Tag Archives: Time Management

How to Develop Your Personal Brand – Part 1

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When I bring up the concept of “Personal Branding” to non-marketing people, they look at me like a deer in the headlights.

So what’s a personal brand? I’d describe a Personal Brand as the culmination of everything professional about you including your style, resume, reputation, social media presence and of course your work. Developing a strong personal brand is key to maintaining your competitiveness in the marketplace as well as giving the professional community an idea of who you are.

The first step in creating a personal brand is defining how you want the outside world to see you. Think of qualities that you exude as well as characteristics that would set you apart from others. For example, one of my key characteristics is that I wear a suit every day. A lot of people wear suits every day so what I do to differentiate myself is to have fun with it. As I’m passionate about style and men’s fashion, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to craft the perfect professional outfit that represents both my personality as well as projects confidence. When I walk into a room, I try to create an impression in not only my outfit but also in the way I carry myself. Some people will argue that it’s the person, not the suit that makes the man but I disagree. I think that while your work should speak for itself, the way you dress and carry yourself in professional situations makes a significant impact on your professional success.

The second step to creating a Personal Brand is to think about what comes up when people type your name into a google. Do pictures of your latest weekend bender come up first or is it your Linkedin profile? Social Media is a great way to start conversations, express your ideas online and create a living record of your life experiences. That being said, it can also be a powerful tool in building your personal brand. These days, most employers will conduct a google search of prospective employees. Even potential clients may do a search on you to get a snapshot of your background before deciding to move forward with that big contract. Using social media to create a strong personal brand is a great way to show off your work as well as give people an idea of who you are online.

Here are a few ways you can use social media to build your personal brand:

– Write a blog!
– Make sure your Linkedin Profile is up to date.
– Use Twitter to interact with your industry online
– Use Pinterest to tag articles and pictures
– Use Linkedin and Facebook to share great articles, videos, books and ideas
– Use Amazon.com to review great books you’ve read
– Record a Podcast!
– Comment on blogs
– Start an online portfolio and link your social media profiles to the site
– Post a photo gallery to flickr.

There are tons of other ways to increase your personal brand online. The idea here is to make sure that you tag everything and use SEO to make sure your name comes up within the first few searches in Google.

Remember that while you want to create a positive professional image, you also want to be authentic. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many times your name pops up on google, it’s about the quality of how you are being represented and what it says about you.

You should like the Pinstriped Suit on Facebook!

Lumosity Update – Part 1

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the effectiveness of brain training games like Lumosity. At the time, I’d be using the Lumosity iPhone app on a daily basis to see if I could measure a noticeable difference in the key areas that the Lumosity games are supposed to improve.

I’ve been continuing to use the Lumosity iPhone app as well as the Lumosity website games to train my brain. So far, my scores have been improving on a weekly basis. At first, the scores increased dramatically, and now they are increasing incrementally.

So the real question is, how are the brain training Lumosity games actually helping me in real life? Well, first off, I’ve been using Lumosity in the mornings to exercise my brain before getting to work and I notice that my creativity and “awakeness” has improved. Some of the Lumosity games actually stress me out a little bit so that helps for waking me up.

I’ve also noticed a slight improvement in my focus, especially in brainstorming and project work. Another added benefit I’ve noticed is that I feel like i’m sharper in terms of thinking quickly on my feet.

Finally, my memory in terms of recalling facts from reading or conversations has improved as well. I’ve definitely noticed this as I’ve had tons of meetings over the last little while and there is often a lot of little details to remember.

I’ve only been using Lumosity for six weeks now, so we’ll see what happens at the end of 90 days. The challenge is that although I am noticing an improvement in the areas I mentioned above, I’m not sure if this can be directly attributed to Lumosity or to other factors that i’m not thinking about.

I’ll check back with you at the end of my 90 trial period!

You should follow Matt on Twitter!

Meet Trello. My New Favorite Productivity App

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Last week, I wrote a post about my favorite To Do List apps. Since then, a ton of people have responded with other apps they use including some that I’ve never heard about before.

One of the apps I’d never heard about before is Trello. After using Trello for about 48 hours, it’s quickly turned into one of my absolute favorite productivity apps. In fact, I can’t believe that I haven’t been using this app sooner.

So what is Trello? Trello is a cross between a visual pin board and a highly effective to do list. I think of it like a vision board on steroids.

The concept is really simple. Trello is built on a series of boards, lists and cards. Each board can be setup for an organization, project or strategy. Lists within each board are specific objectives or projects. And cards, are the individual work packages or tasks that need to be completed in order to complete the project.

Take this sample board that is the template “Welcome Board” that Trello introduces to new accounts.

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You can see that there are tons of features and ways to plan your boards and lists.

Here is a sample of a board that I started for planning my content for The Pinstriped Suit.

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One of the key features that I like about Trello is the ability to collaborate with other people. Each board and list that you create can be shared with a team member. Once the person is invited to the list/board then you can assign them cards as tasks.

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You can also set deadlines for yourself or other people.

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Trello has a ton of other features including inserting attachments from google drive or dropbox, checklists and adding graphics. What I love about Trello is that I can visually see all my projects and plans in one place. Also, the flexibility of being able to move timelines, cards and lists around is really useful for projects that are constantly changing. Trello works really well with its web app but it also has iPad, iPhone and Android apps as well which work seamlessly with the web version.

Try it out and watch your productivity skyrocket!

You should follow Matt on Twitter!

3 TED Talk Playlists I’m Watching Right Now

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Last year, I made a commitment to try to watch a TED Talk every morning while I ate breakfast. This lasted for a few weeks but in that time, I absorbed an enormous amount of ideas, inspiration and actionable steps for creating great work.

Recently, I noticed that TED now has playlists which are organized by topic or by an individual. This is awesome! I normally find TED Talks by browsing or clicking on a link through Facebook. Having a collection of videos on one topic, in one place is great for absorbing tons of ideas worth spreading.

If you’re looking for a little Sunday motivation, check out these three awesome TED Talk playlists I’m watching right now. (I’ve noticed you can’t embed playlists the same way you share individual talks so the playlist links are embedded in the titles) I’ve embedded my favorite video from each playlist into the post.

1) Work smarter (11 talks)

Work smarter is a fantastic collection of TED Talks including some of my favorite authors such as Simon Sinek (Start with Why), Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage) and Jason Fried (37 Signals).

2) The Creative Spark (10 talks)

The Creative Spark includes inspiring talks by Elizabeth Gilbert (Your elusive creative genius), Ken Robinson (Schools kill creativity) and David Kelly (How to build your creative confidence). Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk is one my absolute favorite TED Talks.

3) A Better You (11 talks)

The A Better You playlist is a collection of success masters ranging from John Wooden to Tony Robbins. Make sure to check out Matt Cutt’s talk on “Try something new for 30 days”.

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3 To Do List Apps That Will Change Your Life

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Today kicks off my 30 day challenge to write a new blog post every day. I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out!

I frequently write about productivity tools I use, but today I’m going to tell you about the 3 essential tools I use for keeping my To Do lists from overwhelming me.

Each app has different features and benefits but together, they make for a kick ass team of organizational mojo.

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1) Astrid

Astrid is a standard to To Do list app that allows you to create lot’s of different lists and reminders. Out of the three tools, I use Astrid the most because of its accessibility of having both iOS apps and a web app. Once you set a reminder on Astrid, it will pop up on your phone with funny messages if you don’t check it off before the task is due.

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2) Teamly

Teamly is a web app that encourages you to try to set your top 5 priorities for the day. In the early days, Teamly would actually restrict the number of items on your list to 5. That function seems to be gone now but it is still a very useful app for establishing your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly priorities. I use this app for project planning and to keep focused on what my key priorities each day. One great feature of this app is that you can move items forward in time so if you don’t get to them today, you can add them to tomorrow’s list. It’s great to get a snapshot of what your key priorities are for both your short and long term projects.

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3) Producteev

Producteev is similar to Astrid; however, a major feature that sets it apart from other to list apps is the ability to create sub-lists within your main list. This is really helpful for project work and for assigning other team members with tasks. I use producteev a lot for collaboration on projects as well a capture tool to allow me visualize all the small critical path items that need to get done in a project. The email feature which allows you to send tasks to other people is great for assigning responsibility right after a planning meeting.

You should follow Matt on Twitter!