Sklar Technology Partners - July 2019

July 2019

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

Get Up and Stop Wasting Your Mornings

5:45 a.m. Depending on the day, two or three friends (my son Jake joins us sometimes) will meet at my house to workout. Usually P90x, run 5–7 miles or a Yoga Recovery session. 6:30 a.m. I drink Athletic Greens, a supplement, and a morning cocktail — a glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice with a dash of pink Himalayan salt, or apple cider vinegar with cinnamon. I am always looking for new mixers.

Let’s talk about mornings. Your alarm goes off. What do you do? Are you up and heading right to the shower, or do you hit snooze a couple dozen times? What about after that? Is the morning time for yoga and watching the news, or do you run down the clock until you have to be out the door? Do you even know what your morning routine is? Too many people throw off their whole day because they don’t have a solid morning routine. I recently picked up “The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs” by Hal Elrod and Cameron Herold. The book maps out how you can take yourself and your business to the next level by learning how to start your day off on the right foot. Elrod has written a series of “Miracle Morning” books, each one focused on planning the optimal morning routine for various careers and lifestyles. He details how mornings matter more than we think. The morning is your road map, the time when you choose what your day will be. At a glance, it sounds like more self-help, silver-bullet jargon, but it makes sense.When you commit to waking up on time and exercising every day, it’s only natural that you’ll see improvement in your life. STOP WASTING TIME

6:45 a.m. I drink coffee. During the school year, I also use this time to make my kids’ lunches.

be able to make my kids dinner. That’s why my workouts take place first thing in the morning.

8:00 a.m. I shower while box breathing. At the end of the shower, I’ll do a “polar plunge,” switching to cold water for 60 seconds. Then I get ready for the day while listening to a podcast.

You also probably noticed that I don’t eat breakfast in the morning. I practice intermittent fasting, which involves only eating between the time window of noon and 8 PM. This is another spot in the morning routine where Marcus and I differentiate. I enjoy the benefits of intermittent fasting, but it’s not for everyone. For example, if you have diabetes, you probably shouldn’t be fasting. What I’m saying is that while there are tons of experts who claim to have cracked the “ideal” morning routine, the best routine is the one that suits your needs. But first, you have to make a routine and stick to it.

8:45 a.m. I listen to podcasts while commuting to work.

8:50 a.m. I arrive at the office and make a pot of Imperial Gyokuro green tea in a cast-iron kettle. (My commute is only five minutes long.)


Once I’m at the office and getting into my work, I consider that the end of my scheduled routine. I’ve taken a lot of my routine habits from another book, Aubrey Marcus’ “Own the Day, Own Your Life,” but there are also certain things I’ve had to change around to fit with my family and lifestyle. For example, Marcus recommends working out at 5 p.m. after work, but if I did that, I wouldn’t


5:30 a.m. I wake up and drink a full CamelBak bottle of water. (I fill the water bottle the night before and have it waiting on my nightstand beside the bed.)

It starts with getting out of bed when your alarm goes off the first time.

–Randy Sklar


Common Branding Mistakes

Ever since we started carrying our phones around with us, our phone numbers have become more ingrained as part of our identity. Few people would dream of giving their number to a total stranger on the street. But while we’re protective of our numbers in the real world, many people will happily anchor their number to anything online, from social media and shopping to their bank account. Using phone numbers as identity proof online has become commonplace. There are numerous major sites that request or require a phone number in order for users to gain access. Often, phone numbers can be used to quickly regain access to an account after forgetting your password. Here’s the trouble: It’s impossible for sites to verify who’s really at the other end of that phone number. Imagine you need to change your number for whatever reason. If the person who gets your old number tries to activate an account on a site you also use, that website could prompt them to log into an account that already has that number —AKA your account. This is exactly what happens if you try to activate a preexisting phone number on Facebook. What’s worse, just by clicking “Recover my account” and entering the phone number, it’s possible to change an account password and log in over SMS. Instagram, PayPal, and Yahoo are also major sites with this known security flaw. In a March 2019 interview with Krebs on Security, Allison Nixon, director of security research at Flashpoint, revealed she once accidentally hijacked another user’s bank account when trying to activate a new phone number she’d acquired. It’s not just losing control of your phone number that can put your accounts in jeopardy. Through SIM-swapping attacks, fraudsters can steal information from your phone while the phone is still in your possession — not to mention anyone who uses their smartphone for business and has that number listed on their website. With how easy it is to access someone else’s phone number, using them as proof of identity online is about as secure as requiring only a person’s name in order to access their sensitive information. Can I Get Your Number? Stop Using Your Phone Number as Identity Proof

That Can Torpedo Your Company’s Image

The value of a strong brand cannot be overstated when it comes to growing your business. We call adhesive bandages Band-Aids and cotton swabs Q-Tips because those companies excel at creating memorable, trusted brands that consumers can rely on. There’s no recipe for creating a brand so strong that the name of your product becomes common vernacular, but developing a strong, consistent brand is within the reach of every business owner. This is why it’s frustrating to see companies hurt their branding through easily avoidable mistakes. Business owners often deprioritize branding in the early stages of their company, but that’s a dangerous mistake. If a potential customer interacts with your brand and it doesn’t resonate with them, it’s going to be hard to win them back. By avoiding these common errors, you can create a brand that people will support and interact with.

Bland Branding

“Branding is deliberate differentiation,” says author and consultant Debbie Millman. In other words, don’t create your brand by copying somebody else’s. The best brands stand out. Think about the iconic Nike swoosh, one of the greatest logos in business history. There was nothing like it at the time, and there’s little like it today.

Sloppy Copy

Branding is far more than just a cool logo and a flashy website. The words you use to convey your values — and the value you offer customers — are crucial. Bad grammar, weird word choice, and other linguistic faux pas can make you look silly. Make sure you have professional editors look over your copy to ensure it relays the message you want it to.

Platform Inconsistency

Have you ever logged onto a mobile version of a website and wondered if you were in the wrong place? When that happens, it’s because a company hasn’t made the effort to mirror their branding across all platforms. It’s one thing to have an irreverent online presence — look to MoonPie’s Twitter feed for an example — but it’s another to have such disparate branding that you leave customers confused. A great brand synergizes all aspects to create one indelible image for consumers. Share your values, convey clear messages, and provide a professional image. Once you’ve done that, you’re on the road to building a brand that people want to support.

Improve Concentration With Essential Oils Drops of Focus

benefits. A study published in the Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour Journal found that adults who took sage oil capsules performed “significantly better” on a word-recall test than those who took a placebo. Dropping a few drops of sage essential oil into your office diffuser may help boost your memory and keep things from falling through the cracks on a busy day. Peppermint oil is a very popular essential oil, and not just because it smells like the holidays. In addition to aiding in concentration, the scent of peppermint can also give you an extra boost of energy and reduce anxiety right before a big presentation. Peppermint essential oil has also been known to reduce the severity of headaches in a pinch. Some essential oils are most effective when applied to the skin or breathed in directly, but you can’t go wrong with a diffuser. With a few drops of these essential oils, you can turn your office into a sanctuary for focus and productivity. Need to concentrate? Try peppermint essential oil.

There’s nothing like being “in the zone:” that mental state where all your work just flows. The trouble is that the slightest hiccup can interrupt your flow and get you off track for hours. Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to feel better all around and reach that flow faster. One popular strategy people have turned to is using essential oils. Stress is so common that most people just learn to live with it, which is detrimental to their overall health. Ylang-ylang essential oil can be a lifesaver. It promotes relaxation by reducing cortisol levels throughout the body, and it also has a calming aroma. Since increased cortisol makes it harder to focus, ylang-ylang essential oil may also help improve your concentration. Stressed? Try ylang-ylang essential oil.

Forgetful? Try sage essential oil.

When it comes to holistic health, sage is an old favorite. When it’s not being used to ward off bad spirits, it’s prescribed to treat any number of health woes. But while sage certainly isn’t a magic herb, sage essential oil does offer real

Inspired by

Watermelon Cucumber Skewers

Skewers are a Fourth of July favorite, but these are not your classic kebabs. They’re a fresh, light, and fun way to start a barbecue. Oh, and they don’t require any actual cooking.


• 1 bunch fresh mint leaves • Salt, to taste

• 1 medium-sized watermelon, cubed • 2 cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch rounds • 1 block feta cheese, cubed


• 1 packet of bamboo skewers

Directions 1. Assemble skewers by placing one watermelon cube, one cucumber round, one feta cube,

and one mint leaf on skewer in that order. Repeat until skewer is full. 2. Lightly season with salt and chill in fridge until right before serving.

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


Inside This Issue Don’t Hit Snooze on Your Day Are You Ruining Your Brand? Your Phone Number Won’t Protect Your Security Top Essential Oils to Improve Your Focus Watermelon Cucumber Skewers Take a Deep Breath

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The Truth About Meditation An Ancient Solution to Modern Problems

published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindful meditation lowers stress levels, and patients who habitually meditate report less chronic pain. Another study published in the same journal found that regular meditation also fights depression. How do I meditate? Meditating is as simple as sitting in a quiet place, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breathing for a few minutes. Whenever your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your breath. You don’t need to climb a mountain or pay for a week-long retreat to start meditating. That said, there are plenty of resources that help beginners build a strong foundation for meditation. Popular apps like Calm or Headspace are available on any smartphone and offer guided courses you can start anywhere, anytime. You could also check online or at your local community center for group classes if you would like some in-person guidance. Meditation isn’t a magical ritual that will cure all that ails you, but plenty of research suggests meditation does provide tangible benefits to our mental and physical well-being. Maybe one day, meditation will be as commonplace as daily exercise.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.

This is the first step in every meditation session. Though often associated with the New Age metaphysical movement, meditation isn’t all about incense and healing crystals. Meditation is an ancient practice that strengthens your mental focus, and recent research suggests that it offers real solutions to modern problems. What is meditation? Meditation has strong roots in various religious and cultural traditions, but anyone can find value in practicing it. The purpose of meditation is to strengthen your mind by promoting mindfulness, focus, and awareness. Does meditation work? It depends on what you mean by “work.” Will meditation allow you to defy gravity and hover above the earth? Probably not. But there are so many benefits that will leave you feeling lighter in another way. A study

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