SB EP 70 - Creating A Better Workspace Transcript

Ismail: [00:00:02] Are you productive in your workspace? Do you find that your surroundings influence how productive you are? We're going to be discussing what Ryan and I do in our personal workspaces to improve our productivity. And by the end of the episode you'll get to find out a little hack that Ryan does that helps him prepare for events a lot quicker. Stay tuned. 

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Ryan: [00:01:12] Hello and welcome to Super Boothers my name is Ryan. 

Ismail: [00:01:14] And I'm Ismail and you're listening to the photo booth business podcast where we like to tell stories and teach lessons that help you grow your business

Ryan: [00:01:25] And go off on tangents! So speaking of tangents I just was in Houston. 

Ismail: [00:01:32] We're starting with a tangent. 

Ryan: [00:01:33] Yes we're starting with the tangent. Some Kind of yes no. So we were having some work done in the house whenever we left. And trust me this is like one of the I have a point, I promise. 

Ismail: [00:01:45] I like how you have to say you now. 

Ryan: [00:01:47] I know she's there I was like you go off on tangent and I'm like whatever. Listener survey no. But then what I really actually a tangent on the tangent someone wrote. Oh my gosh. I love it when you go off on tangents because then somehow it always circles back to the original point and they're like oh my gosh I just had an aha moment. So yes my tangents have a point. 

Ismail: [00:02:07] The one person who said they like it you go off on tangents, that's all you need

Ryan: [00:02:11] That is all I need. That is all I need. So I mean it's a win in Houston and we had some work done on the house while we were gone came back to the house and they came back and I was like wait a minute. So I have contractors here and I have tools at my disposal. I'm going to redo my office again. So I completely dumped it. And I mean dumped it like I literally ripped everything off the wall. I spent two days. It was like trading spaces I swear. Do you remember that show? 

Ismail: [00:02:43] No I don't read all of them. 

Ryan: [00:02:45] Maybe I'm dating myself. So anyways I fixed the walls. I like re-did like everything like I built my desks. I didn't buy them because I apparently can do like furniture building is now going to be another thing offered by Super Boothers. You can buy my desk at So yeah I got a completely new brand new office space I'm so excited. 

Ismail: [00:03:09] Now I think it's going be the topic of our discussion today 

Ryan: [00:03:11] this is workspaces if you have worked it out

Ismail: [00:03:14] Yeah it seems as you do this often right. Because you said you agreed to your office again. And is that something that you have like a routine of doing every year or so. I don't know if it's routine every year but most definitely, absolutely get bored. And I know that like it's just always been part of my mindset like OK I got to mix up something a little bit otherwise like I think like whenever you just change up your space you feel like a little bit more like invigorated and you feel like pumped again. And I don't know that's just kind of it's just my process and what kind of gets me going. So I really don't. I've just always kind of done it. I don't think there's ever a set time. But I will say this it was very rare that I completely dumped it like literally there was like two strings hanging from the ceiling and that's literally all that was left in the room. 

Ismail: [00:04:02] Do you feel a difference immediately after? 

Ryan: [00:04:04] Oh my gosh I felt so powerful after my god after I got my new desk like I stained it. So it's like a beautiful mahogany. I bought like a whole bunch of like accessories like charge all my stuff and like one little thing. I'm like super big on like hiding cords. I think that might be a good thing. But I have this like little like contraption that I built underneath my desk to hide the cords. 

Ismail: [00:04:28] Yeah I saw the pic. 

Ryan: [00:04:28] Yeah I love it. Now I have to post it. 

Ismail: [00:04:33] Sorry I come at this from the opposite spectrum where I just don't really don't care. 

Ryan: [00:04:38] Seriously? 

Ismail: [00:04:39] Yeah I don't think it really matters enough. I'm not gonna say it doesn't matter because I've been really awesome offices in cool environments where it feels nice. So it does matter. But it doesn't matter enough for me to go through the whole process that you did. Repeatedly. 

Ryan: [00:04:54] Do you think that it affects your work whenever you have like a creative space to work in? Not even a creative space or just a productive space in general. 

Ismail: [00:05:06] I don't know where you're coming at that question from but my initial reaction is it doesn't make that big of a difference to me. Like if I want to get creative I go on a walk. I go outside? 

Ryan: [00:05:16] Seriously? 

Ismail: [00:05:17] Yeah I go somewhere. That's really how I mix things up. 

Ryan: [00:05:21] Like Barbados? 

Ismail: [00:05:21] No like down the street. 

Ryan: [00:05:24] Oh so not the Bahamas? 

Ismail: [00:05:25] Well it's when I when I come to my computer to work I'm so focused on doing the work that it's nice that there is a nice environment around me but I kind of block it out and I get zoned in. 

Ryan: [00:05:36] Seriously if my office isn't like clean. If I don't have like all my stuff within like an arm's reach I feel like there's a hand chopped off that one exception is I'm really good at writing in hotels like when I'm in a hotel like I can actually write. 

Ismail: [00:05:57] I find that on airplanes. 

Ryan: [00:05:58] Well see I can I agree with that one too. Like I can like airplanes are like a good time for me to like catch up on like big projects that I otherwise really can't tackle because there's no distractions except for like you know the 450 pound person that's sleeping next to me that decided to rest his head on my shoulder. I'm and just like eh, whatever he's tired. 

Ismail: [00:06:16] But having said all that I have tried some things that I'm sure we'll get into that during this conversation. So I'm not going knocking it without trying it. I did try it. But yeah let's let's go with the conversation though. 

Ryan: [00:06:28] Do you have clocks in your workspace? 

Ismail: [00:06:31] I don't have all clock but the time is everywhere. It's on your phone it's on your iWatch it's in the bottom it's it's on your screen somewhere

Ryan: [00:06:40] but just from like it's from like glancing like do you like have like I don't pay attention to the clock on my computer. 

Ismail: [00:06:46] So yeah other than that I do not have a clock in any of my workspaces. 

Ryan: [00:06:49] One thing they do have is my computer every hour on the hour. Well like announcing what time it is. Because have you ever had. So this is a little hack that kind of post. Have you ever just been like working working working working working and you look at your like it's one o'clock in the morning how did that happen

Ismail: [00:07:07] That happens to me all the time. I forget to eat like my wife has to remind me. 

Ryan: [00:07:10] Oh my gosh I made food and I made food in the microwave and I forgot that the food was in the microwave. And by the time I remembered I went to go get it and it was freezing cold. 

Ismail: [00:07:22] So again though on this point. Right. So yeah we forget to eat. We forget the food the microwave. How much does it matter in the environment? You're so zoned into the work that you forget about everything else around you right. This proves that. 

Ryan: [00:07:35] I just, I just have my process like I don't I don't even know where to begin. Like I cannot be like in a happy productive good mood if like my workspace is horrible like again. So I've I have I've only had one employer my entire life and that was whenever I did catering. And with there they like provided me with a desk, provided me with a computer, chair, whatever I had about three days of that I came in on the weekend. I dumped everything brought in my own stuff. I was like Hey listen. Like can I just bring in my own. They're like Yeah sure like do whatever it is your office completely dumped it brought my own stuff. Otherwise I can't work like that. Like there is a desk from easily 1964. 

Ismail: [00:08:24] So then let me dig into this a little bit more. When do you feel the effect of the environment is it while you're working is that when you first walk into the room is that when you take a break and look up 

Ryan: [00:08:34] As I'm speaking to you right now. I have flowers on my desk. Granted, I was a florist show. It's just easier for me to obtain it. And it's not like you know going out of my way to go get it. It's just kind of always like readily available. Like I have to have flowers on my desk like I don't know. I don't know why that is and that there are people listening that are like Ryan that's not relatable. And I completely get that. You know that's the thing is like you know that's the thing on. You know some of my Jewish friends you know Shabbat dinner. It's it's natural to always have flowers on the table like it's it's on. It's part of the religion. This is just part of my work religion. Like I just have to have flowers just to be like productive and be like oh that's nice. Like you know and it just puts me in a good mood and if I'm in a bad mood I'm working UH-Uh that doesn't go over very well for me or for anyone around me or anyone that I'm emailing

Ismail: [00:09:31] Now, I think and I know you have some points you wanted to get through so I hope I'm not jumping ahead. But for me it's I definitely relate to being inspired by your environment. But the way I work is I just change work spaces. Well you know look I take my laptop into different areas. So I do a lot of work. I hope I've done I have done that. But that's not something that happens that often. But like I've done work in my car I've done work in my backyard. I've done work on my kitchen table my countertop bar stool area. So at a coffee shop I just get up and move. I get up and go somewhere else. I go sit on a couch I go sit over here I go sit over there. So it's not really worth me investing all that effort into changing my office space because I get up and move to conspiration. Now if it was nicer I wouldn't do that to your point. That's just what works for me. I'd like to get up. 

Ryan: [00:10:24] So let me ask you this. So with photo booths and you and I know you just really handle like the sales and marketing part of it and not necessarily like the servicing and producing event. What does that person space likely whenever they're like working on the booth. Is that like a set space? Is that just like how does that work? 

Ismail: [00:10:46] Yes I have an office that I've built in my home. So yeah it's an office space. There's like dual monitors. It's pretty basic so I have tried a couple things. One thing I believe sitting is the new smoking. 

Ryan: [00:11:04] Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? 

Ismail: [00:11:04] I got that Vari desk. Yes. Guys you can google sitting is the new smoking and you'll see all these studies about how bad sitting is. Because we do it so much. Yes certainly it's a it's a whole health epidemic. So I got it's called the very desk. So it's basically like a platform you put on your desk. You put the monitors on top of the keyboard on it. And when you want visit and you kind of grabbed it by the side and lifted it up so the desk follows your position where you're sitting or standing at your desk. 

Ryan: [00:11:38] So you stand at your desk? 

Ismail: [00:11:38] I actually use it a lot. I would like just like you who's down the like on a daily basis. 

Ryan: [00:11:44] Really. I mean I would love that there are places that like have with a whole desk that will move up. But the Vari desk thing you're talking about is like a separate apparatus that you can order like aftermarket. 

Ismail: [00:11:57] Yeah. It's not cheap but actually it's funny that the the place where I really saw this type of us was at the imaging spectrum office and I immediately bought one after I got back. Everyone seemed to have one there and I saw them all using it and I just thought it was awesome. So I got it. And I actually do find it helpful like I'm a person has a lot of back pain because I sit so much

Ryan: [00:12:20] really? See I was looking in to a Herman Miller chair which is like there was like a thing a while back where like it was like all the rage with like tech people you just had to have a Herman Miller chair which I guess is was like easier on your back and I will say this. There are times where I will work for hours at a time. I will get up and like I will have issues with my hips. So for example I don't drive as often as I used to. I have a driver now! but whenever I did drive I would always like lean on my right side. And whenever I went to the chiropractor my chiroprator was like do you sit down. 

Ismail: [00:13:03] oh Yes

Ryan: [00:13:04] I was like Yeah I live in Texas I drive to Houston San Antonio Austin and Dallas once a week. And whenever you do that you're like hips get out of alignment. So I would walk like you know Quasimodo to the car and just it was an issue and I didn't realize it was so much of a health problem. 

Ismail: [00:13:21] Definitely. I definitely relate to that. I have the same problem whire I lean to the right while driving. So because of that and a variety of factors like that I decided it was worth the investment to get a standing desk. I was worried that I would use it that often but it's been about it's been over a year and I still use it almost everyday. So so I sugguest you checked it out. 

Ryan: [00:13:43] One thing that I did want to talk about is for people that work in groups I've always found that it was really good to have like a large communal space like whenever I have whenever I was a florist. We had like one main central desk where we'd have like our meetings. I just really found like that was like almost like the heartbeat of the business like we would have lunch there. Everyone to break out we'd have like our stand up you know you know daily stand up meeting where everyone kind of goes around and just says hey here's what's going on today. Here's what I'm doing when I'm working on. Here's who I'm waiting to get back with me. I mean like all that stuff. I really found that that main table was actually really sad because whenever like I'd like sold that table like I felt like a part of me was like dying a little bit like she's really attached to furniture. 

Ismail: [00:14:32] Now it's for me. I mean in New York. I have a winter season. It's probably a lot easier to do this down where you are. But I remember even LA Photo Party's office in California. I really like having the communal space be outdoors. I find I just like being outside being in nature hearing birds chirping. Having the sun shining 

Ryan: [00:14:54] Do the mice help you whenever you clean? 

Ismail: [00:14:54] That's a positive impact especially when we're two thirds I think preferred to do that whenever possible. No but the birds do the birds. I actually have a lot of my meetings like I have a nice backyard set up with a nice seating area. I have them back there. I find it awesome. That's the way I want to do it. So

Ryan: [00:15:14] So I will say this for like the perfect workspace. Especially with us because we're really like I mean we're most definitely in a creative business. I really feel like all the desks that we have really like needle like be on like wheels things like having a space that like can transform whatever your needs are especially if you have like a small space like I think it's always good to kind of like rearrange stuff. There are times where actually I'm doing this tomorrow. So I have a wall that I face that I'm installing a ring light permanently to where I don't have to like bring out all the equipment just to do a test run. So that's kind of something that I'm doing. Like just make me a little bit more productive. Because I think about like how much time I waste like going to storage getting equipment like setting in like doing a test like I could easily waste you know 30-45 minutes an hour just kind of like getting my act together. Whereas now I have to do just flip it on because it's permanently on the wall. 

Ismail: [00:16:16] I'm curious do you have the same level of care with your storage space? 

Ryan: [00:16:17] Yes. I have alot of very large shelving that I refuse to get rid of. I might be a little bit of a hoarder. Only because like I think this is actually something that is kind of interesting so whenever was a Florist again I had a lot of like just decor items. I have a 20 by 20 space full of furniture and candelabras and glassware and just random decor that I have not used in quite some time because somehow in like my mind I think I'm going to quit photobooths and I'm going be a florist again. Hum I've probably wasted so much money in like storage rent then I probably should have. But yet for the most part it's pretty much organized like everything's in boxes everything is like there there's like a linen section there is like a glassware section like it's there's a lot of stuff but it's organized. 

Ismail: [00:17:16] So I think the workspace that we're talking about in the first part of this is that it's more important to me create like inspiring and creative whereas the storage space is better to focus on like efficiency and organization. It's kind of two separate purposes those two different things. I am that person that's very organized storage. However the people that I work with are not like that. So it's really a catastrophic thing. 

Ryan: [00:17:44] I'm a little I'm kind of a little anti-paper so like my business is entirely paperless. Like literally everything is done online so much so that I'm like whenever like I do like you know pull sheets or time sheets or whatever. It's all done online. Like I really don't print out anything. I think there's one attendant that likes me to print out hey here's where you're going here's what you're doing and it's the one person that I do it for. But other than that everyone is just always like on their phone. 

Ismail: [00:18:13] I definitely relate to that too. I limit paper as much as possible. Now in your workspace do you have anything that you put up that is something that motivates or inspires you or is it more decorative. 

Ryan: [00:18:26] know I you and I and I've said this before. Way back when whenever would get published I would like take the cover of the magazine frame and put on the wall. And I was just kind of very motivating for me. It's not motivating for me anymore. I think the only thing that I really find motivating is again I talk about I use my hue lights and IFTTT and Zapier and all that other stuff where whenever I get a lead a light flashes whenever someone makes a payment a light turns green and it's actually turning blue now because I got tired of seeing green again light cues I think just very motivating for me versus something like really material. But yeah that's something that I think works for me and another like but I just I find that I'm really productive when I listen to music. I used to be like I'd have everything blaring like I'd have a youtube thing going on I have a TV on there's music on my phone and there's something on my laptop like it was all just like I needed the noise. Now I actually have a little record player in the corner of my office and I just kind of listen to whatever records. And it just kind of helps me get into a little zone or whatever. 

Ismail: [00:19:39] That's something interesting is I actually do the same where when I really have to get in the zone to really knock a lot of stuff out. I do find myself putting on like headphones and listening to music just as a way to block everything else out so that I can solely focus. And again it goes back to the major point that I'm making that how important is the environment if you really block everything out when it comes time to actually do work. 

Ryan: [00:20:02] But you know that's the thing is I can't I have to be in I travel so much that I crave routine so whenever I'm in my own space like that's when I feel like can be like most productive and like granted it also like if I have a big project it takes me like two or three days just to kind of like think about doing the project until I actually can do it like I am best under so much pressure in such a hard circumstance that like I really appreciate a deadline like I worked really hard under the gun. And I think that's why you still procrastinate. Because I'm so good at it 

Ismail: [00:20:44] On the topic of the motivation I actually have tried. You know I hear about these things like inspiration boards or vision boards or whatever you want to call them. And I will admit I tried to put them together. So one thing I'm big on there's like biographies and reading stories about people I admire. I'm really I'm all about that. I devour biographies. I listen to podcasts about inspirational people. So I created this board. That's right to the right of me when I'm sitting at my desk. And I have specific pictures I put of people I admire that are up there. 

Ryan: [00:21:19] Awwwww I'm up there. How sweet! 

Ismail: [00:21:22] I did not say that you're up there. But if you want to believe that that's OK. 

Ryan: [00:21:26] Whatever. 

Ismail: [00:21:27] But for example just one one that comes out like Elon Musk you almost got there. And it's from 

Ryan: [00:21:34] Is there a big heart over it? (I have to see a picture of this) 

Ismail: [00:21:37] Now the reason is a big part of that is the reason I have that up there is because everybody has a quality that I admire his is persistence. And there's a quote on it where he said I never give up. I'd have to be dead or incapacitated. So that was in response to a reporter asking him if you ever consider giving up because his story so fascinating. He was like almost failed a number of times. So I put that up to remind me in those moments where I feel like stopping don't give up and then I have something else like totally irrelevant. Kobe Bryant in the gym at night working out because he was notorious for being insanely having a crazy work ethic where you would just go and shoot basketball until 3:00 4:00 in the morning and that's there to remind me of work ethic. So I have little things like that now I feel like I should update it more often. I don't and I don't look at it that often. It like blends into the background. So unless I stop and stand up and look at it I think about it otherwise it's kind of just part of the background. 

Ryan: [00:22:43] I got rid of mine like I had I had a board where you know if I get a thank you note I pinned it up on there or you know I take a picture with one of my clients. I put it up on there. It got a little whenever I did the marathon and put my medal up there that way and it was always just right behind my desk and if you look through videos you know my facebook live vidoes at my desk. You'll see it. I cannot get rid of it. And I think it's just because I felt a little too cutterly. 

Ismail: [00:23:11] That's exactly where I used to go next. I think where I'm trending towards more minimalistic design because the clutter bothers me like that. So decorating the workspace doesn't seem to be worth it for me. But having clutter and having it be unorganized seems to negatively affect me. So having a clean minimalist design where just like there's nothing there is something that I think helps me because there's not anything to distract me. I dont know if you relate to that. 

Ryan: [00:23:42] I think a little bit where as so my previous office and it was very much super ultra modern like the work, the style of work I did even with URBNevents I think to some degree is a little bit more like modern or as one of my friends would say very techno. It was it was very like mainstream and stream much streamline. I guess that's a better word. And you know it would always be like super glossy white super glossy black like pops of you know like high contrast lighting like that kind of stuff whereas my home and my space is really very like dark browns and woods like that kind of thing. I think that's something a little shocking about people because they don't see me as like the homey rustic type like because all of my branding is very much like ultra modern known MoMA like that kind of thing. 

Ismail: [00:24:40] So we talked about your workspace. We talked about your storage space. What about the digital workspace. Is there anything that you do in regards to organizing or decorating your digital workspace your screen your computer. 

Ryan: [00:24:55] wish I was better at that. Truthfully my workspace is like a 17 year old girls car. I mean it is so cluttered. There's stuff everywhere. 

Ismail: [00:25:07] I mean yeah it is. 

Ryan: [00:25:09] Now my my desktop is garbage. It's not organized. It's horrible. I wish I was better at it. 

Ismail: [00:25:16] That's definitely something that I do too as a default save everything to my desktop and organize it later. But I think what I think about my digital workspace I think more about the tools that I use and how I get my work done. So for example one thing we mentioned a while back is Trello. I find that app very useful for people that work with teams or you just want to organize tasks that you're working on. I would suggest checking out Trello. 

Ryan: [00:25:43] So what about slack? 

Ismail: [00:25:46] Oh Slack's Awesome. I use like everyday all day. It's basically it's supposed to be like a replacement for e-mail kinda but not really where you're communicating with your team members. And it's like an integral part of my my work everyday. Slack it's better than chat. You can create different work groups you can attach files in there. It's a more collaborative chat email hybrid type of thing. Have you used it? 

Ryan: [00:26:13] I'm going to I'm about to. Yeah yeah. 

Ismail: [00:26:15] The cool thing with it is that you can integrate with stuff like Trello and all sorts of other apps. So however if you're working by yourself mostly or just like you and your wife or your spouse or you or one other person I don't know how useful it is to have a whole separate app for Slack. You can just communicate with text. 

Ryan: [00:26:35] Hey Get Over here! 

Ismail: [00:26:35] and e-mail. 

Ryan: [00:26:36] Lovely. So what I would like everyone to do is go to our Facebook group and post a photo of what your workspace looks like. Ismail will go first. 

Ismail: [00:26:46] Which one? 

Ryan: [00:26:47] Whichever one you want to take your pick. 

Ismail: [00:26:49] That would be awesome. That's actually a great idea. I want to see what everyone else's workspace looks like it's cool. 

Ryan: [00:26:52] Lovely lovely. 

Ryan: [00:27:07] Next week on Super Boothers if they screw up if we screw up it's all it's all covered in there. So on there for example like a little snippet is I say if you do not complete a questionnaire and we send out three times automatically if they don't complete it if a questionnaire is not completed you get a two by six print with no customization. That's what you get.