Aug.31

Getting Things Done & Inbox 0

I’ve been working on my productivity for months now. While it’s not something that I’m an expert at, I have picked up a ton of tips which have made me a more productive person, and I want to share some of those with you.

Getting Things Done

This all started a few years ago when I realized that I wasted most of my day, or I lost track of things easily. So I picked up David Allen’s Getting Things Done and found this awesome diagram about how to handle the “stuff” that comes into your life. (Yes, it was strange not doing anything, but reading a book called Getting Things Done. Nothing was actually getting done while I was reading the book, but I was sharpening my axe).

Sharpen Your Axe

The first thing you need to do is consolidate all the “stuff” coming in to you into one basket. For most of us, that’ll be your Inbox. If you see something at the store, take a photo & email it to yourself. Receive a paper document? Scan it and email yourself the PDF. Multiple inboxes don’t work.

Note

I have one exception to this: snail mail. All of my snail mail gets shoved into a mail slot and not touched until Sunday morning (that’s when I go through my snail mail & pay bills).

Gmail Tips

If you’re using Gmail, you can make things easier for you if you enable one of the “Labs” features. Go to Settings > Labs and enable Auto-advance by Bruce D. Then in your General settings, change “After archiving, deleting, muting, etc. a conversation” to “Go to the next (newer) conversation

Still with me? There’s a few keyboard shortcuts that’ll make this easier, too:

  • # – archive the message
  • ! – delete the message
  • l (lowercase “L”) – apply a label to the message
  • r – reply
  • a – reply all
  • f – forward message

Learn these – you’ll be glad you did.

Set up filters & labels. I have a filter that labels all Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local etc emails as “Daily Deals”. Then, if I’m away for a while, I can simply search for “in:inbox label:daily-deals” and get rid of those emails quickly.

Finally (this is the last Gmail tip) there’s a shortcut to get to the oldest message in your Inbox. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but I didn’t know it. Click on the message range (1-50 of 278, for example) and a dropdown appears. Select “Oldest” and it’ll drop you to the last page.

Getting to Inbox 0

Getting Things DoneNow as you go through your email, refer to this flowchart and decide what has to be done with the message.

If it’s NOT actionable

you can either delete it, label it as something that you may want to do someday, or save it for reference. Then archive the message. Don’t leave it in your inbox!

If it IS actionable

and you can take care of the work in 2 minutes, just do it. If it’s going to take longer than 2 minutes, you can either delegate the work to someone else, or schedule it.

There’s some more to the system, but that’s the basics, and what I follow.

Inbox 0

Invest in yourself, sharpen your axe, and pick up a copy of Getting Things Done. I’ve got some specific tips on how to delegate work (and make sure it gets done!) and how to effectively schedule your day (including how to handle back-to-back meetings), which I’ll be blogging about soon.

If you have tips on maintaining Inbox 0, or have earned the badge yourself, let me know in the comments!

How To & Tips

Aug.24

Affiliate Summit East 2013 Summary

While there are a couple of sessions that I’ll be writing up detailed notes on, I wanted to write about my overall experience at Affiliate Summit East 2013 in Philadelphia, PA.

Saturday – Day 0

Travel

I probably had quite the unique travel experience, as Greg Hoffman and I did a Bro-d Trip (see what I did there?). Yes, Greg lives in Atlanta, but he flew to Buffalo only to be picked up and drive 400 miles to Philly. “A frog & a bear, seeing America

We hooked up a dashboard cam (nothing exciting happened) and Greg made a mix tape, and we spent Saturday driving into town.

Sightseeing in Philly

Kim Rowley suggested a nighttime bus tour of Philadelphia, so a group of us got together and saw the city, while ducking low tree limbs. Worth the experience, but pay attention or you’ll get a tree branch in your face.

Sunday – Day 1

Eric, Jen, WadeWhat better way to start Affiliate Summit than waking up for a 7am run to the Rocky stairs! It was a quick 1.7 miles to the stairs, and we were back within an hour.

Tip for Newbies

Run. I started running to get 1:1 time with my boss, and have both given and received priceless advice just because someone else was looking for someone to run with.

After the run, I had time to get over to St John The Evangelist for Mass before having breakfast with my partner and friend Tricia. The one on one time that Affiliate Summit creates for us is great time to strategize or to just strengthen relationships. Never eat alone! If you don’t have a meal scheduled, check Twitter to see who else is looking for someone to eat with, or post yourself so someone can join you.

This Summit was a bit different for me, as I was there with For Me To Coupon and helping to answer technical questions at their Meet Market table. Normally, I’m the one going table to table, collecting handouts, business cards, and other giveaways. I’m not sure if they’ll let me behind the table again, as I sent one individual to our competition and told him to try out both services. He’ll be back.

Blues BrothersSunday night was ShareASale’s party at Hard Rock, where dressing up was encouraged so Greg and I went as the Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood. Although we didn’t win, we had a great time and ended the night at Crown Fried Chicken, where the kid behind the counter didn’t know what to do when I asked for “four fried chickens and a coke

Monday – Day 2

Monday’s festivities included meeting with clients, colleagues, and a few sessions. Honestly, some of the meetings with the various wine club merchants were the best I’ve had at Affiliate Summit. They listened to our feedback, gave us insight as to what’s working and information on what their upcoming plans are for Q4.

Speaking of wine clubs, Greg’s dinner Monday night featured wine from California Wine Club, and I met a guy who’s like my twin – he even has family in Buffalo! There are still so many great people to meet, so I need to go back and review my rules about meals at Affiliate Summit (for a few years, I always sat down with people I didn’t know. I met some jerks, but some great people, too).

Tuesday – Day 3

Usually, by Tuesday afternoon I’m done with the show and hang out in the Blogger’s Room. So this time, I booked meetings Tuesday afternoon, and I kept busy! Unfortunately, this meant missing some sessions, but I can catch them later on video.

I hit up Shake Shack, had my first Uber ride, met with a client from Boston and another from DC. *whew*

Tuesday night was the Philly’s game, another Uber experience, then hanging out at the hotel before packing up.

Wednesday – Day 4

Greg and I finally got over to Reading Market for breakfast on Wednesday and ran into a few conference attendees. I then took 45 minutes to get my car (Philly traffic / roads are the worst) and headed home.

Reading Market

Closing Thoughts

At one point, I was sitting in the blogger room and someone asked me how my show was going. I had to think for a moment, then realized: you get out of it what you put into it. Having a meeting with a merchant is one thing, but if you don’t follow up and push that merchant, it was a waste of time. All those business cards you exchanged, and all those flyers you picked up in the Meet Market? You need to act on them!

Each time when Affiliate Summit comes around, I find my pile of papers from the last show, and throw them out. If I didn’t act in 6 months, I’m not going to. But when Affiliate Summit West comes along in January, I won’t have any papers leftover. Let’s see what we can get done in 5 months.

Conferences

Mar.25

Jan.22

Dec.10

Dec.07

Aug.28

Aug.18

Aug.18

Jun.07

Why You Need a Mobile Version of Your Website

If you share links to your website via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) you need to be ready for mobile visitors.

First thing in the morning, as I wait for my first cup of coffee to hit my bloodstream, I’m on my phone. First, I go through email and answer anything urgent. Then, over to Facebook and catch up on what happened while I slept. And finally, I’ll open TweetDeck and go through my Twitter feed.

When I see a story I want to read, and click through, many times the linked site doesn’t have a mobile version of their site. When this happens, I end up going back and favoriting the tweet to read later. But making your site mobile-friendly isn’t difficult. In fact, if you use WordPress, you can have it done in less than 5 minutes.

How To & Tips