Oliver Wendell Holmes

Simplicity

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

OmniFocus dashboard

GTD Review: OmniFocus

Overview

I recently switched to OmniFocus as my GTD application for Mac OS X and iOS.  Now, I realize this goes against my initial criteria for finding a new GTD system, which included a requirement that the system be cross-platform, but my computer usage — even at work — has shifted to almost entirely Mac OS X.  Further, while I rely on an Android (Samsung Note 3) as my personal phone, there are a couple good applications — I currently use Quantus Tasks — that have been able to access the OmniFocus sync servers using an open API, meaning I can always access my todo list whether I’m on a computer or on the go.  This has also made me more reliant on my company iPhone and I ended up purchasing the OmniFocus iOS application as well.

OmniFocus is not a light investment, the Mac OS X application is $40 (upgrade to Pro version is another $40) and the iOS app is $40 (upgrade to the Pro version is another $20), which is a turn-off for many users, but it can be configured from a very simple workspace to one with significant complexity and features, making it a great choice for GTD practitioners of all skill levels and needs.  Personally, I’ve spent similar money on GTD applications ($50 for todoMatrix and another $20/year for its web interface, $20/year for Doit) and in my opinion, paid applications only increase the level and quality of support and enhancements from the developer over time.

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Internet Ads

View or Change Your Google Ad Settings

No one really likes online advertisements. But they do help to pay for your Gmail hosting and the occasional brilliantly written article on the web. If you’re going to be served up ads by Google then you may as well make sure that they’re about topics you’re interested in. Here’s how you can find out what Google thinks you like and make changes if required.

First, head over to google.com/settings/u/0/ads and remember that you’ll need to be logged in.

View the section titled Interests and you can delete irrelevant ones or even add new ones.

Google Font

Google Font Library Project

Someone I follow on Twitter (CodeVixen) sent out a link to Font Library, an open source project intended to tag and organize Google Fonts.  If you’re a little typography-challenged at times like I am, you can shop by tag and the site displays a sample of each font on the page so that you can see how it looks.  Really helpful!

Work Life Balance

Avoid Over-Committing with This Simple Formula

One of the sites I watch regularly is lifehacker.com, which is where a number of the small anecdotal posts on this site come from.

They recently posted a link to an article from Elizabeth Grace Saunders at the Harvard Business Review that explains a formula for balancing your time and ensuring you don’t over-commit:

(External Expectations) + (Internal Expectations) ≤ 24 hours — (Self-Care)

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Certified Scrum Master

Certified Scrum Master

I recently had the opportunity to take a two-day certification course for the Agile Scrum Master certification offered by the Scrum Alliance.  This course is a prerequisite for taking the certification exam, and teaches you the principles you need in order to understand the Scrum methodology and adequately prepare for the exam.

The course was taught by Peter Borsella with Winnow Management and was a superbly-run session with great information and an impressive relation to individual experiences and stories that Peter has accumulated over the years. Read more

Two-Factor Authentication

Sites with Two-Factor Authentication

Looking for a way to keep your online accounts (cloud storage, banking, social media, email, etc.) as secure as possible?

Two-factor verification (also known as two-step authentication, abbreviated to TFA) is a process involving two stages to verify the identity of a user trying to access services in a computer or in a network. This is a special case of a multi-factor authentication which might involve only one of the three authentication factors (a knowledge factor, a possession factor, and an inherence factor) for both steps. If each step involves a different authentication factor then the two-step authentication is additionally two-factor authentication. (Wikipedia) Read more

GTD Quick Reference

Can a GTD system be too simple?

I was reading an article the other day on Lifehacker that showcased how to use Apple Reminders for GTD.  The idea was that it’s so deeply embedded in iOS and OS X, that users of those platforms should find it beneficial to use it for GTD-based task management.

This raised another question in my mind, can a GTD system be too simple?  I’ve seen ways to deploy Outlook, Evernote, OneNote, Gmail and many other systems for GTD.  One of the founding principles of a GTD system is that it should be easy to use, or you won’t use it the way you should.  But isn’t there a balance between complexity and a lack of features?

It’s no secret that I have a very clear idea of what features are important to me, but each person will typically have their own idea of what is required and what is extraneous.

How do you balance the simplicity and complexity that both add to the usefulness of a GTD system?

Nice desktop configuration

My Dream Office

I work from home frequently and I love having a dedicated office in our home.  I’ve often thought one of the primary criteria next time we shop for a house will be whether it has an extra room sufficient for a dedicated office.

In the meanwhile, Jen and I share a spare room for our office and my desk is in a corner.  I would actually be interested in a corner desk such as the one showcased in the article below and a social/meeting space in the opposite corner.  It seems that this arrangement (flanked by my bookshelves) would do fairly well. Read more

Evernote UI

Going Paperless with Evernote

My office was a total mess.  I had two file cabinets full of papers that I may or may not ever need one day.  I’m not a pack rat when it comes to documents, but if there’s a chance I might need it, it got filed.  Filing papers takes a few minutes, so it was not uncommon for me to toss a stack of incoming mail on my desk.  You know, I’ll get back to it later in the day or the following day.  Instead, I toss another stack on top of it.  This only makes it harder to sit down and work through the queued mail. Read more