I recently had a day started like any other weekday, apart from a little light rain. It ended with an overflowing inbox of client requests and a that awful feeling of being overwhelmed. Read More about Avoid Getting Overwhelmed When Every Client Needs Something ASAP
There are times when things are so hectic that 9 am becomes 5 pm, Monday becomes Friday, and the first day of the month becomes the last before you can even turn around. Read More about The Importance of a Weekly Review
Here in the UK, last night’s Question Time — a BBC show where audience members can ask questions of a panel, usually consisting mainly of politicians — caused uproar as the BBC invited Nick Griffin, the controversial leader of the far right British National Party, to participate on the show.
While the general opinion seems to be that Griffin’s appearance hasn’t done his party many favors (and Griffin is planning on formally complaining about his treatment on the show), one thing about the show struck me as interesting. Every time Griffin tried to portray his party as being more moderate in its views, the other members of the panel would respond by pointing out various videos of Griffin available on YouTube (s GOOG), such as this one of Griffin appearing on stage with Ku Klux Klansman David Duke and explaining how to “sell” far right ideas, or denying that the holocaust took place. The live show didn’t stitch in the videos themselves, but the fact they existed was enough. While Griffin could claim that some quotes attributed to him in the media were untrue or taken out of context, it was very hard for him to deny the video evidence.
To see UK politicians — among them Jack Straw, a senior member of the Cabinet — citing specific YouTube videos to discredit Griffin (rather than, say, taking quotes from newspaper articles) was surprising and effective. Griffin had to resort to saying he couldn’t comment on the content of the Holocaust denial video out of concern he would be prosecuted under European law — a statement that was flatly denied by Jack Straw, who has some authority on the topic as UK Justice Secretary.
Simon Mackie is editor of our sister site WebWorkerDaily.
I just finished reading Twyla Tharp’s book “The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.” Although it focuses more on creative types, much of the advice can be applied to solo entrepreneurs and small business owners.
One helpful tip was her organizational system: a box. Read More about The Box: A Simple Way to Stay Organized and Productive
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 about 17 Ways to Kill Common Distractions
If you’re into pen-and-paper productivity, Daryl Furuyama over at WhiteHatBlackBox has produced this neat numbered procedure list for recording recurring tasks. Daryl uses the example of cleaning the bathroom, but you could use it to record any work-related task, too, like your weekly backup or a client handover. By recording recurring procedures, you can keep your to-do list tidy and simple (you only need to note the name of the procedure, not all of the steps that make it up), and make sure you complete the task correctly.
Once you’ve recorded the procedure, keep the it in a binder, so you can refer back to it whenever you’re doing the task, and never need to worry that you might be missing steps or doing them in the wrong order.
Daryl has kindly made the list available as a 3 x 5, 300 ppi PNG, so you can download it, print it out and start using it today.
Share your pen-and-paper productivity tips below.
Not a fan of Getting Things Done (GTD)? It might be hard to imagine for some, but it’s not everyone’s favorite productivity methodology. “The Pomodoro Technique” by Francesco Cirillo is another option might be a better fit for your needs. This technique works well for folks who feel anxiety when thinking about the “ticking clock” and deadlines.
The Solution to Anxiety-ridden “Becoming”
The Pomodoro Technique aims to erase the uneasiness that come with “Becoming.” The “Becoming”concept is a tough one to explain. Yet, when you put it to practice, it instantly makes sense. At first, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but when I tried out the process, it clicked it. (More on that in a moment.) Read More about The Pomodoro Technique: A GTD Alternative?
No matter how good you’re doing on your quest for supreme efficiency, some days you’ll run into the ugly wall of procrastination. For this “Tips from the Trenches” post, I asked some experts and fellow Twitter users to share their tips for battling procrastination and “not-in-the-mood-itis.”
“One of my tips is to try to understand why I’m procrastinating. Sometimes it’s because my gut is telling me the task is the wrong thing to do. In general I’ve always restlessly sought out my ‘right’ work. Stuff I’m so driven and compelled to do that procrastination is a non-issue. That way I can even plow through the boring parts of it. But I do procrastinate when writing. Trying to understand why and reduce my fears helps.”
It’s true that something may be holding you back. Maybe you fear you won’t do well. Maybe you don’t like the assignment. Maybe you’re feeling down and really need something else to help you before you can plunge in. Maybe you didn’t do a good job the first time around, and fear you won’t be able to fix it the next time. Read More about Tips from the Trenches: Fending Off Procrastination
In your quest for better efficiency, you’ve probably read books like “Getting Things Done” and “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and tried to implement the strategies contained within them. Yet you know you can do better in managing your day and being more efficient.
For this post, instead of quoting yet more theories from books, I asked some experts and fellow Twitter users to share their real life tips for getting things done.
@bradshorr — Brad Shorr
“Always ask WHY am I doing this task, and HOW could I do it more efficiently.”
Sometimes we turn into zombies and forget to pay attention to what we’re doing and its effect on our work. Make a conscious effort to ensure whatever you’re doing has value. Fun counts, of course. Read More about Tips from the Trenches: Getting Things Done
Years ago — even before Getting Things Done was all the rave — a powerful note-taking application named Notational Velocity, was all the rage. And then it lay nearly dormant. For years. But just a couple nights ago I received a fantastic email notifying me of all that’s been going on with Notational Velocity these many, many months.
Notational Velocity captures your notes in a way that’s so simplistic, you really need to try it out to grasp its brilliance. The application window, from top to bottom, consists of a text entry field, a listing of all notes that have been created, and then the selected note’s content. The top field is multipurpose: Type a note’s title into it and if there’s no currently saved note with that title, hitting return creates the new note and moves your cursor to the body area. If the title you’ve typed matches an existing note, hitting tab selects that note and moves you into the body of that note’s content to continue editing. It’s an elegant concept, and in this writer’s opinion, creates a hugely simple and effective user interface. Read More about Notational Velocity Lives