Monthly Archives: September 2010

Two Techniques That Help You Embrace Brevity

Copyblogger’s Muhammad Saleem, has put up a great post on how you can reword sentences and remove extraneous words in order to shorten posts, and since pretty much everyone that reads blogs has no attention span, this should be required reading.

Is it worth the extra effort to ruthlessly edit? Well, if we take the time to omit needless words, sentences and paragraphs from an article or landing page, we communicate more concepts in less time and space. The point of brevity is not to say less, it’s to say what needs to be said effectively and concisely.

Editing, cutting out words, or even rewording sentences to reduce their length is something I still have to work on, but it is nice to see some easy to understand guides being written on the issue

10 Essential Email Skills

Freelance Switch has an article up helping everyone learn how to deal with e-mail better. I am horrible for giving e-mail too much time and attention, and I know I am not the only one with that problem.

The article covers things like getting your inbox to empty, filtering out all but the essential e-mails, and following up on e-mails.

Here is a sample of the article:

Be professional. It’s common for people to write emails with lazy grammar, spelling, capitalization, slang and the like. Well, that’s fine if you’re writing to your relatives or best friends, but otherwise, try to observe the rules of writing. Capitalize correctly, try to spell words correctly, and don’t use slang. Begin emails with a salutation (at least a “Hi Leo”) and end with a signature.

Now if only I could follow these rules…

Productivity Tip: Turn Off Instant Messaging

It seems so simple, so innocuous, but really instant messaging is the evil sinkhole of productivity. I have a few different programs, to manage the different lists of people I talk to, as everyone seems to have a different preference. Even my work has its own Jabber server and network, adding one more to the pile.

The corporate instant messaging platform was so we could turn off the rest, and be able to focus on work, but the reality is that all instant messaging needs to be turned off to really get a good amount of work done. Any interruption to your focus, or what I call my “groove”, will distract you from your goals, stop you from getting things done, and cost you time and energy that could have been put into work tasks.

Writing conversations, even just in short form instant messaging takes much more concentration than talking on the phone to someone, as it uses both your sense of sight and touch, where talking via an audio medium, through Skype or the phone, only uses your hearing.

The biggest productivity tip I can give you is to turn off your instant messaging programs during your blogging time. Schedule when you will be available to be accessed through such means, and let people know they can e-mail you, or if it is an emergency or very high priority, they can take the time to call you. I know calling can be a distraction as well, so make sure they realize that it is only in extreme situations that calling would be acceptable.

Instant messaging tools are productivity killers, and in this highly competitive world, the last thing you want is to be unproductive.

Making Passive Income

Freelance Switch has released “A Guide to Making Passive Income” on their NotByTheHour.com domain. It is separated into four parts, with each part tackling a different thing that people can do to generate an income without any long term work. Things like selling stock photos, writing a book, selling subscriptions, and creating content sites.

From the site:

Getting paid by the hour is pretty neat, but it’s even better when you have income that comes in when you?re taking time off too! Freelancers are uniquely positioned to be able to spend time creating sources of passive income while still getting their main money earning work done.

Streams of passive income can take a bit of work to get started, some even take a little work to maintain, however they are well worth it. Having a steady source of income is particularly useful for a freelancer as it helps mitigate risk and balance out some of the ups and downs of freelancing. Besides who doesn’t want a source of income that keeps generating with or without your input!

The guide’s website is beautiful, and the information, while a bit basic in parts, is really well written. They also give some example websites that can help you on your passive income journey over on the right hand side of the page. Pretty much everyone will find at least one page useful, and worthy of bookmarking.