Tag Archive for 'productivity'

Achievement unlocked: maintain “inbox zero” for a year

“Inbox zero” means having no messages in your “IN” tray (and keeping it that way). This is not meant to be a goal in itself, but it’s a clear sign of whether you’re staying on top of things, and it lowers the general stress level. That’s remarkably easy with Outlook, even without any fancy add-on gimmicks.

Without trying very hard, I have managed to keep my email inbox at work at zero every day. It’s not because I don’t get any mail – it’s because Outlook makes it so easy to track open tasks with one or two clicks, even when the email itself is moved to a subfolder.

It’s easy enough to clear out the inbox – just dump everything into a subfolder, or just straight up archive or delete it. Gone. Done. See? Yay!

Not so fast – the real challenge is the “keeping it that way” part. Since I joined SDS last year I have enjoyed getting back to using Outlook again instead of Lotus Notes for almost two decades straight, ugh! I am frankly amazed at myself because with Outlook I have finally been able to maintain “inbox zero” all this time. I feel it’s worth sharing my method in the following. Continue reading ‘Achievement unlocked: maintain “inbox zero” for a year’

Revisiting Colemak

A good while ago, I mentioned an interest in another weird idea – after all, being weird is part of what makes me me. This is about a keyboard layout that is different from the “Qwerty” layout we’re all familiar with.

I had already been toying with the Dvorak layout and had made reasonable progress learning it, but I found that the position of keys used in typical keyboard shortcuts were bothersome – especially Ctrl+Z,X,C,V. Details like that are among the top arguments of the Colemak layout.

colemak keyboard layout

The Colemak layout looks remarkably similar to the familiar Qwerty layout.

Continue reading ‘Revisiting Colemak’

Hello old friend

Today on my commute home from work, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me because he was using a very special pocket computer:

psion_s5mx

That’s a Psion Series 5 (technically a 5mx but that’s irrelevant to you normal folks.) It’s probably the best pocket computer ever built, but by now it’s also extremely rare and, in the context of electronic progress, rather ancient.

I have owned and used one of these for a decade, and I’ve written a lot about it here. It served me well and I still miss many aspects of it. If such a machine existed today with Internet access then I would probably still be using it. But mobile Internet didn’t exist back in its day. Continue reading ‘Hello old friend’

The Eisenhower Matrix

The X-Files? The Matrix? Is there a new movie coming up?

Sorry, no. The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple tool to figure out where to focus your attention. It’s based on the quote: “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” This is commonly attributed to Eisenhower, but his actual words were different.
Continue reading ‘The Eisenhower Matrix’

Maybe Colemak is smarter than Dvorak?

Friendly warning – this is about keyboard layouts that differ from the standard “QWERTY” layout. If this confuses you, stop reading now :-)


The Dvorak keyboard layout is not a new thing. It was patented in 1936. When I heard of it some 15 years ago, its biggest obstacle was lack of software support. That has changed now, and I’ve used Dvorak on my smartphone for the past 2 years and I can say with confidence that my thumbs have learned it very well – Dvorak is my fastest and preferred layout on mobile. Continue reading ‘Maybe Colemak is smarter than Dvorak?’