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Weekly top 5 #33 – Babies, Drawing and Shutting Up

One Law:
“Nine women can’t make a baby in one month” – Brooks’s Law

A software engineering theory from Fred Brooks that “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”. Now if only more clients can understand this truth.
 

One Tweet
Sometimes you’ve got to shut up, swallow your pride and accept that you’re wrong. It’s not giving up. It’s called growing up

After 30+ years, I’m still learning. Unfortunately it doesn’t get any easier – From @fact365
 

One Article
Startup sues former employees who launched similar company; CEO warns, ‘If we’re wrong, we’ll win’

This wasn’t the original article I was hoping to post, the original article was by Michael Allen on Medium, which for what I can only assume to be legal reason has since been removed. I’ve actually been to the SMULE office last year, the founder seem like a rather nice guy, giving us a very warm welcome. I can’t speculate who is right/wrong here, but it does warn us to be very careful how you hand new startups
 

One Video
Animated map miles of cable hidden under the ocean that power the internet

Slightly geeky video on how optic fibres are laid out around the world, with all the wifi we are surrounded by its easy to forget we still need cables.
 

One Personal Project
Shapes.io

I’ve been using PlusCreativity.com as my portfolio site for about 4 years now, although I was happy with the .com I was never truly happy with the name. After months of contemplation, I’ve finally made the switch to the new domain SHAPES.IO. It was my first time back-ordering an expire-and-soon-to-be-public domain (nic.io) It wasn’t cheap, I had to put down a no-promised £60 GBP first and pay another £60 GBP for the domain for 2 years. But I figured it was a safer bet then user park.io‘s auction which potentially could be even higher.
 

Progress

[Good] New site / New Brand finally live www.shapes.io [Work in Progress]
[Bad] Working from 9am to 3am on Monday got the job done, but I was mentally useless by 3pm the next day after only 4 hours of sleep – MUST NOT DO THIS AGAIN

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3 tricks that saved my productivity sanity

One of the biggest pain with working in digital media is how easy it is to get distracted. Since I am always ‘connected’ it’s not always easy to remain focused. I’ve been testing with a few new approaches lately and these 3 are working pretty well.

1. Set up E-mail filters

15th June 2013 Update: GMail’s new tabbed layout seems to more or less function the same way as how I recommend setting up filters, their solution is a lot more elegant, so I suggest you try it out. Check out this handy article at Lifehacker.com
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I am literally subscribed to tens of newsletters, some to do with my job and others on areas of interests and it was getting incredibly distracting. I’ve since unsubscribed myself from a good chuck but there are still far too many for my liking. Whenever I see that number pop up next to the gmail tab, it’s impossible for me to resist checking it, just in case it’s an emergency with something I have to fix. Then there are the emails with an incredibly interesting subject lines that I just have to read there and then.
It was just too much, so I’ve started using Gmail filters. ALL the “essential” newsletters now skips the inbox and are stored  inside a News folder that I only check when I am on a break. It’s been fantastic!
Here’s a wonderful post on on Mashable on using GMail Filters
gmail-filter

2. Keep a to do list but keep it simple!

Don’t waste your energy in trying to keep a todo list in your head, write it down, either on paper or use my fav project management app – Trello. but make sure you keep your tasks list short. Anything
Make sure you don’t over do your to do list. If  something is more than 3 months old, than it cannot be important – so JUST DELETE IT or create a back burner list  elsewhere, such as on Evernote. The aim is to keep your list short so you can scan all the items and more importantly to make sure you don’t ever feel overwhelmed by the list and end up doing nothing.
trello-screen

3. Limit the time you spend on social media

Control the time you spend on social media and ONLY allow your self a limited time slot. I only allow myself to go on Facebook and Twitter between on the hour and 5 mins past the hour (9am – 9:05am, 10am – 10:05am, 11am – 11:05am…etc) and If I miss the slot, tough! I will have to wait til the next slot.
I do admit I have a very bad habit of going on to facebook or twitter when I have a lot of work to do. It’s a bit like, if I don’t start the problem it doesn’t exist. This method helps me keep my social media addiction under control. There’s even an asap science video on this very unhelpful habit.

Other methods

I have flirt around with other techniques such the pomodoro technique which separate your tasks into 25mins slots. It can work wonders for some tasks, but other times it’s not particularly helpful when you get in “the zone”.
Do you have any productivity tips? Please share with us using the comment box below.

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Blog Tools & Services

Stop thinking and start using Trello for your project management


I have a geeky confession to make. I actually enjoy testing out different tools. I went through a long process in deciding which note taking app I should use (It may not be too surprising to hear Evernote ended up taking my heart.) I felt a bit guilty for taking so much time running my tests to see which would suit me most. However, my argument is that by wasting a few more minutes now I could potential be a much happier person later on. Not am I in search of a suitable tool, i’m also investing my energy (and sometimes money) in the team behind the tool. The same app we use today may be completely different in a year’s time, I have to trust the direction the developers are moving in is same as my own requirements.The purpose of this post is to give you an understanding why I found Trello so amazing and why I would highly recommend it as your project management tool (I am not financially affiliated with Trello in anyway)
I like to think I have done my fair share of research for project management tools. I really wanted to allow myself in taking the time to really understand my own requirements and pick the right project management service for me. The following is a list of tools I have tried and a very quick summary of my findings:

  • Basecamp – I love what 37 Signals does, really enjoyed their insightful book ReWork but basecamp didn’t feel right to me.
  • TeamBox – By recommendation from fellow web developer, very systematic approach but slightly confusing to use, maybe it’s just me.
  • Wunderkit – Beautifully designed App, worked a little slow for me and frankly I felt the heavy graphic slightly distracting.
  • Action Method – A very well designed platform by Behance, my absolutely favourite in terms of visual design, yet its too rigid
  • Trello – The very tool this post is based on, carry on reading for my thoughts.

As I’m sure you have worked out by now I ended up chosing Trello as my project management tool of chose. It’s flexiblily is absolutely amazing, it’s as close as you can get to having a whiteboard with stick notes, you can change the titles how ever you like, restructure boards if needed and assign members of your team to task with a simple drag and drop, this is an absolutely fantastic tool. I really like how the team really take their time to communicate with the community, exchanging ideas, reporting progress and milestones to each new feature, conveniently by using a Trello Board. Although it’s currently free, like DropBox and Evernote I would gladly pay money for their excellent service.
The recent addition to the Android App is also a plus (Along side their iOS and Mobile Web app), a little slow on the load but I have faith in the team. So, like I said in the title stop wasting time and start using Trello now. If you need further convincing, have a look at this article on Trello over at ReadWriteWeb
Trello