Saturday, July 24, 2010

BBC Rail Safety applies to cyclists, too

BBC show Top Gear's host Jeremy Clarkson has an important safety message about level train crossings:

Of course, this life-saving lesson applies to cyclists and pedestrians, too. If you're going to ride the wrong way across a bus route or walk across a restricted-access freeway, always wear a helmet and high-visibility jacket.

- RG>

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer e-mail catch-up

I think the reason I was getting the doldrums last September was because normal people tend to take vacation over July and August, so e-mails slow down in general. The corollary to this is that they pick back up again in September.

I'm rather glad I wrote that post, if for nothing else than to know that at the time I had about 650-660 unread e-mails in my inbox, and ten months on I've whittled it down to 620, only a handful of which are less than a month old. My gmail space usage has also increased to over 50% of capacity (from 35% in September 2009), presumably from a larger number of attachments. (Curse Gmail for not letting you delete e-mail attachments!!!)

I could probably even get it down further if I looked at the older ones and archived or deleted the messages that are definitely no longer relevant, but at a glance, all the ones on the first page of 50 are things I'd still like to attend to (reading reports, filing files, reminding me to post stuff on websites, etc.)

The important thing is seeing that 620 number being lower than what it was before. It means progress.

- RG>

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Step 1: Make a list

1. Allison has a list for this weekend. She blogged about it.

2. XUP also had a post on lists a while back. It was long enough ago that I've decided I'm too lazy to look it up.

3. I use many lists of various kinds to organize myself. They are helpful to keep from forgetting things.

4. Seeing many items crossed off your to-do list can give you a great sense of accomplishment.; electronic to-do lists are bummers because you only see the items you haven't yet completed.

5. Reusable checklists are also useful, to track processes that you are likely to repeat...:
a) ...frequently, because you're more likely to use it
b) ...infrequently, because you're more likely to need it

6. If you have a lot of things to do in a short period, like things to get during lunch hour or places to go on Saturday, number the items in the order in which you plan to do them. Put your list on your handlebar-mounted clipboard to track your progress.

7. Be realistic. If you have too many things to do for the time available, put a section at the end of the list for things (both pleasurable and painful) to not do. At the end of the day, feel good for having not done the ALL things on your to-not-do list. (I just discovered this today and it works great!)

H. Sherman's Lagoon had a really funny Sunday strip a few years back about lists, which I can't find online anywhere. Probably 2004 or 2005ish. I cut it out and gave it to my dad, which I think is lost. Hawthorne (the crab) was telling Sherman (the shark) about how useful his list is.

8. Among the gems in the strip was the line (paraphrased from memory), "and if you do something that isn't on the list, you can put it on the list and strike it out!" And the punch line:
a) Sherman: "Wow. I need a list."
b) Hawthorne: "Here, take mine!"

[Edit: I found a copy:]

9. I lost my list once. It made me quite...distraught. (You thought I was going to say "listless", didn't you? That would have been too easy.)

10. Lists only work if you remember to consult them. This is what differentiates "list people" and non list people.

11. Lists are generally non-transferrable. Even for highly organized people, everyone uses and understands lists differently.

12. You can make a quasi-list from technologies not traditionally list based, for example:
a) Leaving messages unread or starred in your inbox;
b) Writing draft blog posts;
c) Stacking your unpaid bills;
d) Leaving tabs open in a browser

13. Similarly, when I remove my shirt at the end of the day (and it's still clean), I hang it in the closet to the left of all the other shirts. Over time, this creates a quasi-list of shirts I've worn, from most to least recently.

14. I like to use lists as insurance against forgetfulness. I think I might have said that already. See items 3 and 10.

15. Fifteen is about the most things you should have on any given list. Ten is popular, but fifteen is the maximum. Mmmmm... fifteeny

- RG>