Tag Archives: work

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Posted by Bitch Code on Friday, January 4, 2019

Making OmniFocus work more like the Things app because reasons

I’ve been on OmniFocus for three months now and so of course I am feeling the compulsion to switch task managers. It’s a curse with me. I keep thinking the next one will solve my productivity problems. For a couple of years I’ve switched back and forth between OmniFocus and Things.

All this switching back and forth is a complete waste of time.

This time around, rather than switch, I’m trying to identify what it is about Things that attracts me. There are two elements I can think of:

One problem is addressed here: Things makes it easy for me to quickly search to see whether I’ve already added a task, before I’ve added a new one. That’s also do-able in OmniFocus, but it requires a modicum of keyboard shortcut fanciness.

The second thing I find appealing about Things is that it’s organized around the idea of a a “big long undifferentiated list of things that you need to get done.” Things makes it very easy to look at your inbox, decide whether you need to do something right away, decide “no I do not,” and move that task to your “Anytime” list. If you decide you need to get to an item soon, but not immediately, you can easily add a star to it. I’m working on figuring out a way to replicate that functionality in OmniFocus. Even with Version 3, OmniFocus still wants you to think in terms of projects, and that’s just not how my mind works. For 90% of what I need to do, I just think in terms of “here are the things I need to do.”

It may have been a mistake for me to switch from Things to OmniFocus in August, but that’s done and I am trying to resist the impulse to switch back. The compulsion is strong though – surely if I just switch this ONE LAST TIME I will have found the perfect task manager and my life will be completely organized!

Link

Quinn Cummings is a writer, former Hollywood agent, and former child star – she was in the movie “The Goodbye Girl” and the 70s TV show “Family.”

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Dave Winer: Less Facebook is OK

Dave is my blogging spirit animal. I like blogging, and I like sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Medium. Of those platforms, I get the most return from Facebook. But blogging AND sharing to Facebook and Google+ are just too much work. So I’m going to start focusing mainly on the blog, and just automatically share links to Google+ and Facebook, until those platforms become easier to deal with in conjunction with a blog.

I’m working on figuring out a way I can share short updates directly to those services and to the blog simultaneously. This will involve automated email and plenty of duck tape.

You’re welcome to leave comments here, or on Facebook or Google+. Or just stop reading, even if you’re a close friend or member of my immediate family. I do not require other people to participate in my peculiar hobby.

I will revisit this decision when it doesn’t seem to be working for me, or when the tools for sharing blog content to social media get easier to work with.

I’ll keep mirroring my posts to Tumblr and Medium because that’s easy.

And I’m still trying to figure out what to do about Twitter.

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Ellen Burstyn’s Lessons on Survival

On the Death, Sex, & Money podcast:

When Burstyn was 18, she got on a Greyhound bus going from Detroit to Dallas. She had 50 cents in her pocket and a hunch that she could find work as a model. The actress and director, known for her roles in Alice Doesn’t Live Here AnymoreThe Exorcist, and Requiem For a Dream, says she’d never do that now. But back then, she didn’t doubt herself.

It wasn’t the only risk she took as a young woman. At 18, she’d already gotten pregnant and had an illegal abortion. By her mid-20s, determined not to just get by on her looks, she left Hollywood to study acting with Lee Strasberg. In her mid-40s, after leaving an abusive marriage, she starred as a newly single mom in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. The role was based in part on her own life, and it won her an Oscar.

Now, at 81, she told me she is most proud of her relationship with her son, whom she adopted at birth. “I really think of myself as a work in progress,” Burstyn told me as we sat in wicker furniture in her Manhattan bedroom. “I know I’m a successful actress, but I don’t feel I’m necessarily a successful person.”

We are not amused: The tyranny of forced fun at work

Companies are setting aside work time for leisure, with required employee participation, in the name of team-building.

Alina Dizik, the BBC

[Veronique James, chief executive of The James Agency, a Scottsdale, Ariz., ad firm] budgets $20,000 per year for events, which are considered part of employee benefits for tax purposes. The 30-person team has gone indoor skydiving, taken a ballroom dancing class and gone through an afternoon of trapeze training together.

Sounds awful.

David Hewson: Mistakes to avoid when writing a series

The British mystery writer weighs in:

Like most series writers, you see, I never set out to go down this path. I wrote the first Costa book as a standalone and was then asked to turn it into a series by my publisher. After which I made it up as I went along, mistakenly sometimes though I’m pleased to report the errors I committed were by no means rare.

Here, when I set out to write the Amsterdam series, are some of the pitfalls I told myself to avoid.

One of the mistakes he cites: Failing to plan for how the series will deal with the passage of time, as the years go by between books in the real world.

Different series writers handle the passage of time in different ways. Spenser and the other characters in the Robert B. Parker series aged at a rate of 1:2 for the real world for a decade or so, then it appeared they just stopped aging. In the early books, written in the 70s, Spenser referenced being a Korean war vet and an ex-boxer who once fought Jersey Joe Walcott. In the last books by Parker, written in the 2000s, those references are left out.

In the Nero Wolfe books, the characters stay exactly the same age throughout 30 years, while the outside world progresses. In the first book, Nero is in his early 40s and Archie is about 30 and they’re toasting the end of Prohibition. As the series hit its prime, Archie is enlisted in the Army during World War II — fortunately assigned to stay home in Manhattan. In the last book, Nero is in his early 40s and obsessed with Watergate, and Archie is about 30.

By the way, both the Spenser and Nero Wolfe series were continued by other writers after the original author’s death. I read one of the Spenser novels by Ace Atkins; it was pretty good. Surprisingly, it was better and more true to the characters than the later Parker novels were.

I also read one of the Robert Goldsborough Nero Wolfe novels, and found it disappointing. He had the details right, but the voice was off. For example: The book was written and set in the 80s, and the mystery revolved around some detail of personal computing technology. Archie had become a PC expert by then, and provided a clue to solve the crime. Nero Wolfe was portrayed as an antiquarian who disdained PCs.

But I thought that was precisely the opposite of the spirit of the books. Archie, as a man of action, would have disdained PCs in the early years. He’d have learned to use one, because he did Wolfe’s office work, but he would have no particular affinity for them. However, the sedentary genius Wolfe might have taken to PCs, because they are logical like he is, and he can use one while moving nothing other than his fingers and eyes.

Getting out of the office

Monitoring software lets employers keep an eye on their remote workers, with keyloggers to see what’s on their screens and cameras to watch them in their home offices. That’s both wrong and bad for business, says David Heinemeier Hansson, a partner at 37 Signals, a company filled with remote workers And Ignacio Uriarte is an artist who works with Excel and other office software.

Out of the Office – Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast

I’ve been working remotely for most of the last 25 years. Hansson is right — employers should keep an eye on the work product and ignore work habits. If the work product is all right, it doesn’t matter if the employee has what appears outwardly to be lousy work habits.

Bill Maher: Clinton needs to embrace the cartoon evil image Republicans have created

Bill Maher: “Hillary has to embrace all the nasty things the haters say and run as the Notorious HRC.”

In character as Notorious HRC: “When Donald Trump gets angry at someone he sends out a mean-girl tweet in the middle of the night. That’s cute. Here’s me killing bin Laden. And Gaddafi’s ass is a little sore these days too.”

Hilarious. I love it. And there’s truth here. Americans don’t want “sweet grandma Hillary.”

Also: “Try as I might, I cannot make my brain work like a Trump voter. Maybe it’s my mother not drinking when she was pregnant.”