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Posts by Karen Schoellkopf:

Time Saving Tuesdays And Keystrokes

We’re excited to announce our winner from last week’s Time Saving Tuesday contest, and to fill you in on this week’s contest and prize.

LAST WEEK’S CONTEST: We asked you to send your best time saving tips you use on your commute. We got many creative submissions (thank you all for Tweeting your suggestions!) and we assembled a blog post of Quick Time Saving Tips For Your Commute, incorporating several of the best responses. The winner of the Harvest orange slapwatch from Winky Designs is @jorydayne, who tweeted this: #Respectyourtime: I walk to work. It takes 4x as long, but building my sched with that constraint in mind forces efficiency everywhere else. We really liked how Jory combined two activities (exercise and commute)  instead of trying to skim time off of either on.

THIS WEEK’S CONTEST: We want your best time saving keystrokes, one of the most universal time savers. We want to know your most relied upon keystrokes.

Follow @harvest and tweet your best time saving keystrokes (and what they do!) using #respectyourtime. This week’s winner will win this sweet clock made from a real 3-1/2 in computer hard drive by pixelthis!

Please share this widely, the more answers we get, the more we can share with you. We can’t wait to hear your tips and tricks!

Quick Time Saving Tips For Your Commute

Unless you are working from a home office, most of us leave to go to work. You may be surprised by how much time you actually spend in transit to your job – Time Management Ninja created this quick table (which assumes 8 hour workday, 5 day work week, 50 weeks a year), showing  the difference between a short and long commute:

Save Time

  • Shift your commute to a less travelled time. This means you may come in earlier, but you leave earlier too (avoiding the evening rush!).
  • Skip the commute. See if it’s possible to occasionally work from home.
  • If you drive: use the HOV lane.
  • If you’re based in DC/Virgina and you drive, here’s how ride sharing, a.k.a. slugging works. Being a “slug” saves you money, and being a driver allows you into HOV lanes.
  • On the train or bus, use mobile apps that work offline & sync later, like Evernote.
  • Take the NYC subway? Walk to the spot on the subway train closest to your exit – there’s even an app for that!

Invest in Yourself

  • Make a to-do list of all the personal tasks you need to do that day, to help organize your thoughts.
  • Listen to audiobooks, learn a foreign language, or watch downloaded screencasts on your iPod or mobile device.
  • Save interesting articles on Instapaper, and read from your smartphone while on the train.
  • Knit (only on subways or buses, do not attempt while driving!).
  • Skip work altogether, and unplug – clear your mind to be more efficient during the day.
  • Combine your exercise routine with your commute:  it may make the commute longer, but it may be shorter (and more efficient) than doing both separately.

Many thanks to the Twitter community for sharing your own tips for this article. We’ll announce the winners of our Time Savings Tuesdays contest next Tuesday (along with the new contest theme), and feel free to share your own tips in the comments!

Time Saving Tuesdays And Your Commute

We’re excited to announce our winners from last week’s Time Saving Tuesday contest, and to fill you in on this week’s contest and prizes.

LAST WEEK’S CONTEST: We asked you to send your best time saving tips for making meetings more efficient. We got many great submissions (thank you all for Tweeting your suggestions!) and we assembled a blog post of Quick Time Saving Tips For Meetings, incorporating several of the best responses. The winner of the set of 8 colorful and lovely “You’re Very, Very Late” tatt.ly tattoos is @svpino, who tweeted this: If you want to keep your meetings short, get rid of chairs / coffee / donuts. #respectyourtime

We have to mention that we got a suggestion from @fulljames that tickled us: I want to get a TIM (Time Is Money) clock to show how much our meetings are costing. #respectyourtime

We thought that was a great suggestion (in addition, of course, to checking your Harvest time reports!), and we thought we’d make his day by sending him the TIM clock – congratulations to both Santiago and Stephen!

THIS WEEK’S CONTEST: We want your best time saving tips and tricks for your commute. Most of us have to leave the house to get to work, and we want to know: how do you save time while you’re en route?

Follow @harvest and tweet your best time saving tips for your commute using #respectyourtime. This week’s winner will win this Harvest orange slapwatch from Winky Designs! No longer available on their website, we’ve got one of their last slapwatches here at HQ, just waiting to be scooped up by this week’s winner!

Please share this widely, the more answers we get, the more we can share with you. We can’t wait to hear your tips and tricks!

Quick Time Saving Tips For Meetings

Time is money, and meetings are a notorious time sink. Forbes points out that, “a one-hour meeting of six software engineers costs $1,000 at least. People who don’t have the authority to buy paperclips are allowed to call meetings every day that cost far more than that.”

The only way to run (and participate in) efficient and useful meetings is to invest in certain areas, and reduce in others. Last week, we launched our first Time Saving Tuesday, and we’ve combined our own time saving tips with some excellent Twitter suggestions for making meetings most productive.

Remove from your meetings.

  • Get rid of chairs, coffee, donuts, and cell phones. Everyone seems focused on not wasting time when they have to stand, and the number of distractions is limited.
  • Use collaboration tools (like Co-op, IM, or email threads). Quickly solve the questions that don’t need a meeting.
  • Keep meetings on target by using accurate time estimates. It makes people antsy when meetings run over their time limit, so check previous time reports to effectively gauge typical meeting length.
  • Downsize your invitee list. Curate your attendance list wisely.
  • Encourage open (for everyone) and closed (selected participants) portions of meetings, where people who do not have to be at entire meeting can be dismissed. You can share meeting notes with everyone afterwards to review.
  • Create “meeting-free” days, to allow employees to capitalize on focused, uninterrupted concentration.
  • Don’t accept every meeting invite. Says Seth Godin, “Don’t bother having a meeting if you’re not there to change or make a decision right now.”

Invest in your meetings.

  • Define specific goals for the meeting ahead of time, so that you can stay on topic.
  • Have a clear agenda, w/ time budgets for each item, and then enforce those time limits.
  • Offer a way for people to submit questions and ideas in advance of the meeting.
  • Circulate any reading materials before the meeting, and insist that all attendees read them beforehand.
  • Make use of a talk object (a hat, stick, staff, feather, or something else!), so that people can talk freely without having to talk over others.
  • At the end of the meeting, ask for feedback about its efficiency. Keep improving the process!
  • Hire a meeting fairy. This magical person can manage and enforce all of the above suggestions, and keep everyone prepared and informed both before and after meetings.

Many thanks to the Twitter community for your great contributions to this article. We’ll announce the winners of our Time Savings Tuesdays contest tomorrow, and feel free to share your own tips in the comments!

Welcome To Time Saving Tuesdays

At Harvest, we take time seriously, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to be more efficient. Join us in sharing your best time saving tips, and you may even win a prize for it!

Each Tuesday in January, we’ll be asking a time saving question on Twitter. We’ll be accepting submissions until midnight EST, and we’ll share the best tips and tricks in the next week’s blog post. To sweeten the pot, one lucky winner will score a prize from us.

THIS WEEK’S THEME: We want your best time saving tips and tricks for meetings. Meetings are a notorious time sink. Tell us how you keep your meetings efficient and productive.

Follow @harvest and tweet your best time saving tips for meetings using #respectyourtime. This week’s winner will score a set of 8 colorful and lovely “You’re Very, Very Late” tatt.ly tattoos!

Please share this widely, the more answers we get, the more we can share with you. We can’t wait to hear your tips and tricks!

Harvest Playback, Dec 16 Edition

I’m filling in for Shawn on this week’s edition of the Harvest Playback, and I’m excited to let you know what we’ve been up to.

Here’s a rundown of what we accomplished this past week: we completed and deployed a major billing overhaul (and Barry even made a special Rdio playlist dedicated to it), we launched an updated Android app with improved syncing, and we came up with a plan to keep you all customer supported over the holidays.

Other things on our brains, as evidenced by our link swapping in Co-op:

That wraps up another productive and fun week at Harvest. See you next week!

#workbetter Roundup: Save Time Through Efficiency

As a part of our daily ongoing #workbetter series, we’ve been suggesting articles that are relevant to running a small business and being productive. This month we’ve pulled together a few recent articles that focus on efficiency, and using your time wisely:

Follow us on Twitter to get #workbetter tips daily, and feel free to share your own suggestions by using the #workbetter hashtag! We’ll continue to keep you on top of the conversations and topics that are most relevant to you in the world of small business.

Harvest Holiday Meetup Recap

Wednesday night we had our Harvest Holiday meetup, and we got to see many friends, family, customers, neighbors, and even one of our New Founders, Kristel, that swung by to Harvest HQ. It was great to meet and re-connect with so many people that rely on Harvest to run their businesses, and a wonderful chance for Harvest customers and the Harvest team to chat with each other. We had food to perk up the rain-soaked masses – savories and sweets were from two local establishments, Soho bakery Oro and Spanish specialty foods supplier Despana, and our drinks master Jae concocted large brews of mulled wine and warm spiced apple cider – yum.

Here are a few pictures of the festivities, and thanks for sharing such a great evening with us! Continue reading…

#workbetter Roundup: Getting Paid and Raising Your Rates

As a part of our daily ongoing #workbetter series, we’ve been suggesting articles that are relevant to running a small business and productivity. This month we’ve pulled together a few recent articles that help your business raise its rates, and give pointers on how to get paid when the client’s check is late:

13 Serious Mistakes You Should Never Make – Business pitfalls you should avoid, like: do you have a kill-fee for the project? Do you always require a down payment BEFORE you start work on a project? You should!

Lessons in Setting Prices – The delicate art of setting your fee: how to raise prices without sending customers running.

Get Paid: What to Do When The Check is Late – Useful, actionable ways to get that check moving towards your mailbox.

Screw you. Pay Me. (video) – A dynamic video of Mike Monteiro (of Mule Design) about cutting though client excuses, with his own lawyer weighing in as well – a must see.

Follow us on Twitter to get #workbetter tips daily, and feel free to share your own suggestions by using the #workbetter hashtag! We’ll continue to keep you on top of the conversations and topics that are most relevant to you in the world of small business.

Using the Creativity that Surrounds You

Since January of this year, we’ve been steadily suggesting articles of note through our #workbetter initiative, where we spotlight interesting links relevant to running a small business and productivity.

It’s been fun to share ideas and tips from the world at large to help make you and your business more efficient and successful, and we’re delighted that so many folks are following our #workbetter series on Twitter thus far.

Here are a few recent articles that put you in control of your creative output:

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get #workbetter tips daily, and feel free to share your own suggestions by using the #workbetter hashtag! We’ll continue to keep you on top of the conversations and topics that are most relevant to you in the world of small business.

image by A.A.