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Bad day or second guessing your 2018 resolutions? Read this if you’re struggling… then, go fearless.

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By: Jenny Knuth, art director / geek & creative @ wisnet

If you need a pep talk, reach out and get it. Don’t wait for someone to come to you. If no one around you is in the position to act as your mentor, give yourself your own pep talk. Ultimately, you have to do the work—the responsibility lies with you.

– Howard Behar, “It’s not about the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks”

With taking risks and stepping outside of comfort zones, comes not always having the answers and potentially a whole lot of second guessing oneself. Given the time of year, where society reminds us we should have a lot of improvements to make on ourselves and are not meeting our greatest potential, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Personally, I’ve been experiencing a bit of that perfect storm. Despite my last blog post, the fear of failure lingered in the shadows.

Coincidently, last week I was served up a sponsored Facebook ad and clicked through to an app called, “Peptalk.” “How did ‘they’ know?” I thought! This was exactly what I needed. A crazy December in the books – with a lot of self-induced stress over the holidays. On top of that, our geeks & creatives team has a lot of exciting, challenging client and personal projects lined up for 2018.

Back to the app that found me …

Again, I’m only 9 days into using the free version, but the daily reminders and audio are just the kick in the butt I need to reframe my thoughts. Here are a few samples:

Rise & shine

Believe in yourself

The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

The free app has some great features for daily push notifications/reminders and more audio for commutes and in between listening. Paid upgrades appear to offer expanded audio, offline access, ebooks and an elite group/community.

A bit more review-like feedback on the app:

Not sure it’ll be a long term daily use for me as the tone doesn’t quite fit my style. It’s good, but it has a very bold, “I am a champion,” and grind/hustle approach. I also have to say that frankly, I’m missing a woman’s voice in the Instant offerings, which are the daily produced compilations with multiple aspirational snippets and a super motivating & impactful music bed. That said, there are talks from women included – Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey, to name a couple, and they sound fantastic. But it’s pretty clear it’s male dominated and I’m having to dig into the content in order to find them, rather than the app serving up voices of women as much as men. While writing this post, I did submit feedback on this concern and within the day heard back from app support with the message, “Definitely agreed! We’re working on it. Thanks a lot for your support!” Regardless of that beef, it’s still a great tool to checkout if you’re looking for a daily dose of inspiration.


THE TAKEAWAY: Ask for or give yourself a pep talk if you need it!

We’re only human. And our inner critic is a *@$%!. No complaining, no excuses. Step up to your potential and own your resolutions because no one else will. At wisnet, we like to say we help our clients go fearless into the net. Today, I’m telling you personally and professionally – go fearless into your today, tomorrow, your year … and if you need a pep talk, we’ll be here.

EverydayFit

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The Challenge

The geeks & creatives of wisnet had been working on a fitness app for awhile, but never figured out exactly what we wanted it to be – and so it sat unfinished.  This year we decided that FABOH’s Get Up & Go Employer Challenge was the perfect excuse to jump back in and get things rolling.

The goal of our fitness tracking and competition app was to make tracking your activity easy and to help keep employees engaged and motivated through challenges.

Features we wanted to include:

  • Built in timer for tracking your active minutes
  • Sync functionality with Strava & Fitbit accounts
  • Ability to manually enter your activity time from anywhere – desktop, tablet and/or smartphone
  • Team tracking to see how the entire organization is doing

 

Our Approach

We ran the EverydayFit app project as a sprint. We had a tight deadline and needed to get things done as quickly as possible. With daily meetings we walked through tasks for the day, progress and talked through any issues and concerns we had.

 

Final Result

We had a month to get the app designed and developed in time for the challenge (and we used every minute of it). Things were definitely not perfect and we were ok with that. We had the main features that were needed for the challenge and we continued to work through bugs and make enhancements throughout the 8 week challenge. We received some great feedback from those who helped to pilot the app and have others interested in using the app for other company challenges.

 

Phase 2

Now that the Get Up & Go Challenge is complete, we have some features and enhancements we’re working on to make our app even better. Stay tuned for an update! And in the mean time, if you’re looking for help with an app project, contact the geeks & creatives of wisnet.

 

 

 

 

 

Decluttering Your Workspace

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By: Julie Wild, Graphic Designer / geek & creative @ wisnet

A cluttered desk creates distraction. Everything laying on the surface clamors for attention. Removing the clutter helps you focus on your present task. Even if you have several on-going projects, it’s easier to “focus” if the only items in front of you belong to your current project. Decluttering your workspace can help you clear your mind and make you more efficient.

Remove the Small Stuff
Small items that are non-essential to the task at hand should be out of sight. “Items” such as pens, calendars, books, supplies, and food should be stored away in a drawer or on a shelf. But before you toss those items into your cabinet drawers, it’s probably time to clean them out first. Everyone has the catch-all drawer that contains so many items you’re not even sure what is all in there. And most of the items you don’t even need. Give unwanted items to your coworkers – they can store it in their catch-all drawer for a while. Then purchase a drawer divider so you can separate the pens from the rubber bands from the paper clips. You won’t feel so anxious opening that drawer after it is neat and organized.

Go Digital
You can replace framed photos by using your computer’s desktop or screensaver to view these same pictures. Consider replacing paper calendars with digital versions. Use Evernote or Google Drive to scan and store documents that come to you as paper versions. Once these documents are scanned they are much easier to share with others, and you will be less likely to lose them.

Enlarge Your Workspace
If you have a lot of important stuff that cannot be removed from your work area, that doesn’t mean your desk needs to be cluttered. It means you need a better method of storing your “daily work items”. Consider adding drawers on wheels, shelving, or a project storage system to your work area. These will remove clutter from your desk surface.

Organize your Digital Clutter
Just because the physical space looks good doesn’t mean you’re all set to go. Digital clutter can be even more distracting then the physical clutter. Take the time to organize your files. If you are having trouble finding files on your computer, it’s a sure sign that you’re not organized. Create folders for each client and store separate projects in their own folders. Create task folders within project folders so you can easily locate the correct files for each phase of your project. Give files descriptive names so they cannot be confused with other clients’ tasks or projects.

Don’t save files to your desktop. Once you start down that road, it never seems to end. Before you know it, you have columns of files extending all the way across your computer screen. Put a shortcut to the folders you use most on your desktop. That will save time working with the files you use most during the day.

Make a Commitment to Regular Decluttering
Clutter creeps in slowly while you are working. End of day cleanup is probably the best solution. Spending 5 minutes at the end of the day to put items back where they belong or create a home for newly created projects is easier than letting things pile up all week long.

What if we don’t fail?

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By: Jenny Knuth, art director / geek & creative @ wisnet

Last week someone I was talking to mentioned not wanting to fail. My immediate reaction/self talk was: “Yup, right there with you… I’m seriously afraid of failure too!”

I’ve thought about that conversation and my gut reaction quite a bit since. I started wondering if I was making a mistake in my thinking and worse, in my work. And then I listened to one of my favs – a Tony Robbins podcast, which referenced mistakes as moments of opportunity. Which got me thinking… are mistakes better or worse than failures? How are they related and how are they different?

“Go ahead, fail. Try to avoid mistakes, though.” – Seth Godin

In an old post, Seth outlines the difference between mistakes and failure as:

A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.

A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness, selfishness, or hubris) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding.

There is a lot of talk about “failing faster” as long as we learn from our actions. Because of my “achiever” nature (which I admit is a shadow when overused or misused), I do my very best to avoid mistakes and failure at all costs. Not saying mistakes don’t happen… but when they do, having the growth & learning mindset definitely softens the blow.


Mistakes will happen.

25% of positive encounters with business were actually service failures that the company responded to

In the Tony Robbins podcast I listened to, author, speaker, and professor – Dan Heath talks about the opportunities to create powerful moments … disrupting what people expect – in a good way – within our day-to-day interactions, especially in business. In all honesty, I’m sure my personal reaction will always be “$@#%, what did I do,” but there is a greater opportunity to re-frame that negativity into self talk of learning from the mistake, of course avoiding repeats, AND in my opinion, most importantly, thinking through what can be done to make this a positive experience for the person on the other side of a mistake.

“When people treat you warmly… when they react and accept your problems as their problems, it’s amazing how forgiving people can be.” – Dan Heath


So what about failing?

Let’s assign a different definition to failure… one that is not tied to self-worth or relevance at the office, at home, or in the community, and see how thoughts & feelings change around the topic. What if I told you embracing failure meant tackling the hard work first – searching for the “Achilles’ heel” (Teller, 2016 TED talk) in order to to be more efficient and effective in our work in the future. Furthermore, what if by be more willing to fail – challenging thought processes, going against the grain, finding that “heel,” and/or breaking things, we are actually being more creative, innovative, solution-driven, and perhaps a tad bit closer to success? How does failure feel now?

Need some more convincing?

What if you got a bonus for your failure?
Watch this TED talk about how failure is handled on moonshot projects at X (formerly Google X):

Timber Rattlers/Dock Spiders – Case Study

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The Challenge
Timber Rattlers – to create a greater impact in the community and start to create a more significant buzz around the team.

Dock Spiders – to show Fond du Lac how the Dock Spiders can fit into the routine of the community and area.

Our Approach
Timber Rattlers – To continue to share the fun-loving style that fascinates children and allows adults to relax, unwind and laugh a little.

Dock Spiders – Capturing the anticipation of enjoying summer at a ballpark alongside the fishing, biking, hiking and 0ther outdoor area summer fun.

Final Results
A “Rattle Your Summer” campaign for the Timber Rattlers and a “New Spin on Summer” campaign for the Dock Spiders via web, social media, billboards and radio.

 

What is this coworking thing?

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coworking space

OK, here’s the dream – Have you ever wanted a cool place where you can share ideas, grab an awesome burger or wrap, have a beverage, learn, mentor, do yoga, eat yogurt, get some work done, invent the next great product, or just hang out? Well, we do to!

The HUB (codename) is a coworking space concept being created to inspire, energize, attract & retain awesome brain power, and to be a starting hub to explore all the great opportunities, businesses, and services that the Fond du Lac area has to offer.

The geeks & creatives at wisnet are always on the lookout for new and used ideas that can enhance our office culture. Culture is all the little things that make an environment enjoyable and productive and, of course, a strong and collaborative culture is important for all corporations and businesses and their teams.

We have some wild and crazy ideas for the space and for driving an engaging culture (some are even realistic)  (:

Here are just a few of the brainstorming ideas (in no particular order):

  • Food and Beverage available
  • High Speed WIFI
  • Sit / Stand office space desks
  • Large work surfaces for team projects
  • Stage for presentations, seminars, and bands
  • Shared office equipment (printers, drones, and a red stapler)
  • Private conference rooms
  • Bicycle friendly
  • Small commercial kitchen
  • Awesome HUB Burger and HUB Wrap
  • Coffee – AKA survival juice
  • Drive through
  • Lazy river
  • Micro Brewery (at least on tap – for now)
  • Locally sourced pizzas
  • Learn – Connect – Grow opportunities
  • Regular Educations venus – speakers, seminars, learning experiences
    • Starting point to get involved in other organizations in the area
  • Fitness / Yoga events

So, who can benefit from a coworking space? Glad you Asked.

  • Freelancers – this can be your home away from home, or your office away from office.
  • Corporations / Businesses – meeting spaces and an area where their team members can ‘get out of the office’ and still be productive
  • Startups – a great place to work and tap into the instant network of knowledge
  • Anyone – who wants an environment that has an extra kick of energy they can call their own

Our goal is to make this a place that we look forward to coming to.  And our hope is that we take ideas and conversation from the HUB and use them in other aspects of your life (both work and home).

Now you know what the dream is. Who wants to help make it real?

3 calls to action – I know it is a lot – but you can do it…  (:

  1. Check out our brainstorm page – https://www.thehubfdl.com/
  2. Be inspired and share through ideas at  https://www.facebook.com/hubfdl/
  3. Join us during Wisconsin Startup Week, Tuesday November 7th at Urban Fuel in Peebles as a test run of a coworking space and to help us brainstorm coworking for our community.  This is our next step in building the coworking community which will help us define and build our coworking space.

Commonwealth – Case Study

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The Challenge

The Commonwealth Companies’ desire to create a better and stronger connection with the people and communities they serve led them to wisnet.com to help create a strong brand identity that can be carried through all facets of the business, both internal and external.

Our Approach

Our goal was to educate their target audience about the goodwill they create through their projects. The company will be seen as a business full of entrepreneurial-spirited, positive difference-makers, and idealistic pragmatics. The brand personality will show it is not just about buildings; it is about people, all while being perceived and proven as a partner who will complete commitments and projects as promised.

Final Result

  • An updated brand identity that represents a friendlier, “people-focused” personality.
  • A website that not only showcases completed projects, but educates the public and raises awareness for the positive change they can make in neighborhoods and cities across the nation.
  • Printed collateral that supports their branding and message.

Completed Projects

Before Happiness … and after

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I like to have a good time. I’m a believer in work hard, play hard. I know myself and if I’m having a rough day there’s nothing that makes me feel better than getting together with friends and family (and maybe a drink). So when I came across Shawn Achors, “Before Happiness” I was excited to get started reading. I figured, you can never have too much happiness, can you?

In his book, Achor, a Harvard trained researcher, describes why happiness is the precursor to greater success. Before we can be happy and successful, we need to realize that happiness is possible. Once we learn to look at life with more positivity we can use that to reach our goals, be successful and bring others along for the ride.

Five strategies for becoming a “positive genius”


Finding your reality

Learning to look at work/life with new and different vantage points allows us to see more opportunities and new ways of achieving them

Mapping your success
Identify “meaning markers” or what matters most to you and use those meaning markers to achieve your goals. Learn to focus on successful outcomes instead of preparing for failure.

Accelerating your successes
When we know that goals are close, we have more energy to achieve them. Achor suggests accelerants that can help to reach our goals faster.

Eliminate the negative noise
Learn to identify negative noise and find ways to overcome it by changing the way you think.

Positive inception
Share you positive reality with others. There are small changes we can make that can lead to much more positive and successful outcomes.

Read it

This book is worth the read. Whether you’re looking to reach more goals in your personal or professional life, there are some great strategies on how to get there. Since reading, I’m much more aware of my thoughts and actions and hopefully I’ll be able to spread some of those good vibes onto others.

Other happy news

I recently “got to” attend an event where Aaron Sadoff, Superintendent at North Fond du Lac school district, spoke about Happiness – which he nailed. The school district has some really awesome strategies in place to infuse happiness and positive psychology into the staff, students and community. You can listen to Aaron’s TED Talk “Happiness is the greatest technology” and see what kind of positive energy is flowing over in North Fond du Lac.

 

 

 

LGarden – Case Study

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The Challenge
LGarden came to us looking to elevate their brand identity and web presence to appeal to a refined target market of upscale, trendy gardeners.

Our Approach
After completing the 5&5 process it was clear there was extraordinary opportunity to step up the personality and visual appeal while showcasing the range of benefits of their high-end product offerings. Beauty & inspiration meets healthy lifestyle & innovative thinking.

Visit
https://www.elevatedgardening.com/

Final Result
An aspirational website experience with a vibrant/natural color palette. The primary communication is on the lifestyle perks of the products with a secondary, but essential focus on the unparalleled features and benefits of their gardening products.

Multi-Tasking with Multi-Monitors

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Do you work in an office? Do you use a computer? If so, how many computer monitors are on your desk? One? Two? THREE? Or do you just work off of a laptop?

Here at wisnet, almost no one works with just one monitor, even if he or she uses a laptop. We just find that having the extra screen real estate makes for a much more efficient workspace. Less squinting, less clicking on the taskbar to change windows, more programs and information visible with just a twist of the head. And hey, my chiropractor tells me that twisting your head back and forth is good for my neck, so… BONUS.

Personally, I use three monitors. In front of me is my “main” monitor with my email, my code editor, and a general browser window with several tabs open. My left monitor is my file management area with windows showing my local folders and an FTP program that I use to upload files to our servers. In the right side monitor are a couple of browser windows that I glance at now and then for various alerts and other info.

Oh, and if you’ve never experienced a multiple monitor workspace, you can drag things from screen to screen as if it was one large display.

Nice.

How good is this idea? Earlier this year we heard that someone is developing a laptop with three monitors. That caught our attention! It’s still just a concept, but it could happen. For now, it’s being marketed to gamers, but we can totally see it being a great work computer for the reasons mentioned above. Want to see it?

Here you go. Enjoy!

Project Valerie