29 Apr 2007

Life Laundry

Well the life laundry session has gone very well. We have a completely clear roof space, ready to fill with crap again! Everyone in the house mucked in, so we managed to get finished over the weekend - we thought it might take longer.

It has given is a sense of productivity, even though its really just an exercise in damage control. I feel that we have a really good clean slate (literally) to build on, and hopefully with a little maintenance we can keep it tidy

28 Apr 2007

Menu bar

So whats in your menu bar??

Strange thing - yesterday Mark & I had a long chat about the menu bar and how we'd seen things in Merlin's menu bar that we liked the idea of. The full date time was one and I hunted down this instruction set to perform that - which I really like, a quick glance up to the top right to check the date.

And behold this mornings feed shows a 43Folders article on whats in Merlin's menu. I've heard about skitch and was keen to give it a try, but its still in private beta - hope to get that when its released to the masses.

[What's in my menubar? at 43Folders]

26 Apr 2007

Paper based or Electronic?

Its a question that everyone that looked at GTD will have asked. Do I use paper and pen of do I store things electronically?

Fear not the answer is here!! Why not hack a moleskine to be a hard-drive case!

[Building a moleskine hard-drive cover via 43Folders]

24 Apr 2007

Change of Plan - Journalling

Following my previous post on journalling, I have (in a quite typical fashion) completely changed my mind!! I don't think this is a bad thing though and I think that systems and tools should be constantly reviewed to see if they are still the best option. Granted, this is a pretty quick change, even by my faddy standards!!

I was trying out iGTD at the same time as Scrivener and it was proving to be quite a useful tool, the interface was good and I invested some time in getting all of my inbox transferred into it. Something happened though and it appeared to reverted to a set of data that was a few days older and I had lost a considerable amount of tasks and thoughts.

I turned then to the trusty Merlin Mann at 43Folders and looked for a similar product and decided to try kinkless GTD (I like the look of OmniFocus but that isn't available yet). From what I can see OmniFocus and kinkless GTD are similar and the developers appear to be friendly by reading the blog posts. I'm guessing that as kinkless uses OmniOutliner as its engine, that there may be a path of upgrade.

The long and the short of it is that I figured I could also use OmniOutliner to record my weekly journal, so I've held back on the purchase of Scrivener for that reason. It is a good tool, but it didn't quite feel right in the end.

As an extention to this post I also took the GTD book back off the shelf and have started reading it again, just to polish the edges on technique!

22 Apr 2007

Looking for work

When I first set up on my own, I told my self that I would get "too comfortable" at one place so that I could move about and keep on top of things. Well I'm nearing the end of my first contract extension and I'm feeling settled! I have told myself that I will look for other opportunities in June and this article jogged my interest in doing so. The sniff of "the big time" with ex-colleagues is promising, but I can't hang my hat on this peg as there is no guarantee that anything will come off.

[Common mistakes to avoid when freelancing on PowerHomeBiz small & Home business blog via Lifehacker]

21 Apr 2007

Cool workspace

Just spotted this mighty fine workspace example on Lifehacker. I wish I had a space like this! Mustn't grumble though - at least `I have the mac!

Loving finding all the features at the moment. Yesterday I experimented with Automator and sent through my first automated timesheet last night (which hopefully worked!)

[Coolest Workspace Competition on Lifehacker]

19 Apr 2007

Journalling Review

As you know I’ve had a few applications on trial. This post is about the apps I’ve looked at to do with journals. I chose to look at Notebook and Scrivener. From my PC days I was used to OneNote for journaling and Notebook kind of replaced that directly. It looked and felt very similar, but perhaps in a slightly cruder way. I thought I’d struck lucky and found a great tool, until I also tried Scrivener. This is a completely different tool and is geared towards writers. It can, I think, be used to document any kind of project. Its very adaptable and at first glance seems to satisfy my journaling needs for both work and blog topics in one area. The cork board is good to just take an overview of what is going on. After only a few days I found myself dropping the Notebook in favour of Scrivener.

Work journals are written (at the moment) on an index card per week, his seems to be sufficient at the moment and I can normally summarise what I’ve been working on in the whole week in the synopsis area.

Blogging topics can be allocated an index card as ideas appear and then developed as time goes on so that an archive is built up - as they are posted their status changes to DONE which can be seen from the corkboard overview.

Its a new way of working for me and is taking some getting used too, but I feel that I will be happier with this product.

12 Apr 2007

Buying the Beast

So I finally bought my mac. Almost an impulse purchase and certainly not the model that I was originally looking at - BUT I AM VERY PLEASED!

I finally went for the Macbook Pro and I’ve started to set it up with “trial” applications to see what I might use permanently now I’m in the mac world.

The first thing that I looked into was VMWare, which is a package I’ve used on Windows to create virtual machines and it will allow me to operate the few legacy applications that I need for work in a windows environment. I could have used bootcamp, but I didn’t want to have a windows partition on my hard drive, and as I already have a library of VMWare images with different configurations, it won over the Parallels product too.

I’ve been taking a few notes from podcasts and blogs as to the type of things I should be using on my mac to help with productivity. I’ve therefore decided to evaluate the following products
OmniOutliner - this package came onboard my new mac and is great for lists. I’m sure it has more powerful things as well that I hope will become apparent as I use it more. Any tips are welcome.

Quicksilver - this commonly seems to be “the must have” tool. I’ve got the evaluation copy at the moment, but from what I’ve seen it seems to be very impressive. I have got Merlin’s 43Folders post to gen up on to hopefully get towards being a power user. I’ve reduced the items in my dock to encourage me to use Quicksilver more.

Scrivener - Again the trial version is being used, and I’m constructing this post in it now. Not sure at the moment if I can use it full time. I’d like to be able to use it as a project management tool for projects that aren’t writing projects. I’m sure that it can be adapted, but is it right me me?

Notebook - Final trial piece of software, which at the moment I’m using to replace the journal I used in Microsoft OneNote. It seems to offer a similar way of working, but I’m not sure I need it as well as scrivener and omnioutliner.

If anyone has any tips on the products above or alternatives that might suit me, please let me know.