Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘productivity’ Category

The New iOS 11 is Here!

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Well, the day has finally arrived. Apple is set to release iOS 11 later today.

I’m reminded of that scene with Steve Martin’s character Navin from that age-old classic film, “The Jerk.”

“The new phonebook’s here, the new phonebook’s here!!!!”

No, I’m not excited because my name’s going to be in the phone book. But I am glad to check out some of the new capabilities of iOS 11.

Like what?

Well, the new Dock for the iPad, for starters. The new Dock will be available from any screen with a quick swipe, and will allow myself, and Navin, to easily add more app shortcuts.

Next, the QuickType keyboard improvements for the iPad, which will allow you to see letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation all on the same keyboard! What a concept! With the current iteration, you have to switch back and forth between keyboards to use many of those characters.

Third, Drag and Drop for the iPad, which allows you to more easily move text, photos, and files between apps. From what I’ve gathered, generally speaking, if you can see it, you can move it.

Fourth, the new Control Center, which is now customizable and les you set up shortcuts for preferred settings and apps.

And…one more thing…the ability to mark up documents and th elike using Apple Pencil (that includes signing documents!). The Apple Pencil has been a great innovation but has had limited capabilities, in my opinion. Adding the ability to markup documents will greatly expand its utility beyond its existing artistic capabilties.

What I hope all of these features and more add up to is expanding the potential for the iPad to become a desktop and/or laptop replacement.

While that doesn’t mean I’ll stop using my MacBook Pro anytime soon, I do think it could expand the horizons of utility for the iPad, something that’s been now seven years in the making.

The new phone book’s here!

P.S. I just discovered this in-depth Ars Technica review of iOS 11, and the word on the new iPad capabilities seems bullish:

Today, the good news for the iPad continues with the public release of iOS 11. There’s a lot of stuff in this update, and a bunch of it benefits iPhone owners, too. But Apple has put a lot of work into the iPad-related parts of the operating system this year—the tablet still exists somewhere in between the iPhone and the Mac, but the changes to the UI and to the underpinnings of iOS 11 help iPads move further toward the Mac than they’ve ever been before. The upgrade is even more significant for tablets than iOS 9, both because the changes are bigger and because more iPads can actually take advantage of all these fancy productivity features now.
– via Ars Technica

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2017 at 9:20 am

How Turbo Gets Things Done

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This is a screenshot from Turbo's implementation of "GTD" software, Thinking Rock, which is based out of Australia.  Thinking Rock, in combination with GTD cloud-based app Todoist, along with Google's Gmail and Calendar, helps Turbo keep most of his project and to do balls in the air.

This is a screenshot from Turbo’s implementation of “GTD” software, Thinking Rock, which is based out of Australia. Thinking Rock, in combination with GTD cloud-based app Todoist, along with Google’s Gmail and Calendar, helps Turbo keep most of his project and to do balls in the air.

This blog post is coming hot off the Mac simple word processing app, WriteRoom, NOT my recently rediscovered Royal manual typewriter.

I decided this blog post would just have to go down burning some carbon.

I wanted to continue my theme of “getting s— done” by writing a little bit about my own approach to putting David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology into actual practice, both by elaborating a little about my own approach and mentioning the tools I use.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been a faithful subscriber to the cloud-based taskmaster, “Remember the Milk.”

Though I can absolutely recommend RTM, I’m making some changes for 2013, and have done a little migrating.

My primary replacement tool(s) are a combination of the following:

1) Gmail

2) Todoist

3) Thinking Rock

Allow me to explain.

Nothing beats tying (most) everything back to the cloud, and Gmail’s calendar feature is as good as they come for “remembering” specific tasks (via their “Reminder” function, tied to the Google calendar).

But in the spirit of exploration, I moved from RTM to Todoist (purchasing a year-long subscription for about $30 U.S.) because I liked the simple project structure and user interface (and, the fact that they support just about every computing and mobile device I have!).

And, because I can tie it to my Gmail inbox and calendar, I get daily emails reminding me of what my latest “to do’s” are.

But, with all that said, I still didn’t feel Todoist had the GTD structure I was looking for, especially when it came to breaking down individual projects/tasks.

So, I’ve revived my use of “Thinking Rock,” software from an Australian software provider, as it provides a much more structured interface and database for GTD management, IMHO.

Though I’ve not yet paid for the “full” version ($39 for a license that covers all future upgrades and support), I suspect it’s only a matter of time.

You can see a screenshot from my current “project” list in the embedded graphic above.

I like ThinkingRock’s literal embrace of the GTD approach, and find that when it comes time to really spending time to sit and break down tasks for a project or future actions, it provides the kind of easy-to-input-and-use interface I was looking for.

You can read some of the reviews here, so apparently I’m not the only one of this opinion.

So how do I make them all work together?

It’s actually pretty simple.  Whenever I have a new project or action, I use the “Collect Thoughts” feature in Thinking Rock to start the input.

Then, in the project view, as I start to determine specific actions, when I have one with a specific date attached, I input that into Todoist (a minor bit of duplication that I don’t mind), which is then tied to a specific date.

That way, whenever the due date is up, I’m reminded on either that day, or, if I planned ahead giving myself a buffer, in advance of the final due date.

I generally know which actions need to have reminders on the actual due date versus those that have need for a buffer, and this way, I get automated emails from Todoist each and every morning listing the outstanding “to do’s.”

I also sometimes use Google Calendar to have reminders sent for very specific time-gated concerns (doctor’s appointments, concerts, lunch with friends, etc.).

Mind you, this combination is a recent phenomenon, but so far, it’s working well for me.  So long as I keep up my daily and weekly reviews (which are instrumental to a successful GTD strategy), I have a feeling I could be well on my way to a very productive 2013!

Getting S— Done In 2013

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Turbo has started off 2013 with a bang...of his Royal typewriter's manual keystrokes, that is, and all in an effort for increased productivity and eliminating fruitless distractions.  Read the accompanying blog post where Turbo shares some of his productivity tips.

Turbo has started off 2013 with a bang…of his Royal typewriter’s manual keystrokes, that is, and all in an effort for increased productivity and eliminating fruitless distractions. Read the accompanying blog post where Turbo shares some of his productivity tips.

For those of you who thought I was just kidding about writing blog posts using my old Royal manual typewriter…Well, surprise. The first draft of this blog post is being written just that way.

Man, I had no idea how much I missed that unique sound of those little keys striking paper.  It’s been YEARS!

I’ll refer you to my previous post to try and understand the method behind my madness…It was part nostalgia, part need to force myself to better focus in 2013, that brought me to this point. And that is the closest I’ll come to having a New Year’s resolution in 2013.

The next logical question, of course, is okay, Turbo, once you have the post down on paper, then what?

That’s a very good question, and I have not figured that part out just yet.

Most likely, I will use Dragon Dictate to voice enter the second and final draft, and, of course, I won’t do this for every blog post I write, only the ones where I really, really want to focus.

But since what was driving this whole thing was the need to eliminate distractions in hopes of getting more “real” work done, I also wanted to come back to the other topic that has been on my mind lately, and that is multitasking.

That’s another good reason to use a manual typewriter. Not only does it not burn any carbon…It CAN’T do more than one thing at a time, which means *I* can’t do more than one thing at a time.

Every year, at the start of the year, I share with my extended team a “getting stuff done” primer. I lean on the basic precepts found in David Allen’s excellent book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, which, for my money, should be required reading for every knowledge worker in the world.

But I like to keep things simple, so I’m going to share with you the Turbo net net version of GSD (I changed the acronym to reflect my enjoyment of wallowing in the perjorative).

1. Like Santa, make a list of all the stuff you need to do — but check it more than twice.

2. In fact, check it EVERY day, especially at the beginning and end of the day.

3. Scratch out the things you get done as you get them done, and write down the things you want to do as you think of them (including when you need to do them by).

4. Always make note of the things you need to do TOMORROW the night before. Do the same on Friday afternoon for the things you want to do on Monday.

If you follow this simple advice, you will rarely walk into the office and NOT know what it is that you ought to be doing that day.

It may seem ridiculously simple, but it’s a lot harder to put into practice than you might think.

And the other part of the story is, once you have all these things out of your head and down on paper or in your computer: Well, you have to do them.

Which means, you have to stop monitoring your incoming email, waiting for that little bell to ring and giving you that ever-fleeting endorphin high.

You have to stop walking down the hall to your colleague’s cubicle so to compare notes on what’s for lunch.

You have to stop playing Solitaire, or << insert name of game on your work computer >> here.

You have to get back to work and actually…well, you know, WORK!

So, once you’ve made the list, and you’ve listed the stuff you need to do generally in order of when you need to get it done, get to it, one item at a time.

Because multitasking is just another convoluted way of procrastinating.

As Mark Twain told us, ““Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

I found that quote while I was putting off finishing this blog post!

Written by turbotodd

January 3, 2013 at 1:09 am

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