My Favorite Things…

Since I sold my business in 2018, my business life has drastically changed including that I am nearly always working from my home office and so this post is to share some of the things that make my office work well for me.

The first is my Audio-Technica microphone. At $119 it didn’t break the bank but people comment all the time on how great my sound is and the boom keeps it out of my way when not being used and easy to put in place when I need it. The separate small tripod is great too for when you are traveling as the microphone and tripod fit easily in my laptop backpack.

Audio Technica ATR2100X-USB Microphone Set

Streamyard is a broadcast studio that allows me to broadcast simultaneously to both Facebook and YouTube. It pulls the live comments from both so we can address the questions while we are live and automatically schedules and posts the upcoming interviews on both platforms. It has all kinds of cool functions like banners and tickers so I look like a professional broadcast without a staff. The link to their site gives you a $10 discount off their services. I’ve tried a couple of other systems and by far like this one the best.

Next is my second monitor – a Samsung 32 inch curved monitor. It’s big enough that I can put up to four different screens on it at the same time. I rarely do though.. honestly I love just having one screen showing because its big enough for me to see and read even when its at the far side of my desk and so it leaves me lots of room for paperwork in front of it. It uses little energy and takes up nearly no desk space. On Amazon it currently has 1,237 ratings and nearly all of them are a 5 star so others must agree too.

Samsung 32 inch curved monitor

I use a Boyata laptop stand to lift my laptop and place it at the height I need. This serves a couple of functions — first, when on live video, its important that I am at eye level with my camera and this makes it easier. I used to use a pile of books but being able to adjust to the height I need exactly with a laptop stand is much better. It gives me more room on my desk and let’s me have a small fan behind it that is able to blow air right on me under the stand which keeps both me and the laptop cool.

This Dell wireless keyboard and mouse work great, don’t break the bank and I’ve had it for years without any issues. Its light enough and small enough I can take it with me when traveling.

One thing I don’t have but have had on backorder since the pandemic started, is an external webcam. I have narrowed it down to two and am waiting until one day supply catches up to demand. I’ll take whichever comes into stock first — either the Logitech Brio or the Logitech 930e.

Not tech related but important for my health and ability to work is my little wooden block that I was introduced to by Rachael Aberle in this interview I did with her. It has helped relieve the little balls of stress that develop in the base of my neck after sitting at my computer all day. You can find more information about Block Therapy on this website.

And then some books that I have found to be extremely helpful:

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It — this book truly changed my life. I realized after reading it, my business was running me, instead of the other way around. I wasn’t going to be successful as either an entrepreneur, nor would my company be successful, until it no longer needed me.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Other’s Don’t — the small things that can take your company from good (not a bad thing) to great. Surprisingly, there is not much difference in effort, but the rewards from the change can be phenomenal.

The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey — how many times has someone come into your office with a problem and the result is that you have something added to your “to do” list? This book is a quick read that gives you concrete help to get other people’s “monkeys” off your back.

The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room — I have highlighted and notated this book over and over. Awesome advice on how to give a great speech or presentation from where to place your hands to how to write your speech.

The Checklist Manifesto — I am reading this one because I absolutely love Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by the same author, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&tag=retreatandlea-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=21a9d9f32da34b461288928277d0b0b4&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=books&keywords=Atul Guwande">Atul Guwande</a>""Atul Guwande. The concept he lays out seems simple but yet we don’t do it…. checklists prevent human error and create better communication among teams. He not only tells us why it is a good concept but explains how to achieve it.

Talk to Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers and Interview Anyone Like a Pro — this is one I just purchased and can’t wait to start reading. I have migrated some of my work to interviewing very interesting subject matter experts on a variety of topics and want to do the best job I can at making sure their knowledge is properly shared with my audience. I’ll update with what I think of it!

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