girl on fire

This girl is on fire

It’s hard to believe we are already super close to wrapping up the first month of a new calendar year.

26 days have passed, and while that feels furiously fast, those first 26 days have reaffirmed the feeling I have that this year is going to be a little different. Cementing my resolve that I am not willing to submit and fail on my dreams. Not this time.

Turn back the clock

Time is a real rarity in my crazy double life as a startup-mama. Being holed up in the supportive cocoon of my parents place for festive week gave me the opportunity to grab a little time to myself.

I savoured those few indulgent days to catch my breath after a whirlwind year, and I made the most of every moment. Pondering, musing, dreaming about life in 2013 and beyond.

I am sure I was not alone in taking that time out, but for me, it was about reconnecting with myself. It was about making the most of being off-the-grid for a few days [ok, semi off-the-grid]. Time to read, to think, to plot, to plan.

You resolve; I resolve

Now I know that New Year’s resolutions are nothing ‘new’ and I am far from alone in my plotting and planning. I am sure a lot of people are going strong in their own resolve, while others may have fallen off their wagon.

If that sounds like you, hopefully any small trip-up along the way is not veering you totally off course; not making you walk away and chalk it all up to ‘try again next year’.

One attitude change I have made this year is the acceptance that life does not dramatically reset on January 1st. I am not suddenly a different person who can tolerate eating, drinking, thinking different and in turn, survive the process of ‘going cold-turkey’. That feels like a recipe for disaster, or at least a recipe for failure.

Rather than being so harsh on myself, and expecting such instant-makeover miracles, I have instead chosen to be my own cheerleader. I am in my own corner.

Change is gradual, and rather than suddenly removing all that was comfortable and natural, I am instead concentrating my efforts on carving out new habits.

Small changes to the way I live each day, all of which should add up to bigger changes through my year ahead.

Here come the girls

Step forward to a recent conversation with my co-worker Carolyn, during which I discovered a deeper connection with my partner in rocket ship crime.

As ‘girls together’ inside a tech start up, it was inspiring to discover echoed feelings for the potential ahead of us.

Life, if we are not purposeful about how we live it, will skip by in the blink of an eye. And with that collective realisation, Carolyn and I both really want to grab it by the balls.

Small, intentional changes are working for both of us. A change in our mindset to put ourselves first [or at least, not last] seems to be the way forward.

Riding this rocket ship together at Buffer, Carolyn and I are in the mood to kick ass.

I cannot wait to meet her in real life when I visit San Francisco in a few weeks. I have a feeling we are going to understand our introspection perfectly and wave our poms poms for all to see.

Watch out world, these girls are on fire.

Cue cheesy soundtrack…

leaping forward

Looking back, leaping forward

With 2012 all wrapped up, I find myself wanting to spend a few minutes honouring what was an incredible year. To also look forward to what, I hope, will be an even more amazing year in lucky number 13.

Y’see, 12 months ago, I never would have imagined I’d find myself hustling away inside a small but successful startup. Having spent the summer of 2011 plotting and laying the foundations for my own work-at-home business, I had established a business that gained traction in record time. A business that, some would say, was silly to walk away from.

Call it female intuition

But when you know, you just know. And when Joel and his Buffer came into my world, it just felt right from the get go.

As an early adopter of Buffer, it quickly became my go-to tool for tweeting. I wholeheartedly believed in the productivity and visibility benefits of spreading my tweets through the day, rather than in blasts as I could grab a few minutes on Twitter here and there. It made sense to me on so many levels.

As my own business developed, I continued to wave my pom poms for Joel and Leo. Cheerleading them on to success and evangelising for their product as far and wide as I could.

In turn, as is Joel’s way, he was super supportive of my own entrepreneurial endeavours and we continued to connect every so often.

As 2011 drew to a close, Joel, Leo [and now Tom] had secured funding and Buffer was growing, and growing fast. Having pledged my support to Joel – offering to assist however he needed, whenever he needed – my call to arms came early in 2012.

For a few months, we happily cruised along as client and service provider, or superhero and sidekick as I liked to think of it.

Finding our feet and building our working relationship, my focus in those early days was purely inbound email, for just a few hours each day. Providing back up to Leo, who was the mainstay of our supportive efforts and leader of our community.

Going steady

Things suddenly got serious in May, when I was invited on a date. Now let me tell you, dating Buffer is not like any run of the mill date. Oh no, quite life changing in fact.

Stepping up from just a couple of hours each day, dipping in rather anonymously while the boys were hustling away in Hong Kong, to suddenly being fully focused on nothing-but-Buffer and invited to a full team hook up in Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv was awesome in so many ways and I returned home a Buffer girl [in a Buffer world… sorry, couldn't resist]. Committing to wrap up projects with my remaining clients, I hung up my superhero cape and jumped fully on board the Buffer bus. Setting aside my own business, I pledged to ride this rocket ship as hard as I could.

As with any startup there is risk involved and with risk comes grit and adrenalin. I honestly have no idea where this road will lead, none of us do. We focus only on getting up each day and doing all we can to deliver the very best product and service possible.

One life to live

Right now I’m very much focused on self-improvement, which I hope will in turn positively impact the business.

While 2012 was awesome, it was also frenetic. With the somewhat morbid realisation I have just one shot at this life, I am bursting at the seams with an urge to go after my passions this year and corral my dreams.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Steve Jobs

I’m psyched for the plans I have in place. Rather than signing up to a bunch of crazy, hard to maintain, resolutions; I have instead been slowly building small habits into my day. Habits which should make me a teeny bit fitter, a teeny bit calmer and a whole lot less frustrated at the complexity of my double life.

For I believe, and I hope it to be true, that if I focus on delivering happiness to myself and better equip myself to manage the frenetic pace of life, maybe, just maybe, everyone in my world will benefit.

Here’s to 2013. May it be off the scale for all of us.

dreaming big

The importance of being unrealistic

This post has taken a little too long in the writing for my liking, mostly through plain old procrastination.

It has required honesty and the courage to admit a few things to myself [and also now to others]. Things I’ve perhaps sat on the fence about for a while.

As I’ve wrestled with my honesty and found my courage, I have returned again and again to this clip of Will Smith where he talks about his philosophy for success.

If you have the time, I recommend you watch all 10 minutes. It will be the best 10 minutes of your day. For the purpose of this post, skip forward to 05:46. It really hits the spot.

Go ahead, watch it now, I’ll wait…

Comfort zone

You see, life in middle state is comfortable. Stressful at times, but comfortable. Some days are crazy and I feel totally unproductive, ineffective and downright rubbish across all areas of life. Other days I feel like I’ve got it all going on, hot working mama for the win!

What I’ve realised is this, middle state isn’t enough for me. Middle state just leads to a confusion in my head and in my heart. Where I end up feeling pulled in different directions, trying my best to deliver to everyone who needs me. The knock on effect is the person I deliver to least, is myself.

All or nothing

I’ve always been a little bit of an ‘all or nothing’ kinda girl. If I do something, I want to be good at it. Real good.

As a child, nothing felt like it was out of my reach. While my childhood was filled with the reality of financial limitations, I believed I could achieve great things – that dreaming beyond my reality was perfectly reasonable. A sense of invincibility, and of nothing being unrealistic.

When reality bites

Then, reality came knocking. One of my most vivid memories growing up is being told to ‘live in the real world’, to ‘quit daydreaming and come down to earth; to ‘live in reality’. Sensible advice perhaps, but also rather crushing of my aspirations for a big life.

I will probably never know for sure if these comments had a sneaking effect on my goal-chasing-gusto. Did they lodge themselves in the back of my head all these years, quietly convincing me I wasn’t good enough for all my big dreams? That my big dreams were for someone else to live.

Perhaps. But even after all these years, there remains a part of me that still harbours those big dreams and craves the big life I lusted after all those years ago. That, I think, is why middle state sits a little uncomfortably on my shoulders.

Don’t think, do

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

There’s a real feeling in my bones that if not now, never. That I am standing before an opportunity to ride the rocket ship at Buffer, and ride it hard.

What is it they say? You have to name it to claim it? Maybe the solution is to declare to all the people around me that ‘these are my dreams and I am chasing them‘. Perhaps then, the cheerleaders in my life will back me all the way and offer their support to help make them a reality.

Exiting the road to mediocrity

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” Will Smith

There’s a stark reality happening here. I can continue zooming along the highway to mediocrity or I can take the next exit and select a new destination.

And if mediocrity doesn’t quite fit with the life I dreamed for myself, surely there is only one conclusion?

To dream big and be unrealistic.


party of five

Party of five

Call me crazy… but we just got a puppy.

A teeny tiny eight week old puppy. Along with two small people, we are now officially a party of five.

As adorable as he is  - and he is very adorable! – I can’t escape how he suddenly adds a whole new layer of complexity to my already complex day. At least for a while.

Much like a newborn baby, this bouncing bundle of black spends his days doing one of only four things: eating, sleeping, making mischief or relieving himself. Priorities have suddenly switched to garden breaks every two hours, if only to prevent happy accidents inside the house!

On my first day home alone with the furry newborn, it felt like ‘garden time’ had stolen my day and my productivity had been hijacked. Just a few days later though and the tweaked routine is already finding its feet.

Garden breaks are now more efficient, taking much less time to complete and being achieved with a little multi-tasking – both of which help to remove the feeling that time is being wasted.

With iPhone to hand, I capture notes and blog posts in iA Writer, edit lists in WorkFlowy, answer emails in Help Scout, check Twitter for mentions of Buffer; all while grabbing some fresh air and indulging in a coffee.

So, as much I assumed garden breaks were going to be a pain in the productive a**, I’m actually finding them to be a little the other way. Enforced breaks – something I’m usually rubbish at achieving – are not only getting me off my chair and outside; they have the added benefit of a few cheeky minutes to myself, as well as a chance reflect and catch my breath.

An unexpected productivity twist if ever there was.


small people

Living a double life: being a parent at an early stage startup

As Noah Kagan recently put it so well: can I be real with you? Real real?

I’ve talked before about how I carve my day to squeeze every drip out of it. Shared my theories for theming, a noble attempt to avoid drift and push for maximum focus. Described how I try to be disciplined with my schedule, working in bursts across a 16 hour day.

What I talk much less about is why I hack my life in such ways. About my “other job”, as parent to two small people.

Surely I must be crazy to grip onto the rocket ship that is life at an early stage startup, while also trying to be equally successful in my role as parent, no?

Some days I think perhaps I am, that it can’t be done. Those thoughts creep in whenever I’m struggling to keep my two lives separate; determined not to let my small people affect my work, or my work affect my small people. All while looking to escape assumed judgement for being a parent in a young man’s world – a place where parenting feels rare.

Slowly I’m starting to swing around. Realising I might be able to have my cake and eat it; to pull off caring for my small people without compromising my commitment to the rocket ship.

Realising that rather than being about a fight for separation [and perhaps segregation] of my double life, perhaps it’s really about acceptance and blending them, openly and honestly, into one.

I’d like to talk here about the challenges I encounter as I try to pull it all off. I know how useful it will be to me, to work through the complexities of parenting while riding a rocket ship, and it would be amazing to receive comments from others in the same position. I hope by sharing, it’s also helpful to others too.

Life’s a balancing act, or is it?

There’s always a ton of talk about ‘work-life balance’. In its purest form, the name suggests each significant area of your life should be evenly balanced and equally weighted. Therefore, as soon as one aspect appears to be receiving more attention than another, you invariably begin to feel off balance and out of control. A recipe for two-way guilt and stress if ever I heard it!

More recently, the buzz words have shifted to ‘work-life merge’ and ‘integration’. As their names suggest, the focus is on acceptance of your whole self. Rather than living two separate lives, struggling to keep each under control without affecting the other, you act openly and deliver positively to both. The guilt that comes with living in ‘middle state’ is not good for anyone, least of all yourself. Trust me on that one.

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” Anonymous

1. Learning to let go

Not all that long ago my days were filled with plates to spin and balls to juggle. Quite simply, I was trying to have it all AND do it all. Perhaps being too stubborn to engage any help, I struggled with the feeling it was my responsibility to get it all done. To be Martha Stewart and Sheryl Sandberg wrapped into one, like some kind of superhero.

Finally letting go of my compulsion to always be in control, I’ve quietened my mother guilt a little and rallied troops to back me up. With childcare and domestic support drafted in, I can now happily hustle for the rocket ship, switch back to mama-bear, before hustling again after lights out.

All of my plates are still spinning – I’m coming to accept they always will be – but life is a little less stuck in the middle.

2. Escaping reality

I’m a lucky girl and I know it. As a working mother, I’m able to do my work without being tied to a desk or even to a particular country, a real digital nomad.

While delivering happiness to the Buffer community grants me the freedom to work wherever and whenever I choose, in reality, escaping my own four walls is still a little tricky; even with back up.

It requires a small military operation of pre-scheduling to hop into Central London for a full dawn to dusk session at a co-working space. It’s definitely something I would love to do more and I’m envious of those with greater freedom of movement than myself. I perhaps need to be stricter with my schedule to book days into my calendar to ensure their regularity.

3. The Internet never sleeps

Building a bridge between our community of awesome Buffer customers and our developers is a role you never really leave behind. Wherever I go, whatever I’m doing, a part of me is always conscious of how many people are waiting.

I’ve written before about my heavily customised schedule; about how I’ve tweaked my routine to fit around the global needs of Buffer while meeting the needs of my small people, and I’m grateful I have the freedom to do that.

I’m mindful of the inbound messages we’re receiving at all hours of the day and night, and I work hard to spread my input into the community across the widest spectrum of my day.

I also appreciate being the person who can take my little people to school each day, who can pick up from football practice and serve dinner every night. In that respect, you could say I get to have my cake and eat it, even if getting that cake out of the oven without it being burned takes a little bit of skill and negotiation!

Always learning

In my quest for improvement and seeking inspiration from those in a similar position, I find myself drawn to all sources of information about other women in business and how they get it done. I can’t help but wonder if they are really pulling it off or if it’s just a cosy charade in front of a crazy mess!

From watching the frivolous Hollywood movie ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It?‘, in which the lead character holds down her job as a fund manager while just about holding her family together. To being captivated by a Bloomberg Television moderated panel discussion ‘Women to Watch: Women  Take the Lead in Technology’ that featured four leading women in tech, who not only kick ass in their C-suite positions but do it with grace.

I’m the first to admit I have a heap more to learn and life is certainly always evolving [if you know of any inspiring articles or clips I might like to check out, be sure to let me know in the comments!].

While definitely tricky, and sometimes smothered in feelings of self-doubt, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I adore my small people and I want to empower them to kick asses of their own. I also love my rocket ship and the feeling each day that I’m contributing to the growth of something great. It may be a challenge but there’s only one thing to do when faced with one of those: rise.

Are you a parent at a startup? What are your challenges and learnings? How do you keep all your balls in the air? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

deflated balloon

Get busy living

Some days life comes along and bursts your bubble, throws you the curviest of balls and deflates your balloon. But, before you allow sadness and frustration to wash over you, stop and consider this.

None of us know what’s around the next corner, when our own time will be up or when we’ll lose someone special from our lives. All we can do is live our life to its very fullest potential.

Every day, each decision we make weaves itself to become our history; to become the imprint we leave behind. So, when that curve ball comes and you lose someone before you’re ready to let them go, the very best thing you can do is step up and chase your dreams.

Honour the person you’ve lost by promising to make the most of each and every day. For surely they would give their all for just one more.

Get busy living. Scratch that, get busy shipping.

Jack Dorsey

What would Jack do?

Recently, I wrote about my 16 hour working day and how I was carving out a new routine. A few weeks have since passed and I find myself wanting to dig deeper into the wins and losses, as well as explore a couple of ideas I have for further improvement.

Good morning

Hauling myself out of bed at the crack of dawn has been surprisingly good. Some mornings have been tough, sitting at my laptop barely awake, but knowing I have an early handle on my inbox is nothing short of awesome. I might still be getting used to the early starts but there is already a sense of them becoming habitual. Rather than fighting against them, they are becoming a firm part of my routine and the pay off is just too great to give them up.

Not so good afternoon

On the flip side, my grand plan for an upside down evening isn’t quite hitting the same mark. Believing I could switch off for a few hours at the tail end of each afternoon, before revving up again in the evening, is much more difficult than it would appear. It turns out Buffer Co-Founder Leo was right, multi-tasking really can kill you [or at least drive you crazy].

Room for improvement

So, what to do? Things are good, improved. Productive, but not perfect. Tweaks are still required.

So who better to be inspired by for how to pull off a 16 hour day than Jack Dorsey? As Executive Chairman and CEO of two tech companies – Twitter and Square respectively - Jack is also known for putting in 8 hours a day at each company, back-to-back. While his long day is admirable enough, there’s one particular aspect of his routine I find myself now wanting to try: theming.

Monday is for…

Listening to Jack describe his routine during this Techonomy session in 2011, it seems he pulls off his 16 hour days with a whole heap of discipline. Theming his days – on Monday he focuses on management and running the company, Tuesday on product – allows him to quickly recapture his focus if he ever finds himself pulled away by the unexpected.

Focusing on one aspect of business each day prevents his week from drifting along in a blur of micro-management and ensures each area receives a guaranteed degree of attention each week. This, I love.

Full tweaks ahead

With this in mind, my plans for further improvement are two-fold.

First: core adjustments to my schedule. I will of course maintain my super early call time to get the jump start on my day I’ve come to love, but I need to find a way to reconfigure the support I have in place for the remainder of my day. This greater freedom will allow me to be fully switched on and then fully switched off. To work before play, rather than living in the blurred middle-state I often find myself in right now.

As an extra bonus, increased support will also grant me freedom of movement – productivity while working from Google Campus last week was through the roof and also gave me a shot of much-missed startup buzz. I’m really looking forward to making this a regular part of my routine.

Second: introduction of themes to my working days. While my core tasks for Buffer are very rhythmic, there are less time-sensitive aspects which can be over-looked. It’s surprisingly easy to reach the end of another day, another week, and find I’ve been swept along in awesome conversation with customers who have reached out via email, Twitter or Facebook.

In an effort to prevent drift, instilling similar discipline and theming into my schedule will create focus and the opportunity to ship in areas where it’s all too easy to bob along in an open sea.

What day is it?

If, like Jack, I ever find my day is getting pulled away from its end goal, all I need to do is think about what day it is and I can quickly snap my day back to plan.

And if I ever really drift off plan, I simply need to ask myself: what would Jack do?

Do you split your working week into areas of focus? Do you carve your working day into an unusual schedule? I’d love to hear more in the comments.


The 16 hour work day

There’s nothing quite like a period away from home to throw your routine out of the window!

Before leaving for Tel Aviv my routine was fairly locked down; days were simple and rhythmic. Suddenly finding myself in a team environment, my days were driven by the flow of the team and returning home left me in a spin of un-productivity.

Soon enough it was time to get back in the saddle; no real surprise that I soon felt a little saddle sore!

Change is good

Not one to break myself into anything gently, I devised a new routine for getting up super early. With the alarm set for 04:55, my day begins at 05:00 with 2 solid hours of laptop time before breaking for breakfast. Returning to the laptop at 09:00 for another 2 hour burst, then breaking and bursting all the way through to 21:00.

My plan is to stretch my working day to round-the-clock. By ensuring sufficient downtime, I hope to avoid burn-out and create a sustainable routine.

The 05:00 start has so far worked really well. It feels good to already be on top of things by 07:00. It gives me a sense of being in charge of my day, rather than my day being in charge of me.

Time to refine

There are still a bunch of improvements to be made and a long way to go before this routine is ‘stuck’. Having already felt the rewards of efficiency, my aim now is to tweak and build. My plan this week will be to focus on:

  • going to bed earlier to balance the super early start
  • building in transition-time between waking and work
  • being more disciplined about ‘working in bursts’

I’m conscious I also need to review my fitness and nutrition but that’s a whole other post!

Right now it feels a little like I’m ‘starting-up’ to run a marathon, and for that I need energy. I also need to refine and define my optimal way-of-working in order to reach the finish line.

It’s going to be a lot of hard work but it’s also going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited to see how slick I can make this, so much so that tomorrow feels like my first day of a new term. With my new Moleskine and shiny new Kaweco pen to hand, I’m ready.

Have you put a super stripped-down routine in place, and what have you learned along the way? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


Fairytale in Tel Aviv

Once upon a time there was a young Princess from the Shire. Not content with her life in a small village, she soon set off to discover the world.

Hopping across to the Big Apple, she ventured across the Deep South and the Wild West, before spending a lazy summer in Venice [Venice, California, not Venice, Italy; she was still young and far from cultured].

Next stop were the sunny streets of Sydney, Australia where she hopped on ferries, chased waves and learned the ropes of building customer relationships.

Two Princes

She eventually hopped home to settle into a fairytale life with her Prince and two tiny humans.

Life was good. Until one day the Princess came across a very clever young Prince who had invented something in his bedroom he liked to call ‘Buffer‘. The Princess waved her sparkly wand and dug out her pom-poms.

The Prince of Buffer soon had her under his spell and the Princess was invited to the Buffer Ball. With her glass slippers in place, she delighted in delivering happiness to a very lovely bunch of Buffer-ettes.

Love in an Elevator

The invitation was soon extended beyond the Ball and more international adventures beckoned. Having hopped over to Tel Aviv to join the Princes of Buffer for a few weeks of bonding and buffering in an Elevator, she heads home today to her own Prince and two tiny humans.

Happily ever after

While the Princess must hop home and leave her Princes of Buffer behind, she is full of happiness and so very thankful to everyone who weaved magic into her visit. Tel Aviv is amazing. Her Princes are amazing.

Far from being a fairytale ending, it’s much more a fairytale beginning. And definitely only a temporary goodbye.


The small list: the top 10 tools of a happiness hero

Over on the Buffer blog, I recently posted my ‘big list of 100 tools, tips and tricks to work more efficiently online’. The list is huge: 90 apps and 10 of my favourite blog posts on productivity and getting stuff done. A delectable mountain of information.

What I wanted to do here, on my personal blog, is to dive a little more into the tools I use myself – tools that help me to deliver happiness and get my stuff done. Here goes:

How I get it done

1. Reeder - One of my first tasks each day, with a coffee in one hand and iPhone in the other, is to take a few minutes to discover some amazing articles inside Reeder. Not just for sharing [and adding to my Buffer] but also for personal learning and inspiration.

2. Pocket - Any article I find myself wanting to dive into later, either from my RSS feed or from inside my Twitter stream, I save into Pocket. It becomes a treasure trove of filtered content, ready for investigation. I can also Buffer from Pocket so it’s another super easy way to share good content.

3. Drafts - For quick notes on the go, or to capture that super fast burst of inspiration, I quickly capture ideas inside Drafts. It could be an idea for a tweet, a post or a task; all without having to immediately go live with the content. Draft tweets can then be pushed to Buffer when they’re crafted and ready.

4. Snapseed - Before pulling new shots into Instagram for filtering and sharing, I like to fiddle in a little more detail. Crop, level, adjust, focus, tilt shift. When that’s all done, off to Instagram they go.

5. Hootsuite - Twitter can quickly become overwhelming. It moves at breakneck speed, but the important thing is not to expect to read every single tweet in your stream. That’s why creating lists is so good. They allow you to dip in and out of topics and groups of people as and when you need to. What I love about Hootsuite is how it allows me to glance over multiple streams – mentions, direct messages and searches – all in a single dashboard and all in just a few swipes.

6. Tweetbot - Winning hands down as my iOS Twitter client of choice. The push notifications mean I don’t miss an opportunity to engage, and having lists in place means I also don’t suffer from overwhelm when on the go. All that’s missing is pushing retweets to Buffer, #justsaying…

7. Buffer - Where would I be without Buffer? As an early adopter , I’ve always been a cheerleader of its smarter sharing philosophy – of having consistent visibility in the streams of my followers while not bashing them over the head with 10 consecutive tweets in the 10 minute burst I find myself online. With Buffer as my very own sidekick, I can discover awesome content on the fly and load it up for publishing at regular intervals. It leaves me free to enjoy engagement and interaction without having to worry about my consistency. When Joel asked me to bring a little happiness to Buffer, how could I resist?

8. iA Writer - What’s not to love about iAWriter? Right now I’m writing this post on a Tel Aviv beach with just my iPhone. The app is beautifully simple in its UI and all the while, my words are syncing back to Dropbox in perfect markdown.

9. TextExpander - I’m a huge fan of this app, not for mindlessly creating a ton of snippets but for the information they hold. Buffer is a technical product and a lot of the information I need to be able to deliver happiness requires specialist developer knowledge. TextExpander keeps all of the solutions I need in easy reach, to use and adapt as I go, saving me tons of time along the way.

10. Capture Cards - Alongside my trusty Moleskine, with its super square grid, I always carry a few Capture Cards. Designed by the very awesome Aaron Mahnke, they are totally worthy of the international shipping fees. The size is perfect, the grid even more so [yep, more grids]. I capture notes, new ideas and list upon list on these.

So there you have it, the 10 essential tools for getting through my day. Tools, online and offline, I can’t live without. Everyone has different tools, different ways of getting their stuff done. There’s no right or wrong way, there’s just our way.

How do you hack your way through your own day? What tools and tricks do you use? I’d love to read about them below.

Photo credit: Aaron Mahnke