My New Productivity Tool, Short And Simple

TimepieceI think most bloggers have the same problem when it comes to building and maintaining their online presence… Time! This is something I have struggled with myself and I think I’ve found MY solution so I thought I’d share it with you in hopes of it helping a little. Everyone works differently and we all have to find our own way but this might help a few of you.

Me Before

Let Me Out!I’d wake up to over a hundred emails. My first half an hour was going through them trying to find where my attention was needed and which emails were just a waste if time. I was so dependent on email that I had my smart phone setup to give a cool little ‘whistle‘ with each notification, including a new email. Of course, with every whistle, I had to grab my phone or check my emails so I wouldn’t miss anything. This is a horrible way to organize our time! That system allows everyone else to dictate how we spend our time online and our productivity suffers for it.

Me Now

Me as SupermanI have turned off all email notifications and now I decide when and where I spend my time online. I’m the kind of person that lives with a notepad, to-do list and everything has to be scheduled on my calendar. There’s no fighting it, that’s just me. So, allow me to introduce my new productivity tool:

My Start Page

A couple of weeks ago I started building a very simple page on my personal website (No longer used as a blog). I have my new start page setup in my browser as the ‘home‘ page. That’s where I start and end every day. I don’t go to my email account until it’s time, yes – scheduled.

This page is still young and a work in progress but I have to believe my productivity has at least tripled since I started using it and that will continue to increase as I improve on it. It takes a little discipline but I was surprised at how fast I was able to break away from my old habits.

The Process

As you can see from the image below, my start page is merely a bunch of links listed along with a time limit for each task. I simply click the link, set my timer, (I use the Chrome browser extension ‘Timer‘) and go to work. The timer goes off and I quickly move onto the next link (task).

My Start Page Screenshot

Only 10 Minutes, Really?

The times seem very low and there are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, when you add up all of the times for the daily tasks, it comes out to five hours of work at the time of this post (That will change as I add and remove tasks). Second, when that clock is ticking, I’m working as fast as possible in order to get everything I want to do accomplished.

Taking Breaks

Personally, once I’ve spent an hour or so working online, I take a break. Some people include a break into their schedule but, so far, I haven’t had to. A break for me doesn’t mean a nap or watch a little TV; I might throw a load into the dish or clothes washer, take Sadie for a walk or make a quick phone call. The idea here is to step away from the computer and move around a little. Blogging allows for very little exercise so it’s up to us not to just sit all day long.

What Works For You?

So there you go, that’s what’s working for me. Like I said, we’re all different so I’d love to hear what works for you. Do you use a schedule at all? Is it crazy to use a timer? Some people don’t need one and others cannot function with that kind of restraint, for lack of a better word. What works for you?

BTW, This isn’t a ploy to get people to bookmark my website as their home or start page; make your own. Feel free to use mine as a template, you have my written permission, :)
Funy pics of me were made using my smart phone and the Pho.to© app.

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44 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Sai Krishna


    Twitter: saithegeek
    Wow, your start page idea is just amazing, I think it saves a lot of time. I’m spending daily 3 hours on facebook, I know its useless but I’m addicted. Its my turn now… I have to create my own way to be more productive using your tips.


  2. Twitter: Lisapatb
    Oh yes, the email notifications. I’ve turned them off too except for the store ones that have orders coming in or customer questions. The rest is on my schedule. My weakness is Twitter – I don’t have a noise indicator but I can see the notification when someone is tweeting me or an RT, etc. I shut down the Facebook notifications too and only go on when I want to. I can always get stuck there longer than anticipated. I need to take more breaks when I work at home on the computer. I can sit for way too many hours. Thanks for sharing these tips Brian.
    Lisa recently posted..The Slowing Down Blogging and Social Media ExperimentMy Profile


    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Hi Lisa, I like twitter too but I even stopped TweetDeck. It’s a little painful, I won’t lie, but I’m getting more done. :)

      My breaks today were, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, making dinner, fixing the toilet and raking the leaves. I need less breaks. lol

  3. Wasting too much time on things that are not going to benefit us in the blogging career are of no use. We should change our schedule and add something profitable to it. Regular changes in the blogging strategies can work wonders for the blog.


  4. Twitter: technreviews
    I also struggle with the limited time and so much work to do. You have devised a nice method to increase your productivity with that start page. Guess I should also switch to some form of organization in order to have better yields. Thanks for sharing. :)


  5. Twitter: AceConcierge
    Time management and productivity are skills to be mastered. Whatever tools we choose to use, we must implement as well. I like your idea of time limits and tasks and have seen other similar suggestions.

    I tune out or turn off all notifications when working on a project either for myself or a client. It takes discipline and commitment to stay on track but if you want a successful outcome, you can’t allow for distractions as they eat away at your time and productivity.

    Set priorities, time limits, rewards or whatever works best, just get it done. LOL.

    Thanks for a great post.

  6. Glynis Jolly


    Twitter: GlynisJolly1
    My big hang up is my email. I think it may be like that for most. Although I have an email address for my blog but have it rerouted to my account at gmail. I do not have alarms for my gmail. I am using Chrome as my browser and have my homepage set up on ‘New Tab’ which has a direct link to my gmail. Each morning I go to email first and weed out the ones that need to be deleted or can wait. This does not mean I attach my email then however. I just organize it. Email is not read until the afternoon.
    Glynis Jolly recently posted..What is the Purpose of Your Life?My Profile


    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Sounds a lot like my old system Glynis. I was beginning to feel like I was being controlled by my email. Email would tell me to reply to comments, respond to all types of social interactions, even when and where to look at other blogs. I’m glad to have made a break from it.


  7. Twitter: 2009Taxes
    I have heard James Martel talk about his home page in a similar fashion, looks very helpful. Could you do this with Firefox bookmarks? Maybe the page is more clear cut than bookmarks.

  8. Ferb


    Twitter: FerbHinlor
    Hi Brian, I have the same problem as you too. To-do list is so important which shows you what you have done in a day and don’t get to feel that you’re lazy and not work hard enough, …

    And I can see that you’re using many social media networking sites like you mentioned above so 10 mins is really great. But about me, I only use Twitter and Facebook for my blog so I have a lot of time to relax.

    Thank you Ferb
    Ferb recently posted..Why You Can’t Stop Checking Your Facebook? [INFOGRAPHIC]My Profile

  9. Hi Brain,

    Time Management is really important.

    Most of the time is wasted in in thinking what to do and in the end you find yourself with a thing which is not important. So managing once time is really important.

  10. Time management is such a critical facet of productivity. I also make it a point to jot down urgent and other pressing tasks that I need to accomplish. Thanks for the insightful share!


    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Hey Kristine, so far; with all the comments so far, only you and Samuel have taken advantage of the keyword Luv that’s included in our CommentLuv Pro plugin. That’s one of the two secrets to getting a do-follow link on this blog. :)

      I agree, especially when you’re as forgetful as I am. If I don’t record things, I’ll forget almost immediately. This includes everything from blog post ideas to paying my utility bills. If it’s not on my Google calendar or auto-pay, I’m going to be getting a collection call. lol If I don’t record a blog post idea and get started, I won’t remember to do it until I see it on another blog as I slap my forehead. :)

  11. Dave


    Twitter: mmayh_dave
    That’s an indispensable tool, I must say. I have been trying to implement something quite similar and on each day I used this, let’s say, system I could complete all the work for a given day within a few hours. On a “regular” day I would never complete my tasks. I think that if we stick to such a tool, we can work not more than 5 hrs a day and still be super productive in comparison to other people who seemingly work more (or for more hours). Greetings.

  12. A very important topic, Brian..

    Managing our time regarding blogging tasks, sometimes can be a little difficult, especially if we don’t get the balance right…

    In your case your emails were chewing up the bulk of your time, whereas for me it’s going through comments “in moderation” and ensuring no legit comments don’t get binned with all the spam comments(there’s a ton of spam usually trying to sneak through)…

    Other sites I visit have spoken of the need to “lay off” twitter, as they soon found they were putting in way too much time and effort with minimal reward….

    I Also had a list of daily chores that I followed that was working quite well, and producing great results…the key was a balance of time and application between those website and off site tasks..

    In recent times I lost that balance somewhat, and wasted too much time on non essential tasks, that did not have any long term benefits….

    Nice site design…very easy to read and navigate….
    Danny recently posted..Google Adsense Pageviews Much Lower than Google AnalyticsMy Profile


    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Hi Danny, Blog moderation can be pretty time consuming, especially when we try to rely to a lot of comments. I see the same thing with too much time on both Twitter and Facebook. I personally know someone that says she’s on Facebook at least 5 hours a day and I believe her. Some people just get addicted I guess. Yep, it’s all about balance. Thanks :)

  13. You did a nice thing for your life, while I had thought to write articles everyday on my blog, but didnot done and wasted more time by browsing forums. Now planned to spend sometime everyday on my sites.


    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      It’s tough Suresh but it can be done. It also helps to carry a smart phone. I like to catch up with many things I used to do at home with my phone when standing in line, for example. This lets me use time that would have otherwise been wasted.

  14. Marc

    I always use a schedule. If don’t everything is so…disorganized. However, my schedule is different from yours: i intend content creation and social media in one day then the next day networking, etc. In this way i will not be pressured by time and not always content creation lasts 60 minutes.


  15. Twitter: wayne51melton
    I am like most people that assume productivity is about the best use of time. Recently I am convinced that productivity is about the final result of accomplishment. It you have something you must do it does not matter how much time you spent. Either you finish or you do not. The issue is work on knocking out projects with great results. Results determine productivity and not time.

    Thanks for the post from a first time visitor.

    Wayne Melton
    Wayne Melton recently posted..What is Copyright Infringement for Women BloggersMy Profile


  16. Twitter: ThatGamingCriti
    Well, I’ve made my own. This is something that is very smart on your part. I often had trouble using my multi-row Bookmarks doing all this stuff! You even turned me to a few new sites I’ve never heard of. I hate to put a link in this. By what I can say is it is under “scottsthingstodo” on the free “wordpress” it’s down to every word! Every detail! I “Dot” every “com”ma. < Hot Shots Quote

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