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Success From the Nest

By Tony Clark

Basecamp not for you? Check out Wrike.

Written by Greg of Wisebread.


Basecamp is a great tool for managing projects and sharing information with clients, but it has its limitations. Because it was built specifically for the workflow of a Web design project -- long 2-3 month project time frame, start and end dates, client interaction -- it doesn't work well as an internal project management tool.

At Wise Bread, there is a small 3-person team handling the backend system. We needed a task management system that was more traditional. We needed the ability to create a ton of tasks under many different projects. Basecamp's division of content via project silos didn't fit our internal workflow.

This is where Wrike shines. You can think of Wrike as an anti-Basecamp. I want to point out 3 key differences between Basecamp and Wrike:

1. Wrike charges per user, not per project.
2. Wrike has a two-way email interface.
3. Wrike is functional but still being actively developed.

1. Wrike charges per user, not per project

A one-person business (or a personal user) pays only $3.99 per month. Each additional user adds another $3.99. This pricing structure is great for our 3 person team because we have a ton of different projects but few users. Regardless of the number of projects we create, we pay less than $12 per month for our team's project management.

Where Basecamp charged you for adding new top-level categories (ie., Projects), Wrike allows an unlimited number of "folders". Wrike's folders can be used for projects or departments. This system makes it easy to organize thousands of action items, notes, and deadlines across hundreds of projects.

There is a 30-day trial so you can check it out for free. (There is a free version, but you're limited to creating 20 tasks which isn't very useful for businesses.)

2. Wrike has great email integration

Wrike can email you a daily todo list and deadline reminders. Better than that, you can email Wrike to create a new task. Instead of logging onto Wrike every time you need to add an action item, just email it to wrike@wrike.com. Next time you go into your account, using the same email address you used to send the task creation email, the task will be there.

You can even include the due date and category of the task in the email's subject line. Another nifty feature is adding other users to this task by putting their email address in the CC field.

This create-by-email feature is great when processing my email inbox each morning. I can quickly add items to my todo list and assign tasks to coworkers by forwarding emails. This is my favorite feature of Wrike.

3. Wrike is still rough around the edges

The good news is new features are being added every month. The developers are actively listening to their users. You can see the evolution at the Wrike blog. You can add your feedback and get tips from other members at the just-launched user forums.

The bad news is that they're still building out the system so other tools will have more features. The site felt slow when I started using it 8 months ago, but it has improved significantly since then.

Worth a look

Wrike's way of doing things fits nicely with the requirement of a small Web based team. If you're a Web designer, Basecamp is the best tool for the job. For all other Web workers, Wrike might be a better fit for you.

Gregory Go is cofounder of Killer Aces Media and the About.com Guide to Online Business. Killer Aces Media publishes the popular personal finance and Life Remix charter member blog Wise Bread.

10 Tips to Change Yourself From a Dedicated Couch-Potato to a Gym Enthusiast

Written by Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project.

10 exercise tips
Photo by kajo55

Exercise helps keep you happy and vital. Studies show that folks who exercise are healthier, cheerier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. What’s more, they get relief from anxiety and mild depression—comparable to medication and therapy.

But of course, no one really disputes the benefit of exercise. The trick is actually DOING IT.

My own favorite activity is reading in bed—preferably, while snacking. It took me a while, but I’ve managed to get myself into the habit of exercising regularly.

These ten strategies helped me stick to my routine:

1. Always exercise on Monday. Starting the week on the right foot makes it easier to stick to your plan.

2. Never skip exercising for two days in a row. You can skip a day, but the next day, you must exercise no matter how inconvenient. This rule dramatically increased the number of times I exercise over the course of a month.

3. Remember, exercise GIVES energy. If you feel too tired to exercise, remember that exercise boosts energy. It took me a long time to notice that I’d drag myself to the gym, work out for forty minutes, and leave feeling far more energetic than when I went in.

4. Any work-out “counts.” Give yourself credit for the least effort. My father, a runner, always said that all he had to do was put on his running shoes and close the door behind him. Why does this work? Because if I know I can quit after five minutes, I get started—and once I start, I usually follow through with my usual routine. Getting out the door is by FAR the toughest part.

5. You don’t have to shower. One problem—mostly for women—is that taking a shower can take too much time. Look for exercise like strength-training, yoga, or walking, that don’t make you sweaty.

6. Throw money at the problem. Spend more to go to a more convenient gym, or to get an iPod, or to work with a trainer. Exercise pays off BIG in your quality of life, so this is a place to splurge.

7. Don’t set the bar too high. I have a friend who thinks it’s not worth exercising unless she’s training for a marathon – and so she never exercises. She’d be better off going for a one-mile run five times a week.

8. Don’t kid yourself. Belonging to a gym doesn’t mean that you go to the gym. Having been in good shape in college doesn’t mean you’re in good shape today. Be honest about what your habits really are now.

9. You have time. Just take a twenty-minute walk. If you can’t do more, do that! Just a twenty-minute walk will really pay off.

10. Exercise for SANITY not VANITY. I find it more motivating to think about the fact that exercise is going to make me feel happier, calmer, and more energetic, right now, rather than to think about vaguer long-term benefits, like strengthened immunity or longer life. It’s not clear that exercise has much impact on weight loss, so don’t be give up when the pounds don’t fall off. It’s worth doing for so many other reasons.

If you’d like to read more about happiness, check out Gretchen’s daily blog, The Happiness Project, and join the Happiness Project group on Facebook to swap ideas.

Lazy Productivity: 10 Simple Ways to Do Only Three Things Today

Editor's note: This post was written by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.

I have to admit, I'm as lazy as the next guy. I have my moments of productivity, where I'm cranking out the tasks and checking things off my to-do list like my life depended on it.

But for the most part, I just want to do a few things each day, and then take a nap.

And as it turns out, that's all that's needed. Doing just a few things each day has worked wonders for my productivity -- I do less, but those few things I do have a higher impact. With this method, I've created a couple of successful blogs, and achieved a few other things along the way. Not trying to brag, but only showing that laziness can actually work if you put it to work for you.

How can laziness work? Well, if you only want to do three things, just do three things. But here's the key: make those three things count.

Here are my suggestions for making laziness work for you:

  1. Choose only three things to do today. If you set a limit, you will be forced to choose just the important things. If you don't set a limit, you'll try to do everything ... which means you'll be busy, but you'll be doing a lot of unimportant things as well. Just choose three, but choose carefully.
  2. Choose for impact, not urgency. There are always things that seem urgent today, and those things tend to push the important stuff back. But here's the thing: the urgent stuff is only urgent in our minds. In a week, they won't matter. But if you choose something that has long-term impact on your work and your life, it will matter in a week. It's those high-impact tasks that really make a difference. If you choose high-impact tasks -- things that will really make a difference over time, that will get you recognition and success and create new opportunities -- you can let the urgent stuff melt away.
  3. Choose them the night before. Plan your three tasks the night before, so you're prepped for the day when you wake up. Then there's no "urgent" stuff on the list, because you chose them when you were calm. It helps give you a jump-start on your day.
  4. Start on them immediately. First thing you do when you start working: start on the first of your three important tasks. Don't do little things. Just start.
  5. Don't check email until the first one's done. There's always the urge to dive into email (or whatever your normal productive distraction is at work), but resist. Let it be your reward for completing the first task on your list. Let your urge to be lazy motivate you to finish that task!
  6. Choose a fourth, more important task to procrastinate on. Here's where procrastination can really help you. Trick yourself by putting a big task you've been dreading at the top of your list. So you actually have four tasks. You will try to procrastinate on that big task by working on the three tasks below it. In that way, you'll still get three very important tasks done while procrastinating on the fourth. How will you get that fourth one done? When something bigger comes along that you dread even more, put that at the top of your list.
  7. Take breaks in between. When you finish one of your three tasks, give yourself a short break. 10 minutes works well for me, but you may need 15 or 20. That's OK. We're not in a sweatshop here. You're only doing three things today. Take a walk. Get a glass of water. Shoot the breeze with someone. Check whatever you like to check online. Then get back to work on the next task.
  8. When you're done, celebrate with a nap. After you do your three important tasks, take a nap. You've earned it. You've done three important things today, which is more than most people, to be honest. They might do 7 smaller things, but you've been more productive by doing less.
  9. Batch process smaller tasks. It's inevitable that you'll have smaller things you'll need to take care of. Put those off until the afternoon or end of your day, and do them all at once in batches. So do all your phone calls, then all your emails, then all your little paperwork or whatever. Just don't allow these smaller, routine tasks to push back your big ones.
  10. What if you need to do more? You probably won't actually complete them all anyway. Just choose three and put the rest off until tomorrow. I promise, the world won't end and life will go on. And you'll be much less stressed.

Photo courtesy of Ian Bloomfield.

8 Ways to Make Your Blog Viral On Facebook

Post written by Glen Stansberry, creator of the Facebook App Creator for Bloggers.

make your blog viral on facebook

Not many people have really figured out a way to successfully fuse social networks like Facebook with blogs. Blog owners haven't been able to really leverage the massive user base that Facebook has amassed since its launch in 2004. Did you know that:

  • Facebook has over 58 million active users?
  • Facebook grows to over 200,0000 signups a day

One of the reasons that Facebook has grown so rapidly is that the whole system is based on trust. Each user that adds an account does so accurately depicting who they truly are. Why? So his/her other friends will be able to find them, and share photos, messages, and links with them.

I've created a service that automatically turns your blog's RSS feed into a Facebook application. The Facebook App Creator for Bloggers lets each blog's users download the application, which shows the latest posts from your blog in their profile pages. Next to each article there's a "share" button, allowing the Facebook users to quickly and easily share articles with other Facebook friends.

This App Creator for Bloggers,coupled with these 8 tips below, will entice Facebook users to share these trusted links of your blog's posts, with other Facebook users.

  1. Make lots of friends- This may seem like a no-brainer, but it really does help. Facebook has made it pretty easy to do this, allowing you to find your friends by your email contacts, hometown, and a multitude of other ways.

    The more friends you have, the more people will be visiting your profile, and seeing what you've been up to.

  2. Find and join lost of networks- Remember, the key is getting more visibility to your profile. Joining popular networks is a great way.
  3. Become friendly- Again, this falls under the "Duh!" category, but I have to say it anyway. Stay in touch (as much as possible) with your contacts. The more you're on their mind, the more they'll visit your profile page to check up on you.
  4. Start sharing- I try to share things with my friends that I know they'll like. It's actually changed the way I think when I read articles these days. I constantly try to think of a friend (or group of friends) who would genuinely like to read the article, and instantly share with them.

    This increases your "friendliness" and lets your friend know that you're thinking of him. Who wouldn't want that? And if they're thinking of you... that's right, they're more likely to check your profile and see your blog posts.

  5. Start uploading photos to Facebook- This may not make sense, but Facebook is the largest photo sharing site in the world. Why? Because when you upload photos, you can tag your friends who are in the photo. And then they'll get an email saying "You've just had a photo of you added!", pointing them to your photo sets. This is a highly viral feature of Facebook, and it's the reason why they're so popular.

    This will bring traffic to your blog because once the user has visited your profile, he'll see see your a

  6. Place the application as high on your profile as possible- It's the whole "above the fold" mentality. The higher your blog's application on your profile page, the more people will see it. You want them to scroll as little as possible to see your blog posts.
  7. Post your app on your blog- What's better than promoting your blog? Having your readers promote your blog! Point them towards your Facebook application, and allow them to install it on their profile. They can also choose to share your blog's applications with their friends, and then to their friends, and well... you can see how it can get viral.

    The more prominently you can display the application on the your blog, the more readers you'll have install it.

  8. Write posts that people will actually want to share- There is an art to writing titles, and the more attractive your posts' titles are, the more they'll be clicked and shared. Even if you've got 1 billion friends on Facebook, it's not likely your post titled "My Socks Are Warm" is going to get passed around a lot. The excellent blog Copyblogger is chock-full of how to write better, if you're looking for a resource.

These techniques can greatly improve your blog's visibility on Facebook.

Photo by Laughing Squid.

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