Productivity

My #1 Productivity & Life Balance Improvement From 2016

It’s rare that I make a productivity change that I would call life changing, but there’s one quick and simple change that I made last year that I think meets that criteria. When I stop to think about it, I marvel at its effectiveness. About a year ago I wrote about how I set up Gmail label notifications on Android as a means to disconnect. Essentially, anytime there’s an urgent work issue that needs my attention I receive a notification on my phone. Most of… Continue reading

1/17/17

How a Single Meeting Can Derail an Entire Day

If I’m not careful I can find myself spending my entire day performing tasks associated with running the business: checking email, taking phone calls, scheduling meetings, communicating with our employees, documenting processes, and the like. As we’ve grown it’s been harder and harder to carve out uninterrupted time to program and work on other important projects that will help grow the business. I’ve had to work harder and harder to guard my schedule. In doing so I often think back to an essay from 2009… Continue reading

11/22/16

Minimizing Commuting Isn’t Just About Saving Time

A few weeks ago I came across this article in the Albany Business Review that stated: What would you do if you suddenly had two extra days each year? The average commuter in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area spends about that much time, 42 hours a year, stuck in traffic, according to a new study from the Auto Insurance Center. That’s not even that bad: 42 hours is the average across the country. New York City commuters spend 74 hours a year in traffic, and Washington,… Continue reading

9/12/16

How Tea Helps Me Get Into A Flow State

A few weeks ago I wrote about listening to one song over and over again on repeat to improve focus. There has been a lot written about flow states, or “getting into the zone” as it’s often called. The Wikipedia entry does a good job of summing it up: In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in… Continue reading

8/25/16

Listening To One Song On Repeat Over And Over Again

Years ago I read an interview with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg where he described how he listened to a single song over and over again on repeat to help him focus. I remember thinking at the time how weird yet interesting that was. Then I heard Matt on the Tim Ferriss podcast last year, and again he described how he listened to one song on repeat. It turns out that blogger Joseph Mosby did some research and there’s actually some science behind the idea: I… Continue reading

8/9/16

How I Read Business Books In An Hour

About five years ago I almost completely stopped reading business books. I read a ton of them in the roughly 10 years prior as I was finishing college, leaving my job, and venturing out on my own. Some of it was that I had shifted my learning/doing balance to more doing and less learning. Another factor was that there just wasn’t that much out there new that interested me because of how much I had read previously. The biggest factor though, was that they just… Continue reading

7/13/16

Write. Shorter. Emails.

Above is a word count chart of the emails I send and receive, generated by Gmail Meter. You’ll notice that over 60% of my sent emails are less than 10 words. This is intentional. I used to think that every email had to be entirely thorough, as in-depth as possible, so as to minimize any confusion and ensure that I got my point across. Somewhere along the line I realized: Emails like that take a lot of time to write (I was wasting my time)… Continue reading

6/15/16

Improving My Index Card Method: The Field Notes 56 Week Planner

Running a business in today’s world requires a special type of focus. It’s so easy to get distracted. If you’re not careful, every day can be an endless stream of interruptions from your friends, family, and co-workers manifesting themselves in every format imaginable: phone calls, text messages, emails, app notifications, and good old in-person distractions. One simple routine that I started almost a decade ago has been my most effective tool for keeping focused and on task without feeling overwhelmed (well, most of the time)…. Continue reading

5/25/16

Sleep As A Productivity “Tool”

I think that our culture has a warped view of sleep. Jason Fried recently wrote a great post entitled Being tired isn’t a badge of honor. One of my favorite passages is: Your brain is still active at night. It works through matters you can’t address during the day. Don’t you want to wake up with new solutions in your head rather than bags under your eyes? Back in 2008 I wrote a post about productive napping after having read Take a Nap! Change Your… Continue reading

4/19/16

Taking My Standing Desk To The Next Level With A VariDesk, New Monitors, A Mogo Seat, & More

In 2010 I started experimenting with a standing desk setup after learning how bad sitting all day is. By 2011 I was working at a standing desk full time. I wrote a 1-year follow-up but I haven’t posted about it much since. I’m still standing, but over the past few months I overhauled my office to better fit the way I’m working in 2016. The Problem With My Old Setup In short, my main issue has been the same problem that I mentioned in my… Continue reading

3/22/16