9 ways journalists can increase productivity

by Shawn Smith on January 30, 2008

Between my projects at MLive, my web business and my web identity (blog, Twitter, Del.icio.us, Wired Journalists), I’ve really been crunched to keep everything humming.

And I know I’m not the only one. I posted similar sentiments on Wired Journalists, a new social network for journalists created by Ryan Sholin.

A few commenters said they often feel stretched by the daily grind, distracted by interesting things on the web and still have to find time to work on extra commitments. How can online journalists, web media folk handle it all?

I scoured some of my feeds to draw up a list of things online journalists can do to increase their productivity. Here’s a list of things I think many of us could benefit from:

1. Use Parallel replication for social networking profiles (via Web Worker Daily). This means, if you do something on your Facebook profile, such as add a new connection or change your personal website, take the time to update the same info on your LinkedIn profile.

Says WWD:

While this can be time consuming, it’s pretty effective, and you rarely forget the apps you use regularly.

2. Do one thing at a time. If you’re like me, you likely are posting to Twitter, thinking of new ways to promote content online, instant messaging, sizing photos and writing blogposts – all at the same time! Try starting a single task and finishing it before you move on to the next item. Sounds crazy, but if you can pull it off, it might help. (via Lifehack)

3. Integrate social networking services with your browser. You don’t always have to interact with a social networking site by visiting it. Try adding a few toolbars instead. My favorite toolbars: StumbleUpon, Facebook and Del.icio.us (although that’s more of a browser button).

4. Use a Feed Reader. I’ve talked a number of times about the benefits of RSS and Google Reader. If you’re not using it yet, WHY NOT!?!?! Get yourself an account! (expect to see a post on how to manage a large number of feeds in the near future) A feed reader will help relieve you from the need to check out a number of blogs/sites every day to see if there is something new. If you have the same problem with Digg/Del.icio.us Popular/Slashdot then try the aggregator doggdot.us – It’s great!

5. Treat your time like you do your money. (via web-strategist) Money is a limited resource (like I have to tell that to people working in media) so is time. If you’re frugal with your money, try translating the same tactics to your work habits.

Advice from Jeremiah Owyang of web-strategist: “Pay yourself first” – That means if you want to dedicate time to reading blog posts and posting your own stuff, make sure you set aside time for yourself before you get into the nitty gritty of the day. AND – Develop an email strategy :

The more you respond to emails, the more you will receive. The more you respond to emails, the more you will receive. Keep in mind what your core goals are (why is your employer paying you) and try to manage and budget this.

6. Shut down the distractions – Use JDarkRoom (via Lifehack) . I haven’t gotten into this tool, but have read loads of bloggers who say it’s a nice thing to try out. If you can manage disconnecting yourself, try it out.

Says LifeHack:

This application allows you to write more efficiently by removing all distractions. You’re given an entirely blank page on which to type. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM. When you’re done, you can save your work as a text file.

7. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts. Yes, these save a ton of time. Stop using the drop-down menus for everything. It’s much easier to get quick tasks completed using a few key strokes. Here’s links to a few keyboard shortcut guides you might find handy: Gmail, Google Reader, Firefox, Outlook, iMovie, Windows, Mac, Photoshop – and you can create your own with AutoHotKey.

8. Track your time, then cut out the time-wasters. Try out the PageAddict Firefox extension to track the time you spend on different sites. Once you see that you’re spending all your time reading productivity guides, you might have a better understanding why you aren’t so productive.

9. Create an email strategy. DailyBlogTips has a great run-down on how to best manage your email. Start by using Gmail more and work to keep your emails short and sweet. Then follow their handy guide.

Got any other tips? What else can journalists do to stay on the ball?

{ 1 trackback }

Are you experiencing web socializing overload? - Wired Journalists
January 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm

{ 1 comment }