zen habits : breathe

How to Get Things Done with Twitter

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.

Let’s face it: a growing number of people are using Twitter these days, spending a lot of time on Twitter, and still need to get things done on Twitter.

If you want to spend a lot of time conversing with people on Twitter, that’s great … but many people still need to get their tasks done. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

Why use Twitter to get things done? Twitter isn’t necessarily the best platform for getting things done … but if you’re already using it a lot, it might be easier or faster for you to do things while still in Twitter. Note: I don’t take responsibility for any of these services — if they don’t work well, check with them! :)

Here’s how:

1. Reminders. Need a quick reminder that you have an appointment, or need to follow up on something later? Follow “timer” on Twitter, and send it a direct message with a reminder time and it will ping you at that time. For example: “d timer 30 pick up Chloe”.

2. To-do list: A couple of popular to-do services are on Twitter: Remember the Milk (on Twitter) and Nozbe (on Twitter). Follow them and send them direct messages to add things to your to-do list, or to check the items on your list.

3. Calendar. If you use Google Calendar (gCal), go to Twittercal, then follow gCal on Twitter and add events by sending direct messages to gCal. For example: “d gcal meeting with paul tomorrow at 7pm”.

4. Delegate. If you’re going through your to-do list or email and find a task that’s better suited for someone else, sending that person a direct message (assuming they’re on Twitter) can be quicker and easier than sending an email or making a phone call.

5. Follow up. The same applies to following up. I’ve done it a bunch of times — instead of opening up your email program, composing a new message, typing in the person’s address and the subject line, and then writing the email … you can just direct message them on Twitter: “d zen_habits don’t forget to answer my interview questions, you berk!”

6. Accountability with goals. Want some extra motivation to achieve your goals? Announce through Twitter or on your blog that you’re going to post your progress updates every day on Twitter. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, you can post everything you eat on Twitter. Trying to exercise? Post your workouts on Twitter. It’s great motivation, and you can get some support and encouragement from your Twitter friends.

7. Get info or ideas quickly. If you have a good Twitter network, you can ask a question and usually get a few responses quicker than many other methods. I’ve gotten website and service recommendations, ideas for a post I was writing, restaurant recommendations, people interested in a job, and more.

8. Do real work. It’s possible to do real work on Twitter — people have written stories or posts by writing them in little chunks in Twitter. It might be worth a try. But if that doesn’t work, my strongest recommendation is to turn Twitter off when you need to do some real work. Then, when you’re done, reward yourself with 10 minutes on Twitter.

Other useful Twitter services:

What are your favorite methods and services to get things done on Twitter? Share in the comments!

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