Blog : Lifestyle

Let’s Get Organised

Let’s Get Organised

I like to write everything down, keeping hand written lists of everything I need to do. As I complete a task, I tick them off my list, nothing is more satisfying than seeing that long list shrink with every tick added.

Hundred of notepads later we realised it was time to change (we have been using far too much paper, I know).

Although important, our decision was not solely driven by our desire to be more eco friendly. It coincided with a very busy period in the evolution of Xander and we found ourselves juggling a myriad of work and personal projects. We have always been very organised but we needed to find a way of managing projects with a more centralised approach.

The nature of the way we are structured means the team working on a project can be in different locations, we therefore already knew the solution would be web based. We looked at a few options but ultimately agreed on two platforms, Slack and Asana.

We use Asana to schedule tasks to specific projects, In each task, we can add notes, comments, attachments, and tags. You can follow projects and tasks, and, when the state of a project or task changes, you get updates about the changes in our Asana inboxes, all of this without the need for email.

Asana has been great, but it is Slack that we have really found revolutionary. Slack is primarily a team communication tool, but it does so much more than that.

On huge thing is massively cutting down on the amount of project email traffic we send. Rather than emailing back and forth we can now keep all of our project messaging and assets in one location, always there, accessible to the whole team.

Slack work’s of the principle of channels, channels can be created for a business, specific project or even just for random chat. It integrates seamlessly with Dropbox, which means we can bring assets from, or send assets to Dropbox very easily.

I am currently writing this post in Slacks “post” feature, I can add it to the appropriate channel for the team to review/edit, once complete I can retrieve it and copy to our website. All of this is wrapped up with great search functionality and integration with Asana (although this can be a little sketchy).

We have moved a long way from our hand written notes, I for one cannot see us going back anytime soon.

Love is in the air…

Love is in the air…

Over to Romeo…

If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene V

Face Time…

Face Time…

No not the Apple messaging system, but actually sitting down in front of real people without the aid of an iPad.

Technology has helped us do wonderful things across many spheres of life from medicine to art, but with this has come a society that is slowly losing the time to talk to each other face to face.

We all lead very busy lives, squeezing everything we have to do into tighter windows of opportunity. Social media has enabled us to keep in touch with friends and colleagues we would have otherwise struggled to speak to, but in turn this has made us slaves to our phones and tablets.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty of this as the next man. However, I worry what the valuable spare time I do have is now spent communicating with people through social media rather than talking to them in person.

On more than one occasion I have witnessed families in restaurants sitting silently, each member of the family communicating through their phone with people not present, while around the table there is no interaction with their loved ones.

Are we losing the art of conversation, or are we merely slaves to technology? I think it is probably a bit of both, either way it is a worrying trend.

Should we stem our love of social media? No, we shouldn’t have to, but what we can do is take a couple of hours a day, switch off that phone, TV and iPad so we can talk with friends and family. Whether it is round the dining table or in a coffee shop over a latte, lets join together to bring back the art of conversation.

The Prickly Post

The Prickly Post

Here at Xander we love cacti. They seem to be the only house plants we are able to keep alive longer than a week, all they need is a little sunshine and water, other than that they are not too fussy.

The little fella above lives in our kitchen with a few friends, we call him spike.

Five cool cacti facts below:

1) Cacti come in all shapes and sizes.  Some of the more interesting ones take the shapes of chandeliers, curled snakes,  starfish, and wrinkled human faces.

2) Peyoti – Heard of it?  Peyotl (Lophophora williamsii), was chewed by Aztecs for its hallucinogenic properties and allowed the shamen to enter into a trance.

3) If in need, it is true that cacti juice can be drank to keep hydrated….but also their thorns can be sterilized with fire and used as sutures.

4) Cacti are generally really easy to propagate…just snap off a part or an existing plant and let it dry or callus for a few days or weeks then plant, the dry end will readily root into a new plant.

5) Except for the genus Rhipsalis which is indigenous to tropical Americas and Africa, the cactus family is exclusively New World  (that is North and South America) in origin.