The missing step to all Productivity Advices – Disable Notifications

We all want to boost our productivity and avoid procrastination. The problem is that we live in a world where it’s a norm to check our phones as soon as we wake up, read and send email at the breakfast table, catch up on Twitter and Facebook in the Bathroom. It is no longer surprising to hear terms like “screen-off days”, “no phones at the dinner table”, “no devices in the bedroom”, “screen-time for kids”, “phone jammers in the classroom” et al.

Many articles about productivity have been written and published by industry pundits, time management experts and productivity gurus. They are all good, and honestly I tend to read anything that helps productivity and try to practice the ones that suits me.

I’m no productivity guru nor a time management expert but I have experimented with quite a lot of routines and disciplines. I have somehow come to the realization that none of these productivity advices, tips, tricks and routines are useful and effective if we have one thing constantly nagging us – Notifications. So, I’ll focus on one, just one, sure shot routine that will change the way you focus and increase productivity.

Stop the Notifications.

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A Smarter WordPress Theme Design & Development Workflow with node.js, ruby, sass, bower and grunt

WordCamp Mumbai 2014

I was lucky to be one of the speakers at the WordCamp Mumbai, Mar 15-16, 2014. When I stumbled upon their Call for Speakers, I was excited with the speaking opportunity and an uncanny chance to visit Bombay after so many years. Thankfully, the organizing team accepted my proposal and thus, presented and spoke on, “A Smarter WordPress Theme Design & Development Workflow with node.js, ruby, sass, bower and grunt.”

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The Making of Autochrome v3

Autochrome v2

It all started with an eagerness to create one of the simplest WordPress Photoblog. After a rough work with the first version of Autochrome, the second version saw a huge improvement in speed, crispness and a clear focus to the photos. Autochrome v2 leveraged the powers of WordPress while achieving minimalism and simplicity to give users a no-nonsense WordPress Photography Theme.

What we wanted to achieve with Autochrome v3

We really wanted to push the limit with Autochrome v3. We knew we needed to do something different so users can achieve more with the third version. There were few interim version of Autochrome which were never published but rather thrown away because they were not good enough, not worthy to be the successor of Autochrome v2.

While continuing and even pushing the envelope on minimalism and simplicity, we knew Autochrome v3 have to be faster, way faster, and have a laser focus on the Photographs and nothing else.

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MetaRefresh (2014): The Design Superheroes who uses Modern Design Workflows

At the MetaRefresh 2014, I’m doing a 3+ hours workshop on how designers can leverage modern design workflows, weirdly titled – The Design Superheroes who uses Modern Design Workflows.

Today, the rate at which Front-End Development Tools and Utilities gets introduced are mind boggling. It is indeed quite hard to keep up. Getting familiar with few of these tools and mastering it will help designers get things done quicker, better, produce optimized results and participate with the whole team – contributing to writing production ready codes and be able to run repeatable task easily. The result will be that designers can concentrate, focus and dedicate more time on designing products, applications and systems instead of just ‘making things work.’

MetaRefresh 2014 Workshop

MetaRefresh 2014 Workshop – The Design Superheroes who use Modern Design Workflows.

The purpose of this workshop is to initiate and ignite that idea amongst designers who code and breath life to their static designs. Check out the Workshop’s Companion Site for more details.

It will be a long way after this workshop for a designer to become a ‘superhero’ in design but it should be a good start.

Access Clipboard History with Alfred (Mac OS X)

Quite often, one of the suggestions for developers and designers is to have a tool or a utility to access your Clipboard History. There are indeed quite a free few good tools which sits in your menubar that does the job very well. Some of the most recommended free ones are Jumpcut and ClipMenu.

However, if you’re one of those Alfred user who bought the Powerpack (you should buy it, it’s magic), it comes with a nifty Clipboard History Manager. One less menubar app to worry about.

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Hello Ruby – Programming Book for Children

Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.

An interesting initiative by Linda Liukas, who teaches programming and makes the world of technology more approachable through a non-profit called Rails Girls.

She is on a journey to combine software with storytelling. She is writing and illustrating a book for young children about the magical world of technology – Hello Ruby.

She is raising $10,000 on Kickstarter for Hello Ruby (already over-subscribed).

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Introducing Acorn WordPress Theme at Theme6

After multiple delays and hesitations, I have finally released Theme6, a site dedicated to carefully crafted and well designed themes and templates. I’m lucky to have partnered with an awesome designer – Saneef Ansari. Our first release is a Typographically tailored theme for WordPress – Acorn.

Acorn is a mobile-first, retina-ready responsive theme focused on typography and content. It is designed to be clean, simple, minimal and to stay out of the way to focus full attention to your blog posts, articles and content.

Our idea is to keep it as simple as possible, without the need for any additional plugins nor custom fields. It would work without any special need to add/edit the contents of the blog posts or articles.

We are thrilled and would be adding more well designed themes in future.

Apply to Sourcebits’ Product Studios

Sourcebits

I have known Rohit Singal for a while though we never met in person until last month, to talk about Sourcebits’ new initiative – its innovative Product Studios model.

Sourcebits is one of those rare service companies in India, who can churn out beautifully designed products backed by an equally high calibre of engineering. Their primary focus is in mobile strategy, design & development.

Sourcebits has done work for giants like GE, SAP, Intel, MIT, P&G, Hershey’s and Coca-Cola, as well as emerging technology companies such as Skyfire, Knocking, Peel, TwitPic, CloudOn and Sling Media since 2006.

In May, 2011, Sourcebits raised $10M from Sequoia Capital and IDG Ventures. They are currently head-quartered in San Francisco with design and development centers in Bangalore (India), Niigata (Japan) and Mexico.

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Research your provider before hosting your website

Many people, especially those who are just starting off with a new online website and/or business, go straight for the cheapest web hosting provider they can find. It’s actually important to look for established and reputed providers such as Mediatemple, 1and1, Hostgator, Bluehost who offer the right balance between price, features and a high standard of support and service.

Just as transit services are the life blood of a city, so web hosting and telecom networks are the life blood of the Internet. But there’s a difference. If the buses and trains stop working, the city grinds to a halt and then gets back to normal when services resume. If your web hosting server goes down even briefly, you lose visitors in droves and it’ll cripple your online business permanently.

It is even more damaging if the problem is something chronic, like slow page loading speeds. Even a second delay in page loading results in sizable drop in customer satisfaction and reduces the conversion rate too. Then there’s security, use of tools, pricing, scalability and any number of issues that are critical to your online business and its survival an growth. That’s why you need a rock-solid web hosting provider who knows what website owners need and provides it without fail.

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