February 12, 2013


Swiss army knife brings compromisesNot everything you do requires you to be physically present at your desk.

You can work almost anywhere. That doesn't mean you should. Technology need not enslave us. Set rules for
  • what you do
  • where you do it
  • the device you use
Use each device has an optimal use. If you only have one screwdriver or a multi-tool, you end up using a suboptimal  tool, which gives suboptimal results. You might even take extra time to get lesser results.

rule 1: Do not answer email from your smartphone

Your smartphone does lots in a jack-of-all-trades way. Consider email. Checking for messages at selected times is productive but difficult when your smartphone is within easy reach. Besides, you may have received an important message that requires an immediate response. You probably didn’t but you never know …

Check your messages but refrain from answering them using the tiny keyboard (and having a disclaimer apologizing for typos). Delete the useless messages and mark the important ones for a response later when you’re at your computer or tablet.

rule 2: Talk Instead Of Type

Talking is faster and easier than typing. A modern smartphone has voice recognition that’s excellent and improves with use.

In the past, I drafted blogs post on paper or on my iPad. Santa brought a new smartphone, the remarkable Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (which ranks higher than the iPhone 5 in user satisfaction). The free Google Voice Recognition is amazing. As a result, I'm drafting this post on my phone using Trello (my review). I finish sooner and make fewer mistakes than when typing. The iPhone has similar capabilities.

In the past, I used Dragon NaturallySpeaking for speech recognition. It works quite well but requires a powerful computer and continual upgrades. You may find value if you’re tethered to your desk.

rule 3: explore continually

What didn't work then may work now. For instance, I find a task organizer without subtasks is ineffective. However, if you like an app you like, you may find that the feature you want gets added soon. Asking helps. If you don't see progress, pick an app that improves.

I liked Remember The Milk (my review). Subtasks were often requested but not added. I switched to Toodledo (my review) but the interface is horrible. Other apps use Toodledo as a backend but then you're paying for two services. Most recently, I've been using Trello and Asana for work items, and Astrid on my phone for personal tasks. That's after trying out other options.

Follow Your Rules

Use the best tool even if it's not at hand right now. For instance, you can create a mindmap on different devices. Maybe your tablet is the best choice because it's portable and doesn't require a mouse to move things around.

Since we have much to do, a slight delay may make us more productive.


PS How do you pick your tools?

No comments:

Post a Comment