Author Archives: Tomer Tishgarten

My habits for having a productive year (2016)

2016 was professionally a very good year and it was because I was exceptionally productive. The TL;DR (aka too long; didn’t read) is that I became obsessed with writing down my goals and checking them off. When I reflect back on what changed this year, it is that I picked up a couple of new habits that profoundly impacted my own personal accountability. Below are the 3 habits that set me up for success:

  1. Get an annual planner. I use a Volt Planner (aka Spark Planner). It is a simple 6″ x 8.5″ black notebook that can be easily carried anywhere. The advantage of using this planner is in the functionality that it provides to plan out the year. The planner opens up to a set of pages to document your annual theme (aka, what is it that you want to accomplish this year?) and the 5 big goals to support that theme. The planner is then broken down into the traditional 12 months, each with a personal challenge for the month. And each month is further broken down into either (A) weekly goals with pre-printed space to list/check-off goals and write your accomplishments, and (B) weekly outlooks with day parts (aka, morning, afternoon, evening) to plan out each day. More on how I use the planner below. The planner is $75 and available via Amazon for a limited time only starting on 1/6.

    Weekly Goals view of Volt Planner

    Weekly Outlook view of Volt Planner

  2. Complete 5 big weekly tasks. I spend 30 – 45 minutes every Friday to outline 5 new goals that I intend to complete by the end of the upcoming week. I add these goals to my weekly goals view in my Volt Planner. Having just 5 big goals is more manageable because the goals align nicely with each week day. And at the end of the week I can quickly assess my productivity and determine if I need to refocus (aka, I am not successful if I keep having to move/re-write this week’s goals in the upcoming week’s set of goals). While my list may have a couple of additional, lower-priority goal, I like to remain focused on only 5 because unscheduled work tends to encroach on my calendar as the week progresses. Additionally, I use the weekly outlook view of the Volt Planner to layout tasks by specific client. I also designate a miscellaneous category as a “catch all” bucket for tasks and a at home for personal tasks. So as an added bonus, the planner helps me organize both my professional and home life. 🙂
  3. Track your time. I use Dave Seah’s Emergent Time Tracker spreadsheet to track how I am spending time during the work week. The spreadsheet breaks down my 12-hour day into 15 minute increments. Each week day I use one spreadsheet and assign 15-minute increment to either a specific project/task/client or one of the following 4 “catch all” categories: email time, internal time, existing client time, and drive time. Because I am responsible for helping my clients grow their digital business, the majority of my time is spent either on email/existing clients.

    Emergent Taks Timer

    This spreadsheet has been my go-to time tracking solution for 6+ years. You can learn more about it and even download a copy via my better time management blog post.

It astounds me how the smallest change can make the biggest difference. With that in mind, I am looking forward to revisiting my habits at the end of this year and sharing what additional adjustments I’ve made to make the next year even better. I am also curious about the habits that have shaped your productivity so please let me know via the comments.

NOTE: Big thanks to Chris Spears for his influence and contributions to making 2016 a more productive year!

Top Marketing Agencies in Atlanta for Q3 2015

Yesterday I published the 2015 update to the Top Marketing Agencies in Atlanta. It had been a year since the previous update and a lot has changed over the past 12 months! Below is the most current view into network and independent agencies in our market.

Changes include:

  • WPP Network
    • Removed Grey (Atlanta office previously closed)
    • Maxx Marketing (Atlanta office previously closed)
  • Publicis Network
    • Removed Nurun (Atlanta office absorbed by Razorfish)
    • Added Sapient (acquired by Publicis)
  • Omnicom Network
    • Removed Javelin
    • Added Organic Inc. (opened office in Atlanta)
  • IPG Network
    • Removed Octagon (Atlanta office previously closed)
    • Removed Shopper Sciences (Atlanta office previously closed)
    • Removed UM (Atlanta office previously closed)
  • Independent Agencies
    • Added Chemistry (formerly TG Madison; acquisition)
    • Removed FuseIdeas (closed office)
    • Removed Never Without (disqualified)
    • Removed Sizmek (agency pivoted, became a products company)
    • Added Swarm Agency
    • Removed Titan (closed office)

Since I regularly get asked why an agency is not on the list/how an agency get appear on the list:

A) Criteria:
Member agencies of the major networks (e.g.: WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, IPG, Dentsu, MDC Partners) are automatically included based on publicly available information. Independent agencies are added based on the following qualifications:

  • Number of employees (15+)
  • Annual revenue ($3M+)
  • Prior history of digital marketing campaigns
  • Quarterly updates regarding new clients/engagements

NOTE: The slide represents a consolidated list of the top agencies. Additional criteria may/will be used reach this objective.

B) Corrections/Updates:
If find an error or would like to be considered, please contact me at my work email address (ttishgarten at arke dot com). You may also want to subscribe to my Agency Digest email list to receive noteworthy news about Atlanta agencies and updates regarding this slide. NOTE: This is a low volume list:

If you have any other feedback, please leave it below in the comments. I hope that you find this slide to be as valuable as I have.

Four POV’s on the Apple Watch

I’ve had the new Apple Watch for less than a month. While I initially took (copious) notes for my official review, I decided instead to invite a few friends that also owned the Apple Watch to share their points of view. I asked them all the same three questions. Below are their and my take:

roger-petersRoger Peters (@SmartyP)
Mobile Strategist and Developer, All Mobile Everything
Apple Watch: 42mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
My favorite feature of the watch are notifications, or more specifically – interactive notifications. These were added in iOS 8 for phone and tablet apps, and automatically get carried over to the watch. If I get an email I can immediately delete it or archive it if I know it’s not something I wont bother reading, or if I get a text message I can choose to reply immediately via dictation or a canned response. Being able to take action on a notification straight away from the notification itself appears to be the best match for micro-interactions that only take a second or two on the watch, and it carries no requirement for the app to have explicit watch support via a watch app.

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
My biggest disappointment so far is how limited 3rd party apps are so far. For instance, third party apps can’t make use of the digital crown at all outside of built-in functionality allowing the user to scroll through a long page. For instance, you can’t let the user quickly input a weight by scrolling the digital crown up and down to adjust a value (instead you can use the built-in slider control with plus and minus buttons), and you can’t use the crown to make up some cool new watch game. This on top of overly long load times for third party apps makes the ability to use third party apps quickly and effectively somewhat of a non-starter.

Q: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
The Apple Watch is a “nice-to-have” technology. There will be very few people who can put the Apple Watch into the “must-have” category as compared to smartphone users who rely on those devices just to function throughout the day. People that are fitness-focused or field high volumes of emails and text messages will likely have the easiest time justifying the purchase, with well-to-do tech-geeks falling into that same early adopter category. The general public will likely put the watch on their “nice-to-have” list right along with an electric car, a bigger TV, or a new grill, but it’s not something they’ll likely break their neck to own – especially for a first release.**

Emily-Leahy-ThielerEmily Leahy-Thieler (@Emily30075)
Digital Strategist, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
Apple Watch: 38mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
I wouldn’t say anything has been amazing, but the utility of having my calendar on my wrist has been very useful. Probably my favorite thing is using the watch to find/ping my iPhone which I misplace an average of 3 times per day. And being able to keep my phone in my bag and check email/texts quickly on my watch is a convenience I’m already very used to.

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
I was really in love with all the sweet little things like sending a tap or heartbeat to someone. There just aren’t enough watch wearers to use that much, so it’s a disappointment for now. Also, having to open apps on your phone to get the watch app to work (Shazam, Uber, etc.) is not quite what I’d hoped for. I’m thinking that will get better.

Q: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
I bought it knowing it was a “nice-to-have” because I want it to become a “must-have.” The only way for that to happen is for the technology and application ecosystem to get better which happens with critical mass. I chose a lower-priced model so that in a couple generations I won’t feel too invested in this one to buy again. On the other hand, I accidentally left it on my bedside table this morning and I feel separation anxiety.

dana-mackayDana Mackay (@danamackayphoto)
AVP, Bank of America
Photographer, Dana Mackay Photography
Apple Watch: 38mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
I love the activity feature the most. It’s an upgrade from my basic Garmin watch. It really pushes me to stick to my set goals, e.g. getting up and moving once every hour for a minute. I also like running with it since it shows the weather and start/end time.

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
I hate how I kill the battery and have to charge it every evening. With that said, the charger sits on my nightstand and I pop off the watch before bed (if it’s not dead by then) and it’s ready to go by morning. I’m sure I drain it mostly by having all the notifications hit my wrist and phone. I wish it had a weekly charge. Oh and I don’t like the tethering between the watch and the iphone. It’s like Apple product overload. Oh and I wish it had GPS.

Q: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
I think it’s a nice to have. While I loved my Garmin watch but it wasn’t something to really brag about – it just got the job done when I needed to know the time or when I was running intervals. On the other hand, the Apple Watch is sleek. Plus, I have everything right at my finger tips. It provides the perfect motivation to keep me moving.

Tomer Tishgarten (@Tomerific)
Apple Watch: 38mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
I’ve heard friends say that they can’t understand why I need yet another screen on my wrist when my iPhone is inches away in my pocket. My response has been that the watch actually untethers me from my iPhone. I can now leave my iPhone at my desk knowing that I step away for 20 yards and still receive a call or message. Furthermore, the watch accentuates the multi-processing capabilities of the smartphone. For example, I can listen to Spotify on my phone and engage Siri on my watch to dictate/send a text message, and both happen without having to pause the music. It is convenient!

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
My biggest gripe is the screen readability. On a sunny day, the screen brightness doesn’t seem to adjust. This issue will go away once Apple adds either a light sensor or a camera. And though I have the “sport” edition, I am concerned about wearing the watch to the beach where sand can get into the mechanism.

apple-watch-clear-all-notificationsQ: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
It is nice-to-have. It isn’t transformative yet but I think that it will be eventually — sometime in the next 2 years (whenever Apple Watch 3 comes out). And Apple has done a good job making the watch more than a device that just tells the time. There’s an NFC chip that I use for mobile payments (NOTE: I have an iPhone 5S, which is missing this technology). And there’s a new Force Touch “gesture”, which uses electrodes to detect the force applied to the display. For example, it triggers the “Clear All” function on the watch and enables me to quickly zero out my notification center, which is especially useful when you have 5 or more notifications waiting for you.

**NOTE: Roger’s latest iOS/Android app, Word Scramble Little Books, was released late last week.