Category Archives: Productivity

Sophisticated trolls

Some write carelessly. Some write without spelling or punctuation or grammar.

Some make zero sense at all.

Those trolls are easy to ignore.

Other trolls are careful. Thoughtful, even.

They write in perfect grammar. And they appear worthy of your time.

The sophisticated trolls.

Then there are the non-trolls. The people who ARE worth of your time.

It’s tough to tell the difference between the sophisticated trolls and the non-trolls.

When in doubt, though, they’re probably just a sophisticated troll. And thus, not worth your time.


Pretty easy

Need to create a proposal?

Want to write a book?

Have a party to plan?

Outline it.

Then outline the outline.

Then outline the outline’s outline.

And so on.

Now your thing is created, written, planned.

And wasn’t that pretty easy?

Your address (a shortcut)

Few people need it these days.

But if someone asks for it via text or email, chances are you’re getting:

  • A gift.
  • A check.
  • A friend with beer or a potluck contribution.
  • A guy from Craigslist who wants to give you cash and haul away your old things.

So you want to get them your perfectly typed and punctuated address ASAP.

But typing it out is such a pain.

Unless you have a shortcut!

All smartphones allow you to create keyboard shortcuts.

On iPhones, it’s under General Settings. Here are the steps:

  1. Set the phrase to be your address.
  2. Set the shortcut to some non-word that’s easy to remember and super easy to type. I use “addr”. “Azzz” would also work nicely.

That’s it. You just saved yourself several minutes of typing, clarifying, and being generally aggravated.

address shortcut

[Note: You can also use keyboard shortcuts to teach your phone to swear, a la my developer.]


Ever find yourself going in loops?

  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
  •, Google News, Gmail,
  • Google Analytics, Affiliate Earnings, YouTube, Google Analytics.

You know, start somewhere, go elsewhere and end up at the beginning just a few minutes later only to find that nothing has changed and you’re wondering if you’re possessed by the devil because no logically thinking person would behave in such a way?

Yes, they’re real, and they’re scary.

Avoid entering to avoid the inevitable.

[HT @bradrozra]

15 and 5

Remember that 55-minute timer I mentioned a while back?

You know, work for 55 minutes then take a break for five? Get up, stretch, chug water, pee, etc.

Well, I’ve been playing with a new version of that.

The 15-minute timer.

It’s fifteen minutes of work followed by five minutes of break.

Seems like a lot of breaking, right? 25% of your work day is spent NOT working.

But isn’t that the case already? (Even when I was doing a 55-minute timer, I’d only get through a few full cycles with the rest of the day spent goofing around).

This way, your breaks are scheduled and the time you DO work is more productive.

With fifteen minutes on, five minutes off, I’m feeling:

  • More productive with day (as a whole).
  • More aware of how I’m spending my time.
  • More efficient with tasks (not getting lost in minute details that don’t move the needle).

I’ve been using the free focus booster app for a few days now. Try it?

[HT to NF for the 15 and 5 suggestion]

What does your away message say?

I’m out of the office..


I’ll be out of the office from July 3 until July 15.

In case of emergency…


I will have limited access to email.


I will be checking email, but won’t respond unless it’s a real emergency.


In case of an emergency, please contact my assistant.

Aw, fuck it. 

Who am I kidding with this out of office crap anyway? You just saw the subject line and read no further. You know the deal.


For real though. I’m trying to go off the grid. Figure it out.


I’m not doing email for one week. I’m going to return energized and motivated. You should give it a try. Love, Lenny

Okay, that will do. 

55-minute countdown

Some of us go to work and react. Check email, answer the phone, take care of the things we’re being paid to take care of.

And that’s great.

Others go to work and create. That’s great, too.

Either way, using a 55-minute countdown timer is a total game-changer at work.

For the reactors, it’s a reminder to take five minutes every hour to breathe, stretch, walk, drink water, etc.

For the creators, it’s a way to stay focused for 55 minutes and be rewarded afterwards for five.

For me, there is a strong correlation between the number of 55-minute countdowns I set in a workday and my overall quality of life.

Try it.


Stuck in a long, boring, essentially useless meeting?

Don’t be afraid to doodle.

No, you’re not fooling anyone into thinking you’re taking notes.

But it will keep you more present than thinking about how you can get a job that doesn’t require you to sit in long, boring, essentially useless meetings.

Fifty five, five

Some days are computer-heavy. It’s a reality for almost everyone, these days.

It can come in many forms:

  • Preparing.
  • Editing.
  • Writing.
  • Formatting.
  • Proposing.
  • Testing.
  • Auditing.
  • Analyzing.
  • Etc.

Those days, you could spend the entire day glued to the computer. No breaks.

But you shouldn’t.

Set a 55-minute timer and then get up for five.

Walk around. Stretch. Get water. Run to the bathroom. Dance. Whatever.

You’ll feel better.

And, with hardly any effort, you just got 40 minutes of exercise during a highly productive 8-hour work day.


It’s a human thing.

You can’t control yourself.

  • The leftover cookies from your party.
  • Instagram / Twitter on your phone.
  • The couch in your peripheral vision.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s a human thing.

Accept the reality.

Enjoy the indulgence. Or, eliminate the option all together.