Productivity tips

I spend a lot of time in thinking about how I can achieve more in less time. Some of that effort has gone into thinking about the tools I use on a daily basis (e.g. task management apps, paper notebooks, or programmer's editors). Some of it has been spent trying processes to achieve more in less time, such as the Pomodoro technique, Agile development, and the Lean startup movement.

They all have an important role to play...


  1. Stay curious

    When I was 10 my Dad told me something very disturbing: "Kids learn faster than adults because adults lose their childhood curiosity." The idea that I'd slowly become less interested in life didn't go down well and I resolved there and then never to stay curious. This week Brian Cox made it abundantly clear that I haven't been doing too well.

    Continue reading

  2. Finding perpetual inspiration

    I've been reading Execute this week, a book about how we can act on inspiration to create great things, fast. It tells the story of how Drew Wilson conceived, built and shipped a competitor to PayPal in five days (as if to make the point, Josh Long and Drew Wilson wrote the book itself in a week). One of the ideas that has resonated most strongly with me is the "inspiration battery".

    Continue reading

  3. Write a quick draft while it's fresh

    As a bootstrapper, it's important that I spend enough time getting my product's name out there. For me, that means blogging. I've recently been writing a couple of paragraphs the instant that I have an idea for a post. That usually means writing "on your mobile" (or in my case, on my iPod).

    Continue reading

  4. Life without an iPhone

    Nine months ago I realised I was spending my life keeping up with "crap on the Internet". I ditched my iPhone, bought an iPod Touch and a cheap Nokia phone, and loaded up Instapaper with interesting things to read. There was enough interest in how my experiment would work out to warrant a follow up, and this is it. Am I more productive? Am I happier?

    Continue reading

  5. Act on great articles

    I read a lot of great articles in Instapaper on my iPod, but I don't remember all the lessons I learn. I need a way to get these ideas into my todo list so I can act on them later. I need a good workflow. Instapaper and Things integrate nicely, but the feature is well hidden.

    Continue reading

  6. Ditch your smart phone

    Why do we find checking email and Twitter on our smart phones so compelling? The content of both is largely rather dull, and yet if you leave me alone in a pub for 30 seconds (literally) you'll catch me whipping out my iPhone and checking my email.

    Enough is enough...

  7. Tools of the trade

    Peter Cooper of Ruby Inside recently asked if people wanted to write about the things that they use in their development work. So I jumped squarely onto that band wagon...

    Continue reading