Archive for the 'Helpful Ideas' Category

The Art of Prioritization

Topic: Characteristics, Helpful Ideas, Self Exploration, Strategies| Comments Off on The Art of Prioritization

Good evening startup students.  Sorry about the lack of posting, I’ve been crazy busy with school, work. and my startup’s business plan.  And that’s what lead me to writing this post.  Let me quickly take you back in time to last Saturday.

Things were going great, readership on Startup Students has really picked up, school was going well, and all my clients were at bay.   I took Sunday off, then Monday rolled around.  That’s when things started spinning out of control.  I had two finals this week and needed to complete my 45 page business plan in addition to putting together a 20 minute presentation.  On top of that I was hit with two rush order projects that absolutely had to be completed according to their schedule.

I managed to survive, but was forced to neglect this blog in the process.  In fact, I think things worked out okay because I’m still getting great responses to last Friday’s post.  At any rate, today I’d like to talk about geting your priorities in order – including  saving time to accomodate for urgent or surprise issues.  Below are a few points to thing about.

  • Maintain a calendar.  You can use Outlook, an online equivalent, or regular old paper.  I use a combination of Mozilla Sunbird and Notepad.  Before I go to bed I scribble down the next day’s priorities.  No particular order, I just try and get everything down.  In the morning I’ll take a look at my list and prioritize based on a couple of factors, namely urgency and value.

Keeping a schedule and not just going at things blindly is really the only advice I should need to offer, but here’s a few more…

  • Ignore time wasting activities.  Stay away from your inbox, or instant messenger.  Turn off the tv and iTunes, focus on the task at hand.  It’s really amazing how much time this will save you, enough time in fact to actually enjoy those time wasters at a later point.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew – unless you can handle keeping it down and not letting it spew all over the floor.  Don’t get me wrong, have a full plate is great – in fact I think I get more done because of it.  But there comes a point of diminishing returns where it simply doesn’t make since to take on any more assignments.
    • One option here is outsourcing.  It’s a technique I employ and it’s highly recommended.  In the coming weeks I’ll be talking about it more.
  • I’m betting a good portion of you are perfectionists in at least one aspect of your life.  It’s appropriate to be a perfectionist at some things, spelling and grammar come to mind, but in general it’s a complete waste of time.   I picked up one of my clients because their previous developer was too caught up in assuring his code was 100% perfect and in turn neglected what the clients really wanted – fast and reliable service.
  • Remember to resist the temptation to do small and tedious tasks extremely well, it’s the big picture that counts.  This goes hand in hand with the above point.
  • Nobody ever said you have to please everybody, and in fact nobody expects you to (other than your professors maybe).

I’ve got a few more pointers tucked away, but I’ll save them for another day.  Don’t forget to share this post with others if you enjoyed it and I look forward to everyone’s comments.  Class dismissed.

Field Trip Friday: Ultimate Home Office

Topic: Helpful Ideas, Projects| 11 Comments »

Note: Welcome to Startup Students. If you enjoy this post, don’t forget to Stumble, comment, and subscribe to the RSS feed!

Today I’m taking you into my home office to show you how I’ve set up shop. I work out of my room (like lots of college entrepreneurs), but I make the best of it.

First a quick tour, then I’ll go into more detail on two projects you can implement for your home office.

I’ve got a corner desk, with room for writing, working on the computer, and organizing my belongings. You’ll notice two monitors and a WACOM tablet – essential tools for a web developer. Under the desk you’ll find a dual core desktop – perfect for running photoshop, flash, and dreamweaver at the same time as I often do.

I carry a laptop and my T-Mobile Dash everywhere I go, very convenient for staying in contact with my clients while on campus or around town.

Off to the right you’ll notice my filing cabinet and above that my whiteboard, and that’s the first project I’ll be discussing. I got the idea from Dave’s post over at Mind Petals and decided to put the plan into action. Click below to keep reading. Read the rest of this entry »

The Importance of Backups

Topic: Helpful Ideas| 4 Comments »

I recently had some computer issues and lost a big chunk of my emails. For a small business, data loss can be devastating. For this reason, it is paramount that you implement a data protection policy now – before it becomes too late.

There are a few options, including online backups, backup servers, and external hard drives. For my money, an external HD is by far the best way to go. I purchased a 400GB USB drive from and have had great results.

All it takes is a couple minutes a day to transfer important files to the hard drive before you go to bed to ensure the survival of your crucial data.

I also recommend printing hard copies of things such as invoices, contracts, proposals, and login and passwords for you and your clients various accounts.

Sorry for the short post, but I am slammed with deadlines – trying to implement some of the things I discussed yesterday! Class dismissed.