By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including Anthony Iannarino, Dave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.
Periodically moving forward, we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions. You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.
This week I’m beyond excited to feature James Muir, author of The Perfect Close and Vice President of Executive Sales Training for QSI. In an industry of great people, James stands above most for his authenticity, generosity and expertise. A prolific author, James brings innovation and pragmatism to his work.
Suffice it to say, James gets stuff done. Here in his own words is how he does it.
Location: I live in the mountains just south of Salt Lake City. It’s a small town called Herriman.
Current computers: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga. I’ve been using TabletPCs for over 20 years. I am very much a stylus user. I will never not use a tablet. They are the best! I have a desktop as well but it barely gets used.
Current mobile devices: I’d love to tell you have a Galaxy Note 7 which was hands-down the best phone I’ve ever had, but you know how that went and they took it back. Now I have Note-ified a Galaxy S7 Edge with a stylus and some extra software but it’s not the same. I will get the Note 8 the day it comes out. I am a mobile phone power-user and push my devices to the limit. One of the things I use my mobile for is listening to books, articles, pdfs, etc. any written form of communication. I have special software that reads it to me at high speed in a natural human sounding voice. I am learning 24/7. I do a similar thing with video. Since the YouTube mobile platform (and other platforms) can’t play back at high speed the way the web client can I download the vids and replay them back at higher speed using Podcast Addict or Dice Player.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? On mobile it’s Evernote, Todoist, Podcast Addict, Feedly, MyFitness Pal, ezPDF Reader, @Voice, IVONA, YouTube, TubeMate and network storage (I use them all – Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.). On desktop it’s Outlook, Feedly & Evernote again, the whole Microsoft Office Suite, a program called Share to Speech which reads things to me from my desktop, X1 Desktop Search or Copernic when X1 is acting up (which is frequently). I strongly recommend folks use an indexer. It’s life changing.
What’s your workspace like? I have an Ergotron standing-lowering desk with gigantic monitor. Sitting is the new smoking so I spend at least half my day standing now to save my back. I invested thousands of dollars on magic chairs and other tools to help my nearly debilitating back pain when all I really needed to do what fix my posture and stand. I recommend it to everyone. Don’t waste years like I did. Since I’m a fitness buff I also have a treadmill desk and a glider desk. If you read any of my recent posts odds are it was written while I was on the glider.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? Hands-down it’s listening or watching anything played back at higher speed. The higher speed is important but it’s the “anything” that really kicks. A huge percentage of the stuff we need to absorb each day is not in audible form, and much that is too slow. Being able to process that auditorily means making much better use of every minute.
What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? I can make myself do stuff and I can get others to open up and share things with me. I don’t know if that latter one is really a skill so much as an effect of other people being able to tell that I actually care, but it’s definitely there and it’s definitely useful.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager? I’ve tried a million tasking tools. If you have an exchange server and can sync your Outlook tasks with mobile then it’s just good ‘ole Outlook. Folks just need to learn what it’s capable of. If you don’t have access to a server to sync your tasks in Outlook then my favorite is Todoist. That likely is a function of my specific needs and a balance between simplicity and function. There are other tools that are very close. Learning to use your task list tool is probably more important than which tool you’re using. Most folks I know are leaving 50% or more of their tool’s capability unused.
What do you listen to while at work? Man I wish you could listen to and retain podcasts while working – but you can’t – at least not for anything that requires real mental power. Believe me I’ve tried. So I listen to some highly refined Pandora channels that know exactly what I like. I’m a musician and have very broad tastes so the specific genre varies with my mood.
What are you currently reading? Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini
What’s your sleep routine like? Sleep is the most underrated tool for productivity and recovery ever. I used to try and live on 5 hours or less sleep a night. I even calculated how much life I was getting back by not “wasting” so much time sleeping. Big mistake. Not getting enough sleep will bite you badly in the end. Don’t neglect it. Schedule it just like you do everything else. It took years, but now I go to bed between 9 & 10pm and get up at 4:45am. That means I’m getting between 7-8 hours a night. It was shocking to me how much faster I hit my fitness goals when I started getting the right amount of sleep.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Intent matters more than technique – Mahan Khalsa. It applies to both business and relationships. Just forget about yourself for a minute and just try and help – whatever the situation. Get your intent in the right place and everything else will take care of itself.
Anything else you want to add? Always be learning. Never stop. Be genuinely curious. Learning is both fun a profitable. Learning something new every single day.
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions. Mahan Khalsa.