First things first
Every morning I go through the same routine. First the email check and delete. Select All email and then click off the email I want to keep. These are usually all actionable items. The rest gets deleted.
Next come the local news, online. Our local newspaper sucks, so this takes maybe three minutes to peruse before taking a look at Google News headlines just to make sure something momentous hasn’t happened overnight. Next comes Facebook, about 3-5 minutes of seeing what my friends are up to. At the most I’ve now spent 15 minutes of my morning and usually at this time Peanut comes in ready for her walk. By “ready for her walk” I actually mean nothing will get done until I take her for her walk because she’ll try and climb in my lap until my full attention is centered on her.
Social media time
Back from my walk I fire up TweetDeck and check my notifications and various searches. Buffer gets loaded in another window; I use it to schedule tweets and posts to LinkedIn and Facebook. I have two screens, so in my main screen I start Feedly and browse the feeds from all of the blogs I belong to. There are usually 150-400 posts, but I can get through them quickly, stopping only to read one fully when it interests me. Most of the time I just open the article in a new window and keep reviewing Feedly. By the end I usually have 5-10 articles open in browser tabs and usually I create Tweets for these, complete with images I get from screenshots.
I keep TweetDeck open all day, though not usually maximized when I’m working. During breaks or thinking periods I will check a search I set up for people looking for WordPress help. I also keep an eye out for interesting articles, breaking news, notifications and direct messages. I check Twitter more often than I check email (3x daily) or my voicemail (1x daily if I remember).
I try to remembers to link the article to the person who wrote it and/or the website. For example, I might recall an article about forms that appeared on the Nielson Norman Group site. If “Nielson Norman Group” is added to The Brain, then I can see all of the articles by them I’ve saved. Or maybe browse other articles that might apply to whatever I’m thinking about. Many articles under the same author means that author is probably a thought leader and I should follow them on Twitter or elsewhere.
The best part about The Brain, however, is the “add it and forget it” aspect. Unlike bookmarks or lists, I know that I will be able to find this article again when I’m needing information about forms. All the information is linked in a way that I can’t help but run into it when I’m looking for information.
Let’s say a client needs a responsive modal form with a custom form handler. If I type “form” into my Brain’s search I can see all of the forms, including custom handlers I’ve built, other clients that I’ve done forms for, and all of the articles relating to forms. There are links to front-end validators, back end validators and custom styling information. I even see code snippets I’ve saved reminding me how to get the value of a radio button or select field in jQuery (something that I keep forgetting).
And now to work….
Everything above takes about 2 hours, including walking my dog which is about 45 minutes to an hour. By 9 or 10 a.m. I start working through my email, getting to inbox zero and then client project work. Right now I’m a little slow so instead I’m learning Python and also reading the WordPress source code. I spend a couple hours a day on each.