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


43f Feature: Michael Buffington's "How I use iGTD"

Michael Buffington is a pal of mine who's a talented developer and all-around swell fellow. I got to work with him a bit on the Stikkit project and, in some of our offline talks on productivity stuff, I was intrigued to learn about some of his ninja geek skillz.

I asked Michael to write up a series on some of his favorite tricks to get his stuff done, and he kindly obliged. Here's part one.


How I use iGTD

by Michael Buffington

This is the first part in a multipart series about using iGTD with Quicksilver and how it's changed my life, allowed me to grow hair where I never thought it possible, and more importantly, spend more quality time with my children (who are, as you might know, super humans with indescribable special abilities).

I'm a recent and somewhat enthusiastic convert to GTD. I have had the good fortune of starting to manage my digital life with GTD the same day Merlin first mentioned a great application for OS X called iGTD.

I have to admit though that I'm not a very hard core GTD follower yet. The most important parts of GTD for me are getting my tasks out of my head the moment they pop into existence, and putting them into some sort of system I can trust. iGTD allows me to do exactly that in a very intuitive way, but if I'm having a good day I only ever bring iGTD into focus when I'm not sure what's next on my list.

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Pmarca productivity: Excellent tips for getting through the day

blog.pmarca.com: The Pmarca Guide to Personal Productivity

What a fantastic post. And so many great suggestions that I'm hesitant to choose a sample...so I'll limit myself to three:

Each night before you go to bed, prepare a 3x5 index card with a short list of 3 to 5 things that you will do the next day.

And then, the next day, do those things...

Don't answer the phone.

Let it go to voicemail, and then every few hours, screen your voicemails and batch the return calls.

Say, twice a day...

Only agree to new commitments when both your head and your heart say yes.

In my experience, it takes time to tell the difference between your head saying yes and your heart saying yes.

I think the key is whether you're really excited about it.

If you get that little adrenaline spike (in a good way) when you think about it, then your heart is saying yes....

Most of the tips on this page strike me as being very practical, real-world, battlefield advice that works. And even if you can't totally avoid a schedule or totally keep email checking down to twice a day, it won't hurt to soak up the spirit of these ideas and let them move by osmosis into the places where they can do you some good. Shake it up a little.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes 43-folders-esque stuff.

(And triple credit for the Robert Evans reference. Did it make me happy? You bet your ass it did.)

Macworld: HandBrake for converting TV episodes to AppleTV

Playlist: Ripping episodic DVDs

Let's say you've hypothetically picked up a DVD of hypothetical episodes of The Larry Sanders Show, and now you want an easy way to watch them on your hypothetical Apple TV. Well, Macworld's handsome Chris Breen comes to your hypothetical rescue with the help of HandBrake's new "Queue" functionality:

From the Title pop-up menu select the first episode that you’d like to rip (if it’s a TV show it will be 20 - 60 minutes long). In the Destination area you’ll see a File field. Give your file a unique name—BlahEpisode1, for example. Click the Presets button at the top of the window and, in the resulting Presets pane, select the appropriate preset (HB-AppleTV if you intend to rip that content for Apple TV, for example). Finally, click Add to Queue.

Unclutterer: Get your shred on

Unclutterer: Paper clutter begone, part 4

Handy tips on what to shred and when.

Shred Now:

  • Credit card applications
  • Any piece of unwanted paper that contains: addresses, account numbers or access information, birth dates, budgets, copies of “never shred” documents listed below, drivers license numbers, employment information, envelopes and address labels, estimates, legal papers, luggage tags, medical information, passwords, report cards, signatures, social security numbers, transcripts, travel itineraries, used airline tickets, and anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable having a stranger read
  • Expired credit cards, bank cards, passports, visas, and identification cards (college, military, employee badges, etc.)
  • Credit checks on tenants or other home employees (contractors, nannies, etc.) immediately after evaluating the information

And I couldn't agree more about picking up the best, fastest, securest, and highest-volume shredder you can afford. If you buy purely on price (picking up one of those drug store models that's the size of a guest bathroom's wastebasket), you'll regret it immediately.

Treat yourself to a multi-page monster that can gobble CDs and staples, and you're much more likely to use it in a regular and timely manner -- as in every day, when you pick up that pile of credit card applications with your info all over them. As suggested, I second the motion to shred that crap the second it arrives.

What's in my menubar?

Seems like every time another Mac user looks over my shoulder, they freak out over the number of little icons I have up in my menubar. And -- like all Mac geeks -- we have to immediately start trading information, learning tricks, and sharing tips. I'm sure you know the drill by now.

If you were looking over my shoulder right now (and I hope that you are not) here's the stuff you'd see in my menubar.

I'm out of control

The larger version on the Flickr will, where appropriate, let you mouseover for the name and a link, but I'll save you the trouble of a click by repeating the links below.

New TextExpander snippets for fast HTML

TextExpander: Customizable Typing Utility Saves Time! (TextExpander snippets)

TextExpander nerds, rejoice! Your friends at Smile on My Mac have added a couple new snippet sets that can be imported into our favorite keystroke-saving preference pane.

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Blogs: Watching passionate thoughts evolve (in public)

cover of 'The Blogging Church' by Brian Bailey

The Blogging Church
by Brian Bailey

A few months back, Brian Bailey asked me to contribute a short essay for his new book, The Blogging Church: Sharing the Story of Your Church Through Blogs (neat idea for a book).

As I'm sure Brian realized at some point, a lot of the advice in the book (creating an online image, deciding who the blog's for, and improving your blog over time) will also be of interest to small business and garden-variety bloggers. I enjoy Brian's writing and think he has a sound grasp on what makes blogs work (or not). Good stuff, and red meat for anyone thinking of taking their church (or their business or their kittens) to the web.

Here's an excerpt from what I sent him.

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Remember names at meetings by making a map

Meeting Tip: Learning Names | Gurno.com

As someone who suffers from frequent encoding errors and buffer overflows, I love Adam's idea to start a meeting by mapping the name and location of each attendant, along with their title, etc. Adam writes:

Step 1 - Reconnoiter

Draw a quick map of the table/layout of the meeting. Place yourself on it, to give yourself a reference point.

Step 2: The Combatants

As people introduce themselves around the table, fill them in. If you feel last names are necessary add those too, but don't do it at the expense of writing down someone else's name. You can guess at the last names later. If you miss one, leave it blank and fill it in as soon as you can - if someone else refers to them, etc, etc.

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Tips from Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools

Cool Tool: Tips 22

I love when Kevin posts these collections of tips from his readers. They're cut from the same cloth as our life hacks on the wiki.

Like many of 43f's readers, Kevin's contributors also obsess about shaving:

When your container of shaving oil is empty, try filling it with olive oil from the kitchen instead of spending $15 on a new stuff. I discovered that when I ran out a few years ago & I haven't looked back since. Olive oil does just as good a job and costs almost nothing per shave. People have been shaving with olive oil for thousands of years, there's no reason not to continue doing so.

-- Mark James

Many more on Cool Tools (here's the CT "Tips" category).

Bandwagon: Links not to miss, 2006-11-27

A few of the links that have been pretty popular on other sites, which I’d be remiss not to mention in passing here:

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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