The world has changed rapidly since the start of the pandemic. There were dozens of large companies that were fully remote. Now, there will be thousands, and some of the most prominent name brand companies that you know are fully remote companies. That’s why you need a personal user manual.
This manual will tell your remote comrades about you and how you operate. Do you love working late at night? Do you not take meetings before noon because that’s when you get your best work done? That’s what a personal user manual is all about.
Want to see mine? Here’s my user manual as an example. I got the rad idea from Steph Smith and Calvin Rosser. Enjoy.
My Personal Mission
I believe that life is an adventure, and I think we need to live a flexible lifestyle to live out that adventure. My mission is to invite you guys to lean into this life adventure (that’s why I’m always going on about destroying the box and not just thinking outside of it).
A Bit About My Working Style
Below are a few of my working strategies and philosophies in my personal and business life. In my world, work and personal life go hand and hand. I don’t separate them, as I don’t believe in a balanced life. Instead, they live in sync with each other. I seem to live more with a life rhythm. I’m just trying to find that beat to groove to!
I love starting new things and making multiple streams of income. I often have to find the balance between completing a project at hand and knowing when to cut ties and try a different angle. There’s a delicate balance, so feel free to keep me accountable when it looks like I might be pivoting too early.
I work 24/7, but I also break 24/7. This means you might find me unavailable while I’m keeping score at my son’s 4p soccer game. But it also means you might ping me at 9 pm, and I’m in the middle of a project and will answer back.
I’m not too fond of phone calls. I am always doing something. Therefore, any phone call, unless scheduled, is technically a distraction from whatever it is that I’m doing.
Please take this as my phone philosophy. Don’t take it personally if I don’t answer your call. It usually lives on silent. Just shoot me an email if essential or leave a voicemail. If it’s an emergency, call my wife or dial 911. I’m not your guy.
If I ping you or email you outside of our working hours, I do not expect an instant reply. I’ve most likely pinged you because it’s a thought I’ve had that I need to share with you, and if I don’t, it will be gone forever. Therefore, I ping.
My Meeting Philosophy
I believe in minimal meetings. Hopefully, if we’re meeting, it’s because it’s the only way to accomplish what we need to do. We probably don’t need the meeting if we can handle it instead with a quick video chat or an email. And let’s please be sure to have a pre-planned agenda prior to the meeting that we can all review.
Remembering We Are People
Because so much communication is digital, it can be easy to forget that there’s a human being on the other end. Maybe you don’t have this problem, but I do. I guess it has to do with the medium. I’m typing into a machine, or talking to a camera. Not a person. It can be easy to forget that it’s going to end up with you, a person!
I’m fun-spirited, but if I’m in a rush, maybe my responses can seem short or rude. If that happens, don’t take it personally. I was probably replying right before a meeting or in between working on projects. That was my fault for choosing to respond then. If there is a big issue, we will discuss it in person – email is typically not the best communication for big-ticket problems.
Starting New Things*
Big Picture Strategy
Being Willing To Take Shots and Adjust as I go
Starting New Things*
Taking a Project “to the next level”
Organizational Structure (my wife says I’m organized because I use spreadsheets, but I don’t think these count)
Flying by the Seat of my Pants (I’m a napkin business plan guy)
Things I’m OK At But Want To Improve:
Staying Calm Under Pressure
Knowing When To Stay The Course vs. Pivot
Tools That I Like To Use:
Whatsapp (for quick communication)
Loom (for quick video feedback)
Should You Build a Personal User Manual?
Yep, I think if you’re a freelancer or you work on a remote team, it would definitely be useful. Heck, even if it’s not something your company does, you could create one anyway and give it to your co-workers. Maybe management will take notice and use it and make it a new part of their company strategy. Or if you’re working as a freelance employee, it could help people just understand you better.