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Gregory Ciotti’s scientific steps for maximum productivity:
1. Get Started.
Studies indicate that getting started is the biggest barrier to productivity. However, once we’ve begun a project, we’re compelled to finish it. This is called The Zeigarnic Effect - when we don’t finish a task, we experience discomfort and intrusive thoughts about it.
Work in “packets of energy” (recommended: 90 minutes) and then take a break (recommended: 20 minutes). Don’t rely on willpower to work, rely on habit and disciplined scheduling.
Write down what you intend to complete in your 90 minute work session before you start, so that you clearly understand what your goals are. For example: “9:00am - 10:30am: answer and file all necessary emails, then shut down email program until late afternoon to complete other work.” Which leads us to…
Studies show that multi-taskers are much less productive than those who focus on one job at a time and work until that one job is completed.
Bob Pozen, the author of “Extreme Productivity”, shared these tips for streamlining your day.
We like “Take meetings only for introductions and serious discussions that cannot be handled via email or phone.”
What’s your secret for a productive day?
Pets. We love them.
According to a national survey, Americans have 78.2 million dogs for pets, and 86.4 million cats.
That’s a whole buncha cute.
Our animals provide us with a lot of love and laughter, but they’re also a lot of work. And it’s not always easy to fit your pet-related tasks into your busy day.
Don’t let your chores sneak up on you!
Fancy Hands is the answer. Fancy Hands is always the answer!
Check out what our assistants have tackled for our pet-owning customers.
Find me 3 reputable dog walkers in my area with good reviews and send me their rates for walking once a day, on the weekdays. Also, do they accept last-minute requests if I get hung up at work? And can I get a discount for using them a lot?
Send me 5 great options for pet-friendly hotels in the city that I’m traveling to.
Find the best price on this brand of 50lb bag of dog food and have it delivered to my house next Saturday.
Can you research a few good veterinarians close to my neighborhood? I prefer one that’s open 24 hours in case of emergencies.
Where are the best dog runs in the city? Are there any fun events for dogs in the city coming up? My buddy needs to make some friends.
I need a cat sitter for a week over the holiday break. Can you find a few in my area that have low prices and good reviews?
Can you book a car to pick me and my two dogs up to go to the airport next Monday? The car service should be aware that they’re two well-trained dogs weighing 120 lbs each. They can ride on a seat with a towel or in the back of an SUV.
Find a great groomer in my area that has good feedback and make an appointment for my dog Sir Barksalot on Sunday afternoon.
My dog chewed through his leash - and my shoes. Sigh. Can you find me a leash that is chew-proof?
Can you order me the lowest priced, best rated automatic cat feeder and have it shipped to my office?
We can. We did. And we wish you and your furry buddies well.
Meet Nick Mercer. He’s living the dream.
Well…okay, he’s not living the dream just yet. But he’s working on it.
Last month, Nick strapped his worldly possessions to the back of his motorcycle and drove five hours from his hometown of Syracuse to NYC.
Kind of like this.
Nick is a developer here at Fancy Hands. He began his first day twelve hours after he moved to the city. He was a couch surfer by night and a coder by day.
After his first week, he came into the office with a sad face and said, “People are sick of me crashing at their places. I gotta find an apartment.”
How lucky he is to work at Fancy Hands! We put our assistants on the case, and here’s what they did:
TASK #1: FIND AVAILABLE APARTMENTS IN BROOKLYN.
Nick gave the assistants a budget and a few neighborhoods that he was interested in. They sent back a list of 25 available apartments, links to pictures for each one, and the contact information of the leasing companies.
TASK#2: MAKE APPOINTMENTS TO VIEW APARTMENTS.
Nick reviewed his choices, picked 8 that he liked the looks of, and the Fancy Hands assistants set appointments for him to check them out. Once the appointments were set, the assistants entered them into Nick’s Google calendar along with all of the pertinent information. Easy breezy.
TASK #3: FIND A MATTRESS STORE WITH LOW PRICES.
Nick signed a lease. Yay! Next, he needed a bed, because, although his box maze was a lot of fun, it wasn’t very soft.
The assistants sent Nick a list of 5 of the most reputable, affordable mattress companies that would deliver a queen-sized mattress to him on a weekend. Boom.
TASK #4: ORDER MATTRESS AND SET UP DELIVERY FOR SATURDAY.
(NOT TOO EARLY. NICK LIKES TO SLEEP IN.)
Once Nick decided which mattress he wanted, he gave that information to an assistant and they took care of the rest.
TASK #5: ORDER GROCERIES TO BE DELIVERED AROUND THE SAME TIME AS THE MATTRESS.
Nick needed toilet paper, paper towels, cereal, milk, a broom, a sponge, shampoo, conditioner, soap, potato chips, and of course, beer. A Fancy Hands assistant placed the order for him and scheduled a Saturday delivery.
TASK #6: RESEARCH ROUTES TO WORK FROM THE NEW APARTMENT.
Sometimes, Nick will power into work on his bike like a modern James Dean.
But he also needs to know how to take a bus or the subway to Fancy Hands HQ. The assistants sent him step-by-step instructions for all three modes of transport.
TASK #7: RESEARCH RESTAURANTS IN THE NEW ‘HOOD: SUPA-CHEAP & MEDIUM-PRICED.
When Nick eats alone, he goes to places like this:
When Nick’s girlfriend visits, they go to places like this:
The assistants sent Nick a list of ten local dives and ten local date spots.
Which leads us to…
TASK #8: FIND AND BOOK A CHEAP HOUSEKEEPER TO CLEAN THE APARTMENT ONCE A MONTH.
Because every girlfriend likes nice restaurants, and roach-free apartments.
Nick is now happily settled in his new home, thanks to the assistants at Fancy Hands, and we’re glad to have him on our team.
We tried to convince him that the locals say “Bapple” – short for Big Apple, hoping that he’d start saying that a lot, like “Yeah, I’m just chillin’ in the Bapple, what’s up with you?” but he didn’t take the bait.
Already skeptical of what people tell him…he’ll do well in New York.
He popped the question. Awesome! Now comes the WORK.
Getting engaged is a blessing…and a curse. Planning a wedding is like having a second job - except you don’t cash paychecks, you write them.
The question we’re often asked here at Fancy Hands is, “how can I use your services?”
Savvy brides-to-be have figured that out!
Here are 10 wedding-prep tasks that our assistants have tackled for clients lately.
Find me the best price for 150 of these wedding favors that I want to put into my guest’s bags, and make sure they have that many in stock before reporting back to me!
Schedule hair and makeup appointments for myself, my family, and my bridal party. Add them all to my calendar so I know who is booked when.
Find the best price for event insurance for the wedding day. You never know what might happen!
Find food truck options for a late night treat at the reception. How much will it cost to feed about 100 people at midnight? Would like pizza, taco, and dessert options.
I want to throw a nail party for my bridesmaids. Please research the best nail salons in my area and price out how much it would cost to throw a private party for 10 people – manis and pedis for all. I would want to bring food and champagne, but if any of them offer these things, please get the pricing on that as well.
Find stores in my area that carry guest books. My budget is under $100. I want to go in person and view them before buying.
Find several options and the lowest prices for the type of tux that my groom wants, and make sure they have all sizes for the groomsmen, too.
Gold Jordan almonds. I love them. Please find them in bulk at the lowest price.
I want an artist to paint on mirrors around the reception venue. Please find several people who can do this locally, who have good reviews from previous customers, and let me know what their prices are.
Research the best dance studios in my area and book three dance lessons for my fiancée and me. We’re gonna need to impress while we get down!
We’ve helped a lot of lovely ladies stay lovely during their wedding planning.
No Bridezillas here!
We have yet to taste-test wedding cakes for our clients, but we remain hopeful.
Who’s going to win?
While these guys fight for control, there’s no debate at Fancy Hands: our customers are winning.
Also: Romney & Obama with their hair switched. Good stuff.
Here are a few tasks that our Fancy Hands assistants have done for our clients this week.
Is the government this effective? Hmm.
Find an iPhone 5, in stock and near me.
The maps may be all wonky on the new model, but that doesn’t stop people from wanting them.
Call the cable company and add Showtime. Dexter is back on!
If the cable company won’t allow your assistant to make changes without speaking directly to the account holder, the assistant will call you and patch you in for a brief verification.
Boom. All the serial killers you want.
Research the ten best venues in my area for a party of fifty people - either cheap or free if we pay the bar bill.
Models not included.
Find three plumbers in my area that have good reviews, let me know how soon they could come over, and what their prices are. My kid flushed a stuffed animal down the toilet.
Because he thought it was a toy-let.
I moved. Please change all of my magazine subscription addresses to my new address.
Can’t miss a single issue of O. We get it.
Can you research the best route to drive upstate this weekend, factoring in the construction work?
Sure! Take us with you?
Please send my wife flowers – nice ones – she likes white hydrangeas. Card should read:
"I love you more and more each day. Have a great afternoon. See you tonight. "
Amazing. Makes us feel warm and fuzzy. Well done, sir! Maybe you should run for office!
October is here, bringing two of my favorite things: fall weather,
If you’re finding it hard to find the time to sneak away for a drive through the leaves, and if the word “Halloween” is making you feel stressed instead of excited, Fancy Hands can save you from a last-minute meltdown…
You know the one – running down the aisles of the grocery store on October 30, desperately searching for one last bag of candy, calling every costume store asking them what superhero costumes they have left in your size.
Fancy Hands can prevent all of that last minute frustration.
If you have kids, the assistants at Fancy Hands can track down hard-to-find costumes for you. Or if the kids haven’t yet decided on a character, our staff can research some great costume suggestions.
My personal favorite is Baby Lobster.
If you don’t have kids, no worries – Dog Lobster is also an option.
And, of course:
Feel like going all out and decorating the house?
If your inner Clark Griswold is dying to staple some lights up, let our assistants know what color and style bulbs you’re looking for, and we can track down as many strands as you need, at the best price.
When it comes to Halloween parties, we can help you source whatever you may need, and find the best prices - locations, catering services, candy, decorations, etc.
If you’re not into hosting, your Fancy Hands assistant can find local Halloween events for you and your family to attend.
That way, you’ll have time to do your nails.
Or do a little baking.
Have a happy Halloween month.
Don’t party too hard.
Aw crap. It’s time to host a conference call.
There’s no way around it, you’re the leader of the topic to be discussed, and people are looking to you for leadership.
So lead, dammit!
If you’ve ever used those free conference call services, you know that something usually goes wrong.
And when you’re hosting, you have to make sure you’re on time (ha) to dial in that extra host code, because yeah, another set of numbers is just what you need in your life.
Like that apron Aunt Betty sent you for your birthday. WTF?
Stay calm. You’re in luck.
Fancy Hands can neutralize your conference call dramas. Check it:
1. Go here. Once you’re signed in, it looks like this:
All you have to do is enter your date, time, the emails of people that you want to invite, and your phone number.
And when the time comes for the call…we will call you. Cool, right?
Your invited friends will receive an email with a dial-in number, and they can also choose the “call me” feature if they want to be a baller, shot caller like the original – who dat? Oh, dat’s rite – you.
Conference call = complete.
Congratulate yourself on your genius.
And. Um. Throw that apron away.
Learn more about what the assistants at Fancy Hands can do for you right here.
And let us know how it goes on our Twitter.
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