Frictionless Interviews: David Chartier

Frictionless Interviews are short chats with amazingly productive people from around the internet. Learn how they manage to get so much done, despite the friction that could potentially stop them.

Tell me a little bit about who you are and what job or profession takes up the majority of your time and energy.

I am David Chartier, and by day I am a Herald for AgileBits, the 1Password folks, and a freelance writer. For AgileBits, that basically means I’m their PR guy, so I run the blog and help with social media, work on documentation, and occasionally help with customer service.

When you began your roles and settled into your responsibilities, what were the areas where that created the most frustration and stress in your day-to-day?

I think the period of settling into the right tools and workflow can be the most frustrating. I’m not the kind of person who always needs the latest version of everything, but I do believe in having the right tools for the right job, whether it’s an ultra-minimal text editor or Photoshop CS6.

So there’s always that period at a new job where you’re still getting familiar with your duties and their little details, and figuring out which tools can help you do your job and handle all those little things efficiently. It’s a natural process and sometimes even a fun challenge, but it can still be frustrating.

Obviously, finding solutions to those frustrations took time. But boiling it down into a teachable chunk of knowledge, what solutions did you ultimately discover that helped you remove that friction and find a smoother path to success in what you do?

Everything I Know I Learned From Captain Kirk’s Solution to the Kobiyashi Maru: if you don’t like the game, change the rules. Sometimes you just need to change your perspective on how you view the problem. 

I’ve found it to be absolutely essential to step out of myself, the situation, or the thing I’m trying to accomplish and really examine the problem to find a solution. Sometimes that solution involves my preferred bag of tricks, sometimes it takes more of a departure to, say, learn different muscle memory or an entirely new tool. Either way, the more I work through that process, the more the frustration ebbs away.

What advice would you offer to other people in a similar situation who are looking to streamline, de-stress and de-clutter their procedures and systems?

Try to not stay married to the way you do things. There’s always room to grow and learn, and sometimes that means throwing out what you know and starting over. In other words:

“The tree that does not bend with the wind will be broken by the wind”  - Mandarin Chinese proverb.