Reminders For a Reason

I don’t know about you all but I really use Siri as a personal assistant. “Siri, remind me to text Marcus tomorrow morning at 8:45.” “Siri, remind me to take out the trash when I get home.” “Siri, what’s 37 divided by 847?” She’s my best friend (and she has a British accent so that she sounds smarter than the average American).

But how often do we tell Siri to remind us in an hour when we could accomplish the task at that moment? We’ve grown desensitized to that tap that Siri gives us. We don’t see urgency in getting something simple done at that moment. Eventually, we have a mountain of reminders that seems insurmountable.

This post isn’t about anything super deep. Just stop pushing “Remind me in an hour” or “Remind me tomorrow” when you don’t have to. Knock out that small accomplishment. It’ll pay off.


Make checking off that box a priority.


What Do You Do When The Connection’s Gone?

I will preface this post by saying that this problem is first-world in nature and an indication of the privilege many Americans have.

Desirée and I have a 9-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Yes, you read that right. Nine hours. #NoTypo. We can’t We’re not leaving the airport because, to purchase a Turkish visa, you must pay 30 USD per person and we weren’t down for that. What really sucks about this layover is that there’s no way for us to connect to the internet for free. As a matter of fact, I’ve spent about 8 USD trying to connect over the first four hours ($7 on some subpar ice cream from a shop that provides “free” wifi and $1 on an “unlimited 24 hour web connection” that didn’t let me get any further than The major problem is that, in order to connect to (what I assume is) the best internet in the airport, you need to be able to receive an SMS text message. Because we don’t have phone service here (Verizon’s international plans were just too expensive for all that), we couldn’t get the code necessary to purchase service.

But, per usual, I came prepared. Though I’ve never been to any international airport in the world that doesn’t have complimentary internet (and I’m sure I’ve been to at least 35 international airports over the past decade and a half since wifi use began norming), I knew that, on this trip, I wouldn’t always have internet connection. Therefore, while I was packing, I made sure to toss in a couple paperback books that I wanted to finish over these two months (ended up downloading the books that I packed to save on weight but you get the gist). Additionally, before leaving the United States, I snagged a few films that I had purchased on Amazon Prime and the iTunes Store. And, because I have a Spotify Premium account, I made sure to save all my favorite playlists and albums to the phone. When I got tired of being inspired by literature, cinema, and music, I’ve proceeded to write, both here on The Reader and continue working on my book. And, lastly, once all that has been done, I spend time looking through and editing photographs because, on a trip like this, there are always photos I can be touching up.

The moral of the story is you don’t need to have an link to the World Wide Web to get the most out of a layover at the airport. All these things (books, film, music, and writing) require no sustained internet connection as long as you plan ahead. But that’s enough for today; time to get back to this awesome book.


Make preparing for the worst a priority.

#TrendingThursday 2.0 – Num. 11

“I Learned How to Write From My Heart” by Cheri Lucas Rowlands
I write. Writing is what I want to do with my forever when I get to that point. So, of course, I think everyone else should see the value in being able to, at the very least, put a sentence or two together in somewhat of a palatable fashion. This piece hones in on it. Check it out.

Meet the photographer traveling the world for free by Francesca Street
After writing (and motivating, which I sometimes do through my writing), photography and traveling are my next two favorite things to do, in alternating order. The story of this young professional who found an alternative way into his passion is pretty dope. I want to be like him when I grow up.

Five Work Habits To Kick Before The End Of The Year by Rich Bellis
I don’t really believe in “Catch All” lists but I do believe in “Catch Most” lists and this is one of those. Some stuff just makes sense to most.

Make professional development a priority.

Most of Moments vs. Most Moments

We’re stuck in a tradition that says “You must work 40 hours or more a week.” I emboldened those two words because there is emphasis put on them. We’ve reached a point in American history where, because everyone can be contacted at any time, they often are. But, what if I can effectively complete my work in 25 hours? What if I’m most productive from 8 AM to noon and, the rest of the day, I’m pretty much twiddling my thumbs or checking mindless tasks of my list? Where’s the value in the twiddling of thumbs?

When I come into the office, the synapses in my brain are shooting off at a mile a millisecond. I have ideas and creative juices flowing and am genuinely excited because I haven’t had to think about stuff all night. I took a break. So, I like to knock out everything that is going to take creativity in the morning. That’s me. The afternoon is for the mindless widget construction that many of us have to do at one point or another. The dialing of numbers and repetitive request for support.  The reading of reports. The stuff that doesn’t require me to put out. But the mornings? That’s when I get funky with my writing. That’s when I develop strategies that will make me a better professional. That’s when I really do.

Everyone is different. Structure your day so that you make the most of moments, as opposed to working the most moments possible. Sure, there is time when I do work at home but eight times out of nine, it’s only because I am inspired to.

Time is not to control you. Rather, it is yours to control.


Make professional development a priority.

The Flight Back

Today, I’m flying from BNA to IAD to RDU. Yeah Around two hours in the air and three in the airports. Now, while I may need a nap, that is time time I can commit to getting work done and know that, for at least two of those hours, no one can bother me. Whether it’s writing a blog post (like I’m doing now on my iPhone during landing when I cannot have my laptop out), crafting letters to donors midflight, or chipping away at the book Desirée and I are reading, I am using this time today to be productive. Do I do this every flight? No. Many personal flights, I sleep. But, being that I’m officially at work, I feel like not being productive with my time isn’t of good integrity. The beautiful thing about this first leg of the trip is that I was able to spread out because I didn’t have anyone on my side of the row so I could stretch out like I was at a desk..

During the second leg of the trip, I’ll be working through some projects I planned to complete by the end of this week (though that’s going to require me to get the cup of coffee that’s going to keep me awake). If you’re getting paid for it, get it done so you’re not stressing yourself on the back end.

And I’m doing this all while listening to Gotti.
Make professional development a priority.

Productive or Busy?

Yesterday, I checked in with my brother Donald R. Gaddy II to see how his week was starting off. After telling me his was going well, he asked how mine is and I responded “Busy but good.” He told me to knock the word busy out of my vocabulary and that I am being productive. Doesn’t that sound so much better? Anyone can be busy. Busy is not always good. Busy can be hectic while yielding no fruits, but productivity is the goal. If you’re busy but not producing, what are you doing?

So, take a note from Mr. Gaddy’s book. Don’t keep busy. Be productive with your time and intentional with your word choice.


Make professional development a priority.

Ultralight Beam Tuesday

Today, I’m on an ultralight beam.  I mean, on a ROLL.  Completed 6 projects that I’ve had writer’s block on for too long.  Structured another project.  Sometimes you just have those days where all barriers are removed and, on those days, you have to do everything you can to take advantage of them.  Let the creativity flow and make something great happen.  You have 8 hours at work.  If the creative juices flow correctly, you can get 40 hours worth of work done in those 8.

Ironically, when I realized that I was on a roll, I was listening to Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam” and figured “That would be a pretty dope name for this post.”  I, personally, define an ultralight beam as having clarity in creative vision.  And that is what today is.


Make professional development a priority.