4 Filling in baffling forms from the government
4 Website copy
4 Front-end development for our sites
4 Working with accountants and bookkeepers
4 more forms from the government
I also …
4 research and teach emerging CSS
4 speak at 30 or so conferences a year
4 write books, regular columns, magazine articles
4 make the dinner, be a mother, try to stop the house
turning into something from an episode of Hoarders
4 train for and run half & full marathons
“Don’t say you don’t have enough
time. You have exactly the same number
of hours per day that were given to
Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo,
Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci,
Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein”
Life’s Little Instruction Book, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“In truth, people can generally
make time for what they
choose to do; it is not really
the time but the will that is
Sir John Lubbock
Make your project a first
Don't treat it like a hobby.
Try to schedule a regular slot
Plan in advance the things you will be doing when you
next get to work on the project.
Use your down time wisely
What can you do while ...
4 waiting for a train
4 on an airplane
4 commuting to a day job
4 waiting for children to finish sport or dance practice
“It has been my
observation that most
people get ahead during the
time that others waste.”
If you are an employee
Be very careful not to mix work and your own product.
Even work done in your own time and at home can
sometimes be claimed to belong to your employer.
Check your contract.
Organise tasks by where they can be
completed or the state of mind you
need for them
4 at my desk
4 to listen to (podcasts etc.)
4 needs focus
Always be ready to work
Store the things you need along with
the to do item
Optimise for your
Productivity tips are often situation-
Optimise your environment
How quickly can you switch into your
To things that won't help you meet
Beware the entreporn
You can do a lot of reading that feels like it is work, but
is really just indulging success fantasies. Look for
reading and listening material that is ...
4 relevant to your stage of business
4 relevant to the type of market you are in
Follow people who are good filter of
Find people who are a step ahead of you in a relevant
type of business on Twitter, or who curate email
newsletters of information.
Use them as a filter for material.
You need a to do list
4 gives you somewhere to put things you need to
4 helps you see progress
4 keeps you honest in regards to getting the most
important things done
4 means you can pick up quickly in downtime.
“In a nutshell, the idea is to start
with the end-goal in mind, then
divide it into smaller and smaller
increments. Plan all of the actions
in detail beforehand, then get to
Brian Casel,The CascadingTo Do List
What is needed to ship your product?
Decide on a launch date then outline everything you can
4 pre-launch marketing
Break it down into
If your launch date is 6 months away
create six lists
As you work, create two week sprints
4 What do I need to do this week, and what is coming
up next week.
4 Don't forget to plan in time for other stuff
Each day you are working on the
4 create a 24 hour to do list
4 this should contain the actionable things to do today
4 each will move you towards completing this sprint
I don't know how long
anything will take!
You need to accept a level of inaccuracy
in your schedule. That doesn't mean it
Why are time estimates important?
Even if you mostly work alone schedules and time
estimates are valuable, they mean you can ...
4 pre-announce a product or feature
4 work more effectively with others
4 understand what things are coming up that need
preparation in advance
Work more effectively with
Hire freelancers in good time, help
others on your team plan their
Booking launch advertising
Take advantage of an industry event or
Help your family stay on
Let them see that the end is nigh!
Keep motivated as you
progress towards an end
Picking away at something with no end
date is a rapid route to never launch
Most people are terrible at estimating
4 we tend to be over-optimistic
4 we want to please the person asking
4 we want to encourage ourselves that it “won’t take
4 we forget to factor in everything else in our lives
You can improve your time
Even when faced with things you have
not done before
Find out how long things really take
4 estimate how long a task will take
4 track how long it really takes
4 compare reality against your estimate
Using the Pomodoro Technique to find
out how bad you really are at
1. Decide what you need to do today
2. Assign a number of “pomodoros” to each task
Do the work
1. Log how many pomodoros it really takes to do the
2. Log any time spent not on the defined tasks
3. Do this for a week
4. See the patterns that emerge.
This technique gives you an
understanding of where
you estimate poorly
Don’t allow the fact that
unexpected things happen
make you feel that there is
no point estimating time.
Identify the one problem
your product solves
Solve that problem in the simplest
The problem we solved
4 A web designer build a ‘static’ (html and css) site for
4 At the last minute the client wanted to be able to edit
the site themselves
4 Perch v1 was a simple, drop-in editor for those
We left out
4 image resizing
4 new page creation
4 a developer API
4 … and much more
The missing elements will
seem like a big deal to you.
If you solve the problem
you state to solve, that is
enough to start with.
A presentation tool where I
can’t design my own
Launch and Beyond
How to manage a growing product
“Now this is not the end. It
is not even the beginning of
the end. But it is, perhaps,
the end of the beginning.”
Our timeline for Perch
4 We launched Perch at the end of May 2009
4 At launch we were still 100% booked out on client
4 Income from Perch was initially reinvested into Perch
4 January 2013 we made the decision to stop taking on
new client work
A product should be given
more time as it represents
a higher % of your income.
Never promise a specific
timeframe to customers
If your product is a side
project there are many
reasons you might need to
delay a feature
We don’t publish our roadmap
4 It allows us to be flexible and react to customer
needs and changing trends in web design.
4 It means that customers are not relying on the
launch of feature X in order to complete a project.
4 It means that we can hold back a feature until we are
absolutely sure it won’t cause anyone a problem.