The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog

A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.

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A Few More Tips and Tricks from the Troop

In our last post, we shared our best practices for working as a team. In this post, we thought we’d give you a glimpse at the inner workings of the monkey troop.

Read on to learn what some of our monkeys do to stay sane!

Rick, our sassy and occasionally porcupine-like top Banana Peeler a.k.a CEO, says he is “a big fan of the Getting Things Done (GTD) approach. He religiously uses Omnifocus every day.” As he puts it, “I’d be lost without it!”  Hmm, maybe I should try it.

Gene, our top Monkey Wrencher (the one we don’t let out to the public) tries to follow Tony Robbins’s two strategies for time and life management: Rapid Planning Management (RPM) and Outcome, Purpose, Action (OPA). Gene explains that “To-Do lists can become a death sentence and let a person lose track of the bigger picture.”

So, every Sunday, Gene reviews his larger outcomes, breaks them down, and gets a clear sense of why he wants to achieve them (the purpose) and the actions he needs to take to achieve them. Once that’s done, he schedules them into his calendar, which locks his week in and provides him with a sense of sanity (delusion?). As the week goes on, Gene uses an active “Capture list, where he adds new items or outcomes that need to be addressed later on. As he puts it, “I record, and move on!”

Wow! No wonder the lead monkeys make it look so easy. I think I might go and download Tony Robbins’s free ebook now.

Treena, our logistics specialist and official go-between for staff and her CEO hubby, explains that the best way to keep the peace is to “wear your safety goggles and keep your aim true!”

She’s right, we never have a problem when Treena’s around, but that might be because she is the company’s CXO, which means that she is exceptionally good at making people happy and feeling good about themselves. That might be because she shoots anyone that dares to upset any member of her staff.

Chris, our detail-oriented and artistic lead Pixel Flinger, tells me that “managing time isn’t always an issue for me, and when it is, I ask for help.” He goes on to say, “For me, the big problem is tapping into that creative vein. Sometimes it’s flowing and things come easily, other times you are up against a wall. I remedy this by stepping away from a project for a bit, or changing venues (working in a different place for a day).”

If you can empathize with Chris’s biggest challenge, check out his article The Creative Block and 5 Ways to Vanquish It on the Cheeky Monkey blog, it details his other tips for dealing with the dreaded creative block.

Justin, one of our Project Managers, who also happens to be great at web development and marketing (geez, couldn’t you leave something for the rest of us!?), reminds us “to find something that you enjoy doing and do it out of work.”

He also, begrudgingly, says that going to the gym leaves you feeling great after, even if there is nothing you’d rather do less at the time.

Denis, the Front-End Monkey and Senior “T’eemer” (whatever that means!?) agrees with Justin, once again reminding us that “daily physical activities will help reduce your stress and increase your energy making every hour of your workday more productive.”

He goes on to admit that if he doesn’t exercise regularly, “no amount of time management tools will make [him] more productive than having a clear mind and a stress-free body.”

Micah, our in-house rockstar and Senior Interface Developer, says that “worrying about time, is wasting time. Get the priorities straight in terms of which tasks you simply need to get done, and concentrate on them.” He also reminds us that “you never really know for sure how long things will actually take you, there’s always a wrinkle (or a hundred), so you have to be flexible and just roll with it.”

And, stress? Micah likes to “rip” on [his] piano, go biking, or rock climbing. Plus, “spending time with good friends and the other monkeys always does a body good.” You heard the man, the trick to a stress-free life is hanging with the monkeys!

Dennis, who is actually older than he looks (and certainly wiser), is our Senior Business Developer, says that,

“If there’s anything I’ve learned from my experience in this business over the years with regards to time management, it’s that there is an ebb and flow to everything, including balancing work/life commitments.

If I look back over my career, there have been times when work and getting things done, done well, and on time, have had to be the focus. Then there have been other times when I made the time to focus on and enjoy time with my family.

Knowing when and where to focus my time involves listening, understanding, planning, and communicating with family, coworkers, and clients, but generally going with the flow works for me and work/life always balances out in the end.

I don’t believe work/life balance can be achieved on a daily basis”.

Amy, our resident rocket scientist, and Project Manager live by lists, lists, and more lists. Whether that’s task lists in JIRA (our software project management tool), her personal list in TRELLO (another task management tool), lists in her book, on post-it notes, on our whiteboard, or even in SLACK (our internal chat tool), Amy swears by lists.

As she puts it, “things constantly changing and flying in a thousand directions. Lists help me keep it straight.”

And when she can’t handle any more lists, “because none of them say the same thing anyway”, Amy plays some soccer and runs her frustration off.

Shabana, our computer genius, Monkey Wrencher, and Back-End Developer, says that for her, “it’s always been about planning, more planning, prioritizing, strategizing, and then, finally, implementing.”

She goes on to say that “the day always ends well when you know ahead of time exactly what you’ll be working on,” especially when you take “the extra time to think about the implementation ahead of time and work out your issues beforehand.” That way, “the day before is all about execution,” you did all your planning the day before.

“As they say, ‘preparation, preparation, preparation.’.  Preparation is everything!”

Yep, we all have our own ways of managing our time, dealing with stress, and meeting our business objectives. But, at the end of the day, while we are all strong individuals, our true strength is our ability to work as one.

So that’s what we do.

Do you have any tips and tricks to share with us?  Share your story on Twitter, Facebook, by email, or by commenting below.

Looking for more? Check out some of our other posts:

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