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Guiding the SOHO Practitioner in a Digital World

Drowning in the Social Media Pool?

A boy in a children's swimming pool.
Image via Wikipedia

Are you drowning in the pool of social media sites? Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn, YouTube? Well, I’ve got some important advice.

Sign up for more.

Yes, you heard me. More.

Here’s why: Social media isn’t going to disappear. It will, hopefully soon, settle down and get more organized. When it does, you want to be sure you are accurately represented. But in order to do that, you need to take steps now to lay your identity foundation.

Chances are your name is not unique, so when the dust settles and the sites that will be sticking around become apparent, you want to be sure that each of those sites represents YOU. But what happens if someone else has already registered your name?

That doesn’t mean that you need use every site where you’ve registered. But consider the sites you may use in the future, or the sites the people you will be working with may use (usually the most popular sites.) Sign up for those, even if you have no intention of ever sending your BrightKite location. After all, people may follow thinking it IS you, so take steps now to lessen the potential confusion.

Here’s a good place to start: http://checkusernames.com/ Check that your username isn’t already being used – you may want to consider making a change if your name is already being represented by someone else. Look thru the list for sites where you think you need to be represented (where your clients or friends might be, if they’re not already) and sign up.

It may seem crazy – but a lot easier that dealing with the potential confusion.

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Filed under: Branding, Marketing, , , , , , , ,

Top Reasons To Work At Home. Not.

Killer Slippers and How to Make Them
Image by poppalina via Flickr

Why do people keep blogging about the top reasons to work at home? Does anybody really need a list for that? I would think it would be pretty obvious by now, especially for the reasons that are usually listed. What we really need to see are the reasons you might need to consider that option a little more.

Reason #1. You can work in your pj’s and bunny slippers. Ok, this is obvious. But what isn’t obvious is this: you know that funny smell you notice after you finished checking your email, reading a few blogs, commenting on a few blogs, sending a few Twitters? It’s you. Take a shower. And throw out those slippers – there’s all kinds of crap on the bottom, and you’re tracking it all over the house.

Reason #2. You have less distractions. Ya think? Please. Do you KNOW how many of your neighbors own a dog that barks at the mailman? ALL. DAY. LONG.

Reason #3. You have more time with the family. If fact, not only with your own delightful crew, but your mother-in-law, your unemployed brother, your sister’s kids, chatty Aunt B and your Mom. Who just needs one little container of milk, from that store that’s so close to you it will only take a second. Because you work at home. You are always there and HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD.

Reason #4. Your time is flexible. So flexible, in fact, that you can no longer tell what time it is. As in how many hours has it been since you ate? What to know what it was? Shake out your keyboard. And go get milk for your mother. (See Reason #3)

Reason #5. You can create the perfect office. Or you could, if  the only space available wasn’t the dining table. Or the basement. You know, that dark, dank area with all those funny sounds? Or the corner of the bedroom – the room you can no longer seem to leave. Thank goodness a portable commode is JUST NOT AN OPTION.

Reason #6. You can work anywhere. Do you KNOW how noisy the local coffee shop can get? The same place you popped into the other day for a quick cup and it was virtually deserted? Wait til you show up with your laptop. And forget the library – the only person doing any shushing anymore is that old lady next to you who thinks you are clicking the keys too loud. Or maybe the local park is better? Have you seen your computer screen in the daylight. Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Reason #7.  You can get up and stretch whenever you need to. If you hadn’t lost all feeling in your legs hours ago because there was no one around to tell you to GET OFF TWITTER. NOW.

Reason #8. You can work fewer hours. See Reasons #1 thru #7. Now, HOW MUCH work did you ACTUALLY get done? I thought so.

It’s very easy to put together a list of great reasons to work at home. Who wouldn’t want the perfect workspace, during the best  hours, getting the right amount of incredible work done? But it’s still about the work – what you produce, the quality, the quantity. And the only way you can do that is if you are honest about your work ethic, your work style, your productivity. Where do you work best? When do you work best? What’s the best productive environment for you? Figure that out first, and don’t be seduced by the fantasy.

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Filed under: Office, Productivity,

The Keys

Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership 2008 Sp...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m glad that David’s put out a new book. I’ve fallen off the wagon, again, in my GTD practice, although I’m still a big fan. One of the reasons I’m a fan is that I can fall off the wagon now and then, and get right back on. And each time I get back on I learn a little more.

This new book has opened my eyes to some deeper parts of the system. I like the term clarifying. Reflecting. Engaging. These are terms I didn’t get from the first book. They make me look at what I’m gathering through a different lens. I’m not just getting things done, like keeping some kind of score. I’m accomplishing things, with a focus on my life and why I’m here getting anything done at all.

It’s hard to look past the runway sometimes. I’ve been so focused on taking off I haven’t thought enough about where I’m going to land, or why I’m even taking the trip.

There are still a lot of clouds in my sky. I need to put some more focus on the different levels so the rest can fall into place easier. I like the chapters on getting perspective. I can already gather everything into one basket. I can already create my A-Z files. I can already determine my next actions. That was all kind of automatic. But without really knowing a direction other than “done”, it was easy for the procrastination to take over and the productivity to fall. I think there are a lot of people who get those first steps and think, hey, I’ve got this. This is easy!

Then, plop. Off they fall.

The real success is in the deeper well of focus. Now I will focus on where I am going. On what I need to get there. I will surround myself with things that inspire me. Music. Pictures. Objects. Sure, I can have an empty inbox, project lists and Next Actions. But why does it matter?

Many people can learn to play the piano. The actual playing isn’t too difficult if you have any musical talent and dedication to practice. But what you play, and why you play are different. It’s making the connection with why you play. That’s what makes you good.

 

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Filed under: GTD, Productivity,

Tip: Using "Send To Gmail"

Image representing Google Toolbar as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

What to do with all those bits and pieces of websites you find in the course of a day and want to remember for later? I use the Google Toolbar to send an email to myself using the “send to gmail” function. I select some text, then send it to myself at a special address which I created by adding a “+word” before the @ gmail portion of my email address. (i.e. yourgoogleid+readthis@…) Then when I’m ready to process, I do a search in Gmail to pull up all the items I’ve sent. If fact, you can make several addresses; readthis, filethis, funny, research … whatever you want.

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Filed under: Organization, Productivity, Tools,

Finding

A heavily redacted page from the original lawsuit.

Image via Wikipedia

Do you use templates, or do you use find-and-replace?

A few years ago, I needed to file a lawsuit. The firm I used was known for that particular type of law, which is why I chose them. But when I read their draft of the complaint, I noticed a few mistakes – in the form of the wrong pronoun, and in one instance, the wrong name. It became glaringly evident that this was a find-and-replace job.

Now, of course, I would not have expected the entire thing to have been done from scratch – that would have been a colossal waste of time. Time I was paying for. But the mistakes I found told me that there was a chance that not a lot of thought went into this document. Was I getting second-hand service?

Templates give you the ability to take documents where most of the language is common to the type of document and tweak it with sections, phrases, or words that are unique to the project you’re working on. They also make it more difficult for you to use a prior client’s name in a new document for a new client. (Even if you make a mistake, what your new client will see is a generic term, like “client”, instead of a name that is obviously not theirs!)

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Filed under: Productivity, Tools,

140 Characters of Simple Value

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image by via CrunchBase“ONE hundred forty characters — the exact length of this sentence — is
turning out to be just right for business communications of all kinds.”

Think of how many times you just wanted to dash off a quick note to someone, without generating a time-consuming conversation about it. Just a bit of info shared, or something to think about that you can discuss further when you have more time. That’s the beauty of Twitter.

Now, Brevity Is the Soul of Office Interaction – NYTimes.com

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Filed under: Communication, Office, Productivity, Social Media, Tools, , , , , ,

Save 2.5 hours a day

LG L194WT-SF LCD monitorImage via WikipediaHere’s one way to justify buying that bigger screen.

Business Technology : Bigger Computer Monitors = More Productivity

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Filed under: Productivity

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