Surrounded by Screens

How many screens are within your view at this very moment?

Remember, it didn’t used to be like this. Not too many years ago, you were hard-pressed to find a smartphone user in a crowd.

Now, look at all of the screens available. It feels like everyone is looking at screens all the time. They are both bigger (70″ LED TV’s, Phablet screens) and smaller (Tablets, smartphones, Wearable technology) and just more prevalent overall.

This trend will not be stopping anytime soon, either. More average Americans use computers while at work, as well as when they get home. That means we are also spending more time looking at all of these new screens.

Here’s some advice from a recovering tech junkie:

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Found at a house Kristin and I were looking to purchase.

Watch your Time

In Financial Peace University the Marketing lesson, Dave Ramsey talks about having your “shields up” when tackling debt because there are so many businesses out there trying to take your money.

The same is true today with Time.

Time has become our most precious commodity. In a world of “Freemium” business models, companies now want your time more than ever. The more screens you have, the more you need to be aware of what you’re doing while on them.

Time is Money. It’s another currency. Extra screens mean more potential for spending time. How often have you lost track of time on a screen?

Giving your time & attention to a screen is saying “This is what’s important to me right now” whether you realize it or not. Well, is it important? 

You need to be able to answer that question consciously, or your sub-conscious will answer for you.

Be intentional

Financial experts say to watch the little purchases, they add up to a significant portion of money. The same is true with time. Pay attention to those little time payments, they could turn into huge time-sucks.

Be conscious of what you’re doing and don’t let someone else dictate your actions.

I make it a point to do this while watching movies. The director did not intend for me to watch this movie with one eye on my phone or laptop, so I’ll make it a point to keep anything out of reach that I may be tempted with, in order to enjoy the movie.

Just like with money & getting sidetracked, it’s easy to Facebook-check yourself to death too.

Remember that you can only really look at one at a time, anyway.

Take a Break

If you feel like your eyeballs are going to pop out of your head, walk away. Look at an object that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Make sure you are blinking correctly & regularly. There are even special glasses for those who look at screens for extended periods during the day.

It’s easy to center your life around your devices. Even as someone who loves checking out the latest gadgetry, I try not to make these things the center of my life. That happens by having my “shields up” and making conscious decisions with my time.


How do you feel about the prevalence of additional devices everywhere? Has it changed the way you consume content?



Motivate your Passwords


Kristin and I have a lot of goals that we are setting out to accomplish in 2014. You are reading one of them right now! Having an online space of our own is one of our passions, and it is something that has taken a lot of hard work and a long time to materialize. Not only do your passions take work and talent, but they also take Motivation. Goals are awesome and fun when you make them on New Years Eve, but then not so fun several weeks or months later when the work comes in.

Which brings me to a helpful tool: Passwords.

Yes. Passwords.

Here is a list of the most recent worst, or most common passwords from Google.

Notice a trend here?

We tie our most important passwords to the things, pets & others around us, and we do a terrible job of being secure, at that. Why not personalize the password? Why not benefit from your own password?!?

Motivate your Passwords

Why not personalize the password? Why not benefit from your own password?!?

Motivating you Password is just another tip on the way to success with life. Here’s why:

1. It’s Specific, Measurable and Attainable, in at least 6 characters that must contain a number.
Most passwords ask for a mixture of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols, and they usually need to be 6 or more characters. Just as “Trying to lose weight” isn’t a specific, measurable, and attainable goal, “WeightLoss1” makes a bad motivational password. If I wanted to Lose 30 lbs. by July, that’s a lot more Specific, Measurable, and Attainable, isn’t it? Typing in a password like “Lose30byJuly14” several times a day would certainly engrain the fact that you will be losing that weight by July, wouldn’t it?

2. Repetition, repetition, repetition!
I use passwords that I will be entering in many times as signposts of focus for my goals. If I’m training for a certain run or working on a specific project, I’ll use my current passion to relate to my passwords. Remember that most tasks become habit after 21-30 days of repetition, and most corporate emails last about 6 weeks.

(As a side note: If you’ve been following Hello, Flecks, you know that we just got back from vacation during our launch. I was able to remember my computer password with relative ease when I came back to work after two weeks of not thinking about it. How? It was one of my goals – how could I forget the thing that’s been my focus and motivation?)
3. It brings your “Why” to the forefront of your mind
With any goal, you need a reason for doing that thing, it’s called your “Why”. You may want to run a 5K to get in shape or eat healthier. It may take weeks of daily routines in order to stay focused and build up that habit. If I’ve been slacking on say, exercising, typing in a password like “IRun2Lose30” gets embarrassing after the 10th or 20th time in a row if you’ve been slacking all week. Just keeping that goal in your mind recharges you and gets you back into that good habit you set out to create.

This is just one way that I stay motivated when my goals get tough, what are some tips & tricks that are already present in your life that can keep you motivated?

Instagram Your Real Life

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Instagram is one of the most popular photo-sharing apps out there with over 150 million active monthly users. There are over 40 million photos added every day and over 1,000 comments added every second.  Let’s face it, aren’t you taking a lot more pictures with your smart phone than you are with your dSLR? How do you get creative with showcasing your Instagram photos? There are so many sites out there with inventive ways to bring your instapics to life, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorite and most unique Instagram Products.



 Coasters N Crafts: This Ohio-based Etsy sellers makes ceramic coasters from your Instagram photos. Besides being adorable, we love showing some Ohio love! 

Hello Flecks tip: take advantage of all those Instagram food pics. Add a little humor to your next dinner party with coasters that feature your favorite food photos. 

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CanvasPop: CanvasPop lets you to turn your instagram photos into canvas wall art.

Hello, Flecks tip: getting married? Make a wedding hashtag and compile all your friends’ photos into wall art! It’s a fun variation from your typical wedding photos. 

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Hatch Craft: Hatch Craft makes beautiful bamboo shadow box frames for your Instagram pictures.

Hello, Flecks tip: novice nature photographer? Showcasing your perfectly filtered Instagram pics in this bamboo frame will make those pics look pro!

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Printstagram: Printstagram lets you create a lot of unique products, but we love their Instagram Contact Cards. At under 3″ squared, these little guys are like a business card for your Instagram!

Hello, Flecks tip: blogger? Hand these out at your next blog conference or meet-up. You’re sure to get a second look over the same old biz cards. 

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We love seeing so many new and interesting products popping up for Instagram. There’s always another ingenious creator out there with exciting ideas that we can use and love. Keep an eye out for more Instagram products, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!


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