Monday, December 3

New Finds in Efficiency

Efficiency is not just for offices. I've recently discovered a couple of lovely organization blogs: Unclutterer, and 43 Folders.

Unclutterer has a handy gift giving guide, by the way.

On 43folders, I came across the most fantastic application: MacBreakZ, "a personal ergonomic assistant that promotes healthy and productive computer use." It measures your keyboard and mouse usage, and determines when you need to take a break--and what kind of break, based on what you've been doing. There are three breaks. With one, it simply plays a kind of subtle warning music to prompt you to pause for a few seconds, if you've been doing the same thing for too long. Another break suggests that you close your eyes for a few seconds, then look at a distant object, before returning to your work. The third break gives you three stretches to do (illustrated by drawings of cute and hip Dutch office workers), then suggests you go take a short walk, and summons you back with another kind of music. This is all customizable, you can change the times and the breaks and various details. The software for OSX 10.4 has a long trial period, I believe of 40 days.

I also came across a to do list website, vitalist. I had been using iCal for my to do list, but I found that as my to do list got bigger, the sheer size of it was overwhelming and made it harder to focus. Right now I'm keeping my full to do list on vitalist, and just my day's to do list in iCal. Ah, peace of mind. In vitalist I can also group the to dos into 'projects', and give each to do tags (called 'contexts') which helps me to organize them even more effectively. I'm using the tags instead of due dates as well (tagging tasks with the day of the week on which I want to do them), which works much better.

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