Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘multitasking

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

A Manual Start To The New Year

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Once again, I don’t think I’m going to make any New Year’s resolutions.

I find bargaining with myself like that to be somewhat whimsical, if not purposeless.

That’s not to say I’m not optimistic about the future. I just find that being practical…being realistic, if you would…has served me better over the longitude of time.

Another thing that has served me well is the very act I’m currently engaged in: Writing.

This blog is now well into its 8th consecutive year, and trust me, if I didn’t like to write, it wouldn’t have lasted this long.

So rather than come up with a list of grand technological projections and prognostications, this year, I’ve decided to go a little more Luddite on you.

Fear not, that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning all social media and going out to live in a cabin in the woods with nothing but a copy of Thoreau’s Walden, or, Life in the Woods and some granola bars.

God, live without Facebook or Twitter for a year, are you *&^@#$# kidding me?! How in the world would I know what was going on in the world, or whose friend’s cat just took its first bath?!

No, I’d never do anything that extreme.

But I did do this: I ordered a new ribbon for my old Royal manual typewriter.

For you kids in the audience who have never seen a typewriter, it’s a small portable machine we used to use to put down our thoughts.

It’s a contraption that…I know, get this…requires NO batteries or electricity (unless you bought an electric typewriter, in which case you were bound to the grid).

Now, again, I want to be straight with you: The typewriter didn’t have a “Like” button, so for many of you, I know, that’s a dealbreaker.

In fact, it had no share function whatsoever, other than taking the piece of paper you were writing on and mailing it to another person. So yes, it was essentially useless for any kind of crowdsourcing.

But, what it WAS good for was sitting down, thinking through an idea, focusing, and actually starting to tell a story or pull together a thesis with no interruptions (instant messages, Facebook messages, direct Tweets, SMS messages, smoke signals…) other than those created by your own imagination

I know, it’s a hard notion to comprehend, focusing, especially when you’ve never had to focus.

And the idea of doing one thing at a time…well, yes, it’s almost heretical in our multitasking times.

But that is one of the things I wish for in 2013.

Because I’ve seen what happens when people become possessed by the multitasking smartphone demons. They remind me of Linda Blair’s head turning round and round in “The Exorcist.”

It’s not pretty to watch, and yet there’s no priest you can call for smartphone demons. You just have to watch the poor person suffer until their multitasking becomes so overwhelming they just have to let their iPhone run out of juice.

Yes, that’s what I wish for in 2013: For people to have the opportunity to focus.

Instead of trying to do everything, and doing it mediocre, I wish to see more people do just a few things, or even just one thing, really, really well.

Come to think of it, at minimum, I’d like to see more people doing just one thing at a time (especially while they’re on the freeway).

Multitasking is highly overrated. There are very few humans who can do it and do it well, and the odds are pretty high you’re not one of them. And studies suggest that people who smoke marijuana do better at cognitive functions than people who multitask.

Put that in your iPhone and smoke it!

So my recommendation: Consider revitalizing American productivity by using a manual typewriter.

No, you won’t be able to directly enter that blog post into WordPress (although perhaps that’s a new widget Matt Mullenweig and his team can consider for future versions), but writing that first draft without electricity and with minimal interruptions will be good for the environment and your psychological wellness.

The other thing you might consider is to keep a journal. When I was traveling across America in 1987 in my Volkswagen bus, I used a manual typewriter AND kept a journal, and that period is one of the few times in my life I can actually go back and account for because there’s an actual record.

If you use a Mac, DayOne is a great journaling app that makes it very easy to journal and allows you to even synch up your entries into the cloud (if that gives you even a small sense of permanence).

It’s January 1st, and I promise I’m going to get started on all this just as soon as that new replacement ink typewriter ribbon I had to order off the Internet arrives via the mail.

Those things are harder to find than an iPhone 4 case these days!

Written by turbotodd

January 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

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