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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Productivity Pr0n

Patrick Rhone: Excellent productivity whitepaper

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but if you also hadn't spend much time with it yet, I suggest you check out Patrick Rhone's whitepaper on his version of a GTD system.

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The Tu Lan Files: Interviewed by Brian Oberkirch

An Interview with Merlin Mann at Like It Matters

Wow, I completely forgot about this. One day, when my pal Brian was in town, we hit Tu Lan and hung out for an hour or so talking about all kinds of stuff related to 43F, productivity, and how to blow lots of time trying too hard to be productive.

Given the noise level at the restaurant, I'm amazed he could transcribe the conversation, but here you go. Considering I was high on vietnamese food, there's actually some pretty good bits in there:

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Mini-reviews: LabelWriter 400, Polder Vibrating Timer, "Beyond Bullet Points"

I was adding a few items I recently bought and enjoyed over in the right rail, and by the time I was done writing the “TITLE” tags I realized I had three shortie reviews.

After the cut, LabelWriter 400 by Dymo, Vibrating Digital Timer by Polder, and Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson.

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Finding "Getting Things Done Fast"

You could argue that the holy grail in GTD media these days is the woefully out-of-print “Getting Things Done FAST” CD set that DavidCo put out a few years ago. It’s eight (8) CDs of audio material covering the popular multi-day seminar that David did a few years back.

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GTD with a Mac label maker?

multipart/mixed: Turbo-Charging the Dymo LabelWriter

Dymo LabelWriter 330

I love my Brother PT-65, which is regarded by many as the unofficial official label maker of GTD nerds (and which, quizzically, appears to have been discontinued :-().

The PT-65 has easily paid back its modest sticker price with three years of faithful service. Trouble is, I like using it so much that it's gotten to be kind of a pain to pull it out and Blackberry-thumb-type my bajillion labels via its teeny keys. Now, I want something that hooks up to my Mac.

Josh Carter's gotten me interested in the Dymo LabelWriter 330 Turbo via this handy tutorial from late last year, which covers basic setup info, plus a tip on speeding up the creation of a new label with Quicksilver.

Josh has good stuff to say about the 330:

The advantages of the LabelWriter, as I see it:

  • The Dymo software is easy to configure for "power user mode" which eliminates all the extra dialog baggage, and then it's wicked fast to use. (Doubly so with Quicksilver in the mix.)
  • You get to use your computer's nice keyboard. This is especially important for me since I use the Dvorak key layout.
  • The Dymo labels are cheap and look totally pro, even better than a stand-alone label maker.
  • Labels are the same size, so reusing a folder is as simple as sticking a new label over the old one, and it still looks nice.
  • You can use fancy Mac OS X features like printer sharing if needed. (I tried it, it works great.)

Anybody using one of these units or similar? Care to recommend a label maker of any brand that hooks up via USB and works well with Tiger/OS X? I ♥ my little Brother, but I'm ready for Label Maker 2.0!

Michael Angeles: Hipster PDA gear

The evolving configuration of my LowFi PDA | urlgreyhot

Michael’s Hipster PDA

Michael Angeles on his super-slim lofi setup and a very cool-sounding pen:

I now carry around the Fischer Space Pen I got for Christmas a few years ago, a Nick(it) wallet I got for free in the goody bag from MAD Museum's Mad About Dance event, and a small stack of index cards.

Problem is that I often take the pen out and throw it in a bag or something so I find myself on a subway train with an idea, but nothing to write with. Tina pointed to the Inka Pen, which looks perfect.

If I attach it to my keys, I'll never be without it. Sweetness.

Ooooo...Daddy like. Anybody else tried this Inka Pen? Looks like a very clever design. (See also: Gizmodo: The Inka Pen Lets You Write Underwater)

Life Clever: Secrets of the Tidy Desk

10 tips for keeping your desk clean and tidy

I linked to this very swell Life Clever article via del.icio.us the other day, but there's so much savory goodness in here, I feel like revisiting it.

Like a lot of good stuff, this article is about more than it first seems, since a tidy desk can be a MacGuffin; this is ultimately about a tidy approach, or, if you prefer, a tidy mind.

It means that you can create a physical workspace that supports your style of thinking and your approach to action, rather than having it be a purely aesthetic artifact of, say, your OCD or your secret fetish to work in an operating theater. Most importantly, you know where stuff goes because you know where your brain will want to look for it at the right time later on, right? And, as you eventually learn, if you can't immediately grok whether a given piece of paper is trash, actionable, or just for reference, you will be, as Walter Sobchak says, "entering a world of pain."

Like Martin Ternouth's excellent paper-based system, Chanpory's tips encourage you to build fences between projects and tall walls between statuses. For example, think about how a frequent usage of an "Incubate Box" might change the chaotic state of your thinking (as expressed in the mystery-meat piles on your desk):

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Open Thread: How are you using Excel?

Yesterday, I mentioned I'd been talking with someone who's looking at interesting things people are doing with Microsoft Excel. I talked to her again yesterday, and with her official okey-dokey, I'll virtually introduce Tralee Pearce (*waves*), a reporter from Toronto's Globe & Mail whom you might remember from a very swell article about the Hipster PDA.

So, by request -- and to help Tralee with fleshing out her fun-sounding article -- I hope you all will jump in here: What kind of cool, novel, and non-obvious stuff are you doing with Excel? What's the wildest, most obsessive, most nerdy thing you ever saw someone do with our favorite spreadsheet program?

2 fun sites for home and productivity pr0n

Two sites of potential interest to fellow lovers of home and productivity pr0n (both via Mrs. Mann and her humiliatingly addictive Domino Magazine).

The Museum of Useful Things is a Cambridge MA-based store and site with sexy, IKEA-esque tools for an organized and interesting home life. I mean who couldn't use a diner-style napkin dispenser, new wave potato masher, or kitchen timer on a lanyard? Prices generally look pretty reasonable, too, making this a good place to hunt for gifts for a housewarming or for students heading off to college.

If MUT is similar to IKEA, then russell+hazel is a little more Design Within Reach-y (in terms of dollars). But they carry a ton of nifty, good-looking products for a design lover's home and office. I like the looks of the Three Subject Notebook, the Notebook Jacket, and this foxy Leather Stash Sack. Plus they let you shop by color, which you gotta love.

Got a favorite source of home and office pr0n you've been ogling lately?

GMail + GTD = GTDGmail

GTDGmail - The Firefox Extension that Combines Gmail with Getting Things Done - home

GTDGmail looks like a promising entry into the increasingly crowded gene pool of web-based productivity software.

The Firefox extension runs on top of your Gmail account, giving you an email-centric approach to implementing Getting Things Done that includes contexts, statuses, a very nifty search feature, and more. This could be just the thing for people who have to live in email, but who don't want to live in an unprocessed inbox.

From the GTDGmail site:

Gmail has long been identified (see Bryan Murdaugh's Whitepaper) as a very good tool for GTD. It has a simple interface, plentiful storage, effective label system a basic approach to storage (just Inbox and Archive). The 'Conversation' concept is perfect for efficiently linking tasks and other data - again promoting simplicity and personal effectiveness.

Finally, email needs GTD as much as any other part of your life, so it makes sense to embed GTD into an email client.

GTDGmail requires Firefox -- as in vanilla Firefox; it didn't work on my (preferred) Mozilla browser, Flock, but I'm open to accounts of pilot error if I'm missing anything.

Edit (2006-08-21 07:32:57): Well, that was mean and Michael Arrington of me, wasn’t it? :) I was incorrect in thinking GTDGmailhad gone functionally public (although the project seems pretty well known already). Keep an eye out for the full release (and do forgive me for the unintentional tease).

Edit (2006-08-21 18:01:06): Yay! Looks like it's available now: GTDGmail :: Mozilla Add-ons :: Add Features to Mozilla Software. Thanks, Aaron.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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