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Productivity Tips for the Busy Search Marketer - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Productivity Tips for the Busy Search Marketer. presented by Stephan Spencer, Founder & President, Netconcepts. Productivity Optimization!. GTD VAs Mind mapping Shortcuts Quick key apps, mouse gestures Dictation, Transcription, and OCR. GTD.

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Productivity Tipsfor the Busy Search Marketer

presented by Stephan Spencer,Founder & President, Netconcepts

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Productivity Optimization!

  • GTD

  • VAs

  • Mind mapping

  • Shortcuts

    • Quick key apps, mouse gestures

  • Dictation, Transcription, and OCR

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  • Multiple action lists running concurrently in your brain? Ideas buried w/in files, folders, emails, Post-Its, to-do lists? Bad, bad, bad!

  • GTD stands for Getting Things Done, the best-selling book by David Allen

  • Get stuff out of your head & into a trusted system that also tracks the “open loops” you’re waiting on

  • Reach a state of flow, i.e. “Mind like water”

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  • Processing: For this project/idea, what is the “Next Action”? What is its context?

  • Contexts: @home, @office, @errand, @computer, @email, @blog, @tweet, @read/review, @agenda, ...

  • Review your Next Actions by context. Do in batches.

  • In addition to Next Actions, you can also have Projects, Someday/Maybes, Waiting For, Deferred, Agendas

  • Project = anything requiring more than one action

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  • Horizons of focus: runway (next actions), 10000 ft view (projects, this yr), 20000 ft view (areas of focus), 30000 ft (1-2 yrs), 40000 ft (3-5 yrs), 50000 ft view (life goals)

  • Weekly review: a weekly appt with yourself. The key to successful GTD, though most neglected. 1-2 hrs long.

    • “Process” your intray

    • Revisit Someday/Maybes, Projects, Waiting For, Next Actions

  • Two minute rule: if the item can be completed in < 2 minutes, do it right then, rather than process it for later

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  • Calendar: Only what must be done on a certain date.

  • Tickler file: 43 folders, labeled 1-31 and January-December. Use it to park physical items like bills not yet due. Look at the current day’s file. On the new month, look at that month’s file and if necessary move those into the appropriate 1-31 folders.

  • With GTD, easy to fall off the wagon. Also easy to fall back on.

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  • More from me on the topic of GTD



  • Resources

    • (paid subscription but well worth it)




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GTD Apps

  • Mac: Things, Journler, OmniFocus, iGTD

  • PC: GTD Outlook Add-in, ClearContext for Outlook, MyLifeOrganized, TimeTo, Easy Task Manager, ThinkingRock

  • Web-based: Tracks, GTD V2, Backpack, MonkeyGTD, ActiveCollab

  • Paper: “Hipster PDA”

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Non-GTD Productivity Apps



  • Both of the above are web-based (SaaS)

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Virtual Assistants

  • Read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss


  • Your secret to success: Delegate everything! Let go!

    • Tim even outsourced his online dating – successfully!

  • Hire 1 or more “VAs” at < ½ what you earn per hour

    • Calculate your hourly rate. Annual income is a very deceptive number that people use to justify unsustainable workloads.

  • Repetitive task? Delegate it.

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Virtual Assistants

  • What can you outsource?

    • Administration tasks like prospecting, research (compiling spreadsheets of bloggers), analysis that doesn’t have a creative element, travel arrangements, product sourcing, manufacturing, quality assurance, shipping, customer service, regulatory/compliance tasks, etc.

  • What shouldn’t you outsource?

    • What you really enjoy doing

    • Tasks requiring a high proficiency in English that is hard to replicate overseas

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Virtual Assistants

  • Selecting a VA (Tim’s advice)

    • Make enough inquiries to receive 20-30 proposals.

    • Look to hire multiple VAs. Never hire a single individual. You don't want your project to fail because someone quit, got sick.

    • Immediately delete any boilerplate form responses.

    • Assign an easy 20-30 minute task to the top 3-5 candidates to test for reliability. This will eliminate around 50% of them.

    • If your project takes 20-30 hrs, assign it to all three & ask them to stop after 3 hrs & send you what they’ve done. You’ll know who performs best.

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Virtual Assistants

  • Find a VA




    • Um, no

  • More from me on VAs



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Mind Mapping

  • A fast and efficient way to capture complex ideas (from brainstorming etc.) and interrelate those ideas

  • One of the best mind mapping tools out there is Mind Manager (by Mindjet). For PC and Mac.

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  • Make your mouse a more efficient tool with “mouse gestures”

    • e.g. Go “back” in your browser by pressing the right mouse button, moving the mouse briefly to the left, then releasing the button

    • In Opera by default. Firefox plugin

  • Multi-touch (trackpad) “gestures” too

    • e.g. on Mac laptops, you can scroll by running two fingers up and down the trackpad

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  • Shed your mouse altogether. Keystrokes are much faster.

    • Mac: QuickSilver. PC: Launchy

    • Both support plugins

      • e.g. Abracadabra plugin for QuickSilver supports mouse gestures

    • Launch apps with a few strokes. Without launching an app, append text to the end of a file, interact with your iTunes, etc.

    • Think in terms of “sentences” with direct object, verb, subject

      • e.g. Wikipedia Go -> Search for -> SEO

      • e.g. buy nails at the hardware store -> Append to -> todos.txt

    • Stick with it. It takes time to start a new habit, but it’s worth it.

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Dictation, Transcription, and OCR

  • Dictate into your phone and have Jott turn it into emails

  • Use your iPod/iPhone as a recording device

  • Train your computer - Dragon Naturally Speaking

  • My personal favorite: employ an assistant who comes on-site and takes notes shorthand

  • Transcribe recordings, podcasts w/

  • “OCR” business cards & other docs with your phone’s camera and let Evernote digitize it

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  • For my 45 minute audio interview of David Allen, drop me your business card or e-mail your request to

  • To contact me: