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
I’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
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
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.
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
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?
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
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
I passed my certification exam! I took a group study course in early 2010 when I finally decided to sit for this exam, and managed to pass a year later after studying for only two weekends. Maybe that wasn’t the best approach, but whatever.
The Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) exam is a three-hour 200-question exam for HR professionals with at least seven years in the industry who:
- designs and plans, rather than implements, HR policy
- focuses on the “big picture”
- has ultimate accountability in the HR department
- typically has six to eight years of progressive and increasingly complicated HR experience
- has breadth and depth of knowledge in all HR disciplines
- uses judgment gained with time and knowledge application
- understands the business beyond the HR function and influences the overall organization
The SPHR exam is divided into six functional areas:
- Business Management and Strategy (30%)
- Workforce Planning and Employment (17%)
- Human Resource Development (19%)
- Compensation and Benefits (13%)
- Employee and Labor Relations (14%)
- Risk Management (7%)