Feb. 13th, 2009

sarahmichelef: (Default)
For those who aren't on FB or Twitter:  Thanks to everyone who has checked in on us - we and (as far as we know right now) everyone we know were not directly affected by the plane crash in Clarence.  There haven't been any all-campus e-mails so I don't think anyone from the Canisius community was on board.  I learned this morning that the cantor of one of the local Temples was on the plane, so the larger Jewish community has been impacted, and my friend Whitney lives just down the street but not close enough to be hurt or even evacuated - just really shaken up.
sarahmichelef: (Default)
Like many of us, I am forever in search of a way to keep track of all the things I have to do, and how to prioritize things, etc. It doesn't help that I SWEAR ADD is contagious, and I often feel like I'm not getting anywhere because I'll do something for five minutes and then bop on to the next thing... I also tend to avoid doing things like making phone calls, filling out paperwork, etc.

Two days ago, a link to a new task-management system called Autofocus came across Lifehacker (here is their commentary on it). It claims to balance the rational and the intuitive parts of your mind such that you do things that "jump out" at you and somehow even things that you would be resistant to end up getting done.  At first I looked at it and went, "ew, pencil and paper to do lists?  how 20th century!"  But then I stopped for a moment... there are lots of things I have to do when I'm not at the computer.  There are lots of times I think of things that I have to do when I'm not at the computer and I jot them in my moleskine and then have to manually transfer them into my data management software.  That's inefficient at best!  So I said, what the hell, I'll give it a shot.  I had a lined notebook running around and so I pulled it out and started jotting things down.  

Things I like about it:
  • no task too small - if it crosses my mind, I jot it down.  the creator claims that the system will filter it out if it's not important.  I haven't been with the system long enough yet to know how this will work.
  • I like that I can combine work and home tasks - this works well for me on days when I'm working from home (I can bounce between things pretty easily)
  • it travels with me 
  • it rewards any effort at all - when you touch a task, you check it off and if it's not done, you re-enter it at the bottom of the list
  • it's not dissimilar to the running task list that I used to keep in college
I went back last night and reread the instructions in detail, and poked around the discussion boards a bit and realized that I hadn't grasped it perfectly and had been "dismissing" things (filtering un-important items out) that shouldn't have been... but now I think I've got it basically down, and I've done a LOT of things that had been piling up (in some cases, literally), like:
  • tidying the desk in the study - it's not totally done, but it's improved, and I re-entered it so it will percolate back to the top tomorrow or the next day.
  • sending some thank you notes that needed to be sent
  • sending in a rebate form
  • scanning a bunch of the kid's artwork that I wanted to preserve
It's not a total planning system - you have to use something else to keep track of stuff with far-out deadlines (like my abstract deadline in three days).  The creator recommends putting things into whatever calendar system you use to prompt you to enter the item into your AF book (I add: with enough lead time to get it done, obviously!).

So that's that.  If you are in search of organization, give it a shot.
sarahmichelef: (Default)
Zilly Rosen, proprietress of Zilly Cakes, has created a diptych of Obama and Lincoln made entirely of cupcakes that is being displayed at the Smithsonian this weekend.

They're putting it together at the Smithsonian right now (Friday 2-5, Saturday noon - 6)! 

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