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November 2006

November 30, 2006

Quick FYI...

Just so you know, I doubt I'll be posting again until sometime next week or the week after: I'm in the final stages of finishing Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them and my editor has hooked up my chair -ZAP!- to give me a jolt -ZAP!- every minute I'm not writing the book.

Expect to see some nice changes around here in Dec.

Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them

November 27, 2006

Free GTD Desktop Backgrounds

This may not be for you, on the other hand, maybe it is: Jacob Reiff over at jaacob.com has come up with sets one and two of Getting Things Done key concept desktop backgrounds, like this one in a variety of sizes. You could also use them in a screensaver program like Webshots.com's.


November 24, 2006

The perfect cheap Geek Gift - a Lifehacker book

One of my favorite sites - Lifehacker.com - has a book coming out Dec. 18, "Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day" have a look at the full Table of Contents and the Amazon page. Here's a bit to get you interested:
The table of contents:

  • Chapter 1: Free Up Mental RAM
  • Chapter 2: Firewall Your Attention
  • Chapter 3: Automate Repetitive Tasks
  • Chapter 4: Streamline Common Tasks
  • Chapter 5: Get Your Data To Go
  • Chapter 6: Control Your Email
  • Chapter 7: Organize Your Stuff
  • Chapter 8: Kickstart Your Productivity
  • Chapter 9: Master the Web
  • Chapter 10: Tune Your Computer

This is the perfect gift for the GIYL: the Geek in Your Life. I've already ordered mine!

November 21, 2006

Procrastination solutions are always in order

It's especially easy around the holidays to procrastinate - the phone stops ringing, the emails dry up and everyone is shifting to holiday mode.

Jason Womack, the staff trainer at David Allen's DavidCo, has some great advice to any and all who fall ill with procrastination:

  • Go for a walk around the block, to the park, in the yard.
  • Visit with a friend by phone, video or in person over tea or a meal.
  • Get a high-protein meal - actually eat something!
  • Do something on purpose; identify and complete something that is important to me.

November 20, 2006

Find the right time - globally

Pamela Slim at Escape from Cubicle Nation has found a very handy tool online for anyone trying to figure out when's the right time to call someone elsewhere on the globe, let alone 2 or three people.

The World Clock Meeting Planner could not be easier: plug in up to four major cities, your target date and it will create a graphic showing what normal workdays overlap, who is usually asleep when and when weekends are ending starting. Very handy - and free.


November 17, 2006

Motivation is the first step

After I wrote yesterday's post my Blog Radar (A Google home page with lots of predefined search feeds) picked up Alina's take on motivation and time management:

There is talk of tools, optimizing everything, efficiency, success, and rules like “Concentrate on results, not on being busy”. As far as I am concerned, they should start with one thing: first you have to convince yourself to act according to your plan. Because most of us can learn how to write a to-do list extremely fast!

Yes, you need to prioritize, see what is really important. True, but what if you know exactly what you need to do, the order of completing each task, but you simply don’t feel like it? Because, when there are things to do outside office hours and you don’t get them done, there are no immediate consequences to fear. Like writing an article after work, when you could just watch TV…

Well said Alina!

November 16, 2006

4 ways to get seriously motivated

Getting and staying motivated to keep turning the crank on your life is a never-ending challenge. It's all very well to build a perfect Getting Things Done system for yourself, but at the end of the day, it's wasted effort if you don't do the things that need doing.

Here's four ways I've found that work to recharge your motivation batteries:

  • Get up and move. Whether you get up and move to dispel the lethargy that comes from sitting in front of a computer too long, or you're going to start taking exercise seriously, moving your body is a proven way of generating real motive power.
  • Connect to the Block. Sometimes, not being motivated is your mind's way of saying, "Wait a minute - you should not do that!" Example - I've been seriously putting off writing a specific chapter for my next book. I had it outlined, but just could not muster any enthusiasm for it. I woke up today realizing my whole approach had been off, that the real story for that chapter was something entirely different. Instant energy! If you have a task you rationally know you should do, but you haven't, maybe it's time to ask yourself why.
  • Break it up. Too often, especially if you are live/work online, you end up with a whole project pretending to be a task. For example, my My Documents folder is totally overgrown with files and folders, yet "Clean up Files" has been stuck on my Current List for months. Why? There's at least a dozen actual tasks hiding inside those three words - review two dozen downloaded .pdfs, install/try 4 different apps (but not before Friday, I promise!), move completed projects out and cull their files, etc. etc. Projects - or strings of tasks - pretending to be a single task are motivation killers - cut them down to size.
  • Connect to what you want. Why are you doing this (unmotivating) task? If you can't connect that task to something you care about you are not going to do it - just that simple. You can connect to it in terms of what you get, or in terms of what you avoid - but if you can't explain to yourself in five seconds or less why do something, that's a very good sign maybe you should not do it at all.

November 15, 2006

Upgrades versus Productivity

Today I had no less than 5 update/upgrade announcements, a Windows OneCare "reminder" to install no less than 16 updates and 4 different programs wanting to check or install updates. A typical day.

How did we ever let this insanity get so out of control?

If I interrupted you that many times by walking into your office or demanding to talk to you, you'd be ready to kill me after I'd killed your productivity this way. And rightly so.

Yet, meekly, we accept this nonsense online. Microsoft? - go ahead and reboot my PC three times today. This vendor, that vendor, this app, that app - go ahead and unmake my day.

No More.

So here's my plan to end - or at least contain - this shouting horde of time wasters. Just Say No - Until Friday afternoons. No updates, upgrades, program check-ins, installs or whatever until my week has pretty much finished, I'm doing my admin stuff and then and only then will I deal with you on my terms.

November 14, 2006

Use the right words to describe Next Actions

Merlin Mann over at 43folders.com has done it again: he's found an currently out-of-print guide which includes David Allen's lists of Project Verbs versus Next Action Verbs. Why care? Because if you describe Next Actions wrongly it's like tying your shoelaces together and then expecting to be able to run. It doesn't work.

A Next Action in Getting Things Done parlance is the next physical action you can take that moves you closer to completion a task, set of tasks, project or goal. Without a physical verb, you're not defining a Next Action, and the whole system Allen has conceived breaks down. This is one of the easiest ways of fracking up your GTD system.

Here's a few examples - checkout Merlin's post for more:

  • Worthless verbs that define impossible to take Next Actions: Finalize, Resolve, Handle, Look into. Treat these like the flashing red lights they are.
  • Verbs that define Physical - and therefore doable - Next Actions: Call, Organize, Review, Buy, Fill out, Find, Purge.



  • Who?
    Bob Walsh, (Author, managing partner of Safari Software, Inc. a micro-ISV)
    Exploring the intersection between Getting Things Done and building a micro-ISV.
    Live from Sonoma, California USA.
    Once or so a workday.
    Because there's a way to get everything done, I just know there is!
    Micro Internet Software Vendor, a self-funded startup company: See mymicroisv.com for information and resources.
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