5 easy changes that will drastically improve your life

When building new habits or learning new skills, it’s important to focus on the smallest changes that will result in the biggest results. This is known as the Pareto principle, or the 80-20 rule, which states that “for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.” This is an extremely powerful rule, because it means that you can have a huge impact on your life, or your work, by simply focusing on the right tasks.

I’ve compiled a list of five easy changes that will have a huge impact on your quality of life. These aren’t huge systems nor will you have to change your entire life around. Rather, they’re small habits that will become second nature in a couple of weeks yet have long-lasting effects on your productivity and mental state. Continue reading

These 2 email folders should be controlling your inbox

Inbox Zero

If you’re like most people, the main page of your email inbox is a mixture of emails you need to respond to, emails you should respond to, daily deal alerts, and random newsletters you told yourself to read at some point. Go back a page or two, and you’ll find emails you should have responded to, expired daily deal alerts, and random newsletters that will never hold your attention again. Farther back still is the “well, I guess it’s way too late at this point” section of the inbox. And, if you’re like most people, just thinking about your inbox backlog gives you anxiety.

There is a better way to deal with your emails. It’s super fast and easy, too! You’ll never have to wonder if you’re forgetting anything because you’ll know what needs to be done at a quick glance. You’ll never have to start an email with “I’m sorry it took so long to respond” again. Continue reading

10 Tools, Tips, and Tricks to Hack Your Workflow

I spend a lot of time on the Internet, reading articles, following startups, and collecting tools. Most things I find don’t stick, for generally one of three reasons: it sucks, it’s cool but not something I need, it’s cool but I don’t need it right now. But, on rare occasion, an app, website, or workflow will actually make its way into my tool chest. Over time, I’ve built a collection of tools, tips, and tricks that make my life a little bit better.

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Getting busy and being social for the socially awkward

Dann's busy calendar

A few years ago I found myself out of a long-term relationship and suddenly had nothing but free time. As a homebody, both in and out of relationships, this was fantastic. I’d take the long way home after work, pop in a movie, and relax. I steadily worked my way through my Netflix queue. I didn’t feel rushed, had no real obligations outside of work, and set all my own rules. It was glorious.

Soon, however, I began craving social interaction, with some caveats. I did not want to be busy every night of the week; I was enjoying my time to myself way too much. I had no interest in loud bars or clubs, paying for uninteresting movies because I was invited, or staying out until all hours of the night. Whenever I’d ask someone what was going on, it usually tended to fall into one of these categories. Continue reading

Move Your Brain Online, Get A Bigger Hard Drive

I had a problem. I would constantly find an interesting or helpful article/website/bit of information but never had any good place to store it. I’d tried bookmarks, social bookmarking sites, Evernote, and every other tool that would pop onto my radar. While many of these tools are great, and work well for a large number of people, none of them ever worked for me.

Snippets of websites, tags, text recognition, all lacked one vital element for my needs: a greater sense of context. I didn’t want to just save a website; I wanted to put that website into a larger context. It needed to fit into a comfortable nook within my existent knowledge. It needed to be a flexible and robust encyclopedia for my brain.

That’s when it clicked. I needed my own personal Wikipedia.

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