Category Archives: life

A Pause Button for my Email

Almost every article on improving your productivity recommends focusing your email activity on specific periods instead of checking your email every 10 minutes (or more frequently). While this is a great idea it doesn’t really work for me.

Most of my data is stored in email and I need my previously received messages as a data source. I can’t close my email for hours as it contains a lot of the information I need to work with. Now, what happens typically is what we all know all to well: I’m trying to find this one message and get distracted by incoming email. Before I know it I forget what I was actuallly looking for and wonder off.

The solution: Every email application needs a big pause button that temporarily suspends fetching new email! Sure, a similar result can be achieved by decreasing your fetch frequency in your settings. I wonder if there is a difference in behavior though when you consciously hit pause vs. just decreasing the frequency. You’re basically declaring that you want to focus on a task. And there is no doubt that there are no new messages. In the latter case there is always some uncertainty which might lead you to check.

I’ve been toying around with this idea for a few weeks now. Then this week a change on the corporate Mail server broke my Mail setup and I stopped receiving emails. It did indeed increase my focus and therefore productivity for a while as it reduced distractions. However once I realized that I’m not receiving any messages at all I started investigating what was up and trying to solve the problem. I’m not sure if there was a net benefit in productivity in the end. However it was good to experience that the world didn’t end just because I didn’t reply to any messages in 4 hours.

Why I Love Europe

Tim Bonneman from Planblog asks why we love Europe and gives his #37 out of 100.

Reason #44 why I love Europe:

The immense diversity in a relatively small area. Every country is so different and unique. The people, the countryside, the religion, the language, everything!

I have to agree with his compliment to the European women though. Funny that we both live in the Silicon Valley…

Update: Web Monday Second Life is coming up on MON Oct 23, 2006 (Tim is the “organizer”). I’ve been to the two real world Web Montags in the Silicon Valley. This virtual one sounds like an interesting experiment. I’ve seen demos of Second Life but haven’t had the urge to join yet. Then again I’m not a gamer.

Flaky Internet Connection – Can You Survive Without Internet?

My Internet connection is really flaky tonight. Not sure what’s going on. Comcast usually has good service.

Anyway, makes me realize how dependent on the Internet I am. It’s not even worth turning on the computer if the Internet is down. There is nothing to do. I even listen to my music online (Yahoo! Music Unlimited, soma fm, di.com). And I’m going crazy right now because it has to rebuffer every 20 seconds!

Busting That Cycle

Video blogger zefrank (the guy who never blinks) enjoys a lot of buzz. I checked out a few of his shows and never really got a kick out of them (expectations too high?) until I came across his show about Busting That Cycle. Hilarious and very inspiring at the same time (and a little nasty at the end).

Kevin Fox summarizes and gives some examples:

(…) by identifying the patterns you follow and deliberately departing from them you can gain new insights, new perspectives, and generally feel more alive.

When have you broken your last cycle? Or are you stuck in your life?

I’ve recently realized that planning to do stuff is not enough. Stop putting it off and do it! Today! You’ll be surprised how easy it was. And you’ll slap yourself for putting it off so long.

Meaningful Work or Death. Any other form of existence doesn’t interest me.

When your work stops being your “Real Life”, and “Leisure” starts becoming your real life i.e. When your job just becomes this unpleasant “thing”, something with no other meaningful function other than to finance your new “Real Life” i.e your ‘Lifestyle’… you know, the expensive part with all the shopping, beaches, cocktail parties, vacuous conversations etc.

[Via gapingvoid]

I love my job and couldn’t have it another way! And I feel really sad for all the people who hate going to work. Maybe it’s time to change something?

Go read the full article!