Productivity

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

Task Zero Days

Most people are familiar with the term “inbox zero” as it applies to email management. The idea is that any time you process email, you should empty out your inbox. Every email either gets answered, archived, or deleted. If something needs follow-up action, you set up some sort of trigger to remind you, typically with software like Boomerang or a to-do list manager (I use RTM). About once per week I spend anywhere from a half day to a full day applying this concept to… Continue reading

3/9/16

Using Gmail Label Notifications on Android to Disconnect

Last year I wrote about Freedom via Gmail on Android: On nights and weekends when I consider myself “off of work”, I used to occasionally check emails on my computer, which typically involves going into my office, booting up my computer, turning on my monitors, etc. Now I just open up an app on my phone to check to see if anything is important. If there is, I snag my Chromebook or my laptop and take care of it. If there’s not, which is usually… Continue reading

1/27/16

Why We Use Excel, Google Sheets, AND Libre Office Calc

When we were first starting the business and saving every single penny mattered, we shunned buying a lot of expensive software (x 4 people) and instead embraced free open source alternatives like Mozilla Thunderbird and Open Office. As time went on though it became apparent that we needed Microsoft Office, particularly Excel, for two main reasons. First, the advanced tools in Excel could make real positive impacts on our business when it came to higher level data analysis like forecasting. Second, other companies we work… Continue reading

2/11/15

The Simple Brilliance of Using an Index Card for Daily Goals

In 2007 I wrote about how I started outlining my daily goals on an index card after reflecting upon the following passage from The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss: Don’t ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You’ll just read unassociated email and scramble your brain for the day. Compile your to-do list for tomorrow no later than this evening. I don’t recommend using Outlook or computerized to-do lists because it is possible to… Continue reading

10/21/14