Each weekend in the winter arrives with the possibilty (probabilty) of early morning practice from one or both of my (hockey-playing [thanks Mike!]) descendants. It’s exceedingly tough to get up at 5:30 or 6 but there is a bright side…
The days seem to last forever — which isn’t bad on the weekend when you’re a firm believer of sleep being overrated.
I’ve struggled with email for years. I’ve got a bunch of accounts — most of them garbage collectors — and had no strategy for maintaining them. I’m a huge Google Apps user, and Gmail, regardless of the privacy concerns many of you have (Jamie), kicks ass. I just wasn’t using it properly. When it first came out, I got an account on the first day thanks to being a friend of a friend of Andre.
I set up my account and went a bit nuts on the tagging. It was a mistake that would take me years to correct. About two weeks ago, Scott Beale at Laughingsquid posted this tweet. The clouds parted and stars aligned.
I’ve been a fan of the 43Folders and of Merlin Mann for quite awhile, and knew I had a problem, but this reminder seems to have been the trick. I watched the video (below), laughed a few times, eliminated about 95% of my email tags, added a “>>DEFER” tag and about an hour later hit “Inbox Zero” for the first time in 6 months. That previous, and only time, lasted for less than 12 hours.
The keys? Realizing that I never dig through folders or tags to find things. I use the ridiculously fast search functionality built into the Gmail system, so archive works great on almost anything. Additionally, I’ve given myself the right to flat-out delete a ton of stuff. There is no more, “I might need this someday,” running through my head. I know whether I’ll really need it or not and I make a decision.
I don’t keep a browser open with email any longer either. I check roughly hourly which lets me get so much more done. It’s really liberating.
The “>>DEFER” tag allows me to move those things that require more than a minute of my time for a response or action. I’ve never had more than 5 things in this state at a time and it’s actually a pretty great email-centric “To Do” list.
Anyway, here’s the 58 minutes of video that changed my email life (at least for the past two weeks):
A couple of months ago, before I took an onsite contracting gig, I had been working from home for over a year. It was quite pleasant for nine months out of the year — more or less quiet with two of the three kids off at school.
Then summer came — and the kids were home — all day.
Productivity ground to a halt and prime work hours slipped back to the 9PM – 2AM slot.
I happened to be looking for a deal (as I am wont to do) on a winter coat for one of the kids at the local TJMaxx and as I turned the corner out of the overstock, oversized (even for “Phat Farm”) pants aisle, I saw them hanging on the end cap (unopened) – near some miscellaneous third and probably even fourth-party iPod accessories.
A pair of noise-canceling headphones at a price I could afford – $39. I immediately took them off the rack and popped them in my cart. I’d read about the c820s when I was researching them a few months back, but even at the Amazon price of $99 they were a bit more than I could pony up for.
I met Michael Koppelman a million years ago in the Bitstream offices discussing hosting rates for a ridiculous online dating service project I was on (the client eventually chose Protocom across the river). He came off as not so much of a nerd. He’d worked with some pretty cool bands and the vibe at Bitstream made me not want to leave.
Turns out, Michael Koppelman is a nerd — of the highest caliber. He’s into astronomy, iPhone programming and model rocketry. Dan Grigsby interviews him on his latest launch over at MobileOrchard.com in T-Minus ten, nine, eight, seven…