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July office pr0n roundup
Merlin Mann | Jul 1 2005
Here’s a quick roundup of a few cool items I’ve picked up (or had recommended to me) over the past few weeks.
These are basically accordion folders that support metadata. The front of the folder has pre-printed spaces for the project’s name, description, contacts, and folder contents as well as a big area to record tasks, dates, and follow-up actions. The back is lined for writing any kind of ad hoc notes. Of course there’s nothing to say you couldn’t write all this on a manila folder yourself, but the structure invites (nay, compels) you to keep better records. Pretty cool for people juggling lots of projects or sharing resources with a team.
I’m nuts about this little timer, and I use it for practically everything—sprints, cooking, you name it. The best feature is the little magnet on the back. I can set a timer for 3 or 4 hours in the future, and then use the timer’s magnet to hold up an index card with a sentence on what that alarm is for (yes, thanks, I do sometimes forget what the timer’s for without it). Also the timer’s a great discipline aid; when Danny and I say we’re doing a 20-minute call to discuss our godforsaken book, I can put a timer on it to make sure we don’t accidentally blow through his whole lunch hour (Danny helps save freedom on the internets). It’s also fun to use the “count-up” feature to time the delivery guy, and see if it really takes 40 minutes for the dim sum to arrive (record: last week Ton Kiang made it here in 00:27:13).
I’ve been loving these clear plastic document sleeves as a way to implement elements of the increasingly-legendary Ternouth Paper System. Since you can see through them, you can drop in a little cover sheet with project details, or just peer in at the work peering back at you. Easy to pop a label on the extended edge, and drop into your “Current Work” area. I also like that these will only hold so many sheets of paper—perfect for a per-project pattern of the kanban system Martin describes, plus it encourages the smart “culling” process he outlines.
I have a dirty little secret that some of you may not know; I’m actually not the biggest historical user of the titular 43 folders. Since I do most of my “parking” electronically, I really hadn’t had much use for it, but recently I’ve gotten better about the habit, and this little guy has really helped. It’s much roomier than my old tickler file box, so I can also store extra manila folders in hanging folders and still have lots of room to move around. Plus you can store binder clips and stuff in the lid, which is nerdy but kind of cool. Also this model’s a handy solution if you want to truck your stuff home in the evenings or on weekends.
While I personally still swear by the Fisher Bullet Space Pen, a lot of folks have pinged me to say they love the military model for a simple reason: it’s a steal at just $10 (the more stylish Bullet is $20). Haven’t tried it myself, and it does look a bit longer than the pocket-friendly bullet, but if you’re a backpack sort of person looking to write upside-down on the cheap, this might be the perfect pen for you.
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