One of the modifications that I’ve made to MLO is to add some custom status icons so that I can scan the list and get a quick visual indication of what is going on with each task. This is especially useful in the MLO Outline tab where I usually do not apply any filtering (see the screenshot below). Some of these icons were inspired by the tool Tudumo which looked great with a clean UI but didn’t have some of the features I needed (e.g. mobile apps). The other inspiration was the need to have a hard/strict status for each task which also helps me set up my views/filters. In the MLO To-Do tab, I generally use custom views with similar logic to filter the tasks by state and create partitioned lists. (I will share more on To-Do views in a future post.)
For me, a task can be in one of a handful of states: [!] Hot, [A] Active, [H] Hold/Scheduled, [SM] Someday/Maybe, [WF] Delegated/Waiting For, [C] Complete, or [X] Dropped. It can alternatively be designated as a [P] Project (i.e. not a “task”). The hot and active states are fairly self-explanatory. I generally follow the “active” definition used by MLO, and identify “hot” tasks with a star + a “NOW” context. For active tasks, the icon is a green LED. For hot tasks it is a red LED.
If a task is on hold, it gets a Read the rest of this entry »
I recently started listening to the Back to Work podcast that Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin started a little over a year ago. Those of you that miss the regular posts on 43Folders will find the Back to Work podcast to be a refreshing alternative.
Since I was doing a lot of traveling, I dug in and listened to the first 69 episodes (more than 90 hours!) back to back. To keep myself sane, I started a little game. Beginning with episode 1, I collected all of the catch phrases and recurring bits from the show. Initially I envisioned that this could become some sort of drinking game since there is a live broadcast of the weekly show.
I decided instead to take advantage of the wonderful interactive tool created by Frank Ledo and make a “bullshit bingo” card. Granted, a bullshit bingo card is generally reserved for boring meetings where attendees attempt to boil the ocean by using buzzwords in earnest. That’s not the case for B2W, but the bingo tool is just incredibly handy. I’m sure you’ll find your own uses!
Click the picture below to access the playable card. Refreshing your browser will generate a new random card pulled from this list of phrases. I would also recommend checking out the Back to Work podcast. If you are not yet acquainted with the show, I’d suggest listening to the first 5 episodes, then sampling every 7th episode after that. As long as you stick with prime numbers you should be just fine.
I make frequent use of my label maker for all sorts of things around the house and office. I actually bought the one that David Allen recommended in his 2001 book, although that exact model has probably been replaced with newer versions. One of the more recent uses for my label maker is to create simple visual reminders for frequently used hotkeys on my keyboard. The two that have been getting the most use lately are for Desktop Search and for MyLifeOrganized (see image below).
I use the “Insert” key to launch my desktop search function, and the “Home” key to launch my task function (MLO). Pressing the keys by themselves launches a “basic” function, whereas pressing them along with the Windows modifier key launches a more in-depth function. For example, pressing [Insert] launches the Everything Search Tool, available for free from voidtools. This is an amazing tool for extremely fast/instant file searches. You can configure it to launch with the [Insert] key by setting the “New window Hotkey key” to “VK_INSERT” in the Tools > Options > General pane. If, however, I need to perform a more in-depth search for text within a file, or within Outlook emails, or with special constraints, I press WIN-INSERT to launch Windows Search (for Windows XP) in its own window. Since I am still using Windows XP on some of my PCs, the AHK script below helps.
For task management, I am still going strong with MyLifeOrganized. I shared some setup information for synchronization a few months ago when I started using MLO, and I hope to share a more detailed review of the app along with the ins & outs of my setup in the very near future. In the meantime, here is the launch script I am using for MLO. See the portion below the “;Hotkeys to open MyLifeOrganized:” comment. You can launch MLO using the Hotkeys that MLO supports directly, but I wanted a version that would also launch the MLO app if it wasn’t running. Note that the script below assumes that you have Read the rest of this entry »
I told my wife I wouldn’t drink tonight. Besides, I got a big day tomorrow. …actually a pretty nice little Saturday. We’re gonna go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper; maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed Bath & Beyond, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll have enough time.
– Will Ferrell as “Frank the Tank” (Old School)
I’ve been away from blogging for a while, and it’s been a long time since I posted any new content. I figured I would ease back into things with another simple template…
This one is aimed at simplifying your weekend planning process. I know we all have our various systems for managing our tasks and to-do lists, but for those of you have who have spouses or significant others, you may find that your task management systems are not really compatible. (Read, “My wife isn’t into GTD, productivity apps, or nerdy web sites”.) In addition to that, you may both have some pretty ambitious (and potentially conflicting) plans going into the weekend. Since we have young kids, we can’t just each run off in our own directions and do as we please. I have found that sitting down with my wife at the kitchen table on Friday night after the kids are in bed and sketching out a plan for the weekend can alleviate a lot of stress and avoid some major conflicts. This gives us a chance to let each other know what our expectations are for the weekend, what we would like to accomplish, and where we need help/time.
The best medium for this for us seems to be good ole pen and paper. To speed things along, I’ve created the template shown here. I keep a small stack of these printed (double-sided) in the kitchen. The front side of the template contains a simple task list arranged into columns. Each task row has a space to indicate status (see key at the top of the page), a space to indicate priority (A/B/C), and a space for the task itself. To fill in this page, I would recommend Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s a cute trick. This is a bit old, but since I have actually used it a few times in recent months, I thought it was worth sharing. (Click the image below to view full size.)
I can’t remember if I first found this on Lifehacker or on the Minimal blog, but both seem to be re-posts. Based on the image tag I think it came from this blog on Tumblr (now inactive). If I’m mistaken, please post a link in the comments.
You can’t think about it too hard, or it won’t help. Enjoy!
“When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for.”