I am just old enough to remember when the first personal computers were rolled out of Bill’s Garage. We were told how they’d be such time-savers and that we’d be sunning ourselves in the Maldives while our dot-matrix printers plotted out our utopian dreams: ascii head-shots, primary school arithmetic and DOS commands to c:>defrag [the future] and d:>format [life].
All computers have managed is to give us more things to do in even less time. In a nightmarish glimpse into a Matrix-like future, when machines dominate humanity, our laptops freeload their way to the Maldives, fooling us into believing they are indispensable – while we spend our entire vacation reinstalling everything.
This month, I am going to attempt the seemingly impossible and use the ultimate time-waster – the Internet – to increase my personal productivity. If this column hits the editor’s desk before deadline – I’ll have succeeded!
The glamour façade of Web 2.0 is all FaceBook and YouTube. Yet, this Ajax-enhanced incarnation of interactive computing shines in many unsung and under-utilized arenas. Personal productivity, or GTD (getting things done, for the acronym addicted), is one area where finally technology might give back some of those slices of life it spent the last 10 years stealing. David Allen, www.davidco.com/ , is the father of GTD, so a good place to get started. Get your workflow in place and set those goals… it’s time for some seriously proactive prioritized actioning!
Joe - www.joesgoals.com – figures if his system is good enough for him, it’s good enough for everyone. He has built a life of success on regular flossing, water consumption and meditation. With his timetable app. and a screen full of smiley faces, a perfectly balanced life awaits me. Note to self – thank Joe for providing a great ‘note to self’ facility.
Mac users are generally so right-brained their lives are sheer chaos, so Chronos - www.chronosnet.com/ - have been hammering away since 1993, trying to rehabilitate us artistic types to a life that verges on the barely manageable. I was going to download the software, I really was, but I got this great idea to redesign their home page.
www.tadalist.com , from 37 signals, is a to-do list manager that is now on my to-do list to use. A 10 second set up (15 if you mistype your password) promises to see me join 4,000,000 other desperate GTD wannabes. I just hope it has the storage space for my lifetime collection of unfinished business.
When I finally get round to getting anything done, I must try getharvest.com the online time tracking application. As my productivity increases, I am bound to find time to double my workload by logging everything that I do at 15 minute intervals.
www.near-time.net/ is an enterprise level productivity suite, taking GTD to the boardroom. Way too many features and benefits to cover on this little back page – just put it in your diary to log on, check the feature list and sign up for success.
www.zoho.com - Zoho’s creators have been around since 1996 and what a Swiss army knife of productivity apps they have amassed! This is a classic case of information management information overload. So many tools, so much productivity, so many log-ins, forms, features, functions, alerts… I need a Zoho management application just to run it all!
Well, the deadline has passed, the editor is ropeable, my stress levels are off the dial – GTD Web 2.0 style has helped me, alright – helped me realise how badly I need all these tools! Tomorrow, 9.00am – turn over a new leaf, revisit all these sites and get things done!