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Project Management For You (Cesar Abeid)

Review: Cesar Abeid’s “Project Management For You” (plus a special bonus)

For much of my career, I’ve managed projects. At first they were simple solo gigs but have progressively grown in complexity, size and cost. When I started my career there were people called project managers in the construction industry, but that was about it. Projects have become more important as knowledge work has played a larger role in the economy. Today it seems like nearly everyone manages some kind of project. But there is a gulf between the back-of-an-envelope planning and industrial-strength methodologies like PRINCE2 and PMBOK which are robust enough for space missions. Cesar Abeid aims to fill that...

Filco Majestouch Convertible 2 mechanical keyboard (photo credit: used with permission from Diatec Corporation)

Filco Majestouch Convertible 2 review: the quest for a Mac-compatible, wireless, mechanical keyboard

Lately I’ve been a little nostalgic about mechanical keyboards. Yes, those clicky-clacky keyboards that were common in the 80s and early 90s. After comparing various options, I ultimately purchased a Filco Majestouch Convertible 2 to use with my Mac. Strictly speaking, this is a Windows keyboard, but with a few tweaks you can make it (and most other Windows keyboards) Mac friendly. Finding a keyboard which met my needs took plenty of research. I thought it might be useful to others if I pulled my findings together in one article. If you want to find out more about mechanical keyboards,...

How to track "Waiting For" responses in Gmail

How to track “Waiting For” responses in Gmail

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every email request you sent was efficiently carried out before the due date? In a perfect world you wouldn’t need to track these hand-offs. Sometimes life happens and tasks get overlooked. Unless you track these hand-offs, you can guarantee some of them will fall into an abyss. If you care about the outcome, tracking these “waiting fors” is a must. Even if you don’t use Gmail, these concepts translate to most email applications. The Getting Things Done method advocates using a Waiting For list to track any responses or items you are waiting on others...

Archery targets

6 simple steps to setting successful targets

Targets help focus attention towards the outcomes that matter most. I’ve written this post from an organizational perspective, but you can also apply these ideas to personal goals. Clear, measurable targets are a valuable tool for improving individual and organizational performance. Nebulous, fuzzy targets cause unnecessary work and stress. Reducing ambiguity takes some extra work, but will produce more meaningful and effective results in the long run. Well-constructed targets have the following six elements: 1. The Axes If you draw your target as a graph, the horizontal axis represents time, and the vertical axis describes the measurement unit for your...

Missing spanner

Don’t make this mistake when you loan things to others

Have you ever loaned an item to someone and felt certain you’d remember it? I’ve done it many times. Then my attention turns elsewhere and that’s the last I think of it until one of two things happens: The person returns the item and I think “oh, that’s right, I’d forgotten I’d loaned you that”; or I need to use the item again. As I turn the house upside-down looking for it, I have a vague recollection of having loaned it to… somebody. The solution Eventually I learned that unless I wrote down who I’d loaned things to, there was...

Eva Enveloop pen(cil) case

Review: Eva Enveloop — a refined wrap-style pen(cil) case

The Japanese seem to have a thing about stationery. Perhaps the cultural significance of calligraphy is behind this fascination. Whatever the reason, Japan produces many quality stationery products which are unusual, yet functional. The Eva Enveloop pencil case from pencils.jp is one of them. My requirements I don’t mind spending extra on products I enjoy using — especially things I use often. I prefer to take notes by hand and I’ve picked up a few nice pens for this job. Nothing outrageously expensive, but a lot more than the cut-price trophies you’re likely to score in a raid on the...

Parkes radio telescope at dawn

All you need to know about saved searches in Evernote

My previous post described how you can use Evernote shortcuts to quickly access saved searches. I neglected to explain how to create a saved search though. Today I’ll run through all you need to know about saved searches. And since I’ve kept you hanging, I’ll throw in a couple of bonus search tips too. Evernote’s powerful search tools find text in notes and attachments, and can even recognise text in photos. You can also save your searches for faster access the next time you need them. This is handy for searches you repeatedly use, and for recalling complex search expressions....

How to open your most useful Evernote content with one click

How to open your most useful Evernote content with one click

Though my Evernote account stores thousands of notes, there are a handful that I refer to repeatedly. Shortcuts are the fastest way I’ve found to zoom between these frequently accessed notes, notebooks, tags and searches. You can recall items from your Shortcut list with one click or keystroke — even complex search commands. Shortcuts also synchronize to your mobile devices so you can use them where ever you are. Here’s a few examples from my Evernote database: @Inbox links to my default notebook. I jump to this view often, so it’s at the top of my Shortcuts list. Weekly review...

Monopoly board

5 ways to pay yourself first (that aren’t about money)

Pay yourself first is a fundamental principle for building financial assets. You save some money — however small the amount — as soon as you receive income. These consistent, small contributions eventually grow into a sizeable financial asset with the aid of compound interest. If you don’t pay yourself first, expenses have a nasty habit of growing to match (or exceed) your income. If you plan to save what’s left at the end of the pay period, your balance rarely grows. This idea also works in other aspects of life. What would happen if you also paid yourself first when...

MindNode 2 for Mac

MindNode 2 for Mac review — a fantastic mind mapping tool

I started using mind maps years ago and found them particularly useful for planning projects, brainstorming, and planning written work. MindNode 2‘s predecessor, MindNode Pro, made it easy to create stylish mind maps, but there were a couple of features which I felt the product was missing. Before I switched to Mac I used Mindjet MindManager. It’s a richly featured mind mapping application but became more complex with each update. It’s also one of the more expensive alternatives and included a host of features I had no occasion to use. Mind maps are thinking tools to help organize your ideas,...