the Ongoing Organization of My Life

This has been an interesting weekend with a very strange rhythm. For example, last night I just didn’t go to bed at all – I crawled into bed at 9am this morning when Kevin’s alarm was going off to tell him we needed to go meet a friend for brunch. This isn’t because of caffeine, or even because of insanely interesting content in GoogleReader – I was reading a few books I’m working through, and then researching more about potential dog breeds that might work for us, but I wasn’t building the stuff I said I might this weekend (and still haven’t touched that). Today I was thinking I would just check RescueTime to see exactly where all that time went, but then I realized I haven’t set it up for this machine yet (doh!). Oh well, it was fun – I felt like I was pulling one of those high school “all nighters” but without the sense of urgency.

Kev and I have combined our offices into the bonus room so that we can get some exercise equipment and put it in the extra room off the master (where I used to work), which is nice since that way whether we’re staying at the house or the condo we’ll always have access to workout equipment. I love moving my desk and everything, it forces me to process and purge all the ad hoc ideas, sketches, notes, and random items that pile up on paper. Paper is the devil, and yet I can’t ever seem to get enough notebooks with just the right texture of paper or pens with just the right width of the line. I’m trying out OneNote, where I can condense a lot of the career development, reading recommendations, tons of business ideas at various levels of development, reflections on the past, and more into one place. We’ll see how that goes, I am still not convinced this will be the best tool for me. If I can hook it up with Jott then it might be better.

I’m also making a second pass through Getting Things Done by David Allen to see what else I can do to better streamline the workflow of the work and non-work information inflow that feels more like a deluge at times. I think aggregation of my email would be nice, in a different format than just mutliple inboxes in Outlook. I’m using Xobni, but so far I haven’t found that it solves this problem for me. In fact, I don’t feel like I’m getting the same experience as all those people who hyped it – I’ve minimized it. I already know I email my boss the most at work and my husband the most on my personal account, and that I need to email my long distance friends, colleagues, and casual acquaintances more regularly – but it doesn’t actually get me to the point where there is no barrier to just taking action.

The search for great tools for personal organization and time management continue.

RescueTime I Love You – You Make My Life Better

I just was getting caught up with my other beloved new toy, Google Reader, and found out that RescueTime was part of Y Combinator day this week is funded by Y Combinator. For some reason, I had the impression RescueTime was much further along as a company – considering their product ROCKS MY WORLD and looks so polished. These guys are doing something for personal productivity and time management that is going to make a lot of us more aware of how much time we “waste” and how much value we are getting out of it. Frankly, I was actually proud to see how much work I was doing once I looked at this, it was like getting a pat on the back. I was also surprised to see that my Google Reader noshing isn’t eating up nearly as much as I had feared.

I’m a pretty picky user, I send feedback and all that, and I have had such a great experience from beginning to end using RescueTime that I have been telling everyone I can about it. From a time management perspective it is amazing, I can tag the applications I use and sites I visit with things like “work”, “email”, “news”, “social” and then I can also tell it how productive (or non-productive) each tag is.

I love graphs and charts and am a data head, so this has been love love LOVE (!!) at first sight. I can’t say enough about it, and I am sure it will only get more amazing as they continue to develop it. Even if it didn’t change a bit I think I would use it for a long time, I’ve never had a tool like this before!

They are in Seattle, just 3 owner/operators.

RescueTime Website: http://www.rescuetime.com/
RescueTime Blog: http://blog.rescuetime.com/

A Weekend of Food & Books

no more whrrk posts for awhile

Friday we had a really fun impromptu (as in – we started inviting people over less than 24 hours before) dinner party where I tried to recreate the excellent pork dish Emily and I made at her friend’s house in San Francisco a few weeks ago for about 10 people. What makes this dish unique is the honey glace with dried apricots and cranberries that have been soaking in sherry cooking wine. It is simmered and reduced for about an hour and served atop of the pork loin steaks. Unfortunately, I entrusted the preparation of the meat to my Dad – and it ended up very overcooked – I think because pork isn’t something he is used to making. Pork is hard to keep moist.

Regardless, we had enough risotto, asparagus, buttery rolls, and the glace (which is delish all on its own) to satisfy. Top that off with about 4 bottles of various red wine, carrot cake, and a few pots of French press coffee and we were set. We played boardgames until the early hours of the morning when our last guests were finally too tired to keep their eyes open.

Starting off the weekend like that certainly made it feel long. On Saturday we woke up late and enjoyed brunch at Denice’s Place on 160th before shopping for some solar lights to try out in the yard and invitations for Tracy’s baby shower. We went to Panera in Redmond for lunch because Kevin loves it, but it (as usually) disappointed me, this time with lukewarm soup. After some mandatory caffeine ingestion at Starbucks we went to the Macy’s home store to look at couchs, and we were finally able to agree on one with a matching chair. My parent’s gave us the gift of a furniture shopping budget for Christmas, so we’ve been meaning to use it since then. It is amazing to me (although I understand why) that it will take 10 weeks to have it delivered. Imagine how long people had to wait 200 years ago (it was probably made locally and took less time!). After that, we headed over to Whole Paycheck for dinner ingredients and I prepared some zesty fajitas using flank steak.

I was up until the wee hours again reading and Sunday morning I didn’t crawl out of bed until about 11am. I took a brisk walk to the grocery store to pick up breakfast ingredients and then prepared a very traditional breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon and toast. Yay for cooking – and YAY for BACON! Today has been able more reading, writing, thinking, listening to music and re-charging for the week ahead.

So… that’s a weekend in the life of the Morrills I guess.