Staying On Top of It


Jackson Miller avoids systems that require tagging each email, call or task with a project category. “I don’t like overly complicated programs,” says the Nashville, Tenn., business owner, father and marathon runner. He also avoids Web-based tools, because “when you open up a browser window, there are 35 tabs there staring at you with stuff you need to get done, fighting for your attention,” he says.

Among his favorite tools is a workload-tracking program called RescueTime; it posts an alert on his computer screen if he spends too much work time on Facebook or running blogs. If he strays a second time, RescueTime locks him out of nonwork programs and apps.

“How do you stay productive?” I took a short break in the middle of writing this post to go on TweetDeck so I could learn whatever latest thing was happening, and if I’m guilty of any productivity-killing habits, it’s going on Twitter too much. My favorite way of staying productive at work requires no apps or tools—I just shut it down. TweetDeck distracting my attention? Shut it down. People trying to have conversations with me on instant messenger when I should be working on something else? Goodbye, I’m logging off. If any of you have a magic thing that keeps you on top of it, I’d love to hear what that thing is.

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