Time Management and Axe Sharpening

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree
and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Holy smokes am I learning a thing or two about how much (or how little) you can cram into a single day. Now if only I could figure out when to run and when to blog with this new crazy schedule. Hmm…

Lounging with LannaLee – Amanda Pants Style

Oooh I hate attention and interviews and deep thought provoking questions… so when the lovely LannaLee asked to interview me for her weekly podcast, Lounging with Lannalee, I panicked.

I listened to some other people’s interviews with her and they were real, live, interesting people. I am just me. Rob Gould has his colorful past and many adventures in the PR world, Rich Brooks has his cool confidence and a big upcoming event. What the heck would I talk about? I just have my dogs, my job, my med school husband, a human growing inside me and a love for living in Maine… So that is what we talked about – work-life, dogs, Maine etc.

You may have a listen, if you have nothing better to do. If you want to hear from people more interesting than me, you can find more Lounging with LannaLee podcasts on her website.

Can You Really Have it All?

It is only Monday evening but I am already having one of those weeks, which follows the one of those weeks I had last week. I would love to think I am a good wife, a good dog owner, good at my job and a good homeowner. Right now all of those pieces of my life are all very busy at the same time… and then some.

I’ll pull it off somehow but it has me really struggling to understand how people (and women especially) can have it all. Some pieces of me that are slipping are my running/exercising, sleep, and fun in the sun with my friends and family during a perfect Maine summer. Those pieces of me are important too but there just doesn’t seem to be time for it all. I know I am not alone but I feel like I am juggling and I need to choose which balls to temporarily lay down.

Photo credit: OpticalBliss

Right now I need to refocus, choose what will get me where I want to be and hunker down on the things that are most important. No one said this would all be easy right?!?

Nerdiness to a New Level – WMTW Tech Trends Report

Some things I stink at:

  • Managing money – always think I can move this here and that there… and it never works
  • Accepting compliments – Nice person: Pretty shirt – Me: ‘Eh it was only $5 and there is a rip in the side
  • Cars/Engines – too many words and parts and stuff
  • Those damn metal brain teaser things – why do people think those small torture devices are fun?!
  • Self promotion – Please don’t look at me… look at them!
  • Being on film or having my picture taken – I go from normal person to stiff, sweaty fembot with awkward facial expressions in less than a millisecond

There are obviously a few more I could add (I’m sure my husband could lend a few ideas too) but you get the point. So with this list of unskills, I may have failed to mention that I have been working with WMTW 8 (local ABC channel) on a weekly Tech Trends report with Erin Ovalle. They air at about 7:15am on Saturday mornings.

If you miss them on-air, some of them are also online for your viewing and snickering pleasure.

Here are the ones that I can currently find online:

Working with Erin has been great. I look forward to getting better at these (I hate not being good at things) and I am really excited to share with people some of the cool things local businesses are doing with technology. I am a lucky girl and like with running or overcoming obstacles, I know that trying something new and uncomfortable will only make me stronger.

If you have ideas for topics Erin and I should cover or a local business using technology in a neat way that we should feature, please let me know!

Backing Up

floppy discI hate it when something bad happens and it was 100% preventable. The other day I went to add an event to my iPhone calendar and I was surprised the whole day was clear of obligations. Then I was surprised that the whole next day was open too… so was the next and the next and the next. That was bad.

I am a very busy person, many would say too busy due to my inability to say ‘no’. I can handle being busy. I am meticulous about keeping my calendar and sticking to it. So the morning I realized the whole calendar had just erased into thin air, was a bad morning.

I read all the forums, I asked for help online, I went to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, I tried restoring it from a previous update but it was gone.

Most people that I asked for help said the magic words ‘well didn’t you back it up?!?’. If it was backed up, I assure you I would not have been as panicked. Those words were not very helpful.

So if you are like me and too busy to back up your devices, I am telling you to back them up because the time and information lost on the other end is really not worth it. I now have an event in my calendar every month to remind me to back everything up.

How to protect your information on your iPhone

  • Sync your calendar to Outlook or your Google Calendar.
  • Store your information on iCloud.
  • My photos mean so much for me. I don’t know what I would do if I lost them. Put a copy of your photos in another location, like your computer.

If you find yourself here because you too have lost your information and did not back it up… the only solace I found was from my old friend Carrie Bradshaw.

“No one talks about backing up. You’ve never used that expression before, but apparently everybody’s secretly running home at night and backing up their work!”

Photo credit: flattop341

Search for Any Image on the Web and a Story About a Home Wrecker

Yes, I know this blog is all over the place – but that was the warning I gave you with the very first post. Some things just aren’t a good fit for other places that I write, so I am going to put them here.

How cool is this?!

Henri Matisse Purple Robe and AnemonesHave you checked out Google’s Search by Image yet? Well if not, chalk this up to something cool and I will let you figure out how you can use this.

Now you can search for information on any photo on the web or that you have on your computer. All you have to do is go to Google’s Search by Image and you can either drag and drop your image into the search bar or click on the camera icon and upload the image you want to search.

The results may be all over the place as Google learns how to ‘read’ and identify photos but they can also be pretty cool.

Need a video to how you how this works better? Watch it here

How I finally got to use it

I have known this for a few months, but I had yet to try it until this weekend. As you may know, my office recently moved into the Casco Bay Technology Hub. With the move, we got a new neighbor who has shared in my pangs of having to decorate a new office.

Our new office neighbor brought in print that she liked but she was afraid to hang it because she heard a rumor that the woman who was the focus of the painting was a ‘woman of the night‘. She didn’t want clients or art snobs to point out the painting of a prostitute she had above her conference table.

So what I did was took a picture of the print, uploaded it to Google’s Image Search and voilà! With my quick search, I found a calendar of paintings by Henri Matisse. A little more searching and I found the name of the painting – Purple Robe and Anemones. With the name of the painting, I was able to search for the model – Lydia Delectorskaya!

So was she a whore?

LydiaNo, but Henri’s wife thought she was. Lydia was a model who became Henri’s artist assistant. After years of service she started modeling for him, she even lived with the artist and his family. After awhile, Mrs. Matisse, had about enough and was convinced something was going on with Henri and Lydia so she kicked the model/assistant out.

Even after Lydia was out of the house, Henri’s wife was not convinced of his fidelity and she left him. Eventually Lydia moved back in with old Henri and was his caretaker in his final days. So she may not have been a prostitute, but she was a home wrecker.

Thanks Google Image Search!

There is no Substitute for a Friend

Someone I don’t personally know committed suicide yesterday. We had never met but I respected him. I followed his words, his tweets and heard him in interviews and speeches.

I envied him. I envied his connections, his ability to express his thoughts in words and presentations better than I ever could. I envied that he got to travel around the world talking to people about what he knew. In this crazy ‘new marketing’ world, Trey Pennington was a legend and now he is gone.

I am sad

How can I feel so sad for a man I never met? As we connect with people on Twitter or Facebook or read their blogs we start to feel like we know them. In the light of these tragic events, I realize that I did not know this man at all. This man had a whole off-line life, family and demons that few people knew about.

I am also sad because so many other people/friends/colleagues that knew Trey better than I did are sad. When anything like this happens, everyone has those thoughts that they wished they could have done something or they wish that they had known. Those are hard feelings to deal with sometimes and I am sad people I know are trying to deal with that right now.

Remember what it means to be a friend

In his book the Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk asks if online you are building contacts or connections. He is speaking specifically about social media for businesses but what about in your life? With new tools it is easier than ever to stay in touch with people we know, meet people who share our interests and maintain conversations regularly.

Are these tools giving us more opportunity to connect with people, or in fact, are they giving us less?

Are they fragmenting our relationships between what we want people to see and what we don’t?

Are they making us feel more surrounded by people but at the same time more alone?

Trey Pennington had over 100,000 Twitter followers. He suffered from depression, which is an ugly thing but it makes me wonder – of those 100,000, how many could he pick up the phone and call just to say he was having a really shitty day?

Remember what it was like when we were younger to have friends… you spent time with them, did activities with them, ate with them, shared clothes, books, stories, secrets and more. As we grow up our relationships change but hopefully you maintain that type of a relationship with a few close friends (real friends, not Facebook friends). I make an effort to get together with my close friends regularly, even when we are busy.

In those conversations with close friends you tell stories, secrets, laugh and sometimes cry. Many times the problems I showed up with have seemed to go away by the time the evening is over. In our real friendships we can take off our armor and be ourselves and we can have problems. The more you talk about them with people you trust, the more you realize you aren’t alone.

As ‘adults’, we have bigger problems so why do we internalize them more? I think now more then ever we need a support system that we can reach out to. So maybe we should all take just a few moments to think about our current relationships and what they mean to us. Which ones are important and which ones are not as important?

You may have hundreds of numbers in your phone and even more Facebook friends. You may have thousands of Twitter followers and a bushel of blog subscribers but how many people do you have that you can call and say ‘I am having a really shitty day’ because those relationships are the ones that matter most.