2×4 With Brankica Underwood

2×4: One series that examines two topics, creativity and productivity, by asking those who make things on the web the same four questions on both subjects.

I’ve had the good fortune over the past few weeks to get to know a little of Brankica Underwood. To put it simply, Brankica is bad ass. Her bold attitude, her pit bull puppy and her no-nonsense attitude were certainly intriguing, but it was her approach to blogging that led me to ask her to participate1. Her writing is meaty, yet straight forward and she looks to help others do what she has done: Make something on the internet and, for those who are looking, to make some money along the way. Her goal is to help you build a better blog.

After an exchange over at Frank Dickinson’s site, I knew I wanted to include her in this series. Where I need a structure and a system, Brankica, seems to have a far more straight forward approach to her work. Like me, she says she is ADHD (or is at least easily distracted), but like Danny and Gini, she seems to be one of those people whom I envy because they just don’t need all that much help to get things done.

Without further ado, here is an inside look at Brankica Underwood, wife, puppy mom, avid traveler, social media addict, shooting trainer and blogger looking to teach you How To Blog Like A Star:

Creativity

Have you always considered yourself to be a creative person?

No, not even close to it. But then I look back at my life and see a lot of creative ways I made it really cool :)

What mediums and inspirations do you gravitate toward to realize your creative goals?

I still don’t see myself as being creative, but I would say I express myself through very creative ways of loving someone, being a friend and getting what I want. Inspiration for this are usually other people, I am very competitive in real life and tend to do a lot to be the best. Online, I don’t care as much. I just want to help people, but don’t necessarily aim at being the best.

If you had to point to one thing, what specific posts or creations are you most proud of and why?

Since you mention a post, I guess you are asking about the online stuff and in this case I would say I am pretty proud of my blog. Why? Because I had no clue or intention for it to grow as big as it is now with people actually expecting what am I going to write next. It is a weird feeling :)

Any suggestions for those who feel they may not be creative take to unlock their inner artist?

I kinda cringe when I hear expressions like creativity, being an artist, etc… It raises expectations and gets people to close even more. If you are not creative, you are not. Just stop thinking you have to “be an artist” and do what ever you feel like doing. I am not an artist and I am not creative but I am having a lot of fun along the way.

Productivity

Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?

I left my “day job” last year so the only responsibilities I have are my hubby and the puppy. Hubby is deployed so it kinda leaves me at “Don’t forget to feed the puppy” :) I also work on several digital projects including some niche affiliate website and Live-Your-Life.com where I help bloggers improve their site and hopefully make a little more money along the way.

How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?

I am terrible at organizing my time and the less responsibilities I have, the less I actually get done. I multitask and forget stuff, kinda ADHD as well. When I was working I was more productive with the little time I had. As far as personal life goes, it doesn’t take too much time now, since I am a continent away from my family.

What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?

I tried a bunch of to-do lists, productivity apps and what not. I would make a list and then not look at it… At the moment, what is helping me is a big notebook next to my computer where I write down stuff, I started using Workflowy.com which is very simple but makes me feel like I am doing something, Evernote where I keep all the stuff I want to reference to and a few of Google apps just to keep everything in one place and organized.

What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?

This is what worked for my scatterbrain: When I really need to do something important, I will set aside a time frame to do it, let’s say 30 minutes. In those 30 minutes, I will close all the social sites and whatever I am doing (’cause I can’t help myself but always do five things at the same time) and just do that one thing for 30 minutes. I don’t manage to make myself do this too often but that is the most productive time I can create for myself.

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  1. That, and the fact that she seems just gun loving enough to shoot me if I didn’t… []
  • http://www.thecaremovement.com Al Smith

    Thanks Michael.  Great interview and insight.  Love me some Bran.  She is so cool and always willing to help others.

    Al

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      You have to think that anyone who is putting out 199 blogs you need to be reading just might be looking out for others! I’ve only recently gotten to know her and I’m damn glad I did.

  • http://live-your-love.com/ Brankica | How to blog

    Hey Michael, thanks so much for this opportunity. I really appreciate anyone that takes time to get to know me and although I am still a bit upset about the stuff you pulled on @ginidietrich:twitter blog, I have to say thanks :)

    It is an honor to be one of the chosen ones with big guys and gals like her and @dannybrown:twitter (yes, I am a big fan of theirs). 

    When I read this interview, I was like, hey this person sounds pretty cool and then I realized it was just me, lol. Hope people find it useful, especially those that like me suck at organization!

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Gini’s had it coming for a long time, but I respect your loyalty to her… :)

      I really appreciate you taking the time and really admire (read: super jealous) of the straightforward way you get things happen. Organized or not! Thanks again!

      Also, who is this Danny Brown person you speak of? I’m unfamiliar…

    • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich ginidietrich

      My one true friend. You.

      • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

        I believe you are forgetting someone…

    • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

      If more bloggers were as straightforward as you, miss, the blogosphere would be a better place for it. :)

      • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

        Sadly it’s probably more like you and me :)

  • http://expatlifecoach.com John Falchetto

    Michael, thanks for featuring Bran here. SHe is Bad Ass but also one of the the nicest and most helpful person I know online. Just don’t get in her crosshairs :)

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      I’m sure I’ll manage to find myself there eventually… I always do.

  • http://www.thesaleslion.com/ Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

    Sweet, love me some Bran flakes on a Monday afternoon. :)

    Nice interview Michael. Bran rocks. She gives of her time to anyone. But she’ll also happily shoot you. Makes for an impressive combination. :)

    Marcus

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      I like that kind of energy. Always good to know that something could go VERY wrong at any moment :)

  • http://www.late-bloomers.net Barbara Klein

    Thanks, Michael, for so much daring! Bran, I love your honesty, you have style. Do you mind that I still want your puppy?

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      My pleasure and don’t forget, we are all now required to refer to the pup as the award winning puppy :)