Posts Tagged “internet”

Stop Reacting

Seriously, stop reacting.

Stop checking Twitter, Facebook, email and anything else that’s driven by notifications. In fact just turn off all notifications. Turn them off on your computer, phone and tablet. Notifications are the great reactive intruder that ruins your focus. With notifications turned off, you’ll stop reacting to the outside forces that will destroy your focus.

Stop putting the work aside that should be doing for the work you need to do. Yes there are things we need to do, but we should be smart enough to identify the work we need to do and schedule it in for the appropriate time in the future. It then becomes work we should be doing at the right time. Continually reacting to work that needs to be done shows a lack of planning. Plan ahead to eliminate reactive work.

Stop reacting aimlessly to changes in your life. Aim for a point in the distant future and work towards it. The world will do it’s best to try and push you off track. Changes in family, career, finances and health can be negotiated with a slight detour but you can still arrive at the place that you initially aimed for.

Stop reacting. It can be done.

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Managing Your Time Online with Automation and Filters

Left unchecked, you could easily waste away your time online. Posting, bookmarking, pinning, reading, uploading, downloading, torrenting and streaming. We’ve entered into an era of the Internet where there’s growing demand for you to be connected to anything and everything. If it’s not managed properly you could easily get sucked into an almost endless zombie state of clicking, scrolling and swiping. It’s something that I’ve grown more aware of over the years, but with kids in the house, you suddenly become more aware of how much time you spend being connected. I don’t want my kids to remember their parents as “those two with their heads creaking into their phones”.

With this in mind, I’ve started being a little bit more selective of how I manage my time being connected. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I only class the time I’m on the Internet, this can include any form contact with my laptop and smartphone. Cutting back on the this time is the key, but how do we do this?

In the last couple of weeks I’ve made a few changes to the apps I’m using and how I use them, and I’ve found that there’s two key places where you can improve severing that attachment to technology. Automation and filtering.

Automation

Automation is the ability to take a number of manual steps and make them run on their own without any human intervention. Sounds a bit daunting to start with, but there are in fact a number of great services that can make detaching from technology easier.

I’ve used IFTTT for the last couple of years to automate a few things between different services I use. I wouldn’t call myself a power user, but it’s easy to set up recipes means that you can schedule all manner of action between the different channels you might use.

I’ve only just started using Zapier in the last couple of weeks. IFTTT is great but I’ve heard good reviews about Zapier as well. My first impressions of it are good, and while they don’t cover all the same channels that IFTTT does, they do have a vast catalog of services that you can hook into.

Using tools like this can handle the mundane tasks for you, like backing up your photographs to Dropbox or builing lists on Twitter for an event you’re attending. Each step might only take a few seconds to do, but given that you’ll probably end up repeating these steps time and time again, it’s worth looking at tools like IFTTT and Zapier to handle them for you.

Filtering

Filtering is where we want to pick out the signals from the noise. What’s the important stuff? It’s something I haven’t used much in the past, but I’ve finding it to be more and more useful to limit my time online.

Perhaps the first place you might have came across filtering is on a number of Twitter clients. Tweetbot and Echofon allow you to mute keywords in your stream. This comes in handy when you don’t want to see tweets about a particular topic. I recently muted keywords for the Apple Watch event a couple of weeks ago and recently also blocked tweets from the SXSW event. Both topics weren not in my interests and so to stop my timeline being polluted with links to these I muted them in Echofon.

The last place I’ve seen filtering avaialble but haven’t used yet is in the RSS reader application, Feedbin. For each of the RSS feeds you have, Feedbin gives you the option to mute a feed. I haven’t used this yet but knowing this feature is here means that I’m abit more open to subscribing to other RSS feeds. I can mute feeds that are perhaps covering a specific topic over a number of days or weeks and if it’s something I’m not interested in, I can mute for that period of time.

This is just a couple of ways in which I manage the daily onslaught of information. I would be interested to hear of other suggestions that you use to manage and reduce your time being connected to the digital world.

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For me, web apps still rule

Like most people I’ve spent my fair share of money on apps for the iPad, but recently I’ve found that I’m just not using them that often. The problem is that while I like the apps themselves and chose them for their functionality and their ease of use, the freqeuncy with which I use them just isn’t right. When was the last time I wrote anything with iA Writer? I can’t remember.With web apps though, I’m finding that they are more accessible to me during the day at work and at night when I am at home.

I looked at a number of apps for keeping a journal before I ended up writing Journalong, and the same goes for writing. I managed to write a whole book with 750words.com. The only reason I didn’t use it every day after NaNoWriMo was the fact that the pressure to write 750 words became a bit too much. My journal is for every day thoughts, but typerighter is for taking those thoughts and fleshing out something more fuller and richer.

Web apps like Typerighter and Journalong also work well on my mobile devices. I don’t want separate apps for each device I have.Don’t get me wrong, native apps have their places where they don’t require a web interface. However if a service has a web interface with no need for a native app then I will use that service as it’s web interface is easily accessible from the number of different of platforms and devices I use on a daily basis.UPDATE: Since publishing this, I’ve deleted my Typerighter account in favour of writing using Sublime Text 2. Typerighter is a great product if you need a minimal writing interface, but I’ve started using ST2 for writing as it’s easier to pick up my drafts which are kept in Dropbox.​ Maybe I’ll go back to Typerighter when they let you connect to your Dropbox.

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