It's like family, only weirder…

How I Work

The longest amount of time spent, and time I am unable to account for, is research. Depending on the topic, I may spend a week pouring through as many references I can find on a particular subject to get a real good feel for the information. If I don't require reference material as I write, it goes much quicker.

Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion did a piece on “How I Work,” a concept originally produced by Fortune Magazine for high level executives. He wanted the blogger’s version of the same to exist for us common folk to compare our highly effective habits. Well…maybe we’re not all that effective, but work does gets done.

In reply to his call to duty, I’d like to submit my work habits – as it relates to the blogosphere – and some tools I use to get the job done.

First and foremost, you’re already looking at my labor fruits. My primary blog work, design and authoring, is right here. I utilize WordPress 2.x these days to supply all the blog-serving horsepower I desire. I have recently migrated from Google’s Blogger (including HaloScan’s comments and BlogRolling’s blogroll), so ask me about that sometime. The theme is crafted of finely minced sessions of linear PHP coding in a combination of PHPEdit and UltraEdit32. I also do most of my style sheet (CSS) work in Bradbury’s TopStyle, a wonderful tool if you must know. RSS is supplied by WordPress, but I additionally incorporate FeedBurner’s tools to make it zing! From the client perspective of RSS, I use [formerly] Bradbury’s (i.e. Newsgator) FeedDemon – now in a really nice beta outlook. Flickr (ergo the digital camera and Google’s Picasa 2) comes into play as often as possible. On the meta-side of things, I have just recently begun using Technorati’s tags within blog items. We’ll see how that goes, but I like the results even if only from a personal level. That’s the tools that I can think of in a quick brainstorm, now onto the habits…

I would like to spend an hour catching up on the blogosphere through RSS, but that opportunity has escaped me for a long time now. As such, my content is less inspired by the current going-on’s in the world. I generally don’t touch the PHP or CSS stuff on the site, but on occasion I get a bug to do so. In which case, I fire up the respective tools and crank out some disasterous changes. I’ll use SmartFTP – a tool I failed to mention above – to get everything synch’d up. From some previous errors, and real work experience, I now know to maintain a beta site and a production site in near mirror image. They are two completely separate instances of WordPress running on the same instance of MySQL (different DB’s, of course). This has aided me in countless ways, though it is a nuissance sometimes to maintain due process. Underlying changes aside, if I happen to have some content to publish, I’ll fire up Firefox (not worth mentioning – it is a standard now, right?) and write from within the provided tools in WordPress…without the rich text editor feature. If I don’t feel that I need to add tags or if the post is just going to take multiple days to write, I’ll open up w.bloggar to create my entry. I didn’t mention this tool before because my use for it is waning. I love the tool, but it doesn’t provide all the features I need when creating an entry. This is becoming more and more important to me; so much so that I use it with less frequency. If I were to average my time spent creating entries, I’d guess it’s a meager 1-2 hours per week. There are few enough posts, albeit not always short, that I don’t need to take a great amount of time in writing them. The longest amount of time spent, and time I am unable to account for, is research. Depending on the topic, I may spend a week pouring through as many references I can find on a particular subject to get a real good feel for the information. If I don’t require reference material as I write, it goes much quicker. On the tale end of an article, I will often times start following links from my Technorati tags to see what other news there is about my topic. Assuming there are some good sources, I’ll issue trackback pings to the relevant URL’s. So far, this has always worked as a follow-up action. Any remaining time spent in this world is done so in management. There’s very little, really, but I have to manage comment spam, comment moderation, and the like. This isn’t just for gradin.com, but also for Flickr.

So that’s the gist of it. Not a full day, but a reasonably manageable day. Like I said, I’d like to get to spend more time doing the RSS reading (40 regular reads, hundreds total) part, I just don’t get the opportunity on a regular basis.


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