Here’s how I move my menu bars to my external monitor on my Macbook Pro.
Here’s how I move my menu bars to my external monitor on my Macbook Pro.
Here’s how I use Rapportive and “raplets” to manage social media connections, my Contact management system (BatchBook) and my enewsletter system simultaneously.
I like it when you send me an email. It feels like a letter, and letters are really personal. I’ve exchanged emails with Seth Godin and he never writes more than 3 sentences, but I still love those emails because it’s a real person using their real voice to talk to me. Your email count and your productivity are often like a scale, the more of one means the less of the other. The first measure of your relationship with email is how often you check it.
Don’t leave your email program/window open and turn off all on-screen notifications.
Email is like Bob, the guy at the office who stops by to say “Hi” but really just needs to buy a parakeet so he has someone to talk to. He’s a time thief because you’re too nice to say, “Bob, I have to get back to a task I was working on when you interrupted me.” Saying “Hi” is cool. Messing up my work day and making me less productive is not cool. You don’t have a Bob you say? Well you do have notifications of new emails and they’re worse than Bob because they are truly there all the time. Turn them off. Close your email window too, it’s getting drafty in the productivity part of your brain.
Filter your emails
I’ll cover this in a future post but if your email program doesn’t have filters you need to get one that does (start by going HERE). If you already have that kind of account then go to Settings – Filters and then read through your options. By creating filters you can make emails skip your inbox (where you check the most) and go straight to folders where you can view them when you have time. Filter out newsletters, blogs, Groupons and other daily reminders into a folder. Check it once a day and then check it a different day. By filtering your emails you’ll spend less time switching between client correspondence and “deal of the day” kinds of messages.
What are your tips for checking email instead of stalking it?
Does anyone else see the irony that reading sites that are supposed to make you productive can have the opposite effect? For fans of GTD (Getting Things Done) and sites like LifeHacker.com, productivity can be a wonderful pursuit but are usually a phenomenal waste of time. Ironically LifeHacker.com, which is supposed to help me “hack” my life to be more productive, used to distract me endlessely. Instead of just spending time on web sites and telling you to follow a Franklin Covey planner (I don’t own one) I’m sharing on how I get things done in my business. Here’s why I’m sharing my work tips;
Reason #1 – Systems are critical to productivity. Even if you write poetry or paint canvases for a living you still need systems. If artists needs sytems, habits and structure to be productive then the rest of us do too. What’s your system for checking email, corresponding on Twitter, processing new customers or forecasting your cash flow? Yeah, we need systems.
Reason #2 – The more I share about how I work the more accountability I have to keep those systems going. I like to practice what I preach because I like to preach/teach a lot.
– Go to Instapaper.com
– Click on the “Register” button on the top right and get an account
– On the right side of the page under the “Folders” section click on “Add Folder”
– Name your folders by topics that you have interest in. Keep the names short.
Here are my folders;
BetterBiz – Tips on improving productivity, marketing
BlogThisAT.com – Articles that are great sources of blog posts
For client – Articles my consulting clients would benefit from hearing about
Personal – uh, personal stuff
Post it – Articles that I want my Virtual Assistant to Tweet about. I also add comments to these articles once they’re in my Instapaper list. He uses that text and then creates a link to the article using Hootsuite and schedules the tweets to go out throughout the day. More on Hootsuite in future posts.
SMStrategy – More specific articles about my social media strategy
BTWshow – Articles for my Business Tech Weekly podcast
– Click one of your folders
– On the right side of your page you’ll see “Folder tools”. Drag the folder name in that section to your bookmarks toolbar and put it in a folder. Repeat this with all of your folder bookmarklets. When you click on the bookmarklet the page/article will be automatically added to that folder.
– To read your articles:
Four ways to visit your Instapaper.com account.
Email them to your Kindle (see “Extras” button on Instapaper.com for instructions).
Read them on your iPad with the Instapaper App
Download them to your Kindle automatically with Ephemera (mac only)
Download them to your Kindle automatically with Calibre (mac or pc) using this process
Happy reading. Let me know if this helps.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to take action on what you learn. The world needs you to ship.
Here are a few thoughts I’d share with you today about taking action, about doing something. Allow me to start with a poem called “Writer Waiting” by Shel Silverstein from “Falling Up”.
Oh this shiny new computer-
There just isn’t nothin’ cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don’t need no writin’ tutor,
‘Cause there ain’t a single thing that it can’t do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file and underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct,
So I’ll have a whole book written by tonight
(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).
There’s so many different ways that you can create content, so many different tools. There are so many different ways to record, to pull down those ideas. Yet the most common problem that I see, and that frankly I experience myself at times, is the gap. There’s an enormous gap between the ability to create content and actually creating the content.
The ideas that could become action, that might follow, but often do not. What’s the solution? For some people it’s a schedule. For others it’s an accountability partner. For others, it’s demand. People simply demand it, they expect it, they request it. Remember this, in the spirit of Shel Silverstein, that just because something can do it, doesn’t mean it’s going to do it on its own. You are capable of greatness! You are capable, as Seth Godin would say, of being a Linchpin. Of being unique and different and bringing something completely special to those you have an audience with.
Whether that audience is your own children, other people at your work, or the world which is now so easily accessed through the internet… Whatever and whoever your audience is, you are capable of reaching them in so many different ways and so many different forms.
And yet, so many of us, don’t do anything.
You have what you need.
Most of us have what we need.
Let me give you one more thing that can help you get to writing that book, to creating that song, to creating that piece of art that’s inside of you right now, that’s just an idea, that’s just potential.
And what I’d like to give you is permission. I think someone wants to hear what you have to say. I think that there are going to be critics, no matter what you do. But if you do nothing, you definitely don’t have to worry about the critics. If you do nothing that’s very safe because no one will care. Except that you know what you’re capable of.
So my encouragement to you is…you have the ability, you have the idea, you have the tool. You just need to give yourself permission and take action. Let me end with another poem by Shel Silverstein. This one’s called Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda.
All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ in the sun,
Talkin’ bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.
Tell me what you want to ship in the comments. Write it on your own blog. Sing your own song or whatever you’re going to produce. Whatever it is, do something. It will not be perfect the first time. Nothing you do will actually ever be perfect. Perfection is a lousy excuse.
Go do something.