3 things learned from failing to Get Things Done

Quite recently I was looking for a perfect solution that would transform me into titan of productivity. After reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Even though I failed miserably trying to implement the GTD system into my life, there are still 3 things that I learned and that I found very useful.

1. INBOX

According to David Allen, every thing that you could handle in less than 2 minutes should be done right away. The rest should go into an “inbox”. The inbox could be a notepad, not taking software or a physical inbox – anything that enables us to gather incoming information and tasks. They are not handled right away, but processed and then grouped.

Benefit: having and inbox helps you to foucs on the most important strategic tasks and leave the minor ones that come your way to do later while still keeping track of them.

2. GROUPING TASKS ACCORDING TO CONTEXT

In the GTD system all taks are grouped accoring to context sucha as: errands, online, computer etc. This means that when you’re out and about you can have a list of all errands that you want to do without specifically creating it before hand. I you find yourself having more time than planned you can tick off more things off the list

3. PUTTING DOWN ALL YOUR IDEAS IN ONE CENTRAL SYSTEM

Well, this one is quite hard to implement, but it made me realize that it’s very good to havea central system where you can keep track of the various projects and tasks that are going on in your life, especially on a strategical level. In my case I found myself spread too thin betwen many projects, hopping happily from one another, sometimes not realizing that I have absolutely no space in my agenda to add anything. Having such a stragegic overview helps me to maintain focus.

In the end I found the GTD system quite hard to implement. Many of the solutions require much more effort that they’re worth. Nevertheless, Davi Allen makes some valid points and I think that everybody should read this book as he makes many great points in it. Grab your copy from Amazon: Geting Things Done (Amazon affiliate link)

3 quick steps to creating good content

Many of you wonder:  I would like to creare a blog but I don’t have time to do so. Here are some tips that might help you to get started:

  1. Create: yes, the first step is to just create it. Don’t think about creating the whole series of amazing posts. Don’t think about creating the whole post even. Just an introduction. Then take advantage of the Zeigarnik effect and you’re instincts will help you to finish. As the Chinese proverb says: the longes journey starts with the first step.
  1. Make it good. Well in order for the blog to get any traction it would have to be good. What is good? If could tell you I would be a millionaire right now. But there’s somebody that can tell you – your readers. That’s why you need to get as much feedback, be it negative or positive as possible. Your readers will tell you what’s good.
  1. Automatize. Yeah, creating regular content is quite important. What is even more imporant is to automatize content creation to the maximum exente possible. That’s why use Google Alerts, RSS feed readers etc. to automatize you information consumption and spend as little time possible looking for new topics and creating content. You can even outsource editing your articles to save more time.

Using those 3 tips you will be able to create content regularly and with least effort possible.

How Help Scout gained 30.000 subscribers in 12 months

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Here’s an interesting case study about the growth of the Help Scout blog. Gregory Ciotti describes in detail how he developed the blog and based it on excellent content:

30,000 Newsletter Subscribers in 12 Months (Startup Lessons Learned)

http://getpocket.com/a/read/412974113

What is a growth hacker

An interesting article by Raf Weverbergh in which he tries to find the definition of the “growth hacker”.

What is a “growth hacker”? And is growth hacking bullshit?

What I think is a good point mentioned in the article is that the growth hacker is a person that looks for hacks in the system and pushes the limits of the terms of service to gain the edge. This is the essence of “hacking” – which means looking for loopholes, unorthodox solutions and innovative ideas. Basically it’s finding that back door that can help us grow faster than the competition.

I agree with Patrick Vlaskovics that you can only be named a growth hacker ex post, since in this business you’re only as good as your latest gig and solutions once used quickly become widespread and hence have little to do with hacks.

I don’t believe that it’s possible to develop a repeatable way to hack growth, since every solution is unique and may work only with the specific company, in a specific market and specific time-frame. There are plenty of examples of marketing gurus and self-proclaimed growth hackers that succeeded at one company and failed miserably at the other.

I think that these two ideas are the most important parts of the definition of a “growth hacker”:

1. Being able to find “hacks” in the system and successfully using them to stimulate the growth of the start-up

2. Being data-driven which means focusing heavily on the marketing analysis.

I think using the term “growth hacker” makes sense in the world of start-up where the growth has to be achieved in unorthodox ways because of the lack of funds and standard marketing strategies can’t be relied on, thus I find the definition useful to differentiate such person from a normal VP of Marketing.