Thoughts & Tips for March 2018


Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash


I recently picked up this Pisen Wireless Presenter Laser Pointer 2500 for my upcoming GTD class.  It appears to work well has a laser pointer, mouse, and slide forward/backward.  I can also be used as a USB charger and has an internal rechargeable battery.

Thankful For

The two-day course at Rescue Academy with Mike Foster on Feb 8-9, 2018 is was awesome.  I learned so much!


My first Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work is scheduled for March 8, 2018.


Back in October 2017 I listened to this Tim Ferris interview with Jocko Willink.  This what I remembered Jocko recommending to get started with a new exercise.  He said to just do that thing as much as you can.  And then rest, and then try to do it again. Rest. Repeat trying and resting up to 8 times.  I've always sucked at doing pull-ups.  So every day in November, I just tried to do one. Over and over again.  And by the end of the month I could do one.  Then December became two pull-ups. January ended with 3 pull-ups.  And in March I am doing 4 pull-ups 6 days a week!

Quote I'm Thinking About

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." - Donald Rumsfeld

Thoughts & Tips for February 2018

IMG_7424-EFFECTSPhoto by Steve Holden


I found out a gotcha with my new Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder.  You need to format the card on the H6 before you record anything.  If you don't, then the files saved are in a strange pseudo file system that can't be recognized on desktop OSes (Mac, Windows, Chromebook, Linux, etc).  To get the audio off you'll probably have to use Audio Out and record the audio on another device (like a PC running Audacity).

Thankful For

The trip to Hawaii with Conrad was awesome.  We got to swim with sharks!

Hamilton was good. I am glad I got to see it.


I am still working on setting up Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work.  I need to create a Wiki for the course, use our training system to create a record for each class, and reserve rooms for three dates into the future.

This two-day course at Rescue Academy with Mike Foster from Feb 8-9, 2018 is going to be interesting.


Regular morning routines before I go on a run have really helped me have the right mindset for the day.  I start off praying and reading a daily devotional (~10 minutes), and then I doing a series of pushups, stretches, and situps before running (~10 minutes).

Google Keep has two good reminder options.  One is time based - like set a reminder for April 1, 2018.  The other is geolocation based.  The next time at "Costco" buy XYZ.

New Ambient Information Display From Lenovo

SmartDisplay_1-COLLAGE (1)Engadget recently published a hands-on review from CES 2018 on a new smart-screen device from Lenovo -- "Lenovo Smart Display hands-on: Google Assistant gets a new kind of home".

It looks like a nice device for not only using Google Assistant, but also displaying ambient information.

I see ambient information as context specific personalized information displayed on a screen that you regularly have access to.  For instance, in my home office I have a laptop running Google Chrome with 7 tabs open and then I use an extension called Revolver - Tab to cycle through each tab every 60 seconds.  I also have the same setup at work, but with a different set of tabs.

I see finding, customizing, and building out these displays in such a way that add value, but isn't distracting to workflow, is going to be an interesting area to study for human factors scientists.

More info from Lenovo's Blog about Smart Display.

Thoughts & Tips for January 2018

IMG_6963Photo by Steve Holden


I got a Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder for Christmas (see below).  I'm really excited to try it out in Hawaii (see below).

Thankful For

The A Holiday Variety Show in Hollywood, CA at the Fonda on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 was awesome.  My favorite band CHVRCHES played three songs.  It was awesome.  UPDATE (1/23/2019): More details if you are interested. 

Christmas was awesome.


My son won a trip to Hawaii and is taking me - January 2 - 7, 2018.  

We also have tickets for the musical Hamilton in San Diego, CA in January 2018.


I'm still prepping for teaching my first set of classes using Vital Smarts material for a new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training class at work. 

And I signed up for a two-day course way out my comfort zone - Rescue Academy with Mike Foster - in February 2018.  I'm going to learn a lot, and hopefully help more!

Running Tips

Stretch (~10 minutes) plus do several different sets of situps and pushups before a run. Do pull-ups after your run.

Rotate shoes everyday.  I have 5 pairs of shoes and rotate through them.  I usually just get the basic running shoe at Costco.  This has worked better for me than having two high-end running shoes and rotating between them.  I switch out a set of shoes after about 6 months.

Global Leadership Summit (GLS) 2017 Notes (#gls17, #gls2017)


I recently attended with many members of Christ Lutheran Church the Willow Creek Association (WCA)'s Global Leadership Summit 2017 (#gls17, #gls2017).  I experienced it via remote campus video streaming at Journey Community Church in La Mesa (@Journey_Church). They are awesome hosts!

My full notes that I took are available in PDF if you are interested.  (Original version posted on 8/18/2017. Updated on 8/19/2017.)

In reviewing the notes before posting this, I've been thinking and contemplating on the following 'big ideas' since the event:

  • We need leaders who do not fight with each, but work together.
  • At the end of each day, list three things that you are grateful for in a journal and reflect on them.
  • There is no correlation between thinking you are creative and being creative.
  • We (as followers of Jesus) have to be with the people who have problems. Be close to people who are suffering.  Go where the pain is. Serve them.
  • Create within your organization a culture that recognizes and embraces change rather than resists change.
  • If you (as a leader) give ‘freedom’ to your employes at a level that starts to make you feel uncomfortable, then you are on the track.
  • WHITESPACE is a ‘strategic pause’ taken between activities, and we all need more pause in our lives.
  • Studying "Failed Teams" is not going to show you how to build "Best Teams."
  • Consider this: 'talent x effort = skill' and 'skill x effort = achievement'. Effort counts twice.
  • Courage like fear is contagious.

I also have notes from 2014 and 2016. If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, etc. on any of the topics in this post, then please let me know.

Global Leadership Summit 2016 Notes (#gls16)


I recently attended with many members of Christ Lutheran Church the Willow Creek Association (WCA)'s Global Leadership Summit 2016 (#gls16).  I experienced it via remote campus video streaming at Journey Community Church in La Mesa.

My full notes that I took are available in PDF if you are interested.

Each speaker had a great depth of insight, wisdom, suggestions, etc.  Here is one quote or thought from each one of them:

  • It is cruel to not tell the employee how they are doing. - BILL HYBELS
  • Everyone knows the plan, the status, and areas that need special attention. - ALAN MULALLY (wikipedia)
  • All lives are equal and work on behalf of others. - MELINDA GATES
  • We put a . (period) at the end of our title but God puts a , (comma).  - BISHOP T.D. JAKES
  • Customers want: product is perfect, you serve them timely, and that you care. - HORST SCHULZE
  • The four skills of EQ (Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management). - DR. TRAVIS BRADBERRY
  • Cultural Mapping is critical to understand if you are working with other cultures or countires. - ERIN MEYER
  • Row row row your boat: Drifting is not going to get you there. - WILFREDO DE JESÚS
  • When interviewing a top candidate you need to get them out of the standard interview scenario and see how they react with people. - PATRICK LENCIONI
  • There will always to be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute. -  CHRIS MCCHESNEY
  • Your negative “TAPES” (playing in your head) hold you back, they need to be put on hold. - DANIELLE STRICKLAND
  • FAITH is from God, FEAR is from Satan. - JOSSY CHACKO
  • People have uphill hopes and downhill habits. - JOHN C. MAXWELL

In reviewing the notes before posting this, I think the following big ideas are worth highlighting:

  • Everyone wins when leaders get better.
  • Leadership is moving people (energizing them) to a preferred future (from here to there).
  • Deal with reality and trust by work together.  Move RED to YELLOW to GREEN status reporting.
  • When in empowering: #1.) Build their character. #2.) Empower through relationships; and #3.) Agree to the right outcomes with measurable metrics.
  • Are some people better team players? Yes, and they (universally?) have these values: Humble, Hungry, and Smart.
  • Work on only 1-3 Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) at one time.

I've also attended in the past and notes for 2014 are available if you are interested.

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, etc. on any of the topics in this post then please let me know.

Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) or Google+. I also recommend checking out my produced sites: Chvrches Fan Podcast (@chvrchespodcast), Tech News Radio (@technewsradio), Air Gapped Networks (@airgapnet), Jersey Boys Podcast, and Veteran Stories.

Short Introduction To David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD)


On Sunday, July 17, 2016 I did a little presentation at my church about David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD).  Here are the references I used to prepare:

The focus of the presentation and the hands-on exercises included:

  1. Mindsweep
  2. Two Minute Rule
  3. Project Brainstorming

Here are the PDF copy of the presentation+notes.

Other material highly recommended for additional personal development (not in any particular order):

Google Keep Tip - Getting Things Done (GTD) Workflow Lists Via Colors

For the last couple of years I have had my personal* implementation of David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) deployed in Google Keep.  

Google continues making very useful updates to Google Keep: Self Organizing Notes (via Tech Times), Diagrams (via The Verge), and Improved Labels (via Google). These have made doing GTD (Wikipedia) in Google Keep even easier.

Here is how I am doing the major GTD Workflow Lists using the Color feature in Google Keep (great support site) for items:

image from

It would be great if you could rename the colors but that currently isn't a current feature.  So I created above categorization, and through the course of using them this way I've been able to remember them by color and position.  I also printed and laminated the above graphic, and have it positioned easy to read in my desk area.

The Google Keep search function lets you search by color (just two clicks on my Chromebook, tap-slide-tap on Android) so I can see all my Next Actions by searching on RED.  Or all my Projects by searching on BLUE. 

These are all pretty standard workflow list categories.  The one that I've added that might not be familiar to you is Dashboard (YELLOW).  This concept also came David Allen from a conversation that he had on a podcast when he was writing his Making It All Work book that came after the Getting Things Done book.

In that podcast, David described a MindMap he was using called his Dashboard that was anchoring him to his big ticket items for any given moment.  Since things were moving very fast for him at the time it was a great way to stay focus and prioritize his attention.  I've used this concept at work for years with my work* MindMap/Outlook system, and just moved it to Google Keep isn't it really isn't MindMap specific.

So I check my Dashboard regularly.  These change day-to-day and sometimes by the hour. The top part of the YELLOW search are notes that I want to see on a very regular basis and the items that are archived are actually my Dashboard references:


I also created a Label called "+colors" and have made this handy reference that is always one click away via Label selection or search:


 If you have any questions or comments then please let me know: @sholden on Twitter.

*Yes, I have two separate systems which is not recommended by David Allen but works for me.  One is for work using only work resources (computers, software, etc.). And one for home/personal that uses my own personal resources.  When I need to bridge them I usually use email.


If You Can Do One Thing In San Diego ...

1st Draft Posted: April 6, 2016 - 2113 PT


Motivation: One of my favorite bands Chvrches is coming to San Diego next week (April 14, 2015 - SOLD OUT) and this is a gift to them. If they have time and have a good experience doing any of these, then I've paid them back just a little bit for the joy I've gotten from their music and how they treat their fans.  If you have other suggestions, questions, thoughts, etc. ... then leave a comment or let me know on Twitter @ sholden.

Thrill Ride

Burger & Fries*

Walk On The Beach

Pizza & Beer




Something New

Really Good Mexican Food + View To Die For + Great Place To Camp

The Best Mexican Food



Ice Cream

*I really like burgers & fries at In-N-Out and Five Guys.  These are worth experiencing if you haven't.  Picking one is hard.