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September 11, 2008


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Sounds great until you lose the thing. How often do you back up your data?

Hank --

Every week day. It connects to my Outlook, so I always have a copy on my computer. My computer backs up daily to a hard drive, so I have an extra backup there.

I use my cell phone for taking various notes and managing short list of ideas.

The BlackBerry is also my way of ensuring I remain productive (loosely defined). I can get a surprising amount of work done with just my thumbs.

I know that there are many others like us out there, but as my wife likes to point out, being focused on productivity in such situations also means be socially disconnected. The time that I would have once filled with inane small talk and socialization is now filled with self-focused productivity. It insulates you from the world (or checkout lineup, or waiting room) around you. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I'm in grad school, so any free time I have while waiting for appointments goes towards studying for my counselor certification exam (which is only a month away, aah!). When I'm not studying for that, I catch up on homework.

As for keeping track of my life, I have my trusty Franklin Covey dayplanner. I prefer to do my appointments and planning on paper.

I just wing it. I like being unproductive a lot of the time.

I use Outlook and various spreadsheets I have set up with projects organized by due date. Being a CPA, I have a ton of tax returns due on the same days - 3/15, 4/15, etc. I keep a list of them and check off as I go. I may try integrating this with Outlook somehow, but for now my system seems to work. For interim goals/projects, I usually set up a "task" in Outlook with a due date.

Otherwise, the rest is in my brain. I can't see myself ever getting a Blackberry - it seems like is just a hassle to type on and read from something that small. Not to mention the numerous problems my boss has getting the thing synced up with Outlook.

Sometimes it's okay to not be productive.

I'm a bit of a geek - actually it's my job to be - but a few years back I switched to an entirely paperless system. I use a Franklin Covey planner. In addition to that, I recently stopped using the system (although I still love the Franklin paper binder and fillers) and instead use the system from the book "Getting Things Done." I prefer it beyond anything electronic. No backups, charges, compatibility issues, etc.

Whoops, meant to say I switched to an entirely "paper" system, not "paperless!"

I have a crackberry too. yes wonderful tool to be connected and productive or horribly distracted from what you are actually doing. :-)

I try to carry around a notebook with me at all times but I want to replace this with one of those mini computers like the Asus EEE - I'm just waiting till I save up some money for this. I like the idea of being able to get to all of the information you need to be productive at any time.

I got rid of my blackberry a while back and now I'm starting to think about getting a new one again.

I use my online backpack I think or some such. Since I work from multiple locations, this keeps me sane.

I have never had a blackberry.

But I can honestly say the thing that keeps me focused is not a techie gadget, or a program - it's my timer.

I set the time for 15 minutes and do what I can. Inother words hyper-focus I guess.

It's really upped my productivity.

My red bag...I keep a file for each kid, another file for everything else and my Franklin in there. That eliminates most of "the pile" from my kitchen counter, ensures I have everything I need to answer questions and all the pending to-do items (forms to fill out, mail in, what I need to get, etc.) in one place with me all the time. Downside, I keep my "life" in that Franklin (SS#s, website addresses, passwords, account numbers, medical dates, prescription numbers). If it fell in the wrong hands, I'd be up a creek. But I'm going on 12 years and haven't yet had a problem. I've considered a PDA, but I love paper.

Using a Blackberry is good if much of what you need to do revolves around PIM (personal information management). That is, emails, scheduling, etc. For me, I'm a software developer, and so nearly everything I do requires me to be sitting down in front of my computer. Thus, when I'm not at my computer, I generally can't work (although sometimes I do think about designs and strategies and such).

But it's fine. I don't have a social life, so I'm usually sitting at my computer all the time anyway.

Outlook? Blackberry? Franklin Covey must really be in trouble if YOU left them... ;-)

I like to read a book when I have free moments.

I don't make an effort to be productive everywhere. I prefer to keep work and freetime separate and not mix non stop 24x7 work into my homelife.


all you need is a regular cellphone.. then just use to make notes on stuff... and google calendar to handle appointments.. and maybe frucall to comparison shop...

I do the same thing as FMF, except I use an iPhone. Even though having an iPhone isn't necessarily frugal, I think it comes close in my case (I got it as a gift, and the person who bought it for me got it used for $200). There's a browser and you can get apps with screen sharing and ssh capabilities, so you can access other systems if you don't have what you need on the iPhone itself.

I'm old school. I write lists on post-its. I've tried making lists on a PDA or laptop - not to mention all those crazy scheduling features in outlook - but the post-its are just more efficient for me.

I also sit down at the beginning of the day or the end of the previous day and think about what I have to do, how long its going to take and how best to time it. This helps me get the maximum amount of work done in the minimum amount of time.

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