How to handle a missed deadline
“If a freelancer tells you they are up against a deadline, then you know that it’s time to back off and give them some space so that they can get your work done.” And yet… sometimes deadlines are missed. “Nearly all freelancers miss a deadline sooner or later. It may be due to a family emergency, an unforeseen circumstance like an extended power outage, poor estimating,...
Meticulous year-end accounting
It’s December 30th. By now we’ve seen a lot of awesome year-end summaries. I’m not talking about best-of lists. I’m talking about those individuals who are able to account for what happened in their lives or businesses or projects every month of the year. I’m not sure I think people who do this do more than those of us who don’t. But it just feels more...
More ambient office snacks
Attention freelancers. The virtual-office-snack experience is almost over. Here is some sort of giant cookie feast from Fast Company’s office. What do you think? Of course… on the one hand, I cannot pretend the cookies look great. But on the other… they look too even and perfect and… right out of a package? Too judgey? fastcompany: The Fast Company cookie swap. Lunch...
Customer-centric mantra, life-mantra: It's not...
“…That simple tip is the difference between freelancers who simply do their work and freelancers who excel at their work. It’s not about you, it’s not about your ego, it’s not about your skills or experience. It’s always about making the client look good.” - The 10 Words That Will Make Any Freelancer Wealthy from abetterfreelancer
How to break the New Year's Resolution Rut
“… Self-improvement needn’t be a sad homework assignment demanding prudence and sacrifice. Perhaps we’d be more inclined to follow through if we resolved to be kinder to ourselves, to make our lives easier, to lighten our load… …Identify the areas/endeavors in life that mean the most, and work for the “A-plus” there. In the other areas, let a...
Auto-pilot tradition, or actual strategy?
In your business, it’s easy to carry over everything you did last year just the same. The same Holiday sales? The same spring blog series? The same conferences. But it’s always nice to remember you don’t have to do all that stuff the same way every year. Think about why you do certain stuff, especially if you’re feeling external pressure from the rest of your...
Diggin' ifttt and savin' time
As savvy time-managers we’re always vigilant about getting distracted by tools. But this one is irresistible and worth your time- ifttt. You can link up various apps (like twitter, tumblr, Google Reader, Buffer, pinboard…) and automate behaviors like tweeting, saving, backing up, publishing… We could go on, but just give them a shot! ifttt: Today marks one year since we...
The razor thin edge between chaos and mere...
“At Facebook, there was a cultural resistance to process, to the point where the pattern around introducing process typically went “new process is reluctantly introduced only right before the point where things tip into chaos.” Push this point as far as humanly possible, and then some, because what you receive in return is high organizational speed. If your organization has less process than...
Tablets as time management tool
“Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator.” -Robert Orben “…Tablets were designed to be consumption devices, for the most part, so it’s easy to get distracted when you have a bunch of games staring back at you from a beautiful, glossy screen. Additionally, if you mix your productivity apps in with everything else you’ll have a hard time locating the app...
It looks like a human was involved in choosing what went where,” Marissa told...– Marissa Mayer addressing Google designers, as quoted in “In The Plex” by Steven Levy. Call us crazy, but we believe humans are way better at designing than machines. And this explains a looooot about Google. And why folks like us are driven crazy over their decline.
Calendars are scheduled interruptions
Time-management wisdom/ confession- If I get descriptive about my calendar (not prescriptive), I admit that the things I feel most obligated to schedule are things for other people. “Meetings may be toxic, but calendars are the superfund sites that allow that toxicity to thrive. All calendars suck. And they all suck in the same way. Calendars are a record of interruptions. And quite often...
Avoiding the communications time-sink
Managing time often means managing communications: “Organize Your Daily Communication. Your workspace isn’t the only thing that requires organization. If you’re not organizing your communication to utilize speed-appropriate channels, you’re wasting valuable time. Sometimes writing an email is the best way to handle an issue, but other times you can be more effective on...
The Metropolis and Mental Life (of wifi access...
Spending time hunting down Internet is part of the modern independent’s life. Incidental, but worth documenting are the expressive names given to networks we see every day. ““People are taking it to the next level in terms of being able to be really cryptic and send a message,” she said. Her site is a treasury of passive-aggressive messages to neighbors (Stop Cooking Indian!!!),...
Mobile workers and time management
Time management may not be a strength of mobile workers if this is true: “mobile workers put in 240 more hours a year than non-mobile employees. One in four mobile employees sleep less than six hours a night…” blogsnug: This infographic from iPass, based on findings from their Mobile Workforce Report, shows how enterprise is going crazy for mobile technology. Supported by...
Freelancers Should Charge More Than Employees
“…Of course, even estimating the amount of billable hours you will work can be difficult. A year is a long time, and a lot of unexpected things can happen. 1. Accessibility An inherent benefit to the customer for hiring a freelance worker is accessibility. If they need something completed ASAP, they are not confined to the regular nine to five working hours of a company. Most...
Now’s a good time to remind our American freelancing/ independent readers to stuff those IRAs for a tax break… if you can afford it. (Not that we’re dogmatic about it. Some folks can make more with that money in other ways, like investing in themselves.) shortformblog: twentysomethingfloater said: Not too sure on the specifics, but how can Perry collect military pension if he...
More you, less homework
Visionary world-shaker: Cutest. Kid. EVER.
As the Telegraph reports, a new study out today confirms this, suggesting that...– Really wanted this to say ”drunk when they were using Facebook.” Anyway, get off of Facebook, waste of time. Tumblr on the other hand… is for talented, ambitious, attractive visionaries like yourself. Brits Are Drunk in 76% of Facebook Photos (via thenextweb)
The other side of ambient work-place snacks
I know we were like wistfully gazing upon the temporary magic of day-job holiday snack buffets. But this picture of an office fridge has set us straight. Freelance control-freak cleanliness foreva. from npr
Humanity and work
Sometimes work can be really stressful and challenging. Have you ever felt like it’s not worth it, or that people you work with forgot how to be human? Really though, there is a human cost to business. I’m sitting here at my desk, in our office, crying, and I’m not the only one.
Just because you're a freelancer, doesn't mean you...
“Can you devote all of your time to my project?” Yikes! Tough question from a potential client. Here’s a good answer from How to Ace Your Next Freelancing Job Interview: “Unless the project is full-time and pays enough to support you while you are working on it, you probably will be working on other projects while you work for this client. However, your answer to this...
Collect moments, not things.
Too preachy? Who cares, it’s the holidays! Happy New Year, family. Remember what’s important to you, whatever that may be.
Wasting time in commutes
That’s a lot of car time. Hope they have some good podcasts. theeconomist: “Atlantans, it is estimated, have the longest average rush-hour commute in America: 127 minutes.” — According to Georgia’s government, the state spends less per head on transport than any other except Tennessee. But fixing the infrastructure means raising taxes—politically unpalatable even in fat years, and this...
Work holidays and national economies
Is the Economist trying to say something about taking time off? theeconomist: Daily chart: which country’s workers have the most holiday? North Americans get less holiday than South Americans; Asians work harder than Europeans. Among the feckless workers from the old continent, those in the troubled economies of Greece, Spain and Portugal have among the most generous holiday allowances.
Vicarious ambient office snacks continued
More day-job office snack documentation for our freelance family. You are not alone! keithwj: Happy Holiday Breakfast (Taken with Instagram at NPR Headquarters)
Productivity metrics- not just for business
Productivity dashboard fever. Catch it. infoneer-pulse: U. of Texas System Posts ‘Productivity Dashboard’ The University of Texas system today unveiled an online “dashboard” designed to demonstrate how productive its various components are. The UT System Productivity Dashboard is a key component of a comprehensive plan that the system’s chancellor, Francisco G. Cigarroa, announced...
Step 3, profit.
The best laid plans, etc. cnnmoneytech: “Goal #2: Bring to market several new BlackBerry smartphones to invigorate BlackBerry’s strong North American presence while driving growth in new market segments and geographies.” — BlackBerry’s 8 Strategic Goals for 2011, disclosed in their annual proxy, are sort of hilarious to read now in light of how 2011 actually went.
The problem with beautiful novelty
“Solve a problem, live forever.” yongfook: In direct response to: http://designerfund.com/infographic I’ve created products / services in the past that have garnered praise for their design. I love good design and I am good at design. But I’ve never called myself a designer. Here’s my pitch. This talk of designers as the new kings of startups is becoming increasingly overblown....
Walking time means clear thinking time
“For some alone time - pack your lunch and go to the nearest park…” “We like to think we do it collaboratively during timed meetings with agendas, but sometimes it’s best to grab one other person and take a walk.” 609: I don’t do this enough, nor do I take it serious enough. We need to embrace it individually, as well as socially. We like to think we do it...
Shortcuts can accidentally waste time
“Sometimes, timing is everything. By making my journey in the middle of the day, I pretty much ensured that I would hit all of those obstacles. Freelancing shortcuts are no different. When evaluating a freelancing shortcut consider the timing of the advice. Is this new advice, proven advice, or really old advice that’s probably out of date?” - Why the Shortest Route Isn’t Always the...
Terrifying? Yes. Accurate? Hopefully not for everybody. (Though it explains people who play better “coming from behind” in sports.) from mlarson “Being cheerful is really no recipe to get down to work: nothing happens until paranoia, jealousy, competitiveness and guilt arrive.” — Alain de Botton.
No more perfectionism
“Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done. There is no editing stage.” aufschnitt: “There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done. There is no editing stage. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re...
Art of the organized desktop
Messiness is next to time-wastingness. Designing and Creating an Organized Desktop - Introduction from Adam Dachis on Vimeo. 609: I firmly believe in an organized desktop. After clutter collects on the desktop every few days, I’ll organize it; but an artsy desktop theme seems to help keep you organized each and every day. (via How to Design and Create a Clean, Organized Desktop)
Power of Small Things
“The smallest manageable thing that you can do. Because oftentimes it’s enough. And you’ll feel so much better about yourself.” andrewsgoodrich: Do small things. Trust me. Some of us get so over or underwhelmed by our ideas, dreams, and goals that we end up making no progress towards them. Some ideas are so big that they are daunting to even begin. Some ideas are so mundane as to...
Are you taking a winter vacation?
You remember what we said about creativity and taking breaks, right? But also, you gotta be your own person. Sometimes traveling when everybody else is traveling is a giant drag. I dunno. I’m not Professor Logistics. from condenasttraveler
More time management tools to fetishize
We mentioned time management tools and the dangers of fetishism. Sheesh these nice yellow calendars are exactly what we meant. “Covet me.” -these yellow calendars. cl themadeshop: Just got these photos of our 2012 Linear Calendars being letterpress printed over at Studio on Fire. Should be getting them here today and shipping orders tomorrow. So there’s still time to buy one...
Simplicity + Creativity podcast alert
Simplicity and creativity? (Aka focus?) Creating products? Interesante… thanks chrisbowler Rogie King and Cameron Koczon on Creatiplicity I’ve had some great conversations lately on the podcast. The most recent, with Rogie and Cameron, had a lot of quotable quotes. They both have some real wisdom around creating a product.
Freelancer misgivings- fewer free ambient office...
Freelancing is great. Working at home is great. Nobody misses soul-sucking fluorescent lights of cubicle-land. But there are days when you recall how “cool English teacher” (not his real profession, just your secret name for him) brought Krispy Kreme donuts for everyone. (You called him cool English teacher because he was like slightly cooler than most people in your department, but...
Rat-race stencil shows promise
Rat-race. Anti-that, dude. We see what they did there. Love it. But what if we made it a little more twee, a little less debbie downer? Then we could stencil it everywhere. Use it as an icon, a badge… It would be motivating, but not discouraging in an eff-everything way. nquo: Genius.
Do freelancers feel unemployment numbers...
What do you guys think? Does the employment situation feel better? We know most of you are freelancers, making your own way and opportunities. When you live the life of an independent you can often feel cut off from both the bounty and famine of others. Or at least feel that stuff delayed. shortformblog: 366,000 the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits last week — a number...
Time Management Fetishism
We’re not saying don’t have fun with time management. Go crazy. But we’ve all confused buying tools with actual progress. Consumption is not productivity. At the same time…. whatever it takes, boo. If you get high on buying supplies, we’re not bad. designersof: Ready to be filled with your 20 goals, activities, tasks or whatever you like to achieve within each...
How to read a book
“reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.” flavorpill: “Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? First, it keeps you awake — not merely conscious, but wide awake. Second, reading, if it is active, is...
Can you separate consumption from simplicity?
Hey. You’re preaching to the choir over here. minimalmac: 7 Ways to Have More by Owning Less | Brain Pickings Here are seven services that help shrink your carbon footprint, lighten your economic load and generally liberate you from the shackles of stuff through the power of sharing. I had not heard of any of these before. GiftFlow seems especially timely. (via Amy Bryant)
We're not saying you're OCD
You’re reading a time management blog. You guys. Correlation doesn’t imply causality. And yet… it’s not crazy to think people reading a time management blog might also appreciate this Thing Organized Neatly. thingsorganizedneatly: Brand design for a model management agency in Barcelona, http://www.bertamodels.com/ by Eren Saracevic
Santa doesn't procrastinate
Santa can plan and schedule all he wants. But he really has to thread the needle on execution. theatlantic: Santa’s Christmas Eve Workload, Calculated There are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids under the age of 14 in the world who celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In other words, Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before...
How much time do you think you spend watching...
The average American watched 283 online videos last year according to the Comscore report. But no specifics for time spent?!? Think about it: There is such a big difference between a Netflix movie (120 minutes) and a kitten yawn (120 seconds). Anyway. 201 Billion video views. YOU’RE WELCOME. 201 Billion Online Video Views in October - The Next Web “comScore has released data today which...
Rollcall: Do you wear a watch?
Do you wear a watch? Even though you have a phone with you at all times with an excellent clock? And are probs always near a computer? I do. Team Watches. from gqfashion
Sup bears. OK I’m good.
Are you a free user?
Not judging, just asking. You should peep the post from Pinboard. from cnnmoneytech Pinboard Sad that Facebook is about to wipe out Gowalla? Pinboard creator Maciej Ceglowski made this helpful App Economics 101 chart on free-versus-paid apps. Of course, as he notes in his disclaimer, he’s got a rootin’ interest: “I run a paid bookmarking site. Every morning I wake up and dive into my vault of...
Louis CK on money as a fluid tool
Money as an energy. I feel you. from zenhabits “I learned that money can be a lot of things. It can be something that is hoarded, fought over, protected, stolen and withheld. Or it can be like an energy, fueled by the desire, will, creative interest, need to laugh, of large groups of people. And it can be shuffled and pushed around and pooled together to fuel a common interest, jokes about...