How I Work

    April 5, 2006

Fortune has a really cool series called “How I Work.” They interviewed an array of business leaders and celebrities about the tools and techniques they use to manage their day.

I thought it would be really cool if bloggers did the same. I’m more interested in how you manage your workload and the tools you use than I am in Bill Gates. Here’s my crack at it. File yours under the Technorati tag .

I work Web 2.0 style across multiple Macs and PCs. Over the past two years I have shifted most of my work off the desktop and onto the cloud. I run far fewer applications this year than I did last. I keep either Entourage or Outlook running for my corporate mail. I use PowerPoint a lot and ecto or Marsedit for blogging. Beyond these apps, pretty much everything else I run in either Firefox or Camino across multiple tabs. I keep a copy of Firefox on a one gigabyte USB key with my bookmarks and cookies so that I can work from anywhere I get my hands on a computer.

In my browser I usually keep some combination of the following sites open in browser tabs… for storage
Backpack for tracking actions/GTD
Gmail for personal/blog mail
Writely for my daybook
Bloglines or Newsgator Online for my feeds
Meebo for IM
Google for searching
Google Bookmarks for bookmarks
Popurls for meme and news tracking (a recent addition)

Our corporate intranet

Outlook Web Access for corporate mail/calendar/addresses (when I am not in my office)

When I am at my computer I use Backpack to track my projects and next actions. I add and subtract things to the list as they come up. I keep Writely open for notes. I start a new file each week. When I am on calls I enter my notes in Writely because I know that I can always find the information I need later because the database is completely searchable from every computer I use.

On an average weekday I get anywhere from 150 – 200 emails. They are split equally between Gmail and my corporate email accounts. I have a Blackberry that receives email from both accounts. I also use my Blackberry to check RSS feeds and to update my lists in Backpack. Writely doesn’t have a mobile version yet so I can’t access my notes on the go. However, they have an email-to-document feature which I use a lot. I write up notes after meetings and email them into Writely. I go over these notes when I conduct my GTD Weekly Review. Other than a thin Moleskine Cahier notebook, which I use in meetings, I don’t use paper.

Over the past two years I have made blogging part of my regular day. You can read how I do this on Debbie Weil’s blog. It’s a critical part of my day. The feedback I get from readers as well as the information I get from RSS feeds keeps me smart about where media and marketing are going. This helps me do my part in helping Edelman stay one step ahead of the curve. My day stretches from 4:30 or 5 a.m. until as late as 8 or 9 p.m. split between the office, at home and in transit.

Information overload is at times a challenge, but I enjoy it. I subscribe to a few hundred RSS feeds and I get all of my news online. I don’t read a newspaper or watch TV. The Web is my window onto the world for both business and personal information and communication.

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.