Outsourcing bookmarks

Rather than keep my bookmarks in my browser I’ve been using Pinboard to cull all the interesting links, tweets etc in a single place. It allows for far greater automation where it comes to capture, search and review of them. 

If you’re looking to get started on Pinboard I’m recommending two articles

A Beginner’s Guide to Pinboard — Shawn Blanc

Pinboard.in Workflow and Notes 

These should give a nice insight into the power and flexibility of this online service.

 

Better file naming

Naming files seems like an obvious activity and definitely not a rocket science. Yet have you ever tried to find anything you created or saved in 2004?  

Perhaps you still hold most of your records in paper format but as we move to paperless style living the need for good filing system will be bigger and bigger.

You could rely on tools like Evernote to hold all your information but I’m not sure how it would handle 10 years worth of data. I’ve already seen on some of the discussion forums that some heavy users had to consider using secondary accounts or even removing some content from the application as the database became too large and unresponsive.   

For that and many more reasons I decided to stick with the native formats and keeping files in folders albeit in a small number of them.  

To make sure I can find necessary information I’m using a combination of file naming convention, folder location and a program called Everything.  

All the files I create follow this format: [YYYYMMDD] + [category] + [Keywords] .
This allows to me to find files based on date, a high level category or one or more different keyword. 

To give you example if there is receipt for a pair of shoes that need to keep I would name the file in a following way:   

“20130922 receipt brand X running shoes.pdf”

To benefit of this approach is that it’s independent of any application, platform and if I ever move to Linux or Mac OS I will be able to locate my file with out a hassle. 

To avoid clutter and storing unrelated files in the same location I also use a fairly simple folder structure to keep a some form of hard edges. This isn’t critical for my filing system but it simply helps to narrow down the focus. If for some reason I want to browse through my receipts I can do that.

I try to keep the number of folders to minimum and avoid nesting as much as possible.  

Last piece of the setup is application called Everything. It creates an index of all file names that exist on your computer and then allows for searching those files. Everything does not search through the content of the files hence the importance of proper naming.  I have it set up to open when I press Win+S and then I simply type the word I’m after. 

One element that I’m yet to fully flesh out is how to find a good Windows replacement for Mac app called Hazel which automated a lot of filing and naming tasks. There a program called Folder Actions but I’m yet to dive into it. 

This approach has been very much inspired by series of posts published by Seth Brown (aka Dr. Bunsen) Although he uses Mac it wasn’t that difficult to implement the basics.

Dr. Bunsen / Naming & Searching Files Part 1

Dr. Bunsen / Naming & Searching Files Part 2

Dr. Bunsen / Naming & Searching Files Part 3

 

Organasing files on your computer

We save and store more information on our computers from simple documents to notes, ebooks, bills etc.It’s no wonder that finding a good way of keeping on top all of this is almost never-ending endeavor.
Some people result some give up and keep everything amassed in one folder and rely on search to find relevant information others resort to constructing intricate structures of nested folder up on folders. None of the above is really sustainable in the long run as sometimes you want to look through your files and are faced with giant list that’s not usable. The solution lies somewhere in the middle where you keep a light folder structure that matches most important areas of you life but also rely on search so you don’t have to browse manually.

If you need some ideas on how to approach organisation of files AsianEfficiency has very good overview on how to do that.

Organizing Your Files, Folders and Documents

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 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.

Weekly links 18th of April

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

  1. How to Better Control Your Time by Designing Your Ideal Week
  2. Top 10 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
  3. How to Maintain Forward Movement
  4. Productivity and “The Art of War”: Applying Sun Tzu’s Teachings to Business
  5. 100 Different Evernote Uses
  6. 100 MORE Evernote Uses

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