My Go-To Productivity Tools

As a multiple business owner and entrepreneur who’s always on the go, I need tools that keep me organized, efficient and productive. (At least to the best of their ability!) I’m often asked how I keep track of all my endeavors. My short answer? Smoke and mirrors.

Truth is, I’ve learned to leverage the tools really smart folks created and designed for people like you and me that have lots of irons in the fire…which is nearly everyone, right?

“You cannot mandate productivity; you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” – Steve Jobs

Tools are only as good as your commitment and consistency in using them. A membership to a health club doesn’t get you in shape if you don’t enter the door. (See last tool on the list)

I use these tools daily and am confident they will help you become more productive: (133 words…if you stop now)

Evernote – This is my digital notebook where I write, collect information (website links, articles, photographs, voice memos, etc.), jot down ideas and more.

Trello – It’s my visual (I like to see stuff) way of managing projects and doubles as a to-do list. Bye-bye sticky notes!

Slack – Best. App. Ever. If you’re collaborating on a project with a few others, and you hate email threads…this is for you. My sons and I use it for Empyres every day.

Overcast – I encouraged you to enter the world of podcasts here a while back. I listen to two or three each day and night with this app.

Dashlane – Because you forget your passwords, too. Stop wasting time searching…your passwords are all here.

Snap Fitness – My energy level, clarity of thought and creativity are directly related to my fitness regimen. Don’t skimp on this. Ever.

Any tools/apps that you utilize that we should know about? Please share them with us!

A Year of Imperfection

Nailed it! Lots of hiccups, knockdowns and failures littered my 2015 landscape, and planning to make even more mistakes in 2016.

Perfection breeds inaction for most of us. Maybe it’s time you lowered the bar and got in the game.

  • Start that diet…even if you don’t stick with it
  • Ask for a raise…even though it’s a long shot
  • Begin a book…even if you don’t finish it
  • Ask for forgiveness…even if it won’t be granted
  • Give to charity…even if money’s tight
  • Pray…even if God feels distant
  • Publish that blog post…even if it’s not your best work (gulp)

I’m embarking on a new endeavor (details to come) with two of my best friends in 2016. It could be the next big thing…or, a colossal failure. Either way, we’re getting off our duffs and into the ring.

Here’s to an even more imperfect 2016…who’s with me? (140 words)

But, What if it Works?

As Follows: “Doubters” / Leaders

“Taxis have a monopoly, they’re not going anywhere.” / Uber ($51.0 billion)

“Rent your couch to perfect strangers, are you nuts?” / Airbnb ($25.5 billion)

“Who wants to take photos that disappear? Dumb.” / Snapchat ($16.0 billion)

“Wait, your goal is to enable people to live on other planets? Haha!” / SpaceX ($12 billion)

“Ads will kill that music app, nobody likes ads.” / Spotify ($8.5 billion)

“So, you wear a camera on your head? Why?” / GoPro ($5.5 billion)

Leaders weed out doubters and make things happen. It’s time for you to step up.

You have an idea. I know you do. Don’t waste time galvanizing public opinion. Spend time on a plan and begin to execute on it. This week.

Need direction or encouragement? Drop me a line, I’m happy to help. I just may need your idea someday. (138 words)

Company Valuation source: Wall Street Journal

When Your Pants are on Fire

Dishonesty is exhausting.

And, it’s sneaky. Nobody wakes up in the morning asking the question, “What shall I lie about today?” We all intend to speak the truth, to be real, to be open and honest.

But, then…life happens. So, we hide. A lot.

I’ve gone days (heck, weeks!) where I’ve been a shell of myself, portraying a different, new and improved version of Brent Stromme for fear of being found out or not being accepted as I am.

Not anymore. I grew weary of inflating numbers, covering bases, and spinning stories.

There’s nothing more freeing than being completely honest. On the flip-side, isn’t it refreshing to hear someone tell it like it truly is?

Speaking the truth has become a daily habit. I’m still tempted to hide, but now I fight it.

Tomorrow’s a new day. Fill it with truth. (139 words)

Podcasts: A New Way to Grow

I used to listen to talk radio for hours while driving in my car.

I used to put on headphones and sing along to my favorite songs while mowing, running or chilling on the deck.

Not anymore.

Because life flies by, I’ve decided to maximize my time by listening to people who help me grow.

Podcasting is hot, and I can hear why. The best and brightest minds and hearts offer up insights and encouragement to anyone, anywhere, anytime…for free. In fact, I’m currently attending a course, “How to Start a Startup”, through Stanford University (regardless of my SAT score) at no cost. The experience has been incredibly valuable.

The messages from these podcasts give fuel to regular people like you and me to do more than we could ever imagine on our own. I like that. (139 words)

Here are a few podcasts that inspire and challenge me to think broader, love bigger and live better:

Pat Flynn podcast (best online business advice around, startup stories)

John Lee Dumas (interviews leading entrepreneurs EVERY day, amazing)

James Altucher podcast (writer, investor who keeps it real in business and life)

Brian Houston podcast (senior pastor of Hillsong Church, faith and leadership)

Chris Brogan podcast (helping humanize and grow your biz, connect so well)

Gary Vaynerchuk podcast (media rock star, investor and marketing guru)

Amy Porterfield podcast (social media strategist, she’s the real deal)

Tim Ferriss podcast (author of “The 4-Day Workweek”, investor, crazy smart)

(Podcast Primer: How to Subscribe to a Podcast on Your Phone & Computer)

* I want to give a shout out to Jamieson Webking, a good friend of mine who turned me on to podcasting. He will be launching his very own podcast shortly, and will get that out to you, as well!