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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 was an initial online source for life organizing tips and shortcuts. Gina Trapani's 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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