January Certifications

Busy New Year

It sure has been a busy New Year so far.  January was especially hectic as we start to pack for our move to North Carolina in a few weeks.  In addition to this, I headed down to Orlando to get my Scrum Product Owner certification, which involved a two-day course in managing product development in a Scrum environment.  I’ve worked for several years as a product owner in agile development environments and I’m a Certified ScrumMaster, but this was a more appropriate credential to add to my resume. Read more

Productivity Image

The Not-to-Do List — 7 Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Productivity

I saw an article recently that hit home with me.  The article, titled The Not-to-Do List — 7 Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Productivity and Happiness , was written by John Meyer, Co-Founder and CEO of Lemonly.

Here are Meyer’s seven recommendations for things you should stop doing, along with my thoughts:

1. Touching emails more than once.

While Meyer calls it “only hold it once” (or OHIO), I’ve also heard it called the “touch it once” rule or the “one touch rule”.  I personally use the latter (OTR).  Lots of productivity sites tout this as a key aspect of reaching another concept called “Inbox Zero”, which suggests that you should empty your inbox each day.  I question the value of this since an empty inbox at 5PM isn’t necessarily in the same state 30 minutes later.  It’s always seemed to me to make more sense to just try to get through your email as quickly and efficiently as possible.  If you clear it out, that’s great.  If you don’t, who cares? Read more

OmniFocus dashboard

Using OmniFocus for GTD

OmniFocus ForecastI’ve been using OmniFocus for about a year now and it seems like the right time to post a comprehensive review of it and how it’s worked for me.  I’m an extremely diligent GTD (Getting Things Done) practitioner and frankly, both my personal and professional lives would be a mess without it.  GTD is a time- and task-management methodology based on the book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.  I first read David’s book in 2006 and implemented his principles at that time; he released a second edition last year which I’ve also read. Read more

How to Delete Your Accounts

Deleting Unused Accounts

With the birth of our son a year and a half ago, my wife and I have started to take a look at “housekeeping” tasks that we didn’t really care about in the past.  No, not cleaning floors or dusting lamps, but things like putting a Last Will and Testament in place and executing an Advance Directive to ensure our wishes are carried out if we’re no longer capable of making healthcare decisions.

During the process of writing the things out, I stumbled across additional question, including:

  • Who takes care of our son if neither of us are able to do so?
  • Who takes our pets if we cannot care for them?
  • What happens to our possessions?
  • What happens to our data footprint such as sensitive documents and other files stored on our computers or accounts in which personal data is stored?

Read more

Personal GTD Workflow

My Task/Time/Data Management Process

I get asked quite frequently about my task management workflow in general, and specifically how I keep projects organized and quickly/easily refer back to discussions in meetings or emails from months earlier.  Here’s a look at how I have things set up.  And I’ll add some additional posts about the actual setup of individual tools at a later date and link to those at the bottom of this post. Read more

Karma Hotspot and MacBook Pro

How Not to Launch Your Product

I recently (well, not recently, more like 294 days ago) purchased a Karma Go wireless hot spot device for use when I travel.  My in-laws didn’t have wireless connectivity in their home (they used dial-up until when they switched to broadband last year, and finally installed a wireless router a couple months ago) and on more than one occasion I’ve had to drive around looking for a location with wireless because I had an emergency at work and needed internet access.

While I could get a wireless hot spot from work, I like the idea of having my own wireless connection and at $99, the device is tiny and fits in my briefcase or backpack.  More importantly, the data never expires and there is no monthly contract, so the fact that I would only use it as a last resort/contingency, makes the whole concept very affordable.

Getting the device was an adventure in and of itself. Read more

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

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)

Read more

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

Paperless GTD System

GTD and Analog Journaling

I’ve been managing my work life, and to a large extent my home life as well, using a GTD system since reading David Allen‘s Book Getting Things Done in 2006.  Frankly, it’s the only way I can stay sane — trying to juggle all the things in my head that go on with work, school, running my own side business, training for marathons or triathlons, and keeping up with my genealogy hobby is just too much without some proven method of organization.

I recently started using a MacBook Pro.  I bought one when the new Retina models were released in August 2012 and I’ve honestly made a conscious effort to use it regularly.  The fact remains that I’m very efficient with the Windows operating system — I know most of the keyboard shortcuts in Windows and the Office applications — and this makes me feel really slow and ineffective when using Mac OS X.  Using Windows on my desktops at home and at work only make the matter worse, so I decided a couple of months ago to use my MacBook Pro at work and as much as possible at home. Read more