Productivity

Sometimes social media feels like the thing we’re trying to cope with, and sometimes it feels like the thing that can help us cope. This page offers resources to make social media work for you instead of against you.

The posts here focus on project management, contact management and time management tools and strategies. You’ll find that most of the posts in this category combine established web tools with my own recommended workflow or practices.

10 ways spam taught us to focus our attention

10 ways spam taught us to focus our attention

First seen in 1978, spam has become the vaccine for your attention span. It’s the toxin that has stimulated our immunity system’s defenses. Thanks to spam, we’ve had to find technical, social and personal ways of keeping our eyes on the 22% of e-mail that isn’t pure junk, and to avoid the 78% that is.

How many e-mail clients do you need?

How many e-mail clients do you need?

Jodie Tonita is a lovely person. She is passionate, funny, kind to children and small animals, and an amazing hula-hooper. Unfortunately she was sent by our alien overlords to ensure I never do my actual work. As evidence, check out this message Jodie left on my...
How to write a blog post in 10 minutes

How to write a blog post in 10 minutes

How do you blog in one hour a week? In my recent blog post about how to sustain your social media presence in just 3 hours a week, I advise drafting 3 blog posts in under one hour. That may sound unimaginable if (like me) you’ve fallen into the habit of turning...
Diary of a yak shave: Or, How to get an Excel file into Scrivener

Diary of a yak shave: Or, How to get an Excel file into Scrivener

I need to write a draft document that borrows from my previous blog posts. A sane (non-techie) person might just write the freaking document, already. But that is not the Geek Way. So I’m now in the middle of an epic yak shave: Installed a WordPress plugin that...
Using your e-mail signature to fight inbox overload

Using your e-mail signature to fight inbox overload

It’s day 5 of my vendetta on mandatory e-mail replies and I’m feeling the pain. On the one hand, I’m as committed as ever to changing the attitude that every e-mail needs a response — an attitude that is totally out-of-step with every other...
Two tweaks for your e-mail vendetta auto-responder

Two tweaks for your e-mail vendetta auto-responder

Yesterday I set up a vacation responder as part of my e-mail vendetta. If you’re thinking of doing the same, you might note a couple of tweaks: I forward multiple e-mail addresses to a single Gmail account. But Gmail’s vacation responder doesn’t do a...
Don’t try this at home: Implementing the e-mail vendetta

Don’t try this at home: Implementing the e-mail vendetta

Today I declared war on e-mail. Well, not all e-mail: just the tyrannical assumption that we should all reply to every single message we reply. In a blog post for the Harvard Business Review, I called for a vendetta on the mandatory universal reply. That means...
Mac users, meet your menu bar

Mac users, meet your menu bar

Can you recognize the signs of SMBB? Selective Menu Bar Blindness affects millions of Mac users, but has yet to be widely recognized as a chronic and debilitating condition. Patient X — let’s call her “Shmalexandra” — was treated for a...
Using Syncplicity and Dropbox to put Google Docs on your desktop

Using Syncplicity and Dropbox to put Google Docs on your desktop

One of the biggest contributors to e-mail clutter are those messages you hang onto not because you need to read them (again) but because they are acting as de facto task reminders. Indeed, many of these implicit tasks don’t need to hit your inbox in the first...
9 essential tools for getting tasks out of your inbox

9 essential tools for getting tasks out of your inbox

If you want to try out my system for moving Google Docs notifications or other “task” e-mails out of your inbox and into a better context — perhaps your task management system — you may want to start by downloading or signing up for some or all...