Sunday, September 05, 2010

Productivity tips for entrepreneurs and, well, everyone

We all know time is precious. Thankfully, compared to the other core skills that successful entrepreneurs must master—i.e., their own self-care, skills development and knowledge—personal productivity is the easiest and quickest to learn. For me, the following tools and resources have been invaluable:
  • Million Dollar Consulting - My friend Udaya Patnaik recommended this book to me when I was first starting my own business, and I've recommended it myself dozens of times since. Essential reading not just for consultants, but for any small business owner.

  • Getting Things Done - I've always been well-organized by nature, but by following productivity guru David Allen's advice for the last five years, I have easily boosted my productivity 10-20%. Allen's productivity workout program is a tough, but rewarding one -- following his advice will not only decrease your time on task, but also make sure that you get to those gnarly, high-priority items that for whatever reason never seem to get done.

  • Evernote - Oh, how I love Evernote. A delightful, light-weight note-taking system, optimized beautifully for the web, iPhone, iPad, and desktop. I'm still looking for the ideal app for time-sensitive to-do list management -- I'm using MacMail for now and intend to check out Remember the Milk and Things -- but in the meantime, Evernote meets many, many of my needs.

  • Google Reader - Most of us need to keep up with the latest news related to our industry and our craft. But finding the super-best content, and then keeping track of it all can become a job unto itself. Google Reader makes scanning, reading, and sharing posts from blogs and traditional news sources a snap. As part of an iGoogle digital blotter including Mail, Docs, Bookmarks, etc., it's even more powerful.

  • - I'm a new convert to Mint, and now I'm kicking myself for being late to the party. A terrific service.

  • SF Wash - I love my apartment, but one unfixable problem is a lack of laundry hookups. I used to dread the days of going to the local laundromat -- a 3-hour affair, start to finish -- but SF Wash is like reliving the glory days of the Web 1.0 economy when services like Kozmo would bring insanely great services right to your door. I put out my laundry for pick-up each week, SF Wash cleans my clothes using green detergents, and returns them the next day. Clothes I used to have dry cleaned, I now wash gentle and drip dry -- they last longer, and I save money. In a shifting economy, smart urban services like this are popping up all over -- keep an eye out for your biggest time sinks, and see if there are ways you can address or side-step them completely.
Enough about me. What tools and services have helped you use your time wisely?


Mark said...

Oh, and how did I forget Voice Memo on iPhone? Great for summarizing key take-aways after a long meeting or singing lesson, or capturing fleeting inspirations that can't be written down.

Mark said...

And 1Password too. A stellar product for managing all your logins and passwords. 1Password makes it easy to follow the standard security advice to vary your passwords, include strange characters, and change them frequently, without sacrificing any productivity.