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Harvest Tips posts:

Time Saving Tuesdays and Food

It’s the last week of January, and that means our final Time Savings Tuesdays contest! Find out who won last week, and how you can get in on this week’s contest.

LAST WEEK’S CONTEST: We asked you to send your best workday time saving tips. We assembled a blog post of Time Saving Tips for your Workday, based on the answers we sourced from our Twitter followers. Nicole won this gorgeous handstamped NOW clock by M Bart Studios, and here’s her winning entry:

#respectyourtime Do all my invoicing & paperwork in set groups, so that I can pull things out and put them away more efficiently. Consider us impressed.

THIS WEEK’S CONTEST: It’s the end of January, and our thoughts are turning to the SuperBowl this weekend, and the parties that it involves. We decided to turn our time saving focus to food – how do you save time? Either in the grocery store, getting food to your home, or with food prep – we want it all!

Follow @harvest, begin your tweet with #respectyourtime, and share your best time saving workday tips. We’ll be following the #respectyourtime hashtag to keep up with your entries.

This week’s winner will receive a kitchen timer (for pies, and beyond!) by the London-based brother design duo Designwright:

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 Workday

The one resource we all have the same amount of is time – how you spend it defines so much about your life. We’ve assembled a few tips to help you make the most of the time you have in your workday.

Managing your time needs to become a ritual, an ongoing process you follow to keep you focused on your priorities throughout the day.

  • Do all of your invoicing and paperwork in set groups, so that you can pull things out all at once, and put them away more efficiently.
  • Have 2-3 attainable goals for the day. No one is productive w/ endless to do lists.
  • Learn to say no to projects where the time investment outweighs the return.
  • Find the perfect GTD system out there: there are no magic answers, it’s simply the one you trust and use so your mind is free.

Know the strongest times of your work day. If you can match your best times for work with the most intense tasks, and your least productive times with more routine tasks, you’ll get more out of your day.

  • Read emails before leaving for work, mentally process while commuting, then answer on arrival at the office.
  • End your day by making a list of things you want to accomplish the following day.

Budget your time. 

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 Workday

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 prize.

LAST WEEK’S CONTEST: We asked you to send your best time saving keystrokes. We had so many great entries that we decided to pick two winners in two separate categories: everyday tips, and power user app suggestions! We assembled a blog post of Time Saving Keystrokes, incorporating several of the best responses. The winners of the 3-1/2 in computer hard drive clock by pixelthis are:

@AdamHoej, who tweeted this: #respectyourtime ctrl+s.. Saves (pun intended) me from messing up my files! I’ve set it to Incremental save, so instant traceback! Nice touch with the incremental save!

and also @chopmo, who tweeted us with this power user protip: I use Gleebox for webbrowsing using only my keyboard. Huge timesaver. #respectyourtime

THIS WEEK’S CONTEST: Inspired by our Twitter follower @nicolelafave and her #respectyourtime suggestions last week, we decided to dedicate this week’s contest to your best time saving tips for your workday – how do you shave time from your day?

Follow @harvest, begin your tweet with #respectyourtime, and share your best time saving workday tips. We’ll be following the #respectyourtime hashtag to keep up with your entries.

This week’s winner will recieve this beautiful hand stamped clay NOW clock by M Bart Studios!

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!

Protip: Time Saving Keystrokes

Did you know that it’s 10 times quicker to type a command rather than lift a hand from the keyboard to the mouse? Here’s a few ways to save time with some easy keystrokes!

Some Harvest and Co-op protips, from the Harvest Team:

Everyday keystrokes:

  • Ctrl+F (Win) or Cmd+F (OSX). Finds specific text in the Web page that’s open.
  • Backspace (Win) or Delete (Mac). Makes your browser go back one page.
  • Windows key + first few letters of a program + enter. Start any program from your keyboard. (via @jkenters)
  • Ctrl+z. “People take this feature for granted. Imagine a world with no ctrl+z.” The power of the undo! (via @stevendeeds)
  • Ctrl+s. “Saves (pun intended) me from messing up my files! I’ve set it to Incremental save, so instant traceback!” (via @AdamHoe)
  • Cmd+q. “Sometimes you have to quit and walk away.” (via @weepapa)

If you want to geek out:

Many thanks to the Twitter community for sharing your own tips for this article, we had a great time swapping tips! 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!

Some Thoughts On a Collaborative Workspace

Over the weekend, a friend of mine gave me a tour of Bloomberg’s NYC office. Their 29-floor building is full of huge, open workspaces. Even the company big-wigs don’t get a private office; when they’re in town, they occupy one of the many transparent, glass-walled conference rooms scattered throughout the building. This is a similar set up to what we have at Harvest HQ, though on a much larger scale, and I think the atmosphere promotes equality and togetherness.

While there’s a lot to be said for this type of environment, the inevitable noise and distraction that comes with it can actually hinder what its supposed to foster: creativity through collaboration. Susan Cain comes to the defense of introverts and quiet workspaces in The Rise of the New Groupthink, an article from last Friday’s NY Times. Here’s the gist of it: equality and transparency are good, but collaborative spaces can decrease creativity, especially in introverts.

Continue reading…

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!

Ode to Co-op

There has been plenty written recently on distributed teams. A couple of weeks ago @dhh wrote a post on the 37signals blog that generated an enormous amount of discussion. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about since I joined Harvest because I happen to think we run our distributed team really well.

A huge part of Harvest’s successful distributed team is our use of Co-op, a free online collaboration tool built by the Harvest team. Co-op is a private status update stream that is seamlessly integrated with Harvest (naturally!). The original intent was to create a water cooler that was less invasive than group chat. However it has become absolutely vital to the operations of this business as well as to the culture.

The reason Co-op works is that it enables one-to-many communication in addition to one-to-one communication. As a marketer, I shouldn’t be surprised that communication should vary if speaking to many people versus one person. It just never occurred to me that successful distributed teams need tools that enable multiple types of communications. It’s quite obvious now.

I’ll admit, when I first got here I was a bit overwhelmed by Co-op – it just seemed like one more continuous stream of chatter that I needed to pay attention to. I have now come to love it. In addition to keeping me up to date on what everyone is working on it has helped me build relationships with my co-workers both in and out of New York. Personalities come through in Co-op in a way that they don’t on email. It has helped create and maintain the sense of culture in the office.

If you have a distributed team, or even if you don’t, I recommend you check it out here.

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!