Monday, February 12, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Link: The Best Place To Hide Money: Conversation With A Burglar
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
This is the Pompous Ass Words site, a place dedicated to identifying words that shouldn't be used on the grounds that doing so makes you sound like a pompous ass.
Link: The Pompous Ass Words Home Page
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Actual article (copied from the site above):
management is one of those skills no one teaches you in school but you
have to learn. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can’t
organize information well enough to take it in. And it doesn’t matter
how skilled you are if procrastination keeps you from getting your work
Younger workers understand this, and time management is becoming a
topic of hipsters. One of the most popular blogs in the world is Lifehacker, edited by productivity guru Gina Trapani, and her forthcoming book by the same name is a bestseller on Amazon based so far on pre-orders.
In today’s workplace, you can differentiate yourself by your ability
to handle information and manage your time. “Careers are made or broken
by the soft skills that make you able to hand a very large workload,”
says Merlin Mann, editor of the productivity blog 43 Folders.
So here are 10 tips to make you better at managing your work:
1. Don’t leave email sitting in your in box.
“The ability to quickly process and synthesize information and turn it
into actions is one of the most emergent skills of the professional
world today,” says Mann. Organize email in file folders. If the message
needs more thought, move it to your to-do list. If it’s for reference,
print it out. If it’s a meeting, move it to your calendar.
“One thing young people are really good at is only touching things
once. You don’t see young people scrolling up and down their email
pretending to work,” says Mann. Take action on an email as soon as you
2. Admit multitasking is bad.
For people who didn’t grow up watching TV, typing out instant messages and doing homework all at the same time, multitasking is deadly. But it decreases everyone’s productivity,
no matter who they are. “A 20-year-old is less likely to feel
overwhelmed by demands to multitask, but young people still have a loss
of productivity from multitasking,” says Trapani.
3. Do the most important thing first.
Trapani calls this “running a morning dash”. When she sits
down to work in the morning, before she checks any email, she spends an
hour on the most important thing on her to-do list. This is a great
idea because even if you can’t get the whole thing done in an hour,
you’ll be much more likely to go back to it once you’ve gotten it
started. She points out that this dash works best if you organize the
night before so when you sit down to work you already know what your
most important task of the day is.
4. Check your email on a schedule.
“It’s not effective to read and answer every email as it arrives. Just
because someone can contact you immediately does not mean that you have
to respond to them immediately,” says Dan Markovitz, president of the productivity consulting firm TimeBack Management,
“People want a predictable response, not an immediate response.” So as
long as people know how long to expect an answer to take, and they know
how to reach you in an emergency, you can answer most types of email
just a few times a day.
5. Keep web site addresses organized.
Use book marking services like del.icio.us
to keep track of web sites. Instead of having random notes about places
you want to check out, places you want to keep as a reference, etc.,
you can save them all in one place, and you can search and share your
6. Know when you work best.
Industrial designer Jeff Beene
does consulting work, so he can do it any time of day. But, he says, “I
try to schedule things so that I work in the morning, when I am the
most productive.” Each person has a best time. You can discover yours
by monitoring your productivity over a period of time. Then you need to
manage your schedule to keep your best time free for your most
7. Think about keystrokes.
If you’re on a computer all day, keystrokes matter because
efficiency matters. “On any given day, an information worker will do a
dozen Google searchers,” says Trapani. “How many keystrokes does it
take? Can you reduce it to three? You might save 10 seconds, but over
time, that builds up.”
8. Make it easy to get started.
We don’t have problems finishing projects, we have problems
starting them,” says Mann. He recommends you “make a shallow on-ramp.”
Beene knows the key creating this on ramp: “I try to break own my
projects into chunks, so I am not overwhelmed by them.”
9. Organize your to-do list every day.
If you don’t know what you should be doing, how can you manage your
time to do it? Some people like writing this list out by hand because
it shows commitment to each item if you are willing to rewrite it each
day until it gets done. Other people like software that can slice and
dice their to-do list into manageable, relevant chunks. For example,
Beene uses tasktoy
because when he goes to a client site tasktoy shows him only his to do
items for that client, and not all his other projects. (Get tasktoy here.)
10. Dare to be slow.
Remember that a good time manager actually responds to some things more
slowly than a bad time manager would. For example, someone who is doing
the highest priority task is probably not answering incoming email
while they’re doing it. As Markovitz writes: “Obviously there are more
important tasks than processing email. Intuitively, we all know this.
What we need to do now is recognize that processing one’s work
(evaluating what’s come in and how to handle it) and planning one’s
work are also mission-critical tasks.”
Link: No Big Bang? Endless Universe Made Possible by New Model
Thursday, February 01, 2007
"I believe you are unfamiliar with the penal system in our country," said the warden, as he led the new prisoner to his cell. "We find that it improves prison morale for each prisoner to have a chance to end his sentence at any time. In your case, we have set up a combination lock on your cell door.
There are ten dials, on which you can set up any ten-digit number. If you set
up the right one, the cell door will unlock and you will be free to leave."
"I see," said the prisoner. "Then if I try every possible number, I'm sure to hit the right one."
"True," said the warden, "but even if
you were able to change the numbers at the rate of one per second without rest, it would still take you a hundred years to hit the right combination.
However, you could try numbers at random and have a chance of choosing the right one. Or, you could search for the clue which we always provide."
"What sort of clue?"
"Well, it might be almost anything. For example, one of our prisoners was put in an escape-proof cell and told that he would be pardoned if he could break out. He was also given permission to keep any plants he wished in his cell."
"What became of him?"
The warden chuckled. "After more than two years, he suddenly realized that some words may have more than one meaning. He requested a poison ivy plant. Soon after receiving it, he broke out – in a rash. Naturally, he received his pardon."
The warden unlocked the cell and ushered the prisoner in. "Your cell contains a desk calculator and writing implements. Good luck."
The prisoner was left alone. He tried a few combinations on the lock without success. What could the clue be? A thought struck him. It seemed worth a try. He made a few calculations, and then set up a number on the lock. The cell door opened and the prisoner strolled out, after serving less than an hour of his sentence.
What number did he