January 20, 2010
Of all the popular new year’s resolutions, the one that gets overlooked most often, yet has the potential to turn all the other resolutions into realities, is time management. Figuring out your priorities, the steps necessary to achieve them, and sticking to tasks or appointments, can mean the difference between wants and reality.
Here are a few simple things that you can do to make the most of the time you have:
1. Watch Professor Randy Pausch’s lecture on time management video
(or read the lecture notes). The late instructor was a big fan of not wasting time. In this lecture, one of the last public talks he gave before succumbing to pancreatic cancer, he outlines the importance of planning and to-do lists and what to tackle first; how to prioritize what’s important to you; and how to take better care of yourself so you can get more done.
2. Figure out what you’re really doing on your computer.
RescueTime tracks the time you spend on individual applications. The downloadable software not only monitors your computer activity, it can also remind you to spend more or less time doing one type of activity and it can block distracting websites. The Mac & PC-compatible app is free. Paid options give you more features and data storage.
3. Get to work. Or read about others getting to work.
No amount of advice can take the place of real work. But if you need a mental break, or you’re looking for ideas on how to streamline your workflow or tame your propensity for procrastination check out these blogs:
43 Folders: Lecturer, writer and designer Merlin Mann shares thoughts and tips on how to make time for creative work.
Lifehacker: While not all of the tips on Lifehacker have to do with office work, each one can help you save time.
Zen Habits: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the advice imparted on Zen Habits can bring the calm back into your crazy work and home life.
Do you have a favorite time management tip, trick or blog?
December 22, 2009
Work is so much more pleasant when surrounded by beautiful objects – whether that be just the right light or a clutch of perfect pencils. To inspire you during the gift-giving season, here are some recommendations for beautifully designed and useful office tools you shouldn’t be without.
Paramount table lamp ($49.95 at CB2): Touch the base of this spare, sleek table lamp to warm work area with ambient light. Touch it again to brighten your room. (Pictured above, far right)
Muro notepaper roll dispenser ($23.75 at Lumens.com): Never have an “I can’t find a scratch pad” moment again with this stainless steel paper holder. Write what you need to, then tear off the sheet.
Letter rack and magnetic memo board ($20 at Three By Three Seattle): Wrangle paper, jot notes and stash your keys on this space-saving magnetic memo board in your choice of painted steel, stainless steel and bamboo.
Incense-cedar pencils ($2.75 a dozen at ForestChoice): You may love your laptop, but sometimes it’s necessary to sketch things out on paper. These pencils, made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified incense-cedar, feel good and leave a strong line. Buy here.
AeroPress coffee and espresso maker ($25.95 at Amazon): Other coffee machines might have more buttons (and cost more), but for elegance, simplicity and tasty joe at a reasonable price, the AeroPress by Aerobie (makers of the flying ring), can’t be beat.
Vers 2X iPod speaker system (Starting at $179.99 at Versaudio): This compact unit combines good sound with environmentally conscious manufacturing processes to provide a beautiful base for listening to your iPod without headphones. A 14-function remote lets you control the music from a distance. Auxiliary in and out jacks mean you can connect it to your desktop computer as well.
Sharpener pencil holder ($30 at SFMOMA): Recall the low-tech era with this giant pencil sharpener-shaped pot. Use to keep a smile on your face and your writing instruments and craft tools within reach.
Quote-Unquote bookends ($89 at Unica Home): These clever quotation mark-shaped bookends keep your favorite works in place while making a statement.
BackPack computer shelf for the Mac ($29.99 at Twelve South): Keep your external hard drive out of the way with this adjustable shelf from Twelve South. Two clips clamp onto the iMac or Cinema Display desk stand, gravity does the rest.