Productivity and Security

balance scale

With advent of Internet based productivity tools we gain access to useful tools, convenience and flexibility of working anywhere but this does not happen with out any costs and risks. The main one is that you store your data o someone’s computer. That is not wrong but it requires certain degree of precautions and consideration of costs and benfits.

The whole market of internet productivity tools is booming. I’m not talking about just online calendars or task manager there are many more tools, full office suites comprising of word processors, presentation creators, spread sheet tools, mind mapping, chart plotting. You name it probably exists. On top of that there are services that allow us backup, store and share information on internet. There are even computers being sold that only have  a browser.

This boom of internet services is great, it benefits us all in many different ways but it does not come for free. We are trading part of the security and privacy  in order to gain a convenience , ease of use and access. We are passing our information to a third party and as result we no longer have 100% control over it.

Mark Hurst in the book makes a good point re owning the data:

Bits are truly owned by the user only when they’re…

stored on the user’s own hardware, not on someone else’s website

accessible via the file system,not locked up in an application saved in a non-proprietary,

DRM-free format like ASCII, not a proprietary format like Word.

(Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload (Mark Hurst)Page 164)

In the last few months there was a number of hacks and security breaches at different companies. Sony was hacked numerous times while company running Dropbox allowed user to login with out a password and changed their terms of service that aggravated many. As result some decided to abandon Dropbox completely, you can read about this here and here.

Before jumping on board with any online service check few things:

  • define what is private and should remain such?
  • use encryption and password protection before sending stuff online
  • decide on level of privacy and security you’re comfortable with
  • make sure your read and understand terms of service.

Weekly links for 18th of June

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

    A lifelong optimization problem

    Famous people who use GTD (Getting Things Done) (thanks to @nunodonato for the link)

    Getting Creative Things Done: How To Fit Hard Thinking Into a Busy Schedule

    Evernote Developments – Blog – Get Everything Done

    The Only Way to Get Important Things Done – Tony Schwartz

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Keeping your toolkit clean

Toolkit, The Making of Closet, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Having the right tools is paramount for getting a job done. This sounds obvious but is it?

Here is an example, a friend of mine needed a small fix done at his home. He called a handyman to check it up and fix it. It took this guy two visits to fix this small issue only because he didn’t have the right tool. When he showed up first all he had was just car keys, he looked at the issue and decided he needed some parts. Came back next day brought the part and started fixing it. As you can imagine it wasn’t smooth job. He didn’t have basic tools and in the end my friend had to borrow him a wrench so the handyman could finish the job.
This is an extreme example of people not being prepared to do their job.

This got me thinking about my tools. Even though I don’t have a metal toolbox like a plumber I do use different tools. My computer is my toolbox and various applications are my tools. Different realm but the same idea.

Are tools aligned with the outcomes you want to achieve or are they scattered all over the place? To take control of my tools I would do three things:

– make a list of mostly used tools
– make sure I know them (good for security reasons)
– make sure they are the right tools for the job.

As you may have noticed I’m looking quite often at different applications,  it’s probably fair to say that I use or read about new tool almost every second day. I developed a habit to review the list of installed software on my laptop to make sure all the application serve some purpose. Whenever I notice an application that I no longer need I remove it using RevoUnistaller. It saves some space but it also makes the toolkit clean and up to date.

I’ve taken this approach listening to Enough podcast by Patrick Rhone and Myke Hurley where they talk about having just enough (power, storage, apps) on your computer to do your work.

Do you look at your toolkit often? Does it matter for you whether it’s nice and clean or all over the place? 

Please share your views in the comments.

(photo by Wonderlane)

Weekly links for 11th of July

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

  1. Taskpaper+ – super simpler web app
  2. Your Weekly Tutor: Mind Map Vision Boards
  3. The Autofocus Productivity Method: Stop Maintaining To-Do Lists and Start Getting Stuff Done
  4. Developing Systems That Work
  5. Getting The Energy Right
  6. 29 ways to stay creative | Moleskinerie

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Kick start your day

The way you start a day has a big impact on how you are going to feel at the end of it. There are lots of different ways to do it and below are just two suggestions.

Free form

Some people don’t like plans, they prefer to go with their gut feeling and focus on whatever seems right in the moment. If you’re one of those below should be helpful.

Clear you mind – each morning take a piece of paper  and write down the ideas, thoughts which are floating in your head. 

See what stands out for your and select three items and focus your efforts on those.

Structured approach

If you follow any productivity system and you’re used to keeping various of lists, make reviewing those your priority for each day.
Sounds obvious and simple but it’s not always easy. There were many time when before I managed to open my task list I got sucked into the email and my day was gone. To prevent that and get few things done start your day with REVIEW and PLAN:

  • Review your project list and pick three projects you want to move forward.
  • Review your action list and select three items you want to finish first.
  • Focus on the three actions first, one at a time.
  • Once you’re done with those look at the projects and pick one, make as much progress as you want and them move to the next one.

Perhaps any of this won’t be easy or even possible to achieve each day but once you make a habit it will become more natural.

Do you have any tips for kick starting your day on a good note? Please share them in the comments.

Weekly links for 4th July

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

  1. Maximizing your Productivity as a Consulting Business Owner
  2. Empty your Inbox: 4 ways to take control of your email
  3. Logically Laid Out: A 5 Step Guide to Organizing Your Business for Efficiency and Success
  4. Playing Through The Tape: Linking Actions To Life Goals
  5. A Paper Based GTD System

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Remember the Milk and Evernote integration

RTM  and Evernote

Couple days ago on Dan Gold esq blog I came across great tip on integrating Producteev todo app with Evernote.
(If you are a user of Producteev app head over to Dan’s blog to see more.)

Since I’m Remember the Milk user I decided to see if this works here too and indeed it is working like a charm.

It’s a very simple:

  • click on your Evernote note to create a link,
  • go to Remember the Milk and press “t” for new task,
  • type the name and paste the link then press enter.

All done, your task has been added and the link available on the panel to the right.
Fantastic! Thanks to Dan for great tip.