I am in between blogging daily and running a new expansion to the blog where we expanded into a new social network, this means managing features, launches, marketing, PR etc. what are the best tools and methods to manage my time between daily blogging and running the startup?
I've found that writing down what you need to get done and then putting it on a list is helpful with time/task management.
As for what to-do list program to use:
I've been using Todoist for a couple years and I really like how simple, yet functional it is.
Also, another ultra simple to-do list web app just launched today that looks promising called TeuxDeux.
Writing everything down -- so you know exactly what you need to get done each day -- really reduces stress. It's definitely worth the extra effort.
The problem with startups is there's always an infinite number of things to do.
For me, physical things like sticky notes just fill up, and then I'm left with a pile and I'm not sure how to prioritize, or whether I've dropped something important.
One trick you can use is ask yourself: Does this activity have a good chance of impacting the bottom line? Hint: Most things don't if you're honest with yourself.
Similar trick: Before you decide you need to add something or change something or do something, could you get by without it? If so, maybe don't do it -- there are enough things already that are truly vital.
I'd recommend giving the Pomodoro Technique a try (http://pomodorotechnique.com). It's a simple scheme where you do a single activity for 25 minutes (a 'pomodoro') and then take a 5 minute break. Every 4 pomodoros, you take a longer (15-25 minute) break. It really ensures that you truly focus on a task.
Then, at a higher level, use a system like GTD or a good todo manager (I recommend The Hit List if you're using a Mac).
I agree with Aaron. I have different stickies on my desk and write to do items on them. This may sound elementary, but it works for me... even if I am a very technically savvy person who has owned some type of PDA every day for the past 11 years. I write what needs to get done, and cross it out when I'm done. Simple, the way I like it to be.
I also have different alarms set throughout the day so I get reminded what time it is so I don't lose track of time (alarms are set on my phone).
I'd be curious to see what other people do. I think there are some books on this subject I need to look into. I'm always looking for ways to improve my efficiency.
I would make sure you block out your blog time and make everyone involved aware that you are not available. Hopefully you can schedule it when you are at your best, but that may not be possible.
To me the best organizational tool is the one most available. Entering tasks on a PC is easier, but my phone is with me more often and is more effective with notifications/popups. I'm in the habit of entering items in "real time". If I could remember to enter it later, I wouldn't need a scheduler.
Finally, are you good at saying NO?
Peter Drucker wrote a very interesting book called "The effective executive" in which he explains in the first chapter that the most important for an executive (and I believe it applies to all of us who run a startup or a business) is to focus on 1, maybe 2, but no more than 3 objectives.
And his second advice is to measure the time you spent on these objectives.
I highly recommend reading the book and using these two simple rules.
Regarding the measuring of time... it's important to really measure, not just guess how much time you spent. You'll find plenty of software to measure time. The trick is to make sure you allocate the time to the objective. That gives you real focus.
Get the real picture on where you spent your time.
I did this exercise for 3 months and was very surprised by the results. I noticed I was not efficient on certain recurring tasks and decided to improve the productivity on those.
Over time this is a very powerful tool.