I have to give Chanpory at LifeClever some props. He is turning out some consistently deft content. This post is no exception. I have designed quite a few resumés in my life. I am usually the go to guy for resumé design among my friends and family. I have read a lot about resumé design and practices. That being said, I have yet to read anything as straight forward, well explained and right on as this. This is one to print and save people.
Give your resumé a face lift
Boy I wish I had this a few days ago when my friend Matthew asked me for some tips.
Scrybe is a new, very promising looking, browser based web application with calendaring, to-do lists, notes and the amazing ability to work on all of this info offline and the changes are then synced the next time you have an internet connection. Oh, and they “get” paper as well and offer the ability to print your stuff out PocketMod style.
The Apple Blog takes a look at ways to extend the Mac OS X Address Book in “Address Book: Picked Last for Kickball”
Here is a nice video profile on Apple’s site about the 37Signals crew. (via Daring Fireball)
For those of you using Googe Docs (formerly Writely), here are some useful keyboard shortcuts one can use to get around and do stuff. (via Lifehacker)
GTD cult members, unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, I am sure you have been listening to the Productive Talk series. You know, the one where Merlin Mann is interviewing David Allen of Getting Things Done fame? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Go listen to it now.
Doodle is an online service to help you easily pick a time and date for a meeting for small groups (via 43 Folders).
Looking to bend the will of the Palm OS into a mobile GTD solution? Tammy Cravit says a program called MemoLeaf is the way to go. See the break down in “Doing GTD With Memoleaf”.
EagleFiler is yet another Info Manager in the Yojimbo vein. The difference here is that it stores its library in a Finder format so the data is still in it’s original state and therefore can be used “in concert with the other tools in your Mac ecosystem”. (via Hawk Wings)
37 Signals has let slip a cool new demo of upcoming features in Backpack. This will be a major upgrade that includes the ability to drag any page element to anywhere else on the page so you can mix up lists, notes, files, etc. This also means you can drag any list item to any other list. There are also new page separators to help you group items together on a page. All of this is just a portion of the new stuff coming. Let me just say that I can’t wait to see how this improves my using it for GTD and all the other things I use it for (it will do so markedly I suspect). Once released and I have a chance to play with it, I will give a full review right here. Stay tuned…
Merlin tries to nail down his five top “no-duh” lifehacks in 300 words. Boy does he seem to nail it on the head.
Giles over at MacDevCenter lays down some smack for the text junkies. Some good text tips here in. It finally got me to give a serious look at John Gruber’s Markdown text formatting wizardry. Once I was able to grok the syntax which was not all that far from Textile which I already knew, I knew I had found nirvana. Using it to write this post right now.
Just after I posted about using Basecamp for GTD yesterday, I jumped over to my feed reader only to discover that LifeDev had also posted on the same subject. They don’t have context hack though. Soylent Green is Contexts!
Lovely Design is aptly named. They have some beautiful paper pr0n. Take this lovely journal made from found paper and envelopes. Every page turn screams possibility.
Long time readers know that I am a fairly regular user of Writely, an online web based word processor. Writely allows me to be able to store and work on documents from any computer with a web browser. Well, Writely was gobbled up by Google some months ago. Now, their assimilation with the hive mind is complete and Google has rebranded and merged it with their online spreadsheet tool to give you… Wait for this amazing and catchy name… Google Docs and Spreadsheets.
From the copy:
“If you’ve ever struggled to keep track of different versions of spreadsheet or word processor files sent over email, Google Docs & Spreadsheets may be right for you. Google Docs & Spreadsheets is a web-based word processing and spreadsheet program that keeps documents current and lets the people you choose update files from their own computers.”
There you have it. Writely users are now redirected to the new URL where they will find all of their documents still just as they left them. They will also find that it is still the same old Writely with the same old features. It is just a little bit more Google in flavor than before.
I have been using Basecamp for some time to implement larger multi-tiered and ongoing projects. Lately, I have been using it even more to manage projects for the team I lead at work. While I am using Basecamp mostly in the fashion it was intended for, since proposing my ideas about changes to my GTD implementation in Backpack, I have been pondering how some of those same changes (as well as some other useful hacks) could be applied to using Basecamp for GTD as well.
Basecamp is designed so that, on paying accounts, one can manage multiple projects. A “project” in their definition assumes a y large one with the need for multiple sub-projects, messaging, colaboration, milestones, etc. – in other words, a lot like most people’s daily lives. The free version only allows for one project which is just fine for one’s life so this setup assumes that you are going to use one project for your GTD implementation.
Basecamp, like Backpack, allows you to create multiple lists under the To-Do tab for a project. For a GTD implementation one could have one list for single action items (i.e. projects with only one action) and then a list for each project (i.e. anything which requires two or more steps). You can see in the picture above an example of this setup. That part is pretty straight forward and pretty much inline with my @Projects setup in Backpack.
The Context Hack
I am sure you also notice in the picture above that I have set contexts for items in bold. I also bet you are wondering how that was achieved. Here is how…
People. That’s right – People.
Basecamp allows one to add people to a project and assign To-Do list items to those people responsible for them. Therefore, I thought, if people were actually contexts, then you could just as easily make the person’s name the context you want, give them an e-mail address (I just used the dummy Gmail account I have for such nonsense purposes), an equally nonsense password, and… um… tada! You have contexts which you can assign to those list items.
Another advantage to this is that Basecamp allows one to view just To-do items assigned to a specific person. Therefore, if your person is a context, you can use this hack to just list specific contexts:
Of course, one can use all of the other features of Basecamp as well. For instance, you can use the Messages section for notes, set Milestones for important projects, etc.
Basically, with a little outside of the box thinking and repurposing, one could easily use a free Basecamp account as a real and effective GTD solution with the ability to organize actions as well as viewing and printing by both context and individual project lists.
This is for all you plain text addicts out there. Mike Mellor has a bundle for the excellent Textmate that turns it into a lean mean GTD machine. In an effort to make a good thing even better, he has implemented a text version of the metadata markup I use and define in my Productivity Whitepaper.
Here is how he describes it:
In a nutshell, this syntax works to provide “state” (my word, not Patrick’s) to a task. I have reversed two of the items, but here they are:
– (Dash): Undone Action Item.
+ (Plus): Done Action Item.
-> (Right Arrow): Delegated (with a note to whom and the date).
<- (Left Arrow): Waiting – (i.e. for another action).
^ (Triangle): Data Point.
The difference between this and what Patrick devised is I reversed “Delegated” and “Waiting.” To me, the right arrow gives me the impression that I have passed the task along, where the left arrow better fits my thinking for a task that I am waiting on. I also added one more item:
* (Asterisk): Project.
So that I don’t have to keep writing “Patrick Rhone’s ‘Metadata Markdown’ Syntax”, I’m going to call it “OrgFu”
Very, very cool. To say I am honored by the response I have received thus far would be an understatement. The word “humbled” might even be a more apt description.
GTD with “Metadata Markdown” Syntax @ Panageek
So, in the coming days you may notice some changes around here. Michael (Web-fu Sensi) and I are making some changes to the layout of the site. For instance, there is now a colophon link where the photos used to be. It includes a little bit about me and the tools we use to build patrickrhone.com. Photos will soon be found on the status page and updated much more frequently. There will be some other content and style changes coming, lots of stuff moving around, plus some back end stuff to keep things performing at their optimum level. The upshot of all of this is to say – pardon our dust while we improve your reading experience.
As regular readers know, I recently switched my “Moleskine of Choice” from the Pocket Ruled to the 18 Month Weekly Planner. One of the principal reasons I wanted this planner as soon as it was anounced and eagerly awaited it’s release was it’s layout.
On the left hand page is a week laid out in blocks starting on Monday and running through Sunday. A large header space at the top of that page offers lots of room for writing “soft landscape” items like conference dates and such. The right hand facing page is just a plain ruled page with no header. What this layout allows me to do is have one easy place to glance at my calendar items for the week and have an easy space for next actions and capture.
My use of it is not much different than it was before. Because the planner is organized weekly, I use the ruled page for my actions and capture for just that week using the same dash/plus system as before. With no header at the top of the ruled page there are a full 28 lines available. This is more than enougfh for me. I do not tend to have enough to fully fill the page on any given week. In fact, I rarely fill 3/4 of it (yes, I am really busy – seriously). At the end of the week, as part of my weekly review, I process the carryovers (i.e. unfinished or unprocessed items) to the next weeks ruled page. Also part of that weekly review process is “syncing” my calendar items for the upcoming week with my Backpack calendar. Also, just as before, action items get synced with Backpack as well so I always have those available and easily portable.
Therefore, some of the tools have changed but my system remains pretty much the same as it was. There is a deeper lesson to be learned in this. The goal of GTD is to create a trusted system. If you trust and stick to your system then the tools are chosen to best support the system and not the other way around. Therefore, it was an easy transition between one calendar program, capture device, etc. to another because my system remained the same.