How I spend my time online

I try to spend about 20% of my time learning, researching, blogging, engaging and connecting with others. This means reading blogs, news, books, watching talks, playing with toys, leaving comments, brainstorming and dreaming. I try to lead out in initiating discussions in various collaborative spaces I’m a part of.

I have four main streams that I monitor systematically multiple times per day.

Twitter – for news and social
Google Reader – for blogs
Google Wave – for meeting notes and conversations (no longer relevant since it’s been discontinued)
Mail – a lot of feeds/notifications pour in here, not to mention collaboration with colleagues.  I have two Gmail accounts.  One for personal and one for work.  I make extensive use of filtering to automate a lot of the processing of my email.

The rest of my time would be doing the nuts and bolts of my job which mostly happens online since my team is virtual.

Some general principles I follow.

  • Everything in the cloud. Very little of my work is dependent on me being logged into my own computer. It’s accessible from any web connection.
  • I try to minimize context switching and only deal with one steam, application or task at a time. (I’m far from perfect at this.)
  • I use the Inbox Zero framework and try not to live in my inbox.
  • My team has an ongoing skype chat where we can get a hold of each other if needed (you can set skype to only notify you of certain text, or callsigns in our case), this eliminates email and can prevent unnecessary interruptions.
  • I try and post two blog posts a week. I have a google doc of brainstorming ideas that I scribble things down in often.
  • I treat and tweet high-value things max 7-9 times a day. “I’m going to the bank” is not high value.  I try and make sure I’m sharing a link or promoting a friend 80% of the time.
  • I rely on search to find mail and articles which I tag in Google Reader or delicious if they are relevant
  • I try and schedule time each day to keep up on streams. If I fall behind, I give myself a set amount of time, pick the most important sources to check first and when the time is up all the rest are marked as read.

How do you spend your time online?


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