Meeting Process


  • Location: Yelp: 3.5 or more stars, $-$$, noise level: average or quiet, accepts credit cards, wifi: free (if possible), accepts reservations if possible. (Make reservations under “Dennis Seidel”)
  • Please create “Travel” appointments 1h before and 2h after lunches and 1h before / 1h after coffee.
  • Make sure calendar entries have location and backup contact info.
  • Cc: me on all correspondence. If you need action/input from me, add @Dennis: <message> near the top of the e-mail.

I think it is awesome to get to easily set lunches, coffees, and calls with people. This is how that process looks like:

  1. I bump into people in person or get an email from them. If I meet them in person, I scan in or take a picture of their business card and add it to my file.
  2. I introduce myself via e-mail and ask him/her to schedule lunch/coffee/a call. I use an e-mail template on my computer or a snippet on my phone to make sure that I include all the information necessary. I also refers to a note with my preferences and processes.
  3. I contacts the person and negotiates schedule / location using or manual scheduling through e-mail, following up in case people don’t respond. If possible, we’ll suggest a venue with good WiFi near the person’s office or location. He or she would create a calendar entry for the meeting as well as travel/preparation time around it.
  4. We have a task board where I could see where people are in the process, so I can be sure that nothing slips through the cracks  and we review it periodically.

It’s important to me that the process doesn’t make people feel like I’m standoffish or self-important. I also want to make sure that we don’t drop the ball even if I take tasks back, so I want to use something like Trello to track scheduling status.


STEP 1. Find a time that works for people.

In Stuttgart? Offer lunch or coffee/tea, my treat. I prefer 60 minutes for lunch or coffee/tea, and 30 minutes for a phone call. I’ll take 30 minutes for coffee/tea if needed.
Days: I prefer to meet on Monday or Friday, usually afternoons. Ask me before offering mornings or anything that conflicts with something else on my calendar.
Buffer time: Around lunch appointments, I prefer to have at least 1 hour free before lunch and 2 hours free after (-1h/+2h). For coffee, I prefer to have 1 hour free before and 1 hour free after (-1h/+1h). Please create “Travel” appointments blocking off the time once the time is confirmed.
Suggest three times on different dates. In the same email, ask them to check for other times if the times don’t work. If meeting them in person, ask them where they’ll be on that day.

Check my address book to see if I have a cellphone number for them. If not, ask them for a cellphone number I can reach them at just in case something comes up, and add that to their address book entry. You can use to update contacts in my address book.

Negotiate time if needed. If they respond by email, check that the times still work with my schedule, create calendar entries, and invite them.


If they suggest a place, go with their suggestion.

If they don’t suggest a specific place, just a neighbourhood or intersection, use and suggest something (or see my preferences below). Criteria for Yelp: 3.5 or more stars, $-$$, noise level: average or quiet, accepts credit cards, wifi: free (if possible), accepts reservations if possible. If the place accepts reservations, please reserve – pick a different place if you can’t get a reservation on that date.

If they don’t suggest a location, or they want us to suggest:


  • Monday: […]
  • Friday: […]
  • Reutlingen Downtown: Alexandre
  • Ehningen IBM:
  • Stuttgart Downtown: […]


  • Reutlingen Downtown:
  • Ehningen IBM:
  • Stuttgart Downtown: […]


Add to Google Calendar: Dennis / Hard Appointments

Title: Person’s name – Dennis Seidel: Discuss <topic>

Location: Name of restaurant, address

Attendees: invite them


Dennis Seidel’s cellphone: 0171 1277440

Link to Yelp page for restaurant

<agenda or body of email>

(Happy to reschedule or move – introduce me to your favourite place!)

If the place accepts reservations, please call and make them under the name “Dennis Seidel”, and add a note to the calendar entry.


Check the calendar entry two business days before the event. Follow up with email confirming the date and time, asking them to edit the calendar entry or email me at if they need to reschedule.


Sample e-mail introducing the assistant and asking her to set things up

Hello, John!

I’d love to meet with you for lunch to discuss sketchnoting – my treat. Could you please organize lunch for maybe the second week of December? Thank you!

Dennis Seidel

Sample e-mail from assistant

Hello, John!

For lunch, would either Dec 10 (Mon), Dec 11 (Tue), or Dec 13 (Thu) work for you? 12pm usually works, but she’s happy to meet earlier or later if needed. Alternatively, if none of those dates work for you, you can check her availability at or send me a few dates and times that fit your schedule.

Also, where will you be at that time? If you’ll be near your office at 123 Anywhere Street, I can find a restaurant nearby. If you’ll be elsewhere, tell me and I’ll look for somewhere close – anywhere near the subway line would be fantastic. Got a favourite? We’d love to find out about it!

What phone number would be the best to reach you at in case something comes up?

Best regards,

Dennis Seidel

Sample calendar entry

Subject: Lunch: John / Dennis – sketchnotes


Location: Restaurant Name (123 Restaurant Address St., Toronto)

Sacha’s phone: 416-823-2669

Your phone: 123-456-7890

Restaurant website:

On Yelp:

To reschedule, please contact me at ______ . Need to reschedule on the day of the event? Please call Dennis.



<agenda / notes from e-mail>

Sample confirmation

Hello, John!

This is Dennis again. I’ve set up the calendar invitation for your meeting with me for 12pm on Dec 13 at Restaurant Name. Please tell me if you’re having problems adding it to your calendar. If you need to reschedule, please feel free to get in touch with me. You can check for updated availability. If you’re rescheduling on the same day, please call me at 0171 1277440. Thank you, and I hope you have a great conversation!

Dennis Seidel

todo workflow

The todo process is based on agile principles (you find them below) and the goal of my todo process is to facilitate three things:

  • to PLAN: I get an overview of all potential todos and break them down into 25 minutes tasks
  • to PRIORITIZE: I make sure that I do more than things right, but the right things!
  • to REVIEW: I can check the progress on what I have done weekly “You can only manage, what you can measure”

Tools you need are:

  • asana

The todo workflow:

[ordered_list style=”decimal”]

At the project beginning I start with the planning game

  1. The “customer” is asked for the desired features. This features are the goals/use stories/hypothesis. The customer can be an external person or myself. Important is the interview technique for this. This is done by brainstorming  and writing the general hypothesis for the process steps down in asana.
    1. New Tasks are added with Tab-Q: I select an action title, a description like an web url, assign it to the person and select a project Title: Write down the result, with specific words and details … so that a assistant could do it.
    2. Go to my Inbox (Task assigned for me within 1 day) and priorize the tasks according to the eisenhower matrix
      1. Important: What happens if I don’t do it? Does it damage my career (3), damage my personal relationship(2), damage my health/self(1).  (Tab-H) Write down the goals for the next 1-2 years and what has to happen (persons liking you, …). If a task contributes to goal then it is important.
      2. Select all and send to upcoming (Tab-L)
      3. Urgent: When is it due? Give a date otherwise check in a month! (Tab-D) Date: Have always 3 days puffer!
  2. The “engineer” estimates the difficulty of the task.
    1. By creating dummy subtask for every (25 min pomodoro).
  3. Decide on the goals/hypothesis for the “2 week sprint”.
    1. identify the right question to prove the hypothesis and the test assessing that the goal has been done.
    2. Break the selected big goal down into small 25 minute tasks. This is important so I am not overwhelmed and also that I can do work in small breaks. 

Start working from Category 1 to 4.

  1. Short term todos that impact my long term goals. Do them now and with high accuracy. Try to prevent this the next time by planning better or saying no / telling somebody that I don’t appreciate such short notice work.
  2. Not urgents things that impact my long term goals. I plan specific times to do this todos with high accuracy.
  3. Not important to long term goals but urgent. I delegate them or do them quick by the 80/20 rule.
  4. Not important and not urgent: Do I really have to do them?

Do a Daily Scrum everyday after waking up 3 minutes:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you duo today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way?



agile principles: 
  • Collective Code Ownership:
    • find feedback groups for everyproject and demand active feedback.
    • as well as put my “code” online so everyone in the group can track and improve it.
  • Small Releases
    • Integrate so you have always  a complete version at the end of the day.
  • Simple Design
    • Just a short structure how to reach the goal. Work with hypothesis and try to prove them. Use this to break down big goals into small tasks.
  • Customer on site: 
    • Always be in close contact with the customer.Check at least once per week (either with a significant improved version or a question catalogue that is need to overcome the challenges that prevented the significant improved version last week).
  • Refactoring:
    • Don’t plan extensively for every eventuality. Focus on the next sprint. If something is wrong, change it.
  • “Coding” standards:
    • Define standards and make them available to everyone that works on the project and inform yourself on existing standards in the project. Publish your standards on your blog in the category workflows.
  • Test driven development:
    • Before you start “implementing” / prove the Hypothesis define the test when the hypothesis is proven or the goal is reached. E.g. What questions does a reader have to answer after a chapter? Check this by letting somebody read the chapter and ask the question).
  • 40h week:
    • work a maximum of 40 hours per week. Track this.
  • prototyping:
    • If you are not sure if this is the right way. Start with a prototype and experiment and learn by “try and error”. Like instead of writing a complete chapter make a fast research round and then write a short agenda/draft for a chapter.

Presentation Workflow

To cut down the time I need to create presentations with others I define the presentation creation process:

[ordered_list style=”decimal”]

  1. First open the

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    in the office skydrive and create a copy of the template with the following name: yyyymmdd-topicdescription.pptx
  2. Get an overview of all available template with STRG-2.
  3. Then scroll down to the end of the template after the black slide and fill in the presentation topic.
  4. Then define the agenda on the next slide (breaking the presentation task down to smaller more workable junks).
  5. Create a storyline for every chapter. Creating action titles for the slides.
  6. Add notes for the content to the slide.
  7. Research the information for the slides.
  8. Then select the optimal slide template for your information.
  10. Don’t forget to spell check!


For a quick overview presentation or a informal occasions use your Pecha Kucha slide. For a short overview wach the following video:

 Presentation Tips:

  • Spann einen roten Faden!
  • Erzähl Geschichten und untermauere Deine Erläuterungen mit Beispielen
  • Beweg dich und klebe nicht am Rednerpult fest!
  • Verschwende keine Zeit mit deinem Ego und überzogener Selbstdarstellung!
  • Stell Fragen, egal wie groß Dein Publikum ist!
  • Lass Bilder sprechen!
  • Mach es (an)greifbar!
  • Schau über den Tellerrand und präsentiere Ideen out of the box!
  • Baue Spannung auf!
  • Bring Dein Publikum zum Lachen!
  • Leidenschaft zählt!
  • Lass Dich von anderen Referenten inspirieren (achte auf die Dosis), ohne sie zu kopieren!
  • Hole Dir immer ehrliches Feedback ein (Fragebögen sind diesbezüglich nicht geeignet)!
  • Gebe den Menschen zum Schluss immer etwas mit, egal ob Hausaufgaben, Deine Kontaktdaten, ein GiveAway bzw. Handout oder eine Handlungsaufforderung!
  • Bleibe nicht an Deinen Folien “kleben”, sondern sprich frei, ohne den roten Faden zu verlieren!
  • Nicht die Technik oder Gimmicks, sondern Deine Botschaft sollte im Vordergrund stehen und unvergesslich sein!
  • Wiederhole Deine Kernbotschaft(en), gerne auch in unterschiedlichen Worten!

Scheduling an in-person meeting with me.


  • Location: Yelp: 3.5 or more stars, $-$$, noise level: average or quiet, accepts credit cards, wifi: free (if possible), accepts reservations if possible. (Make reservations under “Dennis Seidel”)
  • Please create “Travel” appointments 1h before and 2h after lunches and 1h before / 1h after coffee.
  • Make sure calendar entries have location and backup contact info.
  • Cc: me on all correspondence. If you need action/input from me, add @Dennis: <message> near the top of the e-mail.

HowTo – Weekly Review

This section I use for my weekly review. This is where I celebrate what I accomplished and get a heads-up on what’s next. This I do every Sunday.

I use the weekly review to make sure I spend time on things that I want to do. It’s easy to forget that in the endless ping-pong game of responding to other people’s requests, or to scatter your attention among lots of interests and not feel like you’re making progress in any particular one. Give yourself permission to work on something you want to do, and carve out space for it in your to-do list or calendar. I divide my to-do list into three categories: work, social, and personal. The work category is easy to fill. Social take a little more thought, but other people make it easy by asking. Life, on the other hand—the skills I want to develop, the hobbies I want to explore—that requires me to step up and choose to do something instead of having my time filled by things that other people have chosen for me.

Lots of things are interesting, but I try to pick one or two things to focus on during each week. For example, I’ve been focusing on having a date on saturday and studying Big Data Technology. I might explore other ideas during the week, but it’s good to make slow and steady progress in my focus areas.

I make that space by managing my commitments. It’s easy to get used to a hectic, time-starved status quo, and it’s gratifying as well—busy-ness helps you feel valued. For me, “normal life” includes time to breathe and time to play. I avoid being busy. When I notice I’m starting to make mistakes because my calendar is too full, I slow down and see what I can say no to.

I add “want-to”s to my to-do list instead of just keeping it to the “must-do”s,and I remove or change other tasks until things look like they’ll fit. It makes reviewing and planning more fun, and it gives me something to look forward to during the week.

Might be something that can help you establish that habit. =) Happy to hear your thoughts and to read your weekly reviews!

This idea and system are inspired, adapted and modified with highest regards from sacha.


A weekly review is an excellent idea. Here are some of the reasons why I do it:

  1. Track and celebrate accomplishments. Ever wondered where your days went? Tracking your accomplishments lets you get a handle on what you’ve done. Celebrating what you’ve finished encourages you to do more, too.
  2. Deliberately plan the next week. Instead of just reacting to the tasks and interruptions that come up during the week, sit down and plan a few things that you want to do.
  3. Follow up on priorities. If a priority task needs more work, having it on your list makes it easy to follow up (or see where you’re procrastinating!).
  4. Keep people up to date. If you make it easy for family, friends, and coworkers to keep up with what you’re doing, they’ll know more about interests, resources and opportunities that can help you.
  5. Make it easy to review the year. Having a record of your accomplishments and tasks makes those yearly reviews so much easier.
  6. Reflect on what worked and what can be better. Reviewing your week and planning the next one nudges you to think about how things can be better.

It doesn’t take a lot of time, and the benefits are tremendous. I can usually do my weekly review in 15-30 minutes.

Here’s what I’ve learned from doing so:

  • Bullet lists keep things short and simple. You don’t need to document everything – just enough to help you remember.
  • Categories help you keep things balanced. There are lots of different category systems you can use, and you can make up your own. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People recommends thinking in terms of your different roles. Getting Things Done has lots of good pointers for weekly reviews. Play around with the idea.
  • There are lots of ways to do a weekly review, so experiment to find what works for you. Some people like asking a set of questions instead. Others like using spreadsheets. Find out what works for you!

If you’re new to blogging, a weekly review helps you ease into the habit of publishing, and it can help you improve your productivity habits too. Give it a try!



Accomplished this 

  • Business / Work
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
  • Social
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
  • Personal
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • Task (Date)

Plans for next week

  • Business / Work
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
  • Social
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
  • Personal
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)
    • Subcategory
      • [ ] Task (Date)

Time review

  • Business: 29.2 hours (Earn: 13.2, Connect: 7.5, Build: 8.5)
  • Discretionary: 46.1 hours (Social: 3.7, Productive: 25.0, Writing: 13.8, Emacs: 0.8, Play: 3.0)
  • Personal: 24.8 hours (Routines: 13.9)
  • Sleep: 58.1 hours – average of 8.3 hours per day
  • Unpaid work: 9.8 hours (Cook: 4.8, Tidy: 0.4)