Displaying All Posts from February, 2011

Review: GTD Agenda – Versatile Productivity Software

Review: GTD Agenda – Versatile Productivity Software

It seems like every day there’s a new task management app for a new productivity system. GTD Agenda breaks out of that mold by making a task management app that can be used for multiple productivity methods.

In fact, my absolute favorite thing about GTD Agenda is that in addition to the standard tour and features page, they have pages dedicated to how you can use GTDAgenda for different productivity systems (GTD, The 7 Habits and Highly Effective People, and Zen to Done) and different activities (the gym, school, and software development).

GTDAgenda allows you to easily break up your work across Goals, Projects, and Tasks. In addition, you add Contexts to your Tasks and label tasks as Next Options. There’s also checklists, schedules, and a calendar.


The Dashboard isn’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s comprehensive. First and foremost, when you login, you see your Next Actions and have the option of grouping them by Priority, Project or Context. On the right-hand side, you have your Calendar. Then underneath your Calendar, you have a box of your Contexts. Underneath that, your Projects.

This setup makes it super-easy for you to have an idea of what’s due when, what to do next, and enables you to quickly pick a task to work on.

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5 Ways to Win Back an Unhappy Employee

There will come a time in every manager’s career where he is forced to deal with employee dissatisfaction.  While this is never something a manager wants to deal with, some simple practices can make the incident easier to deal with. As a result, the manager will be less tense and the company might not lose what is otherwise a productive employee. Do not stress; just take advantage of a few employee retention ideas to get your employee back to a place where the two of you are happy working together.

1. Take time to personally talk with the employee.

The first thing to do is to take some time to talk to the employee one on one. This should be done in your office towards the end of the day.  It will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the problems at hand without leaving the rest of the day to chance. That way the disgruntled employee can go home and think about the conversation without being caught up in a lot of water cooler gossip. You will also have the opportunity to get your questions answered.

If another employee’s name is brought up, you may need to set up a time when the three of you can get together and talk. Of course, you should let all parties involved know of the date and time ahead of schedule. That way everyone has an opportunity to organize his or her thoughts beforehand. At the end of the meeting, you should see if anything can be done immediately in order to alleviate any tension that exists.
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Awesome Links #37: AppCleaner, Money or Life, Recipe Search

How to Completely Uninstall Programs on Mac with AppCleaner
It is important to “cleanly” uninstall applications whenever they are uninstalled, be it on a Windows or Mac machine. That’s because the files left over from the programs take up system space, could interfere with other programs and — consequently — hamper your productivity. This post on Guiding Tech talks about how to cleanly uninstall software on a Mac using nifty software called AppCleaner.

Your Money or Your Life
This post over at the Productivity 501 blog by Mark Shead talks about how he gave up a plush job and sacrificed higher paychecks for a life of satisfaction and happiness. I think a lot of us could take a lesson from this post, and probably change our lives for the good.

10 Tools for Training Your New Virtual Worker
It is said that delegating tasks to a virtual worker can significantly boost one’s productivity, especially if she deals with too many things in a single day. That’s a great concept — but training that worker isn’t always a pleasant exercise. This post on the Web Worker Daily blog offers 10 tools to help you train your virtual worker efficiently and effectively.
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WorkAwesome Podcast: Episode 13 – Gina Trapani

WorkAwesome editor Mike Vardy had the pleasure to interview Lifehacker founding editor and highly-regarded developer Gina Trapani on this week’s episode of the podcast. Gina’s got a ton of projects on the go on the web, all of which are awesome in scope and in nature. She’s regarded as one of the top productivity experts on the web today (one could go as for to say that her reach expands well beyond the Internet realm as well), and it was truly a privilege to have her on as a guest.

Show Notes

  • Gina discusses the reason behind starting started Lifehacker and the reason for eventually leaving the site.
  • Why Gina believes that productivity has had (and still does have) such an appeal to so many on the Internet.
  • Todo.txt app, Gina’s self-developed task list application, is discussed.
  • Gina gives a rundown of her daily workflow, including IRC, email and other tools she uses.
  • What is ThinkUp? Gina spills the beans.
  • Mike and Gina offer a requiem for the late, lamented Google Wave.
  • The status of Gina’s standing desk experiment.
  • Apparently, Gina occasionally dances while she works. So what’s on her playlist?
  • Gina digs Gmail…she explains her reasons, what aspects of Gmail’s features she uses and some of the other apps she has to keep tabs on things.

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The On/Off Principle

If you’re the kind of person who thinks outside the box when it comes to work (as most WorkAwesome readers are), then you probably know all sorts of tricks and techniques for getting the most out of the working day. Whatever your “top tips” for time management are, there’s one element which underpins them all; one fundamental ingredient which determines whether you stick to a program of time management or slip back into chaos or procrastination.

Working State

If you’ve ever read a list of tips or even a detailed manifesto like David Allen’s GTD system, you were probably sold on the principles instantly. You’d spent a couple of afternoons being productive, but then promptly fell off the wagon and straight under the crushing wheels of habitual routine.

What matters most isn’t so much your system, but rather your state of mind. You might have had days when work just happened effortlessly — like an athlete in the zone — when everything just seemed to come together. Unfortunately, if left to chance, this doesn’t happen so often.

The key to any program of self-management, self- motivation, self-improvement — call it what you will — is to take responsibility for your own brain first.
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How to Network Like a Law Student

Law students have their work cut out for them. The economy doesn’t have jobs for them, the public refers to them as “ambulance chasers” (at least the personal injury ones) and law school only teaches them theoretical topics that will be useless to the firms hiring them.

You’re pretty much useless straight out of law school, since the firm that hires you (if you’re lucky) will spend most of its time training you to do the tasks that they need you for. And that’s just if you’re in the top percentile of your class. If you’re an extraordinary extra-curricular law student that is involved in every aspect of the social scene but do not have straight A’s…well, you’re pretty much passed over in the job hunt.

So what’s someone going to do to make some contacts?

Network. Network like crazy. Because people like friendly, out-going people that are easy to communicate with.
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5 Smart iOS Apps to Revolutionize Your Workflow

Most people have a schedule or timetable to be able to plan out their days. But if you have one for work, this’ll probably be the most hectic. Luckily, there’s a wealth of ways to help you manage your schedule and a lot of those solutions are available on shiny Apple devices. After paying $500 or more, surely an extra few to save you countless hours is worth it, right? Being able to have a clear view of what’s ahead will help to increase your productivity by reducing the time you need to work out what to do. Then you can just get started on what’s important: the work. A lot of my free time is spent writing for various causes. The biggest, coincidentally, are for the various Envato sites that I contribute to. Even since getting my iPad early last year, I’ve been trying to find a viable timetabling app that’s oriented around tasks rather than events. Here’s my roundup of the five apps that I’ve found to be the best.

1. Sorted

Sorted is a fairly simple, yet ingenious app for the iPad that serves as a checklist. You can add tasks to it with all only a title required. You can leave it at that or you can add notes, set priorities and schedule reminders. The highlight of this specific app is the role that priorities serve. You can create levels of priority in the settings (from a bank of many colours) and use these to easily identify the most — or least — important tasks. Click Here to Read Article …

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6 Ways to Rise Above Workplace Politics (and Emerge Unscathed)

Unless you have always worked by yourself, you are likely to have come across office politics in one form or another. When you think about it, it is just another way of describing human relationships. It’s not surprising that workplaces usually have some type of politics — especially when the nature of many jobs means you don’t get to choose who you work with. So how do you rise above workplace politics and yet still save face?

From observing my own and other people’s behaviour, I have noticed that it is possible to navigate workplace politics and come out smiling. It is not always easy, and it takes practice but there are mindsets and behaviours that make it easier to do.

1. Treat Others As You Want To Be Treated

Gossiping is the fuel for workplace politics. Gossiping means that things are not dealt with directly and can be very damaging. Whatever has been said is usually distorted as it is passed around, whether intentionally or not. Be direct and deal with things professionally. Try not to gossip — and if someone tells you something, don’t pass it on. You can let your co-workers know (verbally or by your actions) that you don’t want to engage in gossip. This can be hard initially but once people see that you mean what you say, they will respect you for it. At the end of the day, we all view life through our own unique and subjective lens; try and see the bigger picture. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be understanding to your co-workers, but there are always two sides to any story. I have seen people swallow up everything that is said to them and turn on other people as a result. Take a step back and try and be objective — it will help you to keep a professional distance and avoid being pulled into politics yourself.
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