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In a recent post, I blogged about the telecommuting trend, including a data point from a WorldatWork study that found a 39 percent increase in the number of telecommuters in the U.S. between 2006 and 2008. Many businesses are actively seeking to embrace remote working, and […] Read more »

For those of us who earn our living working online, the always-connected lifestyle can have its benefits and its drawbacks. I spend most of my day at my computer, whether I am in my office or working from other locations. When I step away from the […] Read more »

Many of us have left the world of cubicles behind as our jobs increasingly move into the online realm, where physical presence becomes just an occasional part of our work lives rather than a daily grind of commuting in traffic and cubicle dwelling for 40 hours a week. I see more and more people joining the remote web worker ranks every day, and I’m not the only one seeing this trend. What does this mean for us? Read more »

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Recently I realized that I haven’t done a good job of measuring how successful I have been as a freelance consultant. Don’t get me wrong, I measure many things and look at the results with a critical eye. I have analytics to measure my blog traffic, tracking tools for social media metrics, business metrics (finance, marketing, etc.), and much more. What I haven’t done is clearly defined what success as a freelancer looks like for me. Do I want steady growth in blog traffic, and if so, how much? What are my financial goals for individual programs (training, consulting, book sales) and overall for my consulting company? How important are various social media metrics to my business? Read more »

Staying fit is particularly important for those of us who spend our days sitting in front of our computers. Exercise provides many benefits, including keeping your brain working better, improved mood, longer lifespan, increased stamina and reduced risk for many health issues. I’ve written before about […] Read more »

I often need to remind myself that the way I use Twitter is probably not typical when considering the population as a whole. Like many of you, I am online most of the time: sitting at my computer or checking in with my iPhone when I’m […] Read more »

I’m a big fan of “Star Trek,” all the way from the original series to the most recent movie. And I spend more time than I should admit to playing “What if?” games with “Star Trek” technologies, wondering how I’d use each technology if it existed […] Read more »

If you’re a freelancer, making a great first impression with clients is vital. Here are some of my tips for making sure that first impression is a good one. Like many other freelancers, I dread hearing these words from a potential client: “Can you send me […] Read more »

In earlier posts, I provided some tips for improving your Twitter efficiency and mining Twitter for information. While both of these provide useful ways to use Twitter, you also need to be prepared to respond to other people quickly. Twitter is a short attention span medium where tweets that are minutes old may already be obsolete. You don’t want to skip over any important information or miss the chance to respond. Here are my top three real-time monitoring tools for Twitter. Read more »

I spend a significant amount of time, more than I probably realize, naming things both online and offline. We have usernames, Twitter handles, blogs, training classes, books, events, and so much more. Each one needs to have a name, and many of us probably don’t spend […] Read more »

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I’ve been using Netvibes to make monitoring dashboards for clients because I like the visual dashboard layout and have found that it is fairly easy to use, even for people who are new to RSS readers. Because the layout is a little more visual than some […] Read more »

After reading Aliza’s post about how she organizes her email, my biggest piece of advice in using Gmail is to embrace the organizational chaos. I’ve been using Gmail for over three years, and I use it as my primary email. I have a dozen or so […] Read more »

As a freelance online community consultant, I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to stabilize my income to reduce the ups and downs that come with having my own business. The most obvious solution is to manage your pipeline to make sure that you have new projects to replace the ones that are completing, but it’s also a good idea to have alternative income streams to complement your main client work and fill in any gaps. Read more »

Last week, I admitted that I am an information junkie, and I wanted to follow up this week with a few tips for feeding your information habit by mining Twitter for information. Twitter tools are popping up like weeds lately, so rather than try to be […] Read more »

Hi, my name is Dawn, and I am an information junkie. I love learning new things and sharing them with others, and you can see this trend by looking back across my posts here on WebWorkerDaily and elsewhere. You’ll see many posts focused on finding and […] Read more »

I wanted to add my take on the What’s In Your Bag? series of posts, but I decided to wait until today to write one. I just arrived in my hotel in Washington, D.C., for a business trip, so what you are seeing is fairly typical […] Read more »

Many of us spend large parts of our day searching for information. After spending the weekend at Social Web FooCamp, I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking about how I search for information using a combination of social and algorithmic methods. When I talk about “social search,” I am referring to using your network or other human beings to find information. In essence, you are relying on the knowledge of other people, instead of using Google or another search engine, which uses algorithmic methods to determine the best results.

Algorithmic searches, on the other hand, are great for finding information when you know enough about a topic to formulate a strong query that will return highly relevant results. These searches work best for me when my question has little ambiguity and when I know enough about a topic to formulate a good search query. Read more »

The one thing that we all have in common is that we spend our days sitting behind our computers. For me, this often means sitting for hours at a time with only an occasional break to walk upstairs to get more tea. A meeting with a chiropractor this week resulted in me deciding to build a cheap standing workstation, so I thought I’d share how I did it. Read more »

I’ve done many posts on this blog about tools and techniques to proactively have information pushed to you via monitoring techniques, dashboards, RSS filtering, smart Twitter clients and more. However, I haven’t really spent much time on research methods for those times when you are seeking information rather than waiting for it to come to you. Most web workers spend at least some of their day doing research for blog posts, client work, or to learn something new, so I wanted to share a couple of my research techniques. Read more »

Quite a few people seemed to enjoy last week’s post about How To Monitor Online Conversations, so I thought it would be a good idea to explain how to make a monitoring dashboard to make it easy to track what’s being said online about you, your company, your competitors and anything else you need to keep an eye on. The key to monitoring dashboards is to set them up in a way that you can check them frequently, quickly and easily. Read more »

In an effort to better understand the inner workings of a coworking business, I spoke with Eva Schweber, co-owner of CubeSpace in Portland, Ore. Schweber is CubeSpace’s Chief Cat Herder, policy wonk and fount of obscure nonprofit information. She brings more than 15 years of collaborative […] Read more »

Interesting conversations are happening all over the web, on blogs, Twitter, FriendFeed and many other sites. People are talking about you, your company, your industry and revealing many tips and tricks that you should know. I am a self-confessed data junkie, so I have a few tips to help you make sense of the massive amounts of data available and to focus on monitoring just what really matters. Read more »

I am in a constant state of “meeting avoidance mode,” especially for those meeting requests that don’t directly relate to revenue generation. However, I just finished an interesting IM conversation with a friend of mine. It went something like this: Him: “What are you doing on […] Read more »

Last week, I wrote about dealing with the typical home office distractions like loud neighbors, household chores, family members and more by using a few techniques: music, embracing the chaos, and relocation. This week, I’m dealing with a different type of distraction. While I work out […] Read more »

As I sit here working on blog posts, I can hear my next door neighbor carry on loudly through the wall of my office. He seems to be alternating between mowing the lawn, making very loud whooping noises, and fixing his car. Needless to say, it can be pretty distracting.

Kids are a distraction for many of my friends, and while I’ve avoided that particular distraction, I have plenty of my own. Loud neighbors, a significant other who is also a web worker, household chores, Twitter and many other things pull me out of the zone and into a distracted state.

I have a few ways of dealing with distractions and the reduced productivity that come with them. Read more »

Every year when I make my yearly geek pilgrimage to Austin for SXSW, I struggle with how much time to spend at BarCampAustin vs. SXSW, because they usually overlap. I love attending SXSW, but I am also a BarCamp fan, so the choice is always a […] Read more »

In a follow up to my recent post about Community Organized Events, Unconferences and BarCamps, I interviewed Audrey Eschright, a web worker with years of experience organizing a wide variety of community events. Audrey Eschright is a programmer and self-described geek, who works as a web developer […] Read more »

In previous posts, I’ve talked about attending local events and meetups or scheduling new ones if you can’t find any that meet your needs. In this post, I wanted to talk about something bigger than the typical meetup: community-organized events. BarCamps, unconferences, and similar events have […] Read more »

We all have those crazy ideas that we really want to make happen, and they sound like a great idea for a brief period of time until we talk ourselves out of them. I will admit to having a few wild ideas on my web worker […] Read more »

Last week, I wrote about more efficient RSS reading through pruning, filtering, prioritization, keyboard shortcuts and more. After spending some time reading the comments on the post and thinking about how I use RSS, I realized how many of my feeds are outside of the typical […] Read more »

Many of us are social beings who enjoy interacting with other people, and until you leave an office environment, you probably don’t realize how much contact you have with other human beings throughout the day. In an office, you run into people in the hallways, in the lunchroom, and at meetings. It can be easier to have social conversations or even to bounce ideas off of someone when you run into them unexpectedly. When you work remotely, whether you are a telecommuter or a freelancer, it is possible to go the entire day without ever seeing or speaking to anyone; however, there are also plenty of ways to replace those interactions with new ones. Read more »

It’s been a while since we’ve had a fitness post on WebWorkerDaily. The web worker lifestyle tends to be a sedentary one with many hours spent staring at the computer. Many web workers, and I put myself in this category, have a hard time getting away […] Read more »

In my recent post about using Harvest to track my time, I discovered that I was spending too much of my time consuming information. As a result, I’ve been working on ways to further increase my efficiency, starting with some Twitter efficiency improvements, and I thought […] Read more »

In an effort to give you a slightly different perspective from what you normally get on WebWorkerDaily, we decided to talk with folks whom we feel are doing especially interesting web working jobs. We’re kicking off the first installment of this series of web worker interviews […] Read more »

I’ve been on a time management kick lately with posts about reducing my side project overload, managing my time through better prioritization of activities and using Harvest to track my time. One of the things I learned from tracking my time more closely is that I […] Read more »

It’s hard to know what you’re going to need of your office when you’re first starting out, so I asked some fellow WWD bloggers and my Twitter followers what tips they might give to people setting up a home office. Here’s what I learned. Read more »

This is the fourth in a series of online community management posts. Earlier posts covered online community manager jobs, what community managers actually do, and what skills are required to be successful in the role. I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that community management […] Read more »

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how I was experiencing side project overload, and based on the number of comments, I am not the only one. In that post, I said that “I’m starting to experience serious side project bloat resulting in personal overload. I’ve […] Read more »

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