Making the Switch from Gmail to Inbox (by Gmail)

I decided to try out Inbox for a week at work to see how I liked, but more importantly to see if it improved my productivity. Because, as with any tool, there’s no point in using it if it slows me down and does not help me accomplish my goals.

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Wayfair’s Blog It Forward Challenge

wayfair blog it forward badge

This month a friend, Brendan Cottam, challenged me to Wayfair’s Blog It Forward campaign which asks people to perform a good deed and write about it. You can’t argue with a cause like that (and it’s also a pretty respectable linkbuilding strategy) so I accepted and started the work-week focused on helping a fellow Philadelphian in need.

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How to Use The Natural Planning Method

Project planning is not something that comes easy to me. When mapping out the steps necessary to finish a project, I often leave out some crucial details. These details are the ones that push back the deadline later on in the project because the team did not anticipate how long they would take.

Lately I’ve recognized the importance of taking the time to visualize your project from start to finish and writing down all the critical milestones, checkpoints, reviews and approvals. This can sometimes take a while.

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Here’s How I Retain What I Read Online

“It is what you read when you don’t have to
that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
~Oscar Wilde

I read a lot of articles online. Supposedly reading online makes retention a lot more difficult. I believe it.

When I’m reading online, I have a hundred distractions vying for my attention all at once. Tabs, ads, CTAs, email, you name it.

If I’m reading the good ol’ fashioned printed page, it’s in a comfy chair, unplugged from the world. Books don’t have ads or links (thank goodness) and I certainly don’t have multiple books open at once.

Recently I was fed up with not remembering what I read online. I figure, if I’m going to take 10-15 minutes away from work to read something, I better at least be able to use it later or recall it. Otherwise that time is blatantly wasted.

So, I want to share with you some tools and systems I use for retaining what I read online.

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No Fitbit? Those Steps Don’t Count.

My wife Krisi wears a Fitbit.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a small device she wears on her wrist that keeps track of the number of steps she takes each day.

My sister has one too. Because she and Krisi are Fitbit friends online, they can see each other’s step counts in real time. They have an ongoing friendly competition to see who can get the most steps for the day or week. Krisi can be pretty competitive which is why it’s disastrous when she forgets her Fitbit at home.

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4 Ways to Better Manage Your Stress

“The greatest weapon against stress
is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
~William James

I have a regularly standing client meeting once a week. About an hour before that meeting I start to lose focus on all other tasks I have for the day. My heart begins to beat faster, my palms moisten and blood rushes to my face and ears in anticipation of the anxiety I am about to endure.

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Three Initial Takeaways from Getting Things Done

I’m reading Getting Things Done by David Allen so that I can establish a framework for managing my tasks. Up until now my system has consisted of keeping email unread to remind me I have to do…something and then also just randomly adding items to a todo list (it was usually Todoist) and neglecting to actually address them.

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The First Day of NaNoWriMo

“Writing is an exploration.
You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
~E. L. Doctorow

Today marks the first day of NaNoWriMo, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have a rough skeleton of a story in mind and I am heading down one road. If it dead ends I’ll change lanes and try to continue down an alternate path. I’m at point A and I have several point B’s in mind. The middle part is what I’m not sure about but in a way it’s very exciting. Who knows where these characters will take me, who knows what will happen to them. It actually helps not having every little detail planned out because then the story is flexible and can withstand mass amounts of pressure, pounding and uncertainty. My story is rubber.

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