February 9, 2011

Things to write about: questions for your blogger’s block

February 9, 2011 - Categories: blogging

People often tell me they’re worried about finding enough material for their blogs. The truth is, there’s so much you can write about. Here are four questions that can help you think of things to share.

What do you want to learn more about? When you write about something – whether it’s completely new to you or something you’re puzzling out – you can understand it more deeply. Write about what you’re figuring out. Write about how you’re figuring it out. Write about what you’re learning along the way. (Sharing is an excellent way to learn even more – people often comment with better ways to do things!)

What do you want to change? This is like writing in order to learn more, but with commitment and action. Do you want to change the way you spend your time? Think about what you do, why you do it, and how you’re going to change. Want to save more? Write about your goals and your progress. Writing helps you understand more, identify ways to improve, and publicly commit to growing. It also gives you a record of progress, which can be useful for motivating yourself.

What do you want to share with other people? Have you solved a problem that other people will probably run into? Save people time by sharing your solutions. Do you have a tip that will make it easier for people to do things? Share that. Do you have a passion you’d like to teach others? Share that.

What do you want to remember? Write about the memories you want to be able to revisit. Write about the feelings and reasons you may want to review. Write about tips and solutions you’re likely to need again. Write for yourself. It’s okay.

I tend to write posts that combine these questions. For example, my reflections on what I do for fun help me learn more, change, and remember why I want to change. If sharing the process inspires others, that’s a neat bonus.

How about you? What do you want to learn more about? What do you want to change? What do you want to share? What do you want to remember?

More tips on how to have tons of topics

2011-02-09 Wed 06:01

Thinking about personal random moment studies

February 9, 2011 - Categories: geek, productivity, quantified

John Handy Bosma (Boz) proposed a personal productivity random moment study. His goals are:

The interesting thing about randomness is that it might have a different effect on behaviour. If you can’t anticipate when you’re going to get polled and you’re honest about your responses when you do, would that help you focus on more important things so that you don’t catch yourself goofing off during the polling time?

What are good questions to ask during the sampling moment? Boz has:

These questions also helped Boz stay focused – immediate benefit.

Questions/ideas related to tracking:

Is the effect of uncertainty worth the added effort required to build a custom tracking solution (or buy one), or will fixed time intervals be acceptable? If fixed time intervals are okay, then off-the-shelf apps can be stitched together for this functionality.

Is there value in full randomness (ex: five reminders randomly set for one day, even if those reminders all come in the morning) or is it more about moment-to-moment randomness (ex: a reminder set randomly in each 2-hour period)?

In which circumstances would interrupt-driven methods like this be better than time tracking or time-and-motion-type studies? Boz shared that he never quite got the hang of time tracking, so it might be about enabling a different set of people to explore this class of experiments.

Does measuring time (either through sampling or through time-tracking) offer significant benefits over, say, tracking quantity of tasks completed in different categories (like Andy Schirmer does) when it comes to measuring alignment with priorities?

Hmm…

I might give it a try. I like my time-based analysis, though, so I may increase the granularity of my time-tracking (track at the task level whenever possible). I can then simulate work-sampling based on that data. I might also try fixed-interval sampling using KeepTrack on the Android, although I tend to skip interruptions.

Related:

2011-02-09 Wed 10:58