Today, Tristan King gives us a preview of how he stays productive and goal oriented. He calls himself the “Founder, Chief Shopify Developer, and Mishief Maker” at his company Shopify Ninjas , where he helps small businesses establish sexy and sustainable e-commerce sites. Let’s jump right into the interview.
Can you sum up what you do in one sentence?
We help business owners build eCommerce websites, on a specific system called Shopify.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up and what is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Wake up: Make a cup of coffee and get some breakfast. I don’t function well without some morning fuel!
Before bed: Reflect on the day and try to calm the mind.
What is the number one productivity killer you see and how do you stop it?
Goal-less link viewing, mostly via Facebook. I try to limit Facebook to once or twice per day, and usually on the computer (much faster).
Second: focusing on too many tasks at once. I keep a hand-written to-do list every day to combat that.
Do you have a favorite productivity tool?
Pen and paper. Digital to-do lists can contain an infinite number of items, and can become cumbersome to manage. I find that with a hand-written list, it’s easier to keep track and narrow down to real priorities. Second favorite: BaseCamp.
What do you do when you aren’t feeling productive or motivated?
Take a break – get some fresh air, go for a walk, or watch some NBA basketball. After a while, the motivation usually returns.
How do you set goals for yourself and what is your top priority goal this year?
I try to set goals based on experiences with a known cost and timeline. For example — this year, I wanted to spend 12 months travelling in South East Asia and Europe with my wife, take a French course in France, and take a 4-day Scuba Diving trip. I work out the cost of each of them first, then break it down into manageable chunks. From there, I work out how to get to those goals.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made that you’ll never repeat?
Too many to name. I’d say the biggest one would be staying doing something I didn’t like, for too long. It was only a situation that came about by circumstance, that forced me to change.
As someone who receives tons of emails everyday, what do you see in emails that makes you want to hit “delete” immediately?
People who email with 10 paragraphs, and hope to have a reply, without really saying what they’d like help with. For those who write really long emails without first saying “I’m writing to ask for [X]“, it’s often very hard to dig into them if you don’t know the person.
Another classic for me is: “Hello Sir/Madam, greeting of the day! [Here comes a pitch for SEO Services]“. I always reach for the delete button as soon as I see that. I usually have a chuckle to myself as well.
Do you have a role model or a mentor that has helped you stay productive and how did you find that mentor?
Tim Ferriss (via his books), and the Lifestyle Business Podcast – Dan Andrews and Ian Schoen.
What is the most powerful thing you’ve ever seen, heard, or read?
This one is easy. The Four Hour Workweek (book) by Tim Ferris. That was a game-changer for me, and changed the trajectory of my business and life. It opened up the possibilities of what’s out there.
What do you do for fun to relax or clear your mind and do you schedule downtime?
Run, listen to music, eat great food, watch movies, and learn languages. Learning languages is my #1 passion and is what makes me feel all fuzzy on the inside.
I don’t schedule downtime as such – but I try to schedule my ‘work time’ around the things I’d like to do. In other words – my work time is scheduled such that I can enjoy downtime without having to be at the computer 24/7.
If you had the last living dinosaur on earth, how would you make money from it?
If I had a dinosaur, I don’t think I’d try to make money from it. I definitely wouldn’t put it up for leisure rides or tourism. Perhaps make a non-intrusive documentary about it and marvel at the wonder!
Do you like what Tristan had to say? Follow him on twitter or comment in the thread below. What would you ask Tristan?