26 Mar 2007

The Deed is Done

Am penning this post from my new MacBook Pro! managed to get a good deal buying the beast at the airport, as I had intended dropping by the Birmingham apple store on my way home on Wednesday. Got back to the hotel and seemlessly got a bluetooth connection to my phone and transferred the picture over, then got onto the hotel WiFi network to post this. If everything is as simple as this it should be a breeze!!

Going to investigate iCal and address book.

When I get back to base with post more.

Yours happily a mac user

23 Mar 2007


The behance action book, looks like a great bit of stationary p0rn! As ever Merlin spotted this and talked about it in a round up post. The double page spread seems to have a lot of the features that I use on printable CEO forms made by David Seah.

After a short browse on google, it appears that they are not available in the UK though, which means that postage will probably be prohibitive

[Remaindered Links from 43Folders]


Finally, I think I might have a window to go and get my macbook! I have a long drive on Wednesday, which will hopefully see me into drive by an Apple store mid-late afternoon. Looking froward to the whole experience.

Watch this space!

22 Mar 2007

How did the budget affect me?

I managed to get a paper on the way to work this morning and try and diagnose how it might affect me. Obviously pretty much all of it will affect me at some point, but the short term gains and loses were what I was interested in.

There is a planned decrease in income tax, to the lowest for 75 years, but this is almost exactly offset by other changes in National insurance contributions and the abolition of the 10% bracket - so not much either way there.

The ISA limit has been increased to £7,200 - not a significant rise so no major benefits to be had there either

Car Tax (oh dear) - I was dreading this, but it would seem that at first glance at the CO2 figures of our car, we just scrape under being a group D, and the big hike in prices only applies to that group, so I might have avoided the increase to £400 in 2008!

The biggest hit for me is corporation tax on small businesses is rising by 3%, which is going to be around my neck until I'm making £150k profit a year

We will get some benefits from a rise in child allowance. With a big emphasis on being green (which we try our hardest to do at home) the "waste tax" is interesting. Out bin at home hardly gets full at the end of the week, so hopefully any weighed waste tax would bot be too hard on us.

13 Mar 2007

1st Quarter Results

Well my little company has now been trading for 3 months and I've had to look at my turnover just recently. I also caught the latest installment from the Brazen Careerist, Penelope Trunk, who says that writing about stuff can help you keep focused on a long term goal or aim.

Well I'm just checking through my financial goals that I made over the new year period after reading the money tree. Things are going well. Its a milestone in the business (although a very small one) but it is amazing to see the kind of figures that I've managed to get in the first fledgling months. My personal finance plans are also coming along well - so I am officially still on track!

6 Mar 2007

Easy To-do

Following on from yesterdays post I spotted this on the DIY Planner blog. It speaks of a little piece of software which ticked some boxes for me. It allows me to create recurring tasks (a feature I'm fond of in Remember the Milk) but it has all the information offline. I've downloaded it for a trial, but seems to offer a lot of configurability and could fit nicely with my system.

[GTD@Work: My Quest Ends from DIY Planner]

[Easy To-Do from Xanadu Tools]

5 Mar 2007

My Building Blocks

I read "Getting Things Done" over a year ago now and since then have read other books and posts on GTD and other productivity matters ("The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (/Families), 43 Folders etc). I have developed my own set of tools which I use regularly to help me stay on top of things. This system is not fixed and I make regular tweaks and test new products all the time - some get adopted, sometimes I revert to my original method.

I have several email accounts (personal, my company, current assignment etc) and I clear all of them down daily. By clear down I mean deal with, so I use the 2 minute mantra, that if it can be done in 2 minutes, why wait?... do it now. This mainly involves just reading them and filing them. I also have a paper inbox for post - I don't get as much of that, so this is easily managed. Mainly its bills that need paying or invoices to be filed.

I have 2 moleskines. A pocket moleskine that I carry with me at all times in my bag (more later) and an A5 moleskine which I use in meetings etc to jot down notes. I use a Fisher Space Pen to take notes (also kept in my bag).

Day Book
I used to fill in a day book (journal) at work - which has proved to be very useful when recalling information in the past. I have recently switched over to using Microsoft OneNote as a test replacement for a paper day book. I like the idea of having it electronically, searchable etc. Is there a similar product that could be used on the mac though? Any suggestions?

I use GCal as my calendar application - the only disadvantage being that an internet connection is required. For assignment related dated items I use Lotus Notes, which links all employees calendars together and allows meetings to be scheduled etc. I've used Lotus Notes for about 6 months now and I really don't like it very much. It just seems really old fashioned. When I get the mac I shall be using iCal.

Contact Management
As I've mentioned in past posts, my contact management is a mess. I'm looking forward to getting the mac (for many reasons), but one is that it will be a catalyst to shake things up and get realigned - particularly with contacts. I have so many places that store information at the moment that its really not managable.

Lists are critical areas of GTD, so its important that I have this right. Unfortunately, this is the area that I tweak most, which suggests that I'm not completely happy with the solution, maybe the mac will provide me that? At the moment I use Remember the Milk as my task manager - which is good. I'm obviously not completely happy with it though as I have a nagging doubt all the time. Again is based online (which can sometimes be a disadvantage). Merlin & Co have given many tips for applications for the mac, so I'm bound to find something that I like.

Tickler File
I have a 43 folders tickler file as per the GTD groupings of days and months. I use this to store documents that need action on certain dates, bills, holiday itineries etc This has permanent residence in the home office and gets reviewed weekly.

Again I'm always tweaking my review, I used to think Fridays was a good time, but now do it on Monday mornings. I look at the week ahead on my calendars, check through my projects and next actions lists, clear out inboxes and perform weekly admin tasks (raising invoices etc)

Other Tools
I've recently starting using quite a few of David Seah's Printable CEO forms - they suit my current assignment quite well. Its also got me thinking about what I would like in my own form if I made one. Some more online tools I use on a daily basis to help organise things are del.icio.us and Google Reader, which I use to tag articles to read and store for future reference. I use Microsoft excel and Money to record my finances.

At present I'm exclusively PC. I have a reasonably meaty desktop towers at the home office, which is home to all the business software and files (and gets regularly backed up). I have an old laptop which I use just to write these posts and record my day and a work laptop (which I think might be even older) supplied to me by my client, which has the necessary access to Lotus Notes etc. I'd like my mac to have VMWare installed so that I can switch to other images if required (I have already got an archive of several images)

I like bags! I usually always have a bag of some sort with me. I have a small bag which goes most places for essential gear, notebook, wallet, phone, TomTom etc. I also highly recommend a TimBuk2, which I use when I need to take more stuff around.

So, I hope that my new mac is going to bring together all my loose ends and make me more productive. On that note I've decided to get the mac in March no-matter what. If I have to upgrade to Leopard later so be it - I can't wait!