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November 01, 2008

Life Hacks

I've got a normally complex life, a couple of jobs, a couple of relationships, a couple of cars, a couple of bicycles, and I need to stay organized in order to be effective. If I'm not effective, if I'm not caught up, I need to degrade gracefully and keep focused on the main priorities.

Last summer (2007) at the beach I read David Allen's Getting Things Done, and I think that's what got me started. One of the key tenets is to move maintaining awareness of task-lists from human memory to external storage, so that your mind isn't juggling long task lists, and can pay attention to the task at hand. It's a simple and powerful idea, and although I've used a Franklin Planner since 1990, I've started using it more effectively since I've read the book. He also describes a tickler suspense file, and a scheme of 43Folders to organize tasks.

There's a recently named concept called life | hacking which refers to taking the shortcuts and power tools that programmers use to cut through complexity and applying them to your life. In other words, if your life was a software product on it's way to a launch date, how would you apply creativity and ingenuity to make it more effective from a geek perspective?

Merlin Mann's website 43Folders.com was an initial online source for life organizing tips and shortcuts. Gina Trapani's LifeHacker.com blog came next with the memorable shibboleth, "Don't Live to Geek; Geek to Live!". Word.

I have decided that I need to be more efficient, because if I'm efficient at work then I have more time to play and do the discretionary things I prefer. So I've decided to see what benefits might come from listening to the LifeHackers without drinking their KoolAid. I'm not going to get a "Geek To Live!" tattoo. But I think I could benefit from LifeHacking my computers, my office, my phone, my schedule, and my jobs. More to come.

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