Blog Post

Long Weekend Tuneup

If you’re the sort of web worker who doesn’t take vacations, you may not even have noticed that this is a long weekend in the US (hint: we’re celebrating “a day off for working citizens” on Monday). If you’re not heading out for a break, that makes this the perfect time to catch up on some of your backlog.

Why not take advantage of the lull to tune up your routine? If you’re like many of us, your productivity systems and organization start to show a little wear and tear after a while, as the things that you don’t feel like dealing with get shuffled around to dark corners. Here are five things you can do to give yourself a productivity boost when the rest of the world comes back to work on Tuesday.

1. Trim down browser extensions. If you’re using Firefox (and to a lesser extent other browsers), you’re probably tempted to install new browser extensions whenever something useful-looking comes along. But do you ever get rid of them? If not, pop open the list and take a hard look at it, then disable or uninstall the ones that you’re not really using. You’ll likely get both a speed boost and lower memory footprint.

2. Clean up your desktop. Have you been using your computer’s desktop as a dumping ground for things to deal with “later”? Well, later is now. Take a look at all those icons, and first get rid of the ones that you just no longer care about. Then read, file, or organize the rest.

3. Get rid of the bottom of your task list. How about those things that keep getting shoved to the bottom of your task list because you really don’t want to do anything with them? Get rid of or rewrite any that aren’t well-defined, and then use inverse timeboxing to trim down the rest.

4. Shoot for inbox zero. Of all the productivity systems I’ve tried, keeping my inbox cleaned out so that it’s not a repository for a mix of tasks, messages, and fluff, has worked the best. Even if you can’t get there in a day, a weekend when there’s not much email coming in is the best time to embark on a systematic plan with that goal in mind.

5. Control your RSS. RSS feeds are another area where many of us just keep adding and adding, without ever trimming. If your feed list has grown so large that reading it is a chore, it’s time to simplify it. What can you get rid of without really missing it? What could you do with the time saved?

Are you planning any changes to your working life this weekend? Or are you one of the folks who’s just planning to enjoy the barbecue?