In half a dozen years, I’ve tried more task manager apps than smartphones — and I’ve tried dozens of phones. But Any.DO, a free app for Android, offers an elegant iOS-like interface and syncs with Google Tasks. If you do one last thing this year, try Any.DO. Read more »
With the ability to work whenever we wish, web workers face ever-increasing work hours. There’s always “just one email” after dinner or the pull of our smartphone before our morning workout. But one blogger is arguing that longer hours actually usually mean less productivity. Read more »
Being able to work online has its benefits, such as having the flexibility to work nontraditional hours with clients from countries around the world, but it’s also easy to get distracted. Fortunately, there are several tools available to help improve concentration and productivity. Read more »
While there are definitely benefits to having the freedom of working from home, one downside for me has been the development of several bad habits. Breaking those bad habits is a real challenge, which in my case I knew would require a complete system reset. Read more »
In 2008, Beth Kanter blogged about how much time it should take to implement social media. She created a diagram to illustrate the main social media activities and the hours per week it takes to implement them. I’ve created my own up-to-date version of the figure. Read more »
Recently, I was talking with a client about how to manage multiple, large-scale projects simultaneously, and still make progress on each of them. While it’s not an easy task, I’ve stumbled on a compartmentalization strategy strategy that is helping me do just that. Read more »
As more demands are placed on you, tasks that once seemed extremely important become trivial. You have one hundred things to do and a limited amount of time to do them in. So the question becomes, what do you give up? Read more »
In this two-part post, I’m going to talk about managing “busy-ness,” or what Timothy Ferriss describes in “The 4-Hour Workweek” as “working for work’s sake.” As your business grows and your workload increases, it becomes more and more important to manage “busy-ness.” Read more »
I’ve been working on several big projects in recent months, and after the whirlwind started settling down, I realized how important it was to take time off. How can we ensure that we get enough time away from our work before burning ourselves out? Read more »
The return of daylight savings time often brings with it a flurry of complaints about losing something web workers treasure most: time. Here are twelve ways to claw some if it back: Read more »
It’s Friday afternoon. You clean up and get ready for respite. Surprise, surprise … within an hour of checking out for the weekend, a phone call comes in. What do you do? Ignore the call? Pick it up? Read more »
Most time tracking and management applications require some up front work before you can roll with them, but not Chrometa. This app starts working for you as soon as you install it. Running in the background, Chrometa tracks all your computing activities. Read more »
At first, though, figuring out what to delegate and when was a bit overwhelming, so after getting a pretty good start, I thought I’d share how I did it and how it’s working out so far. Read more »
Productivity can seem so elusive at times. It can be hard to prioritize, manage the workload and stay focused, but with a few simple steps and a good dose of discipline, you can be on your way to more control over your days. Plan your exit. […] Read more »
At some point, a business gets too big for one person to do it all. Choices have to be made about starting to delegate tasks to other people. Which areas of responsibility should an entrepreneur hand over to others? Those can be hard calls to make. Read more »
There are many time management applications out there. So many, in fact, that picking the right one can be tricky; few people have the time to try out more than a handful to find the right match. Read more »
The concept of outsourcing can go beyond using virtual assistants, web designers and programmers. By outsourcing chores, you can remove the stressful things in your life, and as a result, have more time to do the things you love. Read more »
Last Friday I was scrambling. The first episode of my new radio show was due by 4 PM, I had company coming to my house for the weekend who were scheduled to arrive by 4:30 PM, and I had three conference calls that day to boot. Read more »
The first rule of social media is that there are no rules. The second rule is what works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone else. Peeking into another person’s social media approach can give you ideas on how to adjust yours to get the […] Read more »
Many Twitter conversations revolve around how much time we actually spend on unpaid social media, and how much time we should spend. Few have an answer because the answer is, “It depends.” (I know, I know. Stick with me.) Read more »
Less than a week into the New Year, “streamlining” has popped up as a trend in articles around the web. Streamlining focuses on making changes to simplify processes and become more efficient, and the start of a new year is a logical time for most people […] Read more »
The holiday season gives us many opportunities to make memories. 20 years from now, we’ll reflect back on the fun times and the sad times we’ve had. Many of us are web workers because we want to spend less time commuting to work and more quality […] Read more »
When did Noah build the ark, Gladys? Before the rain. Before the rain. – Nathan Muir, Spy Game In recent months, I’ve become acutely aware of how life and business can easily conflict with each other. It seems that the work involved in creating a successful […] Read more »
There is never enough time in the day to keep up with the constant barrage of social media. Take Twitter, for example. Almost daily I have clients and colleagues ask me “Isn’t Twitter really a waste of time?” and “I hear Twitter is losing users faster […] Read more »
With all the noise from the Internet, our computers and our environment, some folks struggle to work and focus even for 10 minutes straight. In this post, I’m going to offer some ways you can stop the distractions so you can get your tasks done. Read more »
According to one poll conducted by About.com , over a third of respondents avoid going home because of the overwhelming mess Read more »
In my school district, kids get out of school as early as 2:45 pm and as late as 4:15 pm. If you start working after the kids leave for school, you can usually get around six or seven hours of work done. Most people tend to […] Read more »
Many web workers welcome August and September because their kids head back to school, making work a little easier. But some web workers are excited about the fall for another reason: because they’re heading to school themselves. Advancing your education can often make sense: you can […] Read more »
I recently came across a video by Jon Larkowski entitled, “The Way I Get Things Done,” in which he outlines his personal productivity system. He offered several useful tips for increasing productivity, but the two phrases that really stuck out to me were that you need […] Read more »
Most of us are accustomed to making New Year’s resolutions. We’ve been programmed to believe that because we turn a page on the calendar, that we can and should try to change ourselves and our lives for the better. Oftentimes, these resolutions are work-related: to be […] Read more »
In an earlier post, I mentioned using a virtual assistant (VA) to help with my work so that I could free myself to focus on more important tasks, including taking much-needed time off. Many readers asked who I used for virtual assistant services, and one reader […] Read more »
Recently, I’ve been doing major cutbacks in my work day. It started with my lead generation. I’d been putting myself through the ringer for six or seven months in an attempt at kicking my results up a notch, only to have the opposite effect. I finally had to draw a line in the sand or run the risk of burning out.
I pulled the plug completely and took a couple of weeks off the lead generation hamster wheel. The result? My incoming leads and my revenue actually increased. Was it that my energy had improved? Maybe. Was it that I was focusing more on the right things? Possibly. Either way, I wasn’t going to stop a good thing. I started cutting back in every way imaginable, and my work schedule was the next to take a hit.
I’m currently in the middle of a “staycation” (you know, when you take a vacation without really going anywhere), and I’m limiting my work time to 2–4 hours per day. Amazingly, I’m still getting roughly the same amount accomplished. Oh, except I’m not checking the news feeds several times per day, only once for five minutes by quickly scanning the highlights, so essentially, I’m having to cut the fat from my day.
Before I started my week, I went through my planned schedule and jotted down the most important 4–5 tasks that should be completed by Friday. I also solicited the help of a virtual assistant to help with a lot of my regular (and necessary) tasks. Everything else got the boot. Read more »
I came across an idea about keeping a one-sentence journal to improve happiness, and thought they could be helpful for improving my business, too. I’m very intimidated by the thought of keeping a personal journal. I’ve tried to do it many times, but I can never […] Read more »
Okay, I don’t really like that phrase, “mental health day,” but the idea behind it is very important and relevant to every web worker. We all need time away from our work and businesses, time to collect our thoughts, get some breathing room, and get away from the computer screen and the sometimes very close walls of our offices.
It may not seem important, but taking time away from our work has just as big an impact on our productivity as putting in a full day. It’s not just about the quantity of hours we devote to the job, but the quality. How much of the time that we’re spending on our work is effective and productive, if we never take time to get away from it?
We need time off, and it’s important to make a conscious choice to include it in our to-do lists and schedules. But, what do you do on “mental health days” anyway? The main thing to remember is that your time away from your business needs to be restorative. It needs to help energize you and inspire you. It shouldn’t be filled with tasks that are as taxing and monotonous as work.
Here are a few other ideas to help you improve your use of time off. Read more »
We try to work 100% virtually – no pens, no paper, a laptop, and web-based tools and applications, but even for the web worker, clutter seems inevitable. I’ll admit, I haven’t gotten completely away from paper (is that possible?), and while my clutter in no way compares to that of previous (and not web-based) jobs, it still gets in the way at times and needs to be tamed. Here are a few tricks I use to keep it in check.
#1 Keep flat surfaces clear as much as possible.
Desk tops, table tops, filing cabinet tops, and every other flat surface in your workspace should be kept completely clear – no stacks of paper, no files, nothing. Once daily, clear every flat surface in your office. Not only will keep you from getting frustrated by not having a single surface to sit something, it will also help you stay on top of your work (you know, all those buried to-dos and sticky notes).
#2 Do “quick sweeps” regularly.
Give yourself ten minutes (set a timer, if necessary) and do a quick sweep a few times per day. Put away stray pens, notes, supplies, empty cups, trash, and anything else that has managed to get out of place.
#3 Empty your inboxes.
Email, feed readers, to-do lists – they’re like breeding grounds for clutter; they pile up quickly. At least once a day, clear the decks. Work to completely empty your inboxes so that you don’t get behind and start feeling overwhelmed. Read more »
Being a web worker can mean learning to handle many facets of running a small business, including dealing with difficult clients, which can often be one of the biggest frustrations that come with the territory.
But how do you know if your clients are abusing you? Here are a few telltale signs and tips for how to fix and avoid these situations.
The work keeps creeping in. You start with one description of what is to be done and end up doing something entirely different or something that’s way more involved than the original task.
How to Fix/Avoid It: Have a contract and a clear and agreed-upon scope and schedule for each and every phase or project. Outline exactly what is to be done and when it’s due.
The client expects immediate responses or complete availability. Occasionally, you’ll come across clients who want 100% of your undivided attention. They expect emails to be responded to within an hour and work to be completed at an unrealistic pace.
How to Fix/Avoid It: Set expectations from the start. Explain when you’re available to clients, how quickly you tend to reply to communications, and how you prefer to communicate. You may also wish to explain how you work. For example, do you generally devote a set amount of time to each project or client per day? If so, explain this to clients on the front side so that they know what to expect. Read more »
It’s a strange thing, but in times like these, when prospective clients have fewer dollars to spend and when there’s more competition in the marketplace due to higher unemployment rates, instinctive responses have a tendency to take over our business decisions.
It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of instinctive “fight or flight” response, so how do we break that cycle? Read more »
After so brazenly bragging about Apple’s legal department’s request that one of Microsoft’s ads be pulled last week, Redmond has quietly made changes to the ad in question to make sure that it accurately reflects reality, which is what Apple wanted in the first place. Kind […] Read more »
The who’s who of web video is becoming more like that of real life with every passing day. Appearing soon in a webisode near you will be animated versions of Warren Buffett, Martha Stewart (at age 10), Gisele Bündchen and Carl Sagan (posthumously), as well as […] Read more »
Musical artists are increasingly flocking to YouTube as a way of engaging with their fans on a new level — everyone from John Mayer to Diddy seems to have a channel. Unlike them, R&B crooner Chris Brown, a site member since 2006, has never really done […] Read more »