Ahhh, Moleskines. When it comes to creatively-minded people, they are viewed right up there with Apple Macs and Starbucks. I’ve been using my own Moleskine notebook (thoughtfully bought for me by my wife to shut me up) for the last couple of months to doodle down thoughts and catch all my random ideas. What makes it so great is that it feels so sturdy and solid, and that makes it ideal for hacking and tweaking (try adding tabs or a pen holder to a normal notepad and it will probably fall apart). In short, it’s a quality tool for freelancers, entrepreneurs and productivity fans who like the lo-fi approach.
NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month, is a great idea. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel throughout November, and the website offers help, forums, tips and encouragement to help you (over 200,000 people participated in 2010). The reason I like the idea of NaNoWriMo is it encourages people to approach the challenge of book writing by breaking it down into bitesize chunks – one of my favorite productivity tips. 50,000 words in a month sounds like a lot, but 1500+ words a day for 30 days is a whole different proposition.
In this age of instant access information, always available entertainment and bottom line obsessed business our time, energy and focus is always at a premium. It seems to be a common and accepted part of life that we need to multitask to keep on top of it all. The only problem is we aren’t actually very good at it…
This month it emerged that in the UK, a staggering eight billion pounds worth of food goes to waste, which equates to 6.7 million tonnes or a third of our total purchases. Those are scary stats that are echoed in many other countries around the world. This effects us two ways. Firstly, with food prices rising dramatically at the moment, it’s a very good idea to start looking at whether we can be more efficient with what we eat, thus wasting less and saving money. Secondly, all that wasted food typically ends up on landfills thus producing the greenhouse gas methane, on top of all the damage the excess packaging and transporting causes. It’s with all this in mind that I’ve compiled an introductory list of habits you can develop in your life that will help you to stop wasting food so as to save money and be environmentally friendly. Continue reading
Blasthemy! I hope the productivians don’t strike me down 😉 Here is my list of issues with GTD that I have picked out. These are a mix of my own and other’s experiences that were shared in a previous post asking the readers what they disliked. This is meant as a one-sided critique and as such is not strictly representative of my true feelings. If you disagree with any points please do share your thoughts. Also, be sure to suggest any points I may have missed.
- The circumstances in which an event occurs; a setting.
- That which surrounds, and gives meaning to, something else.
GTD encourages the use of contexts to break down long and expansive to-do lists. Without them where would you start? What would you choose to do at any particular time? By breaking down your lists according to different settings and situations, it becomes a simple matter of selecting a list and tasks appropriate to your current context. For instance, if you are near a phone, you only need look at those next actions that require you to make a phonecall.
An extra benefit of contexts is that it it stops you from being distracted by next actions that are not relevant to your current circumstances. For instance, you don’t have to look at any tasks that are to do at home when you are at work. This is known as contextual limitation as it stops your attention being taken up by work you can’t do at that time.
Contexts can be as simple or as complicated as required depending on the actual depth and size of your to-do lists. Traditionally, the author of GTD, David Allen, puts a @ symbol in front of all contexts, and while this is not a requirement, it has become the common defining symbol for them. The symbol means location as in “Where are you at?”. Thus, @computer means “At your computer”.
I’ve been away for over a week on holiday hence the lack of posts recently. As is typical after time away, I’m now trying to catch up with things. One of the first things I did when I got back home was to get up to date with my favorite sites (I have quite a few productivity blogs bookmarked on my Delicious account so it certainly took a while). As I was doing it, I got to thinking about which of these sites really stood out for me and provided top content on a regular basis. In an attempt to answer this I’ve come up with my personal top ten productivity blogs list. Bear in mind, it’s by no means definitive. There are so many sites out there that I could quite easily change my mind tomorow. However, I hope you find it useful.