. As a byproduct of time, silence is one of the main things we neglect. Taking a moment to just be quiet goes against everything we think we need. In reality, sometimes taking a moment to be silent can be the most productive thing you can do.

As crazy and loud your life might be, the best habit of productivity is to take some time to be silent.


Most of the advice I have heard about getting things done talks about capitalizing on your commute. Redeeming that time is a great way to stay productive, but I would argue using this time to be silent is the most productive thing you can do. Lately I have turned my drive time into silent time. Instead of listening to the radio, sports talk or make phone calls, I choose to be silent. This allows me to think through my day, do some praying and come up with ideas.

At first it was difficult to be quiet for more then 2 minutes. But lately I have found myself taking longer and longer moments of silence to just sit and think. Recently, silence has helped me be more productive with my to-do list, my ideas, and future conversations.  Because silence has caused me to be intentional. And when I choose to be intentional, my time gets intentional. And so the very thing that I need more of, time, becomes more accessible because I have become intentional with the time I have.

My productivity hack for time is to use silence to get more intentional with everything I do.
Try it today, spend some drive time being quiet. You might be surprised how much more productive you will get.

This post is a part of a series of post entitled Productivity Hacking: How to hack productivity to get more done and get results.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

I love email and I think you do to. Sure you dread your inbox, but if I know anything about you, checking your email is more of a habit verses a productive activity. Most of us check our email 10-25 times a day. Many check to reference previous emails, follow up to other emails or send a message to a co-worker. But inside this checking multiple things can happen: you get overwhelmed by how many emails you have, you get distracted by new emails or obsess over getting your inbox to zero.

No matter your email habits, today we are going to talk about a productivity hack that will allow you to use email to enhance your work rather then distract you from your work.


I use my email inbox as a reference. Keeping important emails at the top, I often refer back to my email app for pertinent information that I need. You might do the same thing. What I have found over time is when I refer back to previous emails for reference I inevitably check my other emails and get distracted by (so called) importance. This is a huge time waster for me and for you.

The battle that we face with email is the law of attention. When we enter the land of unread emails, they are all screaming at us to open and answer them. When we refer back to previous emails, those two week old still haven’t responded to emails start to scream for our attention. Our email inbox is just one big attention seeker. And for most of us, our inbox always wins.

It is time to start using our emails to assist us rather then dominate us.

Here is a trick that I have started to employ for emails.
As soon as I receive an email in that I will need to reference for later I copy the text of the email to an evernote folder that corresponds to the message. This now allows me to move it out of my inbox, reference it for later, and keep focused on the task at hand.

This might sound a bit extreme. But for me, emails can often take time away from my day and can be a huge drain. With this trick I can now store the email away for a later time and never lose or miss an important email or task. This has saved me time and energy and has allowed me to be the aggressor on my work rather then the victim of distraction.

Other email tips

  • Set your email to check for updates every hour.
  • Pick 3 times a day to check your email and respond.
  • Turn off all noise and sound notifications.
  • Don’t use your phone to check email (even to reference, remember that is what evernote is for).
  • Tell others your email schedule. Set up an automated response to tell people when you will be checking your email and responding.

It is time to use email as a productive activity. It is time we start hacking the way we look at email.
Check out this company here who is starting to help us rethink email: Mailbox App

This post is a part of a series of post entitled Productivity Hacking: How to hack productivity to get more done and get results.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

This is part  of a series on Productivity Hacking. You can read the rest here

Efficiency is a great word.
It can bring sanity, structure and productivity to any area it is applied.

With the start of the new year, the focus to accomplish more is at the fore-front of everyones mind. Inside of these goals, efficiency is begging to be a part of all that you do.
As I have started my 52/7 focus for the new year, efficiency has been baked into everything I do.

This Productivity hack focuses on chalk and the shower.


Not wanting to waste time, often we can make up time in our everyday routine. One place to do this is the shower. Hopefully, showering is something you do every single day. It is as common as sleeping, eating and working. Focusing on this time being renewed, the shower can become a place where ideas are dreamt, sketched and formulated. Recently, my shower has turned into my canvas of productivity. I have used my shower walls as my canvas to capture ideas and plans, and you can too.

This can be accomplished several different ways.

1. Chalk

The way that I have accomplished this hack is by using a piece of chalk to write on my walls. I have tile walls which allow me to write down ideas and then erase once I have been able to transfer the info over to Evernote. This time allows me to not let my ideas go down the drain.

2. Pencil and Paper

If you do not have tile on your bathroom walls another great practice is to get waterproof pencil and paper (I have used this product here from amazon and it works great). This is another way to capture different ideas that you might have as you stand there and think about your day.

3. Notecards

There is a John Maxwell quote that I have had in my shower walls at my parents house for over 11 years:

Leaders don’t whine from the challenge they win from the challenge

I wrote this on a notecard my sophomore year of high school and taped it to my bathroom wall. Every time I see it I am reminded of the importance of leadership and the challenge that is ahead. One way to hack your productivity is to write thoughts, insights or ideas on a notecard and tape them in places you can see. If you don’t want to tape them to your bathroom wall, tape them to the mirror in your bathroom. It can serve as a daily reminder for you and others.

These are 3 ideas that can help you hack your productivity and redeem your time. As most would note, our time is precious. This series will focus on all the different ways we can get more time and more productive.

Here are some post to choose from:
Productivity Hacking: Chalk and Shower.
Productivity Hacking: Mastering Email.
Productivity Hacking: Silence.
Productivity Hacking: Beat People to the Busy Places.
Productivity Hacking: Find Momentum To Get More Done

I still remember setting my que of music for download to run through the night on my 56K connection hoping that 3 out of the 10 downloads would work. Did you do the same?

Napster truly did revolutionize and destroy the music industry. I cannot wait to see this film

A new documentary on the rise and fall of Napster, the peer-to-peer file-sharing service that revolutionized the music industry, is set to debut at South by SouthwestDownloaded will have its world premiere on March 10

I love coffee and I love to read. When I get to combine the two magic happens, at least in my mind. About two years ago I started a habit of spending every morning at a certain location reading, working, and having community. It took me a while to narrow down the exact space, but quickly started to see that Crema would be my spot. There is something in the walls of this old muffler shop that bring me back every single day. It could be the great coffee, the great people, or maybe it is the environment. Whatever it is, I continue to return every single day.

Last week I celebrated a bit of a milestone

Foursquare @CremaCrema

That is right, over the past two years I have checked into Crema 400 times. It has turned into a daily habit that I am there every morning at 7am when the doors open and spend about 2 hours a morning, reading, writing and conversating. But in my 400 check-ins I never thought I would learn that they had a bit more meaning then me just buying some coffee.

I received this @ reply from Crema on Wednesday and you can imagine I was definitely interested to see what my 400 check-in milestone reward could be.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 1.16.28 PM

I walked into Crema on Saturday to grab two coffees to go for me and Ginny because we had a big day of estate sales to get to (check this find out). As I waited in line I saw the owner Rachel behind the counter. We struck up conversation and started talking about my addiction to their coffee shop and then she told me some news that caught me completely off guard.

“Because you have checked in 400 times we wanted to do something to honor that. We would like to take the money you have spent on coffee here and donate it to your favorite charity.”

I will be honest, I thought maybe I was going to get a free mug or cup of coffee, I did not see Crema donating over $900 to any charity of my choosing.

It was one of those moments where you remember just how big life (and God) truly is and the things that we thought were important don’t seem to be important anymore.
I was more then honored to be a part of such an amazing idea.

So this week, Crema will be donating $900 to Cross Point Student Ministries scholarship campaign for students to go to camp this summer. 

And that is the tale of how Foursquare helped me donate $900 to my favorite charity through the help of Crema.

Author Note: If you are ever in Nashville, Crema is a must stop. They have amazing coffee (get the cuban) and some of the nicest people. It is truly a place to visit, spend time in and enjoy. Tell them I sent you


This post is from my sister Kamrie Reed. Her passion to fight human trafficking is contagious and she has asked to share a challenge that she is taking on today. Will you join her? 

Today it is imposible to truly do justice. It is imposible to sincerely understand all of the social injustices around the world. It is impossible to fight against a global epidemic happening at alarming rates that many people are still oblivious to. On days like today it is impossible to recognize the pain victims experience and rightfully honor that in such a way that gives them justice.

Today is declared Human Trafficking Awareness Day. It is a day dedicated to advocating and remembering victims all around the world subject to labor and sex trafficking. This day is rightfully earned due to the severity of the social injustice. Over the decades human trafficking has quickly become an epidemic.

Stop Human Trafficking

This injustice has robbed children of their innocence and deprived people of all dignity and hope. It has demeaned people of their basic rights and reduced them to a faceless voiceless victim paralyzed to obtain freedom. There are currently around 27 million people who are subject to this dehumanization. It is estimated that every 30 seconds there is a new human trafficking victim. The average age for victims of this crime is just 12 years old. With all of this in mind, stopping modern day slavery truly becomes simply impossible.

Today, on Friday January 11, 2013, we ask God of the impossible. We petition a God that uses the impossible to drowned the world in his reckless love for all of mankind. The God who sees all of this pain abuse and injustice and who inspires us to do the impossible. Today God requires me to trust him with the impossible. God always has a had a knack for taking my weakness and using it for his glory. But what good is it if we as a people are so oblivious to his actions? God is here in the midst of traumatic abuse fighting for these victims all around the globe and yet where are his people?

He calls us to action to defend the widows and orphans. God calls us to see the neglected and overlooked. To love the broken and unwanted and to remember the slaves in bondage. So while today the statistics are stacked against us and it is impossible to adequately remember and fully advocate for these women, I choose to pray.

Today on Human Trafficking Awareness Day we ask the impossible of God trusting that in our weakness he is strong.

Today we will remember these victims. They no longer are some voiceless mass that is easily ignored. On this Friday we see them and pray. We pray that our ignorance is exposed and we may begin to see these people for the first time. Our eyes are wide open anxiously waiting to see the true power of my God and his radical love in action through out the world amidst the tragedy of his sin. He will provide as we stand up determined and passionate to give the voiceless a voice and the nameless a name. For they will no longer be known as whore prostitute, criminal but today they are called sons and daughters fo the most high.

So on a day like today, I ask you to look past the masses and  see the orphans and widows. the neglected. the broken. all the victims. All they need is for someone to care. Open your eyes wide straining to see what God has in store for the restoration of the voiceless.

God has blessed us with a burden. He has created within each of us a passion to fight for victims of social injustice because they are worth fighting for. So God stands with us on this impossible day setting this burning desire to remember and recognize these victims the only way we know how, prayer.

Some places you can get more information on what you can do next.
End It Movement
Not For Sale
A21 Campaign
Polaris Project