Jason Kang’s ‘One Thing I Can’t Live Without’ Gets Things Done!

The following was originally published on Retail Online Integration as a specially contributed piece by yours truly. If you missed it there, we’re bringing it to you here now!

When I asked Jason Kang, Chief Marketing Officer of Zazzle.com, to identify the one thing he couldn’t do his job without, he mentioned analytics. But I wanted him to dig a little deeper. I’m glad I did. Jason came up with something a bit different for his “One Thing I Can’t Live Without.” In fact, he came up with two!

If this is your first foray into the “One Thing I Can’t Live Without” series, here’s a brief: our “One Thing” series reveals one thing someone in your industry can’t work without. I’m talking about anything that your colleagues — retailers or multichannel retail solution providers — can’t do their jobs without. And I’m taking that beyond the obvious.

The goal is to bring you some tactical tips straight from the experts’ mouths. Hopefully one or two of them will help you out in unexpected ways. Without further adieu, I bring you Jason’s “One Thing I Can’t Live Without … ”

Jason Kang

Jason Kang

1. What’s the one thing you can’t live without? And I don’t mean coffee. I mean anything from a technology tool to a partner to an employee or team to a cool trick you do on Excel to a shortcut you take in your programs.

Given you asked me to stay away from answers like “analytics,” which is obviously critical — can’t manage what you can’t measure — I’ll give you two things: one, GTD and, two, Excel macros.

2. Can you explain what these are?

A few years ago a friend turned me on to a system, a philosphy called GTD [a concept and book by productivity consultant David Allen ]. It’s a way of organizing my work/personal priorities in such a way that makes me significantly more productive and, per its namesake, helps me “Get Things Done.” Also, I do a lot of work in Excel, and from my banking days I’ve created a set of shortcut macros that makes me about 55 percent more efficient than I otherwise would be. Basically it has all the most common formats and functions so that I can use my keyboard to do everything.

3. Why can you NOT live without these?

I can’t live without GTD because given the workload on my plate, I would be so overwhelmed and stressed that I wouldn’t sleep. And without sleep, I would literally “NOT live!”

4. How often do you use these tools? How long have you been using them?

Every day. GTD is a way of approaching tasks and organizing and prioritizing deliverables.

5. If lightning struck tomorrow and you suddenly didn’t have these things, what would you do to improvise?

The beauty of GTD is that it’s a system, a method of being, so lightning wouldn’t be able to take it away. Without my Excel macros I’d have to improvise by using a mouse! I hate using a mouse.

6. How can other people get this too?

Many people have the system innately in them. I had to read the book by David Allen. There are also now apps that have been created from the GTD principle! For macros, go to “View” in Excel and start recording macros. Save them and use them to save you a bunch of time!

7. OK, what’s the one nonwork-related thing you can’t do your job without? This is where the coffee or anything else comes in.

My family — especially my wife and daughter. I live for them. They’re a powerful motivator for me to do the best that I can.