As I’ve matured, I’ve learned a lot about myself, especially in the area of leadership. As I became more self-aware, I realized that in circumstances where I was unsure of the next step, I would ignore the situation. If I wasn’t sure what to do, of the next action, I would subconsciously not give the area of need any attention. Not a helpful approach!
What I’ve learned to do is just get started. Do something, anything. It doesn’t matter if it was a plumbing issue I’d never handled before, or the design of an element on a website, or a writing a blog post. Just doing something helped with one thing: better defining the actual problem. And once you know the actual problem, you can start identifying the solution. But you have to get started to do that.
This post from Cap Watkins on getting started takes the idea a bit further and is chock full of good advice for getting moving when you’ve encountered some friction. Here’s a few other posts along the same lines:
The folks at OmniGroup recently published a 4 part series focusing on how students can use OmniFocus to manage their school tasks. Although it’s focused on a school setting, the series is a great read for those new to the application. It covers the basics: collection, organization, next actions and reviews.
Overall, it goes into depth without getting overly complicated (i.e. too deep).
Tobias van Schneider thinks so. He shared his thoughts on the subject, including his idea for fixing email. I’ve read his post several times, but, apart from appreciating the thought he’s put into it, his solution is lacking.
He’s trying to solve the wrong problem. Email clients are not broken. True, there has been no real innovation around email clients since the inception of the platform. But that doesn’t mean our current tools are not doing their job.
The problem is what we do with email. We communicate, for sure. But many people use email as storage, not for communications. They store documents in their email client. They store things they need to do in their email client. They store reference information in their email client. And, like iTunes, once an application has to meet more than 2,3 vital tasks, it becomes cumbersome in and of itself.
When an application needs to be managed, you have a problem.
Patrick Rhone beat me to the punch on this idea. He states:
… it is (obviously) really, really, hard to divorce oneself from 20+ years of re-enforsement and habit. I certainly don’t have my ideas completely fleshed out. What I do know is that the picture in my head looks nothing like those boxes above and behaves like no email client I’m aware of.
The habits he references are what make this exercise hard. Do we really need new email clients? Maybe. But what if we used the ones we have for communicating, and moved all the content within our messages to tools better suited for managing information and tasks?
My feeling is we’d loathe our email clients a lot less.
John Carey writes the blog post that has been sitting in my head for a while. While the iPad is a marvellous device that can do more each passing month, it’s still limited to being a consumption device for so many creatives. There’s been more than enough posts from writers extolling the virtues of the iPad as a complete work environment. As John points out, while true for writers, it’s not so much the case for most others.
Shawn Blanc has written recently about his Macbook Air being his desktop and his iPad being his new “laptop”. I run the same hardware as Shawn and for me, the iPad is a peripheral — it’s great for reading, planning and organizing. But for web design and development work, I bring around my Air.
Shawn does a good job of listing the advantages of the iPad, but John does an even better job of illustrating how this doesn’t apply beyond writing. Of course, we all know this will change as the iPad — and the software available for it — matures. But for now, the iPad is not my laptop.
This piece from Paul Graham is one I refer to from time to time. Such an important message, especially for those who run a team.
Let your maker’s make.
I have a hard time switching between the nitty, gritty details and the big picture. Not only for one project, but for everything going on in my life. This post by Nathan Ryan on The Industry gives some good advice for ensuring that you are progressing on the things that matter to you the most.
Do you type the same things again and again? TextExpander will save you time and keystrokes.
Just assign short abbreviations to your frequently-used snippets of text and TextExpander does the work for you. You can also use one of the included snippet libraries for HTML, CSS, autocorrection, accented words and URL shorteners.
A big thank you to Smile Software for sponsoring the feed this week. I like to stand behind all the sponsorships on this site, but TextExpander is one that holds a special place in my heart. It’s a tool I use daily, without thought. It simply sits in the background making my life easier.
Good idea from Rands: ensure that you block off time to create. So, so necessary.