Ridiculously Efficient® Founder, Productivity Mentor for Entrepreneurs' Key Staff
Professional Training & Coaching | Greater San Diego Area, US
Marissa Brassfield is ridiculously efficient. She's a productivity expert and specialist in communication and organizational efficiency.
Described as "a goddess of operations," "a master of time management" and "a symbol of motivation, talent and productivity" by clients, Marissa helps entrepreneurs scale their efforts by supercharging their key team members' effectiveness.
In addition to her productivity consulting, Marissa is the director of operations at PHD Ventures, the personal skunkworks for innovation entrepreneur Peter Diamandis. She serves as the project manager for Diamandis' Abundance 360 coaching program for entrepreneurs.
In the summer of 2014, Marissa founded REBEL (the Ridiculously Efficient Big Efficiency Library), a training community for entrepreneurs' assistants and project managers. Learn more about REBEL at RidiculouslyEfficient.com.
Marissa is also a high-performance author. She has written over 10,000 articles for brands and publications like the Huffington Post, Nokia, Lifehacker, Yahoo, PayScale, Trend Hunter, Lifehack, Foodista and LifeScript, generating over 40,000,000 views.
- Coordinate the personal social media campaigns for author, entrepreneur and innovation expert Peter H. Diamandis. - Manage all promotions and online media around Peter's books, audio and video products. - Represent Peter and PHD Ventures at business masterminds, executive training sessions and in-person networking events; distill content into focused strategies, best practices and action items. - Create, implement and manage new business models and operational procedures to increase profitability and effectiveness while saving time and resources. - Coordinate logistics, communications, content and experience for the Abundance 360 mastermind community.
We support successful entrepreneurs by supercharging their most precious team members: their assistants and project managers.
Senior Editor and Director of Social Media / CalorieLab
- Orchestrate editorial content: copy edit articles from expert columnists, compose a weekly newsletter, execute social media efforts. - Conduct blogger outreach and link-building strategies. - Advise on marketing and brand management. - Write a regular column on health and fitness.
Freelance Content Producer / aka m.
- Supercharge clients' websites by creating articles, blog posts, social media updates and other content. - Copy edit clients' online content, observing AP and SEO style, coaching contributors as necessary. - Manage social media accounts, drive reader engagement, grow fan base and augment community feel. - Consult on productivity, lifestyle hacking, freelancing and work-life balance.
Director of Content Strategy / Foodista
- Created and implemented a comprehensive, growth-focused social media strategy. - Grew Foodista's communities on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. - Developed Foodista's stable of professional category editors through weekly virtual training sessions and ongoing feedback.
Editor, Celebrity and Funny/Weird / Foodista
- Wrote short, supercharged blog posts on celebrities and funny/weird news items as they pertained to food. - Fostered community by engaging with readers on Facebook and Twitter. - Identified and covered emerging news stories, themes and key figures in the blogosphere. - Assisted fellow category editors with SEO, social media and productivity.
Editor-at-Large / Trend Hunter
- Edit the daily issues on Saturday and Sunday for tone, professionalism, grammar and format. - Copy edit 140 to 180 articles over a two-day period for publication, writing articles as necessary to meet issue targets. - Coach interns and contributors on grammar and style. - Write short articles about breakthrough innovations in design, fashion, food, business, technology, and marketing and advertising.
Senior Editor and Head of Marketing / Trend Hunter Magazine
- Managed Trend Hunter's social media interactions, advertising campaigns and external public relations. - Edited the issue Thursday through Sunday; copy edited 80 to 100+ articles daily and wrote 150 to 250 articles per month about cars, design, fashion, technology, business, marketing, advertising and food. - Assisted in the recruitment, hiring and development of editorial interns, both at the company's Toronto headquarters and at the San Diego satellite office.
Manager / Starr Restaurant Organization
- Hired, trained and developed hosts, bussers and servers for a brand-new restaurant as part of a six-person opening management team. - Interacted with guests and ensured smooth service. Ran the door on Friday and Saturday nights (400-500 nightly covers), coordinating reservations and walk-ins so as to balance the guest experience and kitchen capabilities. - Wrote, copy edited and formatted training collateral, including job-specific training manuals, new hire orientation packets and departmental quizzes. - Maintained inventory of paper goods and candles. Conducted daily safety and appearance inspections of the interior and exterior of the restaurant; coordinated with kitchen team on specials, private events and staff training.
Today’s adventure in radical lifestyle simplification is all about how I’ve drastically reduced the time I spend grocery shopping while still enjoying an abundance of fresh, local, organic fruits and vegetables, courtesy of a CSA home delivery service.
I love the idea of farmers’ markets and how they enable us all to enjoy fresh local produce. But as I mentioned in my last post, I’m not a fan of shopping. So when I shop for fruits and vegetables, I’m not thinking about variety or what’s in season — I’m looking for things I already like.
That’s where Local Harvest comes in. I’ve used this site since 2008 to find local CSAs who do home delivery. (Read more about what a CSA is here if you’re unfamiliar.)
Each week, a box of fresh, local produce arrives on my doorstep, and I’m faced with a new, exciting challenge: how to eat and enjoy every item in the box before the next one arrives.
Here are the biggest unfair advantages I’ve experienced:
1. Effortless variety.
In theory, I love eating a variety of foods — it’s a big reason why I dine out so much. But in practice, if I go food shopping I tend to stick to a few favorites.
Joining a CSA gives me the best of both worlds: convenience and variety.
Since subscribing to a CSA, I’ve discovered a deep love for kale, how to roast pumpkin and squash seeds, and how to eat a cherimoya fruit — all because I didn’t want my investment to go to waste.
I can’t say I wouldn’t have ever had these experiences had it not been for a CSA, but it sure accelerated things.
3. Shopping simplification.
Since my week’s worth of vegetables gets delivered to my doorstep, all I ever need to worry about buying at the store is protein and cooking basics like oils, spices and seasonings.
I have been an insomniac for most of my life. As much as I love sleep, sleep doesn’t reciprocate those feelings and I have tried everything to combat this insomnia. I have lavender everything near my bed, I keep my apartment a bit cold, write in a notebook when ideas strike, read a book, count sheep — I’ve done it all. But recently, I found my insomnia had reached new heights. I was staying up at all hours of the night simply because I couldn’t get myself to fall asleep. I often go through phases, a couple of weeks here and there, when my sleep quality just plummets (more than usual). But this phase didn’t seem to have an end in sight, so I knew I needed to make some changes.
I knew that using electronics before bed was a bad idea, but I seemed to ignore logic because I was tired (from the lack of sleep) and felt like I needed something to do when I couldn’t fall asleep. Most of the time, I would pick up my phone and start reading articles and watching videos on YouTube. Obviously, this was just making things worse.
So, I decided that my phone was no longer allowed to come to bed with me. I put it on silent and charged it on the other side of my apartment where it can’t tempt me. Instead, I read a book (a real-life, hold it in my hands book). I have to limit myself to one to two chapters a night (I’ve been known to read through the night because a book was just too good). If I still can’t sleep, I grab my notebook and start writing whatever comes to me.
I’ve found that the simple act of not bringing my phone to bed has helped my sleep quality A LOT. Now, most nights I find it much easier to fall asleep and get enough sleep so that I don’t feel like a zombie the next day. This has also ensured that my phone isn’t the first thing I see in the morning, allowing me to make my mornings my own before I start working (which is pretty hard as someone who works from home).
How do you combat insomnia? Tell us in the comments below!
Screenshot of items I’ve “hearted” on Le Tote Today’s adventure in radical lifestyle simplification is all about how I’ve completely cut out the time I spend shopping for work clothes, courtesy of a service called Le Tote.
Clothes shopping is ridiculously inefficient. The mall experience is fraught with hassle from start to finish. The fastest process possible goes something like this: find a parking space, walk to the store you want, find a style you like in your size, wait in line to try it on, wait in line to pay for it, walk back to your car, head home.
And that’s if you can stay focused long enough to find pieces you like. Sometimes, decision fatigue sets in before I’m able to make good selections, and I end up empty-handed or worse, with a bag full of items that won’t get worn. So I’ve wasted time and gotten an undesired result.
Even if I’ve made a good purchase, there’s a good chance that it’ll sit in my closet, to be worn once or twice a month, if that. Talk about inefficiency.
Enter Le Tote. The service essentially lets you rent a wardrobe, three to five pieces at a time. Here’s a video from Le Tote on how it works:
After using Le Tote heavily for about three months, I’ve experienced several distinct unfair advantages for efficiency-seekers.
I spend zero time looking for new clothes to wear to meetings or work events. I get a tote, keep it long enough to wear some of the pieces, and I send the whole thing back.
The first few totes had a few tops I didn’t like, but there’s no risk involved — I just sent the whole tote back, rated everything in it on the website, and got a new tote a few days later.
I like being able to try new styles and trends, but I don’t want to invest the time needed to stay abreast of the hot colors, cuts and details of the season.
Another benefit: you can send back pieces in your tote unwashed. That skeeves out some people I’ve shared this with, but it doesn’t bother me.
3. Wardrobe Utilization
My closet has thousands of dollars in fashion that I never wear. Yet I feel compelled to keep them because I think about the money I’ve spent on them, even if they don’t fit properly or I no longer like them. That’s inefficient.
With Le Tote, I wear 80% to 100% of the pieces I get in each tote, and I mix them with my favorite staples in my wardrobe — mostly jeans and sweaters. That’s efficient.
Due to my experience with Le Tote, I can envision a future in which I only have five to 10 core pieces, supplemented by my latest tote. That would slash my closet and clothing storage requirements down significantly, saving a ton of room in my home.
Le Tote’s been a game-changer for me. If you want to try it out, head here.
Disclosure: If you sign up for Le Tote using one of the links above, you get a $25 purchase credit, and so do I.
When it comes to productivity, there is no one-size-fits-all model (as with most other things in life). What works for me, might only hinder your efficiency, and your optimal processes might just confuse me. We all need to take the time and a little trial and error to figure out what works best for us as individuals. Carson Tate, author of Work Simply, has put together a quiz to help us figure out our personal productivity styles and what tips and tricks will work for us.
Tate based the quiz off of her research on cognitive thinking styles, with questions that ask about how you plan for the next day, if you prefer working with others and how you fare under pressure. You’ll receive the results in your inbox with an overview of what helps and hurts your productivity, as well as your communication and organizational styles.
Knowing what your strengths are and what your pet peeves are are a great way to better understand your working style. For example, the assessment aptly understood my need to fill my office with colourful supplies, and the nature in which I communicate with others (often using stories to present a point).
How much time do you spend on your smartphone each day? Most of us might think that the accumulative time of checking email, reading social media updates and playing the occasional game doesn’t take too much time out of your day. But when Adrian J. Hopkins of The Muse made the decision to use his phone less, he found out that he spent an average of 194 minutes (or 3 hours and 14 minutes) on his phone each day.
Hopkins used an app called Moment to track his phone usage. The app also allows you to set daily time limits for yourself and will notify you when you start to go over. After challenging himself to use his phone less, Hopkins managed to reduce his daily phone time by an hour.
We all complain that there isn’t enough time in the day to complete all of our tasks and find time for activities we enjoy. The answer then might be as simple as putting away your phone for an hour a day to read a book, go for a walk or take an exercise class.
Moment is only available for iPhones, but Android users can check out a similar app called Break Free. I’ll be downloading Break Free myself to assess how many times I check my phone each day (which I suspect is WAY more than I think).
How much time do you spend on a single task? Smaller tasks, like replying to an email, might take just a couple of minutes. But larger tasks, like writing a blog post, could take almost an hour. However, The 10-Minute Rule dictates that every task on your to-do list should take you 10 minutes or less.
Test it out. Set a timer for ten minutes increments and spend a day or two working as you normally would, taking note of how long tasks generally take you. If they take you 10 minutes or less, great! If not, it’s time to reevaluate how you tackle these tasks.
For any to-do list item that takes you more than ten minutes, ask yourself two questions.
First, can this task be broken down into more specific parts? For example, writing a blog post can be broken down to research, creating an outline, writing the article, and uploading it to the content management system. Each of these smaller tasks should take you less than ten minutes to complete.
Secondly, can this task be delegated or outsourced to someone else? Often times, there are tasks on our to-do lists that are better left to others so that you can concentrate on the tasks you enjoy and are skilled at.
It’s a pretty simple rule and one that will help you reevaluate how you spend your time.
There is no quick fix to boosting productivity. There are levels, steps and a lot of trial and error that goes into figuring out which tactics are right for you. Seth Godin has recently outlined a very simple way to boost productivity, and he says it’s as easy as giving yourself a promotion. He calls it the Productivity Pyramid, which comes with several steps that will ultimately get you to a place where you are the one calling the shots.
Step 1: Be Better
Do the tasks you already have on your plate better. “To work harder, and with more skill.” Godin says this is the simplest way to increase your productivity.
Step 2: Outsource and Delegate
“Find people who are cheaper than you to do those assigned tasks. The theory of the firm is that people working together can get more done, faster.”
Step 3: Invest in Technology
“The next step up is to invest in existing technology that can boost your team’s output. Buying a copier will significantly increase your output if you’re used to handwriting each copy of the memo you’ve been assigned.”
Step 4: Invent New Technology
“Huge leaps in value creation come to those that find the next innovation.”
Step 5: Work On Better Tasks
“Figure out better things to work on. Make your own list, don’t merely react to someone else’s.”
Godin adds that the most productive thing individuals can do is to simply stop working on someone else’s to-do list and to start working on your own. While this might cause a short-term fall in productivity, it will ultimately lead to a better career path.
It’s important to stay focused and productive at work in order to make us more efficient. A lot of this relies on our own self-management, but from time to time we do find things that help, like a good old cup of joe.
There’s been a lot of discussion about how coffee affects productivity, so the Coffee Tasting Club have been compiling the evidence. They have found that when consumed sensibly, coffee can positively affect a number of functions that all contribute to how productive we are.
Coffee has been found to increase alertness, short term memory, long term memory, mood, energy and even employee wellbeing. It’s not all down to caffeine either, although it plays a big part. Coffee affects people differently, so you may need to find your own optimal caffeine levels to get an efficiency boost.
This increased state improved recall from both short and long term memory. It also boosted mood and energy, but steps must be taken to avoid a caffeine crash. Drink gradually, eat well and stay hydrated. Essentially, one or two coffees at work can help you get more done.
Creative agency Pearlfisher decided to add a bit of fun to their London office. They filled a gallery space with 81.000 white balls, turning the area into a giant ball pit.
“The idea was to create an interactive installation that promotes the power of play,” Karen Welman, a founding creative partner, told Fast Company.
“It is well known that kids learn through play, but arguably as adults we don’t make enough time for it or neglect it altogether,” she added. “Jump In helps to promote the idea that play is also important in the work place, and that actually interspersing play into the working day is good for productivity as well as creativity.”
Pearlfisher has left the exhibit open and free to passersby, but they have been using the space during breaks and even for brainstorming meetings.
“People have been having energizing plays in the morning before work and on breaks, and we have also been holding meetings and brainstorms in the balls,” Welman said. “Teams within many businesses are tasked with coming up with creative ideas on tap, but often the typical working environment isn’t conducive to this.”
The exhibit has been so popular that it’s pretty much impossible to actually book time in the ball pit. This, as Welman notes, shows that maybe it’s about time we think about how we de-stress.
“Play provides emotional and physical outlets and this is just as necessary for adults as it is for kids,” she said. “Arguably adult play time does exist, it has just been re-branded as happy hour, or in the form of relaxation initiatives such as spas or sport. But this kind of release and relaxation can also be found in its purest form in simple and childlike playtime activities.”
The ball pit is also helping a good cause. For every visitor the exhibit gets, Pearlfisher will donate £1 to Right to Play, a nonprofit that supports the use of sports and play in child development.
If you want to cultivate a happy workforce, you may want to try looking toward the construction industry for inspiration. TINYpulse recently released the 2015 Best Industry Ranking Report, which surveyed more than 30,000 employees from 500 different companies on their job satisfaction. They found that the Construction & Facilities Services is the happiest industry. This is followed by Consumer Products & Services, Technology & Software, Telecom, Energy & Utilities, and Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & Biotech.
A further look into TINYpulse’s research reveals what leads to employees being happy at work. The number one answer (34%) was “I work with great people.” Others also said “I’m excited about my work and projects” (19%), and “I enjoy a positive work environment” (10%). According to this research, the two biggest factors of a happy workforce includes being satisfied with colleagues and being satisfied with individual projects.
“These findings are remarkable because they show me that any leader — no matter the industry that they’re in — has the power to make workplace changes to materially impact job satisfaction,” said David Niu, founder and CEO of TINYpulse.”
When it comes to building a happy work environment, start during the hiring process and focus on candidates that would be a good cultural fit. Ask about their process for collaborating in group projects, their personal approach to dealing with workplace pressures, and how they manage their accountability and responsibility.
TINYpulse also investigated what is making those in the manufacturing industry so unhappy and learned that having an unsupportive manager is the number one driver.
A simple way of starting to understand how employees are feeling about their work is by giving them an opportunity to have their voices heard. Regular anonymous surveys can help management better gauge why employee happiness and engagement is so low. Get workers to answer on a scale of 1 to 10 and ask questions like, “How would you rate the performance of your direct supervisor”” and “How happy are you at work?”
Are you part of a happy or unhappy industry? Do these results reflect your own feelings about your job?