H/T to Skype

It’s 2019 and it’s time to stop making amateur mistakes on video conference calls.
Zoom, Appear.In, Google Hangouts, Skype, UberConference, and many other conference apps all have the ability to share your screen. One day, we’ll live in a magical world where as soon as you share your screen, your notifications are turned off and instead are directed to your phone, your bookmarks bar is automatically hidden, and no matter how long you drone on, your screensaver never kicks in. Until then, here are a few pro-tips for making screen-shares less painful in 2019:

Turn Off Notifications

Our work values are powerful, but they are nothing without the people who believe in them, use them, and embody them.

It’s the end of 2017 and time for a bit of reflection. For the past 3.5 years, I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’ve had the immeasurable fortune of working for a mission-driven company that empowers people to pursue the work they love. Every day at General Assembly, we help people change their lives; we educate to help people add to their skillsets or change their entire career trajectory. We help businesses large and small modernize their workflows and up-skill their…

The end of the year is approaching. If you’re like me, you’ve probably put a ton of blood, sweat, and tears to cross the finish line and close out the year strong. Over the next few months, most of us will conduct self-evaluations and write performance reviews. For some, this may even be the time when your salary and bonuses are evaluated and distributed based on your performance and contributions.

Prior to these discussions beginning, take control over the narrative of your performance by crafting a write-up that documents your successes and plans for the next year.

At my first…

“How to give feedback” is a long-running discussion in management, leadership, and business circles. The latest phase in the craze is seen in the proliferation of the ‘radical candor’ methodology: teaching managers to balance “caring personally” with “challenging directly.” Frameworks such as radical candor are meant to help managers ease the emotional burden of providing feedback by structuring it carefully. Less often are there discussions on how to receive feedback effectively.

Sometimes feedback is constructive, sometimes it’s more critical, and occasionally, it errs on the side of being downright soul-crushing.

Like many Type-A overachievers, I take a lot of pride in my work. Wholeheartedly embracing a drive to keep getting better, I actively solicit feedback from my peers, managers…

I track my sleep to the point in which I can tell you exactly how many hours I sleep each night and how that varies from weeknights to weekends. I use apps that track activity on my work computer to gamify staying on task and increase my email response times. I log how many hours I spend in my office and at home to calculate commute times and quantify my work-life balance.

I use a variety of apps and tricks to document how I spend my time to satisfy my curiosity and increase my productivity. …

The last four weeks of my Google Calendar.

I am a pretty hardcore productivity enthusiast. I spend hours scouring Lifehacker and Product Hunt for the best email apps. I read books like “Smarter, Better, Faster” for inspiration. I enjoy using shortcuts and hacks. I drink Soylent so I don’t have to spend time finding, buying, or making lunch. I spend time thinking about the philosophical and practical differences between being productive vs. being active.

If you sleep for eight hours every night, every ten minutes that goes by is 1% of your waking day. …

Startups face particular difficulty in the work-life balance debates. Working all the time is such a quintessential American thing to do. Layered on top of the relentless American work ethic, startups require a particular amount of dedication to build and grow. I’ve been working at a startup, General Assembly, for the past three years. I’ve watched our DC campus grow from single table in a co-working space to burgeoning campus with six full classrooms. …

I track my work, sleep, activity, and more, partly for curiosity’s sake and partly to better understand where I can find additional efficiencies. I use four main tools:


I use IFTTT to log when I enter and leave home and work via the GPS on my cell phone. There are thousands of applets to choose from, but I use a combination of two applets that place a log…

Spend less than you make. Save for retirement. Keep an emergency fund. Conversations around personal finance management are wrought with one-liner recommendations that generally tell you what to do but don’t tell you how. If you’ve never created a budget, don’t know your credit score, or have a wicked combo of student loans and credit card debt, the process of getting control of your finances can seem overwhelming.

You’ve witnessed this scene before: a bustling co-working space with laptops left open as people grab coffee, chat offline or steps away for ‘just a few minutes.’

What’s wrong with this picture? Too many people leaving sensitive information at far too easy disposal.

While the number of people around (and the video cameras) make taking a laptop highly unlikely, there are many security concerns to leaving your computer unlocked.An errant Slack message, a text, an email — all notifications that pop up or are already visible pose a risk to exposing critical company (or personal!) information.

I think the core…

Shanaz Chowdhery

I have very strong opinions about esoteric productivity hacks. Follow me to optimize your efficiency.

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