Over the past few years, my inbox has been, well, a work in progress. While I’ve managed to stay on top of it by employing some helpful tools such as Boomerang, my inbox grew with my business. As emails would pile up, I started to feel like Kramer in Seinfeld when he decided to get out of the US Mail system. It was a relief to hear about creative strategist Kelly Stocker’s Productivity Power Hours, which includes Inbox Zero Hero— a David Allen-inspired system she uses to hyper-organize her inbox. I recently employed her to consult me and help me install some apps, plugins, and dig through some “digital stressors," and the best thing about this one-on-one training was Kelly was able to triage my inbox so I could be more in control of it and be more productive. Spending one hour with her was well worth it because she’s already researched and vetted several digital tools!
Kelly, where did you grow up and what brought you to Austin?
I’m from McAllen, Texas and I came to Austin on accident. I never thought much of Austin (which probably comes from some deeply ingrained prejudice from my Texas A&M cousins), but I got a job at Dell and realized that Austin was the place I was always meant to land.
You have a lot of irons in the fire, including working for KGSR and freelancing as a journalist. Please elaborate how you spend the bulk of your days.
I spend most of my time online, emailing, scheduling, creating content for my startup client, and writing articles. Right now I’m trying to build my productivity practice while managing external deliverables. I also attend a lot of Austin events and I try to invite people I want to spend time with to those. Two birds, one stone.
Because of your dynamic personality and your skill at being a natural entertainer, you’ve hosted, judged and emceed a lot of public-facing projects. What has been your favorite fifteen minutes of fame?
I introduced Lou Holtz once. That was kind of a fluke though. I love hosting the Edible Austin Chef Auction every year. It’s an opportunity to do a lot of good with a thing I love doing: being ridiculous on a microphone.
What’s your personal mantra?
It changes depending on what my "brainspace" looks like, but right now I’m trying to focus on done is better than perfect. I’ll procrastinate forever because something isn’t optimized to the nth degree. It’s very self-defeating.
You are the queen of life hacks, I can’t even catch up. What are some of your favorite tools for busy people that you’re loving right now?
The new Gmail is dreamy; the ability to snooze an email and the suggested replies are delightful. I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique and the Be Focused timer for that. Meetingbird for scheduling, Buffer for social, Metal for checking Facebook and Twitter. And Pokemon Go for getting my 10K steps a day in a way that’s a little less boring and horrible.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately? And what other media are you consuming?
I'm currently reading Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle. When that gets too overwhelming, I’ll sub out for a lighter book such as Truly Madly Guilty from Lianne Moriarty. What I want/should read vs. what I want to read are miles apart. For some of the “should” reads, I’ll look up the Blinkist summary so I can get the gist without any of the laborious reading.
You’re the kind of person who I imagine who goes everywhere with a Tide pen, a backup charger, and breath mints. What do you have in your purse right now?
A backup charger and breath mints. Always my laptop, always mascara, always a charging cord.
Where are your absolute favorite places to work around Austin?
Barton Springs! You can get Wifi there in certain spots and it's glorious. Of course, that’s also kind of a pain so usually I’ll hit up Mour Cafe or Quickie Pickie. One of the best parts about Austin is that most places have Wifi so I usually pop up anywhere (yes, even in bars.)
If someone gave you a million dollars to do whatever you wanted, what would you do with the money?
Put it in an index fund and start making my way through my million dollar ideas Google doc.
What piece of advice do you wish someone would've given you when you were starting out your career?
Work hard but not to the detriment of your relationships. A company will take all the time you’ll give, which can be a never-ending vacuum, so if you don’t set limits they’re not going to offer them up.
Okay, last but not least, if someone wants to hire your for coaching what should they do?
Thanks Kelly! Catch you at Barton Springs!