Edmund Wilson, recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal for Literature, was one of the most prominent social and literary critics of the 20th century.
He realized, like most uber-productive people, that, while there were many behaviors needed to guarantee high output, there was one single behavior guaranteed to prevent all output:
Trying to please everyone.
He had a low tolerance for distraction and shunned undue public acclaim. To almost all inquiries, he would respond with the following list, putting a check mark next to what had been requested… Read More
I’ve evolved as a user of the micro-blogging tool called Twitter.
That said, technology is a great slave but a terrible master, and Twitter can turn the tables on you with surprising subtlety. This post will explain how I use Twitter and the 5 rules I follow to keep it from using me…Read More
Napoleon, though mostly known as a little man with a funny hat, is regarded as one of history’s great commanders. He was also well-known for his unusual but effective methods of information management.
I like data and enhancing performance through following the numbers.
I use half a dozen tools to track metrics on this blog, and I have similarly used tr.im to track click-through on Twitter links, demographic and geographic splits, etc.. I find retweets interesting, but only to the extent that they attract meaningful attention (not just impressions), which can be approximated with clicks on embedded links. In the last two weeks, I’ve found bit.ly to be more reliable and robust than tr.im.
Below I’ve included my top-30 most-clicked Tweets from 12/21/08 to 2/13/09…Read More
Before the economic recession hits us like a Pamplona bull, we will have long entered an digital recession characterized by lower per-hour output from digital workers and a higher incidence of problems like “e-mail bankruptcy.”
This Chapter 7 of personal productivity is a failure point where the user — physically incapable of responding to the number of unread inbox items — deletes all messages and sends an e-mail to all contacts asking them to resend anything still relevant.
Do you think technology simplifies or complicates life?
I was recently invited to participate in a debate sponsored by The Economist, and it just went live.
The proposition: If the promise of technology is to simplify our lives, it is failing.
Do you agree or disagree?
There are some fascinating points made by both debaters, and I add a few observations of my own. Be sure to read their “opening statements,” which are what I focus on, before their later rebuttals. Here is the first part of my commentary as a “featured participant”:
I receive 500–1,000 e-mail per day.
To contend with this, I have virtual assistants in Canada and sub-assistants in Bangalore who filter my inboxes using processing rules in Google Docs. Connected via Skype and compensated via PayPal, this team translates a 10-hour task into a 20-minute phone call…
[Reposted from Lifehacker, where I guest posted this article this morning.]
Investment bankers aren’t known for their impulse control.
Several global firms in Zurich don’t allow their bankers to check email more than twice per day. The reason is simple: the more they check email, the more compelled they feel to send email. Technologist Robert Scoble has said that for each email he sends, he gets 1.75 to 2 messages in return. This phenomenon highlights the unscalable nature of most time-management approaches: striving to do more just produces increasingly more to do.
Fifty email messages beget 100, which beget 200 and so on. It’s impossible to manage this with a results-by-volume (or frequency) approach. There are two cornerstone behavioral changes for reversing this trend Read More