Hey, we have not spoken in a while! Nice seeing you again! – Seriously, I have been trapped at a location with almost nil connectivity for the last two weeks, and it is driving me nuts. Sorry for the hiatus.
Today let’s talk about a little trick to keep you focused on your work, and still get your newsfix from the outside world. Yeah, there is stuff going on around you, y’know? All kind of news. Things that pop up in your feedreader. Things that you come across while doing your desk research ( = googling like crazy for the topic at hand) that might not be completely relevant now, but sure sound interesting. The thing is to avoid being sidetracked during cranking hours, but have stuff ready at hand when you have time to indulge. Four things have made a big difference for me.
- Google Gears
Gears allows web apps to function offline and sync the new state back to their “mothership” once you go online again. Gears works excellently with Google Reader. So before you hop into the cab, train, plane, go to Google Reader, put it in “offline” mode (once you installed Gears, it will ask you if you want to use Reader with it, and will then provide you with a little green button in the top row to toggle online/offline mode). Now you can read through all your news without the need for an internet connection. It does not load images, so your subscription to cuteoverload.com will be no fun. Sorry.
This is a nifty and free little web service. With an ultra simple interface (seems designed for iPhone access, but works with Blackberrys and your Laptop just as fine), Instapaper gives you the ability to make a “read later” list. To do that, Instapaper gives you a little bookmarklet (a bookmark for your browser of choice). Now, when you are on a website that sure is interesting, but you really need to get working on other stuff – just hit the Instapaper bookmarklet (I named mine, creatively, “read later”). Instapaper saves the link. Now close it, and do what needs to be done. Whenever, then, you have some time to spare, go to Instapaper, and voilá – your reading list is waiting for you. Unfortunately, no Google Gears support yet, that would make it even better.
Whenever I find an interesting but rather long article online – you know, the type of Paul Graham essay (great stuff!) – I want to save it for reading when I have the time, and might want to print it out. Easy as pie. Of course, you can simply print it, but using the free DoPDF-Tool, you can (who would have guessed!) easily create a PDF out of it (it installs as a printer) and save it on your harddrive as well. Advantage: You can collect stuff you want to get on paper, and then print it all in one go, so that your colleagues don’t find your pumpkin pie recipie amongst their travel expenses.
- Make yourself a folder called “INBOX” on your desktop. Now, the declutter-your-desktop-topic is one we can expand on later – for now let’s keep it simple: In the inbox, you can make a “to read” folder. Put those PDF’ed articles in there, and whenever you have a relaxed moment – travelling or in the hotel room – just open up that folder, and you have something interesting to go through
Now whenever you come across something on the web that you can’t attend to right now, there is a way to quickly save it, and you can get back to work. Then, when you have the time, things are at hand waiting for you. Try it out, and let me know how it works for you.
Monday is GTD day at KillerConsultant, but before we dive into a quick intro on what the David-Allen-GTD is all about, a quick primer.
Do consultants even need stuff like that?
I mean, come on. This is a performance profession. Consultants must have all this down from the get go, right? Have you ever met a consultant who struggled juggling tasks? Oh… you did. Have you ever seen a consultant working longer hours than he already does, because things got a bit lost on his big list of “Priority 1″ items? Oh… you did. So the answer of course is (and you saw that coming): YES, we do. Dearly. And because our job is so fast paced most of the time and because we are in the professional services industry, it is crucial for our success and our sanity to be organized, get things done and juggle our plates.
What this GTD-stuff is all about
GTD, the methodology, not the wish to get things done, was created by David Allen. GTD is about…
Capturing anything and everything that has your attention.
Defining actionable things discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps.
Organizing reminders and information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based onhow and when you need to access them.
Keeping current and “on your game” with appropriately frequent reviews of the six horizons of yourcommitments (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions)
(Taken from the source, here) Sounds good? Sure did to me. As there are many many good intros to GTD, I won’t try to sum it up again. For a start, read the great article on 43folders, and when you are done there, and you still like the ideas of GTD, then fork out the ten bucks and get the book (amazon us / amazon de).
Now that you got an idea what GTD is about, get ready for next week, where I will introduce the first of many GTD-tools to you that can make your life as a consultant a more organized, stress free and relaxed one.Read More