my 20 best productivity tips

Posted on April 10th, 2013

I’m not a productivity fiend. Flaying about in chaos can be exhilarating. But I do like the sport of finding a smarter way to do things. And I love it when people share what they do. Is it a chick thing? I mean, it’s the secret to women’s magazines – sharing the kind of information our grandmother’s shared over the back fence. It’s pervy and helpful at the same time.

image via

I get asked often what I do to make things smoother, faster. And when I do, I realise I do have a few things in place, most of them gleaned from my 2-year-long experiment chronicled in my Sunday Life series of columns. Here’s a bunch of things I do plus stuff a bunch of smooth, fast friends I have do…and I’m going to ask all of you to add to the list. I’ll do a second post of the best-ofs (with links to your various blogs/instagrams etc). Share away below.

I’ll kick off first.

1. I use Instapaper for long reads.

I’ve written about this great program here. I have a “read later” widget in my bookmarks and save links that I want to…read later…or to use another time. Then, once a fortnight or so, I’ll got through the stored links and read them, or file them in categories. If I’m travelling, I’ll open and download a bunch to read on the plane.

2. Hootsuite for all social media.

It’s the only (to my knowledge) free desktop that allows me to post to all (or a few) social media outlets at once. Again, I have a “hootlet” widget in my bookmarks and can share a link everywhere in an instant.

3. I use Siri a lot.

She likes my voice and does what I say. I use it for brain fart moments (I compose emails to myself) and writing long texts and even the copy on my instagram posts. Not sure if this is legal… but I find it useful when I’m driving or riding (which is when most of my brain farts come to me).

4. I use the keychain access function.

This is a Mac function. It’s a secure spot where you can put all your passwords for easy access. Open. Copy. Paste.

5. I’m a fan of the Pomodoro Technique.

I use this when I’m working on big projects and all my writing tasks. It works. It’s possibly my favourite widget.

6. I delete emails without fear. And write less of them myself.

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some fun bike porn

Posted on March 14th, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve done a gratuitously evocative bike post. It’s time…

Famous people on bikes

Some hot looks courtesy of  Fashionising, and Cyclelicious. Starting with Olivia…

Olivia Palermo

Lara Stone

Just some pretty looks

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I got rid of comments so I could hear the conversation

Posted on October 16th, 2011

This week in Sunday Life I remove comments from my blog. Just for a bit.

Illo by Geoff McFetridge

When I’m feeling a tad on the smug side of my life situation, I find a little visit to the comments section of my blog sets me straight. In the main, comments on my blog are helpful sharings of tips and links. But every now and then a snarky interloper pipes up, like a foul air bubble in the lower intestine, to pull apart the most banal detritus of my existence.

Such as whether I Photoshop out a gap in my teeth.

Or how many times I say “um” in a podcast.

I find it a practice in mindful ego control, mostly. I observe the snarkiness bubble to the surface. Smile. And accept that I put myself out on a limb by having a public blog, ergo I must accept some flack. And then I let the stinky snark float on past, ignoring the urge to pop it with well-crafted comeback. It’s a bit like handling a toddler: acknowledge good behaviour, ignore bad behaviour. With time, I’ve developed a lovely Teflon calm from the process.

I’m lucky, though. I’ve only had to remove two comments in almost two-and-half years of running my blog. But this is not the norm. Monitoring comments has become a laborious chore for many (some bloggers I know remove 40 per cent of contributions daily). So much so, a growing number of the big blogging names have dropped their comments sections altogether, despite the commercial reality that comments are traffic drivers, which, in turn, are monetisation drivers.

This is no trifle issue. It’s dictating news agendas, hurting people in humiliating and irreversible ways and driving some to suicide. Nasty comments can be hate-bombed into the interweb by cowards who hide behind pseudonyms and there’s nothing that can be done to discipline or control them. Unlike a hand-posted letter to the editor of yore, these comments are not carefully and mindfully prepared. And social media commentators argue commenting contradicts the original notion of the social media “conversation”. They’re more akin to an impulsive heckle at a footy match – unaccountable and mostly about me too-ism. As a result, the Australian Press Council last month called for a discussion on online reader comments as part of their broader enquiry into media standards.

Apropos of something, I love the Swedes. They’re so often the first to buck the system, mostly in the nude and incorporating a community garden. Last month they led the way once more when three of the nation’s four newspapers banned anonymous online comments.

All of which has got me thinking: should I take a stand and drop comments on my blog? Read more