Your inspiration for starting your business…
I guess you could say my default setting is to be organized. In my professional life, as a project manager for large-scale architectural projects, and as a mother, I’ve always been driven to keep things in order and maximize efficiency. When my two children were in pre-school, I volunteered on many projects at the school and I quickly became the go-to for all things technology-related. One day, a fellow Mother shared her frustration about how she was unable to find someone to help her organize and manage her iPhone, Mac and photos. The ‘tech help’ of the world just kept talking jargon to her, and worse, they made her feel incompetent and more overwhelmed!
The excess clutter you accumulate on your technology can have the same detrimental effect, weighing you down and using your precious energy.
My ‘Aha’ moment came when she told me ‘you could be the Marie Kondo of technology!’ That same day, I went out and bought her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. As I was reading, it occurred to me that the message could absolutely be translated to personal and business technology. You might not be able to ‘touch’ everything that you keep on your devices, as you can with the items in your closet, but the excess clutter you accumulate on your technology can have the same detrimental effect, weighing you down and using your precious energy.
So the idea for my company began to take shape; I wanted to create a boutique consultancy for people with little time and a need for personal service. I immediately started to work on creating a ‘gold standard’ of technical organization to help people create order from their technical chaos. I tried it out on willing individuals, and small businesses, refining along the way. The feedback was amazingly positive, and with so many people telling me ‘I need this!’, Tech Tonic was born.
How do you stay creative…
This probably sounds counterintuitive, but ideas come to me when I’m not consciously thinking. Whenever I can, I give myself 20 minutes around lunchtime to simply stop and take a break. If I’m at home, I’ll lie down in Savasana. Giving myself permission not to think is restorative, and allows ideas to percolate and come to the surface.
What I’m noticing is a correlation of values, across technology, homes, wellbeing, beauty and travel. There is a desire for authenticity, honesty and simplicity that make’s us feel good.
I’m also an avid reader of travel and interior magazines; I think inspiration can come from many sources. What I’m noticing is a correlation of values, across technology, homes, wellbeing, beauty and travel. There is a desire for authenticity, honesty and simplicity that make’s us feel good.
Advice for reducing stress levels due to technology overload…
The key is to keep it simple and only use the technology that enhances your life. Here are some of my top tips:
• Paper is still your friend! Write a paper to-do list in the evening or first thing in the morning. Tackle the priorities, then open your email. If someone needs you urgently, they will call.
• Practice the ‘one touch’ method. By this I mean do something once, don’t do half the job and think you’ll come back to it later. Finish the task now and be done.
Go to unroll.me, and after you sign up, you see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want.
• Delete the App’s you don’t use! Most people spend 80% of their time using 3 apps, yet frequently have 50+ on their phone. The same applies to subscription emails. Go to unroll.me, and after you sign up, you see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want.
• Back Up and Synchronize. Store data in 3 places for peace of mind. On a device, a hard drive and the cloud. Synchronize across devices only if it’s beneficial to you. Do you need all your photos on every device? I certainly don’t. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
• Do not save anything on your desktop. Every item there will slow down your computer. File your documents in the “Documents” folder, photographs in “Photos”.
• Share. For families, set up a shared Calendar to keep track of school events, holidays, doctors appointments etc. My husband and I use Wunderlist to add to our shared grocery list. It’s great for collaborating on work projects, too.
Use ‘Night Shift’ in phone ‘Settings’, which changes your screen color with the time of day to prevent disruptions to your circadian rhythm.
• Check out recent Apple developments. Use ‘Night Shift’ in phone ‘Settings’, which changes your screen color with the time of day to prevent disruptions to your circadian rhythm. Switch on the ‘Go to Bed’ alarm to prevent you binge watching a show/surfing the web, etc.
A day in your life…
Every day is different but my week-to-week routine tends to net out the same. I (try to) maximize my productivity around client requirements and my children’s schedule. On a weekday, this involves getting my kids ready for school and walking them there by 8:15a.m. I then walk to the gym or office. I love that I can be productive by 8.30am. The shared office is definitely inspirational for me! I feed off the energy that comes with feeling that exciting things are happening around me. Other days I head to clients in Manhattan or Brooklyn. I pick up my children 3 days a week, setting aside 2 night’s a week for evening clients. On those days I hang out with the children after school, make dinner and then my evening babysitter takes over. The flexibility that comes with having a job that isn’t tied to a 9-5 window allows me to define the best schedule for our family.
Your workout routine…
Again, flexibility is my friend when it comes to exercise. I don’t stick to a set routine, but I aim to do one spin class, one yoga class, and another exercise session every week. When that’s not possible I make sure I walk as much as I can throughout the day. I live in NYC, so I find it relatively easy to do 10,000 steps. I found having a strict exercise routine stressful as it felt like I’d failed if I didn’t make a class. Now I find that I can go to the gym at a different time or day and still achieve my weekly goals.
Must have skincare products…
Like most areas of my life, my routine is streamlined to maximize my time, so the products I use need to multitask:
• Bare Minerals Complexion Correction Gel – It’s a tinted moisturizer with an SPF.
• Origins eyeliner – This also acts as eye shadow as it has a smudgy bit on the end of it.
• Sugar lip balms – Just a subtle hint of color.
• I’m still searching for my perfect night-time moisturizer. BWB gives me lots of edited and tested information so I’m working my way through it!!
I have loved Ginger Essence by Origin’s for years – it is really uplifting and energizing. I do feel that the time is coming for a new one though. I’ll be consulting BWB for guidance on this, too!
Earl Grey – ideally with some dark chocolate…. Heaven!!
A good book on your nightstand…
I wish I could say a book on the NYT bestseller list… but honestly, chick lit is one of my guilty pleasures. After juggling and running around all day, it makes me feel good to go to bed and read for half an hour. It’s my true free time and helps me forget the day and fall into a nice sleep.
To redeem myself, I am reading Your 7 Year Old, as my daughter just turned 7. These books are now 35 years old but they provide an amazing insight into why children behave the way they do at each age.
I have also started When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. My (little) sister is currently being treated for breast cancer and my OB recommended this as a no-nonsense read on being present in the face of fear. I got us both copies to read together.
Who inspires you…
That is such a big question! However, the people who immediately spring to mind are Michelle Obama (particularly her work on food and exercise with ‘Let’s Move’ and girls education worldwide with ‘Let Girls Learn’). Amy Poehler, and her ‘Smart Girls’ movement is inspiring. I love women who are supporting and encouraging other women.
I also think of my mum, who has always been incredibly independent. Though in recent years this has been more difficult due to her back and leg pain, she never complains. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in September. Within 5 weeks, she had the lump removed and breast reconstruction. Her scar is a foot long. I was with her just after the surgery to help her out. What amazed me was that she was still herself. Her bravery and desire to keep going as normal throughout this process has been humbling. She has also allowed me to share her post-surgery progress images on social media, which has already inspired several women I know to get themselves checked out, too.
Read more about Tech Tonic HERE.
Katie von Strasser is a former ballerina with a background in fashion and art. She is a devoted advocate for people with disabilities. Katie has a passion for travel and all things beautiful.
She resides in San Francisco with her family. (Photo by Darryl Nitke)