Ian Lurie // Dec 23 2011
Yesterday I wrote about how effort does not equal results. Results are always better.
Great results come from testing and tweaking your own routine. You can set up a virtuous cycle: You get more efficient, and have more time to learn more about your job, which helps you be more efficient, and so on.
I’ve worked on this myself for years, by attacking the problem on three fronts:
These are lots of little tricks I learned from books like Getting Things Done, sites like 43 folders and tons of great advice from friends and colleagues. Read through ‘em—if you have more ideas, please, add them to the collection.
The single biggest productivity increase I’ve made? I started using a timer to break my day into sprints. It works like this:
I list all of my projects. A ‘project’, for me, is anything that’s going to require more than 45 minutes to complete. Bizarre, I know, but it’ll make sense in a minute.
I also make a list of things I’d really like to do. These are not ‘musts’—they’re things that, if I can get through the rest of my list, I’ll work on. An example might be learning Ruby, or working on an analytics idea that I think is cool, but don’t really need.
Then, I break all my projects up into grouped to-dos. I use , a super-simple text to-do list manager. That gives me a list that looks like this:
The further into the future the todo item, the more general it is. So a todo that’s more than a day in the future could be so general that David Allen would tsk at me. This may not work for you—find the best balance between detail and practicality.
That’s time management in a nutshell.
If you want to learn more about these kinds of techniques, read:
Next up: Getting rid of repetitive tasks. I’m not going to go too far into this. It’d take a year.
If you see stuff here that you want to learn more about, tell me! I’m always looking for more ideas.
Instead, I’ll list some tools and things I’ve learned that save me time:
What I wrote in this post, way back when, still holds true for me. I use Google Reader plus Trunk.ly to store links from all of my various social networks.
Of course, Delicious has swallowed up Trunk.ly like some monstrous space amoeba. But chances are it’ll be incorporated into Delicious. I hope? Maybe? Please?
At lunch each day, I skim through my Reader list and my Trunk.ly links, finding interesting stuff. Then I read, and poof, good learning.
These are just ideas. I’m hardly the shining example of efficiency, what with my 30-minute tank-driving breaks
and other time wasters. But I do what I can. If you get ideas, or have questions, post ‘em below. Thanks!
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More