20 Day Challenge Day 4 & Blogs

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It’s Monday morning and I’m back in Austin, TX. On the first 3 days of the challenge, I was tackling posting while on the road at the end of the day, so today I’m home and taking a stab at doing a post first thing in the morning.

According to the source of all web knowledge – Wikipedia – blogging started back in the late ’90s (before I had a computer) and were really more like individual webzines that often involved the author updating a website to share content. In 1999, Blogger was introduced and became one of the first self publishing tools. Early on, content was primarily from a single person, but later, in some cases, grew to be the result of a team of writers. Now, blogs are very common and individuals (and businesses) share like a rolling diary. And, with the advent of RSS feeds, you can aggregate posts from multiple sources to read in one place like Google Reader and have your own customized web magazine.

So, as I’m here experimenting with producing content for DMWAustin that might interest you or engage you in staying connected with what we are up to, I thought you might be interested in what blogs I follow. Here is a summary of some of the content that streams into my iPad reader everyday across multiple topics.

Improvement

I follow a dozen or so blogs about process improvement. While my improvement focus is not just on lean, many of the authors do have a lean bent. The two blogs I get the most out of are Mark Graban’s Lean Blog and John Hunter’s Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. Mark has written two books about lean healthcare improvement and blogs daily from San Antonio, TX. I like his accessible style and pragmatic examples. John’s blog touches on a variety of topics and is a great aggregator of themes.

Personal Productivity

I’ve been in search of mastering personal productivity since I first entered an office job. I was an early student of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) method and continue to try and learn and improve. One of my all time favorite productivity blogs based on GTD was Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders where he translated managing time and attention into something that made sense. He’s since moved on, but his content – including his Inbox Zero series – are still available online. I also follow my friend and fellow Massachusetts transplant Maura Thomas, author of the great book Personal Productivity Secrets, who writes a blog at Regain Your Time. Finally, I have been reading a blog by Dan Markovitz who wrote the book A Factory of One where he applied lean improvement thinking to personal productivity. He writes a blog on his website Time Back Management.

Healthcare

I follow a ton of blogs in this space, but most don’t post with frequency. A few acceptions include The Health Care Blog, Paul Levy’s Not Running a Hospital, and John Halamka Life as a Healthcare CIO. Together they provide me a multiview picture of healthcare issues, innovations, and opinion.

Ambulance Service

There is a growing number of blogs in this space, but I find most are at the provider level or with EMS leaders tackling a very narrow and local perspective. There are no blogs I have found that are addressing innovative ideas, system design, modern operations, and improvement. I am in involved in two fledgling blogs that I hope will take off at some point, including Improving Ambulance Service and my collaboration with Mike Taigman and Joe Penner: 3 Men & a Theory. The first has not been updated in a bit (my fault) and the second has no content yet, but three friends with will (stay tuned).

Technology

I’m kind of a mid-level tech geek. I like my gadgets and Mac and have some savvy, but I don’t program or do too much under the hood. I do enjoy following what’s coming and can be an early adopter. I follow three Apple Blogs including AppleInsider, Mac Rumors and the The Unofficial Apple Weblog. I also am a Google Apps user and Google fan and follow several of Google’s Blogs. I also enjoy the content at blogs like Gizmodo but the volume is too much.

Miscellaneous

There are several blogs I read that are harder to classify.

One of my favorites – although the quantity has slowed – is The Four Hour Work Week Blog by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss describes himself as an experimenter in lifestyle design or a life hacker. I enjoyed his first book – The 4-Hour Work Week – and his most recent book – The 4-Hour Body. His writing and interests resonate with me a lot and, while he’s not an improvement person, he uses small tests all the time to learn. I’ve used many an idea from him over the years.

Another of my frequent follows is Chris Guillebeau and his Art of Non-Conformity Blog. Author of life hacker style guides about travel, startups, unconventional living, and other stuff and author of 2 books, Guillebeau is a Portland, OR based blogger who set out several years ago to travel to every country in the world. He’s less than 10 away from finishing. He also created the World Domination Summit.

I also read Ramit Sethi’s I’ll Teach You to be Rich blog. I learned about Sethi from Ferriss when he posted his awesome recommendations for automating your finances. Don’t let the book title fool you, I recommend it to everyone – especially young folks – to get your personal finances in order and I’ve used his recommendations on having dealers bid for your car sale to save thousands on a new car.

For food, I am addicted to the Nom Nom Paleo blog by Machelle Tam. Her pictures are mouth watering and her iPad app is fantastic for my kitchen.

Finally, I like Lifehacker for tips, tricks, tool recommendations, but it is a lot of content.

Summary: I subscribe to a number of great blogs in addition to these too. I use Google Reader on my computer and iPhone and Reader on my iPad to read the feeds. I’m also constantly testing and deleting a bunch of others. What blogs do you read that add value for you? Share below in the comments area.

Day 4 of the 20-Day Challenge. It was great having the weekend break. It was nice to start the day off posting versus trying to pul it together at the end of the evening. I continue to aim to time my posting, but keep failing to do so. Today would have been longer anyway because I had to pull in all of the links for the post and I had to take a break to run my daughter to gymnastics camp.

Two interesting learnings I have had so far. The blogging is increasing the page views on the website and slowly increasing the likes on our Facebook page (see below). It also is resulting in a major increase in spammers leaving comments, which caused me to have to make some administrative changes to that option. I have had few (not many) reposts on Facebook or Twitter making me question the time of delivery or my content. Please share what you like with others! Posting is getting easier, but not less time consuming (need to work on that).

Please follow along and do share comments back with me as you read. If you want to subscribe to the RSS feed for the blog, you can do so here. Or, you can follow the blog through our Facebook page and on Twitter.

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