Weird Sleep Schedule
KU Graduation Coming
My last posts was about “things” that helped with productivity. This time I look at routine and process. For myself, these approaches have been transformational over the last several years.
Don’t look at emails for the first three hours of your work day. Easier said than done, and I know some people don’t have work or lifestyles that allow for this. But if you can reserve the first three hours of the day to work on what you believe is a priority, you will be amazed how much you accomplish when you look back on the day or week. It speaks to whether you are working deliberately or reactively. Email is about communication and other people. You can still meet your responsibilities to others, but you are doing it in a fashion that isn’t interrupted.
On a related note…
Owning your first couple hours and being deliberate with the rest of the day is extremely difficult if you are getting email, text, Slack or other real time notifications. The mind naturally has to process alerts and then decision need to made whether to take immediate action.
R.I.P. whatever you were previously choosing to work on.
Eliminating notifications works for me by…
Holding things in your mind and having to remember to-dos, action items, and ideas is a huge mental drain. If I think of something I need to do, I put it into my system. I use a mix of cloud-based, cross-platform apps: Trello for action items, Calendars for blocking time for key priorities, and OneNote for call notes, research and pretty much everything else.
For myself, when I have to hold something in my head to remember, do, or consider, it will keep popping up as I do other things. If I know that it lives somewhere that is part of my process, I can let it go until I get to it with intentionally and focus.
Everything can’t be done immediately. If you aren’t going to be able to do something right away, have a place where you put long term ideas or even action items. Just make sure that you work into your routine looking at these items. Later on, you may find some things weren’t as important as you thought, or you may find that you are now ready to tackle some of these. This approach lends itself to prioritization and batching the completion of similar items.
If you have found routines or processes that help you at work or in your life, I would love to hear about them. You can send me a tweet.
Yes, all computers have calendars, but a small physical calendar is a huge benefit to me. I don’t have to load a calendar up on the computer, go forward a month, and hope the calendar doesn’t go away when I click on another window.
I buy three inkello mini calendars each year and keep them on the current, previous and upcoming month.
They are beautifully made and quick to reference. They take up very little space and are always there.
I make many scheduling decisions and have to communicate those to the teams. Being able to see days and dates quickly is just awesome. Also, these calendars are made in my neighborhood in Lawrence, Kansas.
I was cheapskate audiophile in my college and post-college years, so I had a slightly negative impression of Bose. When I was even younger, Paul Harvey selling their $400 radio as the ultimate audio experience didn’t sit well with me. But I now have been converted; I love these wireless, sound suppressing headphones.
The sound isolation is amazing. Actual silence. Certainly if someone yells in the room you are in or adjacent to you will hear it, but the low buzz that comes from fans, electronics, etc goes away. For a year my wife’s sister and her family lived with us. They were amazing house guests, but the ability to isolate myself off from sounds, really helped with focus. The family has left to live in their own home, but I still spend 2-3 hour a day with these headphones on. Either with no music or low volume music in the background. Also I will occasionally use them for podcasts when I am doing things around the house.
For air travel, I would consider them borderline essential. I travel primarily for leisure and learning, but even my three trips a year are so much better without airplane engine noise and the constant chatter in airports. For airplanes, Bose has a cable you can attach when Bluetooth isn’t an option.
Speaking of… wireless is a benefit that I didn’t know how much I would appreciate. I put my phone in my pocket and no matter where I go in the house or outside, the music goes with. Having no wires doesn’t seem that beneficial until you use wired headphones again. The contrast is more “death-by-thousand-cuts”, but to sum it up, you just don’t have to think about it.
They are expensive, but if you have the budget and use case similar to above, I would recommend.
What seems like a lifetime ago, I used to be a derivatives trader. I had a seven monitor setup that was actually needed and not just for show. Now I need to be able to focus and concentrate on key tasks and strategic thinking. I have gone back and forth between two and three monitor setups. In both cases, I use this simple web page that displays nothing but a black screen to keep me focused on what I am working on. Any group of tabs that currently aren’t in use, have the above url setup on them as a tab. I can still keep key browser tabs open, but am not distracted by anything visual on my screens. I pair this page with a black wall paper to complete my own “focused view”.
I have shared the above tip with colleagues and a couple of them started using it in their routine. It is very simple, but that make it easy to test.
If you have things that help you at work or in your life, I would love to hear about them. You can comment below or send me a tweet.
Note that this post is from 2013 and Google no longer treats authorship the same way.
This blog post has two purposes. The first is to explain why Google Author Tags (also referred to more broadly as Authorship) is something you should consider implement on your own blog. The second part is to introduce a new flowchart that will help you accomplish this with step-by-step instructions. If you are already familiar with the benefits of Author Tags, you can go right to the flowchart.
Google Authorship one of the best things about Google+ accounts. Simply put, these tags allow you to associate your Google+ account with bylined content you have published on your own site (and potentially others). If your name is listed as the author of the content, you can associate it.
Here are the key benefits…
Once you associate your Google+ account with your content, this association extends to search results where your photo shows up next to results that include your content.
While there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of how much additional traffic sites get from a photo appearing in search, a number of blogs have seen traffic increase from 15% to 50%. When I added author tags, I saw a 20% increase in traffic.
Google also provides something unique in search that is only for people using Author Tags. If someone clicks on a link to your content, spends some time on your site, and then clicks back to search, they will at times see links in the search results to additional pieces of content you have written. These additional links appear below the initial search result link that they clicked on.
Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, has a new book coming out, and The Wall Street Journal published a number of short paragraphs from it, including one that points to the future value of Google Authorship.
Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.
I don’t believe that Google will ever eliminate anonymous content from search, but for content that you feel comfortable publishing under you own name, the future value of of Google’s Authorship program becomes clear.
Now that you know the benefits of Authorship, I highly encourage you to check out the flowchart I made to get your own account setup with Google Author Tags. I feel it is the best piece of how-to content I have worked on.