Sklar Technology Partners - January 2020


7462 Old Hickory Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111 • • 804-730-2628


Break the Cycle!

• • •

Never complain Never blame Never explain

Embrace Change.

These words are written on the wall in the back of my office. It’s a vital rule for anyone in the technology industry to live by. Our field changes so fast; if we aren’t ready to embrace those changes, we’re going to go extinct. But embracing change isn’t just for the tech industry. We could all stand to be better about facing change rather than resisting it.

Complaining about your situation, blaming others, or explaining and making excuses doesn’t do anyone any good. They’re all reactions based on fear.

I want to be clear that when I say I “never explain,” it doesn’t mean I leave out important information. If my son needs help with something or a client wants to know why we recommend a certain system, I’m going to explain it to them. However, if I’m late for an important meeting, I’m not going to say, “Oh traffic was terrible, and my car wouldn’t start.” I’ll apologize for the delay and move on. When you explain, it should always be to find an answer, not to defend yourself. Tug of War I wasn’t always so open about embracing change. To be completely honest, it was a skill I had to develop when going through my divorce. That was a tough time. Anyone who’s been through a rough divorce knows how every day feels like a battle. It’s scary, so you dig your heels in and refuse to budge. Eventually, I realized I didn’t want to be fearful, and I didn’t want to keep fighting. You can’t have a game of tug of war if one person refuses to pull the rope back. When you let go, you’re free to move on. I did the divorce equivalent of letting go of the rope. I’m not going to claim that everything was sunshine and daisies after that, but today, my life is great. I have a good relationship with my kids, and I learned how to embrace change instead of letting it scare me. Embracing change isn’t as easy as saying, “I’m cool with change now!” You have to commit to putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and letting go of the familiar. Things will always change, whether we want them to or not. The question is will we change with them for the better?

That’s Your Story Years ago, I read “Who Would You Be Without Your Story?” by Byron Katie. In this book, she shares an encounter she had with a man who was dying of brain cancer. This man was miserable. He’d lost an eye, his wife was unhappy, and his kids had stopped coming to visit him. When Katie sat down with him, all he did was complain. Finally, she asked, “If you could rewrite your story, what would you say?”

“I have a short timespan on Earth, so I better make the most of it,” he replied. “The people I’m leaving behind will miss me, so I would be more optimistic and less ungrateful. I’d hope that the cancer would go away. My wife would be happier, and my kids would see me more.” “What’s stopping you?” Katie asked. This story really stuck with me. We have the power to change so much in our lives. Our mental strength to overcome hardships is incredible. But often, we don’t use that power because the idea of changing is scary. Change is unfamiliar, and it means a different story. Many people don’t know who they would be without their current story, so they resist change. Face Your Fears Resisting change comes from a place of fear. Fear is a selfish emotion. When we act on selfish emotions, we fall into destructive behaviors that hurt ourselves and those around us. In order to avoid selfish emotions, there are three cardinal rules I live my life by:

–Randy Sklar


Throw Away Your Resolutions

We’re all looking for tricks to be more productive. Some people drink an entire bottle of seltzer water first thing in the morning, convinced it will jump-start their body. Others create an algorithm to identify their peak working hours and aim to get the most done in that time. But last summer, the Japanese division of Microsoft found that working less might actually help us get more done. Microsoft Japan gave the region’s 2280 employees Fridays off during the month of August. The company didn’t increase the hours employees were expected to work Monday through Thursday, and everyone’s salaries remained unchanged. They also capped meetings at 30 minutes, with no more than five employees in attendance. MONDAY–THURSDAY Is Working Less the Key to Being More Productive?

And Set Alternative Goals for the New Year

The results were remarkable. During the experiment, Microsoft Japan saw profitable changes, including:

At the start of each new year, about half of all Americans set at least one New Year’s resolution, a promise to themselves that they will thrive in the coming year. Unfortunately, research from YouGov Omnibus, an international market research firm, found that only 1 in 5 Americans stuck to their resolutions. The fallibility of New Year’s resolutions is why few successful CEOs or leaders bother making them. Around this time of year, plenty of articles pop up with hot takes like, “Don’t set New Year’s resolutions; make goals instead!” Unfortunately, if you haven’t been making goals already, you’ve likely been setting yourself up for failure. Setting goals, achieving them, and making new ones should be a habit all year long, not just something you do on Jan. 1. The start of a new year is still a great time to reflect and strategize, but rather than fall on an old cliche, take a page from two of the most successful people in business. For decades, entrepreneur and best-selling author Tim Ferriss made New Year’s resolutions every year. Then, he developed a better strategy. “I have found ‘past year reviews’ (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than half-blindly looking forward with broad resolutions,” Ferriss said in a 2018 blog post. At the start of each year, Ferriss spends an hour going through his calendar from the past 12 months and making a note of every person, activity, or commitment that sparked the strongest emotions, both positive and negative. The most positive events get rescheduled immediately for the new year. Meanwhile, the negative ones get put on a “Not-To-Do List” and hung up where Ferriss can see them. “I do believe in starting the new year with new resolve,” says Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “but instead of adopting a resolution, I choose a word of the year — a word that encapsulates my aspirations for the 12 months ahead.” Gates says that words like “spacious” or “grace” have helped her center herself and serve as a reminder about what she really wants to focus on. In 2019, Gates chose the word “shine,” stating that, “It’s a reminder for all of us to turn on the lights inside of us, lift each other up, and shine together.” Reflect on 2019 with Tim Ferriss. Pick a word of the year with Melinda Gates.

40% increase in average employee sales

23% decline in electricity expenses

59% decline in paper printing

Microsoft Japan isn’t the first company to shorten the workweek and see great results. Perpetual Guardian, a finance management company in New Zealand, began testing a four-day workweek for its 240 employees in March of 2018. Researchers from the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology studied the firm and saw a 20% increase in productivity. Perpetual Guardian employees also reported feeling 7% less stressed and a 24% improvement in work-life balance. After the successful trial, Perpetual Guardian opted to stick with the four-day workweek permanently. The success of the four-day workweeks isn’t a sign that people don’t want to work. Rather, it shows that most people are capable of being more productive when given an appropriate work-life balance. Burnout is a serious problem for employees, especially in places like Japan, where the drive to overwork can have deadly consequences.

These experiments show that the four-day workweek isn’t just a trend for start-ups; it could be the future of the workplace.

Windows 7 is reaching its end of life phase on Jan. 14, 2020. Will your systems still be protected from ransomware attacks? Call 804-730-2628 to find out!

SAY HELLO TO F-OFF FRIDAYS Team-Building Doesn’t Have to Suck

enjoy. At Sklar Technology Partners, we’ve adopted a very successful team optimization plan fondly known as “F-Off Fridays” (or FoF). Come Again? It’s simple. For one Friday each month, we give part of our team permission to, pardon our French, “F-Off.” Here’s how F-Off Friday works: 1. Each quarter, we randomly divide staff into two teams (about five people each). The captains are the first two names drawn. 2. The teams each select one Friday per month — not on the same Friday — to leave the office at noon for their F-Off Friday event. 3. The company provides a $100 budget to spend during the event. Teams can choose almost any event, but it must be a project or activity the whole team can do together.

The terrifying trust fall.

The awkward human knot.

4. After each FoF, the team who was out presents their results to the rest of the company. 5. Pictures from FoF events are put up on our office corkboard and on the company’s Facebook page. Since introducing F-Off Fridays, we’ve had fantastic results. Giving teams the freedom to choose their activity means people are more invested in the event. We’ve had teams go to escape rooms, float the river, see a movie together, and even spend the afternoon at an arcade. People always have a lot of fun. It’s clear that team-building activities are worth the effort.

The dreaded karaoke night.

Let’s face it, team-building activities kind of suck. They’re awkward, uncomfortable, and often feel like a total waste of time. Most of us would rather work mandatory overtime than be forced to hear our tipsy coworker’s off-key rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The thing is that team- building exercises are important. These activities can improve communication, break down barriers between different departments, teach problem- solving skills, and foster a greater company culture. All these ingredients serve to increase all-around productivity.

Team-building activities are useful; the trick is to find the kind of activity your team will actually

Every company should try F-Off Fridays this year.

Inspired by Recipe World Napa Cabbage Kimchi Treat Yourself to Traditional Korean Kimchi

Ingredients • 6 lb Napa cabbage • 1/2 cup of kosher salt

Directions 1. Prepare the cabbage for salting by slicing off the tough part of the core and splitting the cabbage in half. Sprinkle salt on each leaf and place cabbage in a water basin for two hours, turning cabbage every 30 minutes.

• 2 cups of radish, cut into thin strips • 1 cup of carrot, cut into thin strips • 7–8 scallions, chopped • 1 cup of chives, chopped • 1 cup water dropwort, chopped (optional) Porridge: • 2 cups of water • 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour • 2 tbsp brown sugar Kimchi Paste: • 24 cloves of garlic, minced or puréed • 2 tsp ginger, minced • 1 medium onion, minced • 1/2 cup fish sauce • 1/4 cup fermented salted shrimp, chopped • 2 cups hot pepper flakes

2. Split cabbage into fourths and rinse

thoroughly under cold water to remove salt particles. Put cabbage in a strainer to drain excess water.

3. To make the porridge, add water, rice flour, and brown sugar to a small pot over medium heat. Mix continuously for 9 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool completely. 4. Put cooled porridge in a large mixing bowl and add garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, fermented salted shrimp, and hot pepper flakes. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the radish, carrots, scallions, chives, and water dropwort and mix well. 5. Rub kimchi paste on each cabbage leaf, roll cabbage into a packet and place in leak-proof plastic container. Let kimchi sit undisturbed at room temperature for at least a day to allow fermentation. After kimchi is finished fermenting, store in the refrigerator.

7462 Old Hickory Drive Mechanicsville, VA 23111 804-730-2628


Inside This Issue


2020: The Year We Start Embracing Change Are New Year’s Resolutions a Waste of Time? Time to Embrace the 4-Day Work Week Make Better Team-Building a 2020 Resolution Traditional Korean Kimchi How to Choose the Right Fitness Strategy for You




Choosing the Right Fitness Strategy for You To Bulk or Shred? If you make gym time a habit, then you’ve probably already heard the words “bulk” and “shred” tossed around over the racks of free weights, sweaty benches, and squat machines.Those terms might sound like meaningless jargon to the uninitiated, but they represent two different, equally valid approaches to fitness that anyone — not just bodybuilders — can use to their advantage. To put it simply, bulking is the process of building up muscle, and shredding (or “cutting,” as it’s sometimes called) is the practice of dropping body fat.When training for a competition, bodybuilders often “bulk” and “shred” in phases, changing their workout style and diet to match their current goal.As PureGym. com puts it, “At any given time on your journey to jackedness, you’ll either be aiming to cut body fat or to build muscle … it’s impossible to do both at the same time.” So, if you’re not a bodybuilder, what does this have to do with you?Well, one of these approaches could be the framework you’ve been looking for to guide your quest for peak fitness. Here’s the rundown on each style.

lots of protein.While bulking, you should also minimize cardio and focus on compound movement exercises (like squats, deadlifts, barbell presses, and military presses) with heavy weights to rapidly build muscle.

The Struggle to Shred

Shredding is everything that bulking isn’t. During a shred, MaxiMuscle recommends focusing on cardio exercises like running, cycling, and swimming and eating at a calorie deficit. Perhaps the most important aspect of this phase is diet because the point is to reveal your muscle, producing a “chiseled” effect. If you’d like to try cutting like a bodybuilder, websites like and offer meal guides and tips on staying motivated. Whichever path you choose, remember to maintain a healthy balance as you pursue your goals. As tempting as it is to focus on the gym in exclusion of all else, there’s more to life than pumping iron!

The Battle to Bulk

Bulking is the “go big or go home” fitness strategy because it focuses on consuming a lot of calories and lifting heavy weights. advises bulkers to eat 6–8 meals per day and to aim for a calorie surplus along with

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Made with FlippingBook Online document