Frictionless Interviews: Stephen Hackett

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.

Well, I’m from Memphis, TN, meaning I like sweet tea and fried food. I’m married to my high-school sweetheart, and we have two kids, both under the age of four.

There’s a lot of poop to deal with at our house.

For the last two and a half years, I’ve worked as the IT/Multimedia Director for The Salvation Army Kroc Center, currently under construction here in Memphis. It’s a large, state-of-the-art community center, and I oversee the department that handles all the IT, audio/video and multimedia needs for the project. I’ll transition into a similar role once the center opens early next year.

On the side, I write a weblog named 512 Pixels, where I write about technology, journalism and design. I also appear on two weekly podcasts.

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?

That’s a good question. I think one of the most frustrating things can be handling the sheer amount of information that crosses my desk and Inbox each day. I usually have several projects going on at once, all moving at different speeds toward different goals.

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?

While I use OmniFocus to keep my tasks organized, keeping reference information handy really solved a lot of my issues. I keep blueprints in Evernote, for offline access on my iPad, but my real secret is my blue organizer. In it, I have (at least) 10 or so manilla folders, one for each current project. In it, I keep meeting notes, printed emails, copies of contracts and more. It might not be very “green,” but having hard copies in the real world is invaluable, especially as using my iPod outside at our WiFi-less job site isn’t a great solution.

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?

Look outside the digital. Sometimes the best solutions are old-fashioned.