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22 Jul 17:00

4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management

by Amy Gallo

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with how to make the most of their time at work. How do you stay on top of an overflowing inbox? How do you get work done when your day is taken up by meetings? How can you get through a continually expanding to-do list? How do you even find time to make a list in the first place?

To make matters worse, there are lots of misconceptions about what time management really comes down to and how to achieve it. Let’s look at some of the most common suggestions and assess whether they’re actually true.

It’s about managing your time. False.

Time management is a misnomer, says Jordan Cohen, a productivity expert and author of “Make Time for the Work That Matters.” He says that it’s really about productivity: “We have to get away from labeling it ‘time management’. It’s not about time per se but about how productive you can be.” He likens it to the difference between dieting and being healthy. “You can diet all you want,” he says, “but you won’t necessarily be healthier.” In the same way, you can pay close attention to how you spend your time, manage your email, etc., but you won’t necessarily be more productive.

Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of The Progress Principle, whose expertise in this area comes from reading thousands of work diaries of workers who documented their struggles to get work done, says it’s more about managing your overall workload. Many managers simply take on too much. “If you don’t keep an eye on the commitments you’ve made or are making, there is no time management technique that’s going to solve that,” she says. Sure, this might be an organization-level problem — many managers overload their team members ­— but she says that most professionals have more control over their workload than they might admit. “It is possible to say no. It is possible to negotiate,” she says. Cohen agrees: “While your schedule may not be yours per se, you can be judicious about what you go to and how you manage it.”

You just need to find the right system or approach. False.

“Having a system can be useful, but it takes more than that,” says Amabile. “And what works for each person, like spending an hour and a half on focused work at the beginning of the day, will not necessarily work for another person.” The key is to continually experiment with techniques. “Some things may or may not work in a particular context or situation,” says Cohen. Try lots of different approaches — really try them. Don’t change the way you check email for a week and declare it a failure. Set metrics for measuring success, give the approach time, and consider involving someone else — your boss or a coworker — to help you evaluate whether it really worked.

You need to devote time to change. Somewhat true.

One person I spoke to said her biggest challenge was finding time to put time management systems into place. She didn’t have the day or two she felt she needed to set aside. Amabile says this may not be necessary: “Small tweaks can make a big difference. The best approach is to start out with a few small things. Progress in this context might mean that you find yourself with some additional time each day when you can reflect and think. Even if it’s just an additional 20 or 30 minutes each day, that’s progress.” But it depends on how bad your situation is and how desperate you feel. Amabile mentioned one person who decided to use her vacation week for a major overhaul to achieve less stress. She looked at how she was using her time, her level of commitments, and experimented with a few techniques that people had suggested. “She felt things had gotten so out of control that she wanted to give herself this gift. But that was an extreme measure that was necessitated by the extreme situation,” says Amabile.

It’s up to you — and only you — to get it right. Somewhat true.

This may be partly true. “There is no one who’s responsible for how productive you are,” says Cohen. In that sense, this rests on your shoulders. He is clear: “You’re expected to be productive, so you better take this puppy on yourself.” But Cohen and Amabile both say you can’t do it alone. “If you’re in an organization where there are pressures for immediate responses or turnarounds on all requests or there is no room for any kind of slack, it’s very tough to do time management on your own,” says Amabile. She points to Leslie Perlow’s research about small tweaks you can make in any work environment. Still, it may be tough. “Organizations unknowingly put a lot of barriers in front of you to get your work done — unclear strategy and clumsy processes, to name just a few,” Cohen says.

If this sounds like your company, Amabile suggests you make attempts to change the culture. “I would urge people to push back in ways that they believe will be effective,” she says. Raise questions like, “How can we be more productive around here?” This can often be more effective than focusing on getting out of your own bind. “You have a responsibility to push back on the organization,” she says. Cohen also thinks it’s worth talking with senior management, because it’s often bigger than any single manager. “It requires a redesign of how work gets done, where decisions get made, how they get made. There’s only so much that a system can take,” he says.

For the lone professional, getting control over your workload and schedule is daunting. But knowing the difference between what people say will work and what actually does may be the first step in the right direction.

01 Jul 09:15

20+ resources for learning web design & development

by Cameron Chapman


Educational resourcesThere are tons of blogs, tutorial sites, and other resources out there that can teach you about web design and development. But what if you want something a little bit more formal, without actually having to go back to school?

That’s where resources like the ones below can come in handy. These sites offer courses modeled after those you’d find (or actually from) leading colleges and universities. They’re a great option if you’re not sure where to start, or if you want to bridge the gaps in your current training.

They can also be excellent options if you’ve taken courses in the past, but want to make sure your knowledge and skill-set is completely up to date.

Google Developers University Consortium

The Google Developers University Consortium offers a ton of great courses for developers interested in working with Google products. Of course that includes designing and programming for Android, as well as Google Maps, Google App Engine, and more. It also offers more general web technology courses, including an AJAX tutorial, PHP development, and information on GIS and KML.

In addition to using the University Consortium for learning, you can also submit a course, including course materials, assignments, lectures, and projects. The only catch is that it has to be Creative Commons-licensed.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Dev.Opera can help you learn all the latest open web technologies, including JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5, and SVG. In addition to web technologies, Dev.Opera also offers up courses and tutorials on Add-Ons, Mobile, and TV. And of course if you have information to share with the Opera development community, you can submit your own articles.

20+ resources for learning web design & development is one of the largest premium tutorial sites for software, business, and creative topics. They have over 1900 video courses, all by expert teachers. For $25/month, you get unlimited access to all of their courses, making it a good deal for anyone who wants constant access to new learning materials.’s courses are all mobile-friendly, so you don’t have to be chained to your computer to learn. And you can even create your own custom playlists of the courses you want to watch, which can then be shared with others (of course, they’ll need their own account to watch those videos). does offer a free 7-day trial, so you can test the waters before you commit.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


Don’t Fear the Internet

Don’t Fear the Internet is a little different from other resources on this list. It covers basic HTML and CSS, but was specifically created for non-web designers, and is instead aimed at creatives in general.

So far there are seven lessons, covering typography, targeting content, CSS, developer tools, HTML, and even a basic primer on the internet. Every lesson is delivered in video format, but with text notes you can easily refer to later.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


P2PU’s School of Webcraft

P2PU’s School of Webcraft is a peer-powered learning environment that’s backed by Mozilla. It’s all completely free, and you can take individual courses or complete beta challenges to test your current knowledge.

Current courses offered include basics like choosing web hosting or a text editor, as well as more advanced topics like Coffeescript and PHP. There are even courses offered in Spanish. And like most resources of its kind, you can create and submit your own courses, too.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Codecademy lets you interactively learn to code, all for free. There are courses for everything from basic HTML to JavaScript to Ruby and other more complex programming languages.

The nice thing about Codecademy is its incredibly interactive nature. Every single lesson includes an interactive element that helps you retain the information you’ve learned. This is a big deal for those who learn by doing, rather than just by reading or listening.

In addition to standard courses, Codecademy also has a strong community where you can join groups to code with others, as well as profiles that let you show off badges and progress.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


Code School

Code School is another online learning environment that stresses learning by doing. They offer “Paths” that give you a clearcut list of courses you should take to learn different disciplines. there are paths for Ruby, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and iOS. They also offer “Electives”, which cover topics outside of the basic Paths, including Git, R, and Chrome DevTools.

Code School offers both free and premium courses, with the most basic courses generally offered for free. And of course, you don’t have to follow the pre-defined Paths if you’d prefer to strike out on your own.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Udacity offers up courses in a number of technology and design related areas. There are classes on web development, HTML5 game development, programming languages, interactive 3D graphics, and even topics like building a startup.

The courses are free, and are all highly interactive. Video lectures are bite-sized, meaning you can learn at your own pace without having to sit through hours of someone speaking. And of course all the instructors are industry leaders, so you’re learning from the best.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby

Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby is one of the best free Ruby courses online. It’s funny, easy to follow, and has great illustrations and comic strips included that really help drive the concepts home.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Udemy offers courses from leading instructors around the world. A lot of the courses offered are tech- and design-focused, though there are also some great courses about startups and other topics.

Udemy also lets you teach your own courses, and earn money doing so. Courses range in price from only a few dollars right up to hundreds, depending on the subject, instructor, and length. There are even some free courses, though you might have to dig to find them.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Skillfeed is a relatively new offering from Shutterstock. They offer a paid monthly subscription (just $19/month) to access courses, though there’s a 7-day free trial as well.

Courses are focused on technical and creative skills, and there are also “Skill Snacks” that offer up quick tips and tricks that you can learn in just a few minutes. Skillfeed video classes can be accessed from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device, too, so you can learn anywhere.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Treehouse offers a huge library of step-by-step video courses and tutorials for a variety of in-demand technologies. You can learn to build websites and web apps, mobile apps, or even how to start a business.

There are currently over 1000 videos in the library, with more being added all the time to keep you up-to-date. As you complete courses, you’ll earn badges you can proudly display on your profile to show your achievements. And each course has interactive elements to make it easier for you to retain the information you learn.

Pricing ranges from $25-$49/month, depending on which plan you choose. The more expensive Gold plan gives you access to feedback on your projects, as well as additional information and workshops.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Coursera offers courses on a huge number of subjects, including a robust catalog of information, tech, and design courses. Courses in these subject areas include topics like social media, data science, creativity, innovation, metadata, digital democracy, and much more. Courses are offered on a regular basis, and are done more like a traditional college with weekly lessons and assignments. Each course runs from just five or six weeks up to 19 weeks or more.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


Tuts+ Premium Courses

The Tuts+ Network has been a leader in design and technology tutorials for years, with both free and premium resources. Now, their Tuts+ Premium Courses give a more formal educational environment for learning about some of your favorite topics. There are courses on everything from parallax scrolling in web design to jQuery to web application design. Most courses run a dozen to two dozen lessons, though there are some that fall outside of those parameters.

Courses are available to all Tuts+ Premium members (who also get the benefit of hundreds of tutorials and 73 ebooks, as well as weekly new content). Tuts+ Premium membership is $19/month (or $15/month if you pay yearly). They do offer two free courses if you want to try it out: 30 Days to Learn HTML and CSS, and 30 Days to Learn jQuery.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


Timothy Training

Timothy Training offers tutorials for a number of web technologies and programs, including Dreamweaver, HTML and CSS, PHP, MySQL, and more. They also offer live training and even on-site training.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



OpenLearn is the online home of the free courses from The Open University. They offer courses on a huge variety of subjects, including technology and design. The Design and Innovation category has some great courses that would be of interest to a web designer, including Design in a Nutshell, while the Computing and ICT category has more technical courses, including classes on open source, Google, design thinking, and more.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


iTunes U

iTunes U is probably one of the better known online educational portals out there, with courses from some leading educational institutions around the world. They offer courses designed by schools, colleges, universities, and other organizations from around the world.

Courses can be found by searching or browsing, as well as by looking through the top-rated charts. There are even topical collections put together by top institutions. There are a number of courses and collections aimed at designers and developers, including Developing Apps for iOS, iOS Game Development, Talking Design, and Creative Media. iTunes U can be accessed through any iOS device. Educators also have the option to create their own courses.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


Academic Earth

Academic Earth offers free courses from colleges around the world in a variety of subjects, including Introduction to Visual Thinking, Building Dynamic Websites, and Computer Graphics. Lessons are presented in video format.

Courses offered through Academic Earth are presented by institutions including Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Indian Institute of Technology, MIT, and more.

20+ resources for learning web design & development was created to teach practical PHP skills to web designer types, rather than developers. They offer up video tutorials on PHP and MySQL. You can subscribe for just $29 for 3 months or $99 for 12 months, or purchase courses individually.

20+ resources for learning web design & development approaches online learning a bit differently than most of the other sites listed here. Instead of letting you simply watch video lessons on your own time, they offer live, interactive webinars. Webinars are also included in their video training library, which subscribers have complete access to.

They offer some live webinars for free (mostly on non-technical subjects), while others are only available to members. Membership is $197 for a full year, which includes access to the full library as well as their library. Monthly and yearly subscriptions to just the live webinars are also available, for $47 and $97 respectively.

20+ resources for learning web design & development


Web Standards Curriculum

If you’re interested in learning web standards, then the Web Standards Curriculum, offered by W3C, is a great place to start. It covers everything from web design standards to HTML to CSS, and even has information on JavaScript, accessibility, mobile web development, and SVG.

They also include resources aimed at teachers, with additional references, teaching materials, and project activities.

20+ resources for learning web design & development



Regardless of what you want or need to learn, you’ll almost certainly find what you’re looking for at one of the sites above. They’re a nice way to educate yourself without the cost of a formal education, but with more direction than just randomly surfing tutorials.

Have you used any of the resources above? Or did we miss any you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comments.

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20+ resources for learning web design & development