E-mail is the single largest interruption in modern life. In a digital world, creating time hinges on minimizing it. The first step towards controlling the e-mail impulse is setting up an autoresponse, which indicates you will be checking e-mail twice per day or less.
Mike Del Ponte co-founded Soma, which raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter using virtual assistants and free apps. I first met Mike Del Ponte two years ago when he was running marketing at BranchOut, a startup I advise.
Top 10 Extraordinary People With Disabilities^Top 10 Extraordinary People With Disabilities^It is a great achievment for any man to perform extraordinary acts - but it is even more so when this is done despite a terrible disability. This list looks at 10 people who have made a major mark on society through their actions or through succeeding against all odds.^tiktikhappy
He was loved and admired the world over, profiled in books and movies, and showered with awards and accolades. But even the most public of personalities have little-known facts buried in their biographies.
Hurry up, get more done, and die By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist Published 4:00 am, Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Your terrifying word of the day is "microtasking" and it comes by way of a relatively humble, ostensibly helpful article I read via one of those perky little DIY blogs that exist to tell you a million ways to tweak and hack your entire existence to gain maximum productivity, efficiency and improved overall time management, because, well, if that's not the true meaning of this manic American life, what is? The advice was horrifyingly simple: When you find yourself pausing in between normal projects and work tasks for anything more than, say, 30 seconds, why not take those tiny moments and, well, do more things? I mean, you're just sort of sitting there, right? What sort of things? Fast things, little things, otherwise inconsequential things you don't care about otherwise, like clearing your junk mail, refilling the stapler, changing your voicemail message, retweeting someone's Twitter blip or giving a momentary damn about something you need not give a damn about otherwise but hey, what else are you gonna do, breathe? Feel? Merely... exist? What are you, a hippie? It's a fascinating and yes, terrifying idea, really, that if you could just maximize your output a little bit more, if you could cram into all open white space another thing to do, wow, think of all you could get done by the end of the day? Think of how much you could get checked off your list? Think of how pleased your manager would be and how annoyed your colleagues and how God would look upon you more favorably because we all know God loves nothing more than the fact that you finally organized your pile of dust rags by smell? Do not misunderstand. I'm all for a nice bit of work efficiency, for avoiding procrastination and getting down to the business of cranking out your own brand of special juicy goodness; I'm all for feeling a fine and gratifying sense of accomplishment at the end of it all, even though it's fleeting and transitory and the very next morning, hey look, a nice new pile of stuff waiting for you. I'm more with Rumi, the hardcore, love-drunk Persian mystic, who has a terrific, rather intense bit of poetic instruct about not wasting your true calling in the world, about finding your gift and not squandering it because he says that would be like taking a precious Indian sword and using it merely to slice rotten meat, or nailing it to the wall and hanging rusty pots from it. In other words, you have your gift, your offering, your divine instructions. Don't screw it up. Rumi is all up in the divine nature of things. But I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about bleaching your coffee mugs or making sure your iPhoto library is synced across multiple devices while you're hovering in between larger tasks, like creating PowerPoint presentations, prepping for surgery and not killing your spouse for forgetting to have kids. "But wait!" I can hear you wail. "We're Americans! We love nothing more than to conflate 'work' with 'calling,' to confuse busyness with purpose. Stillness is suspicious! Work is all there is! Endless toil isn't just a means to divinity, it is divinity! It says so in the Bible! So it must be true." Ain't it a shame? Don't ideas like microtasking speak directly to the toxic, Puritanical American work ethic that tells us if you're not spending pretty much every waking moment in some manner of chore, well, your value as a human is more than a little bit diminished? Is it not the idea that a given month, week, day or hour is nothing more than a giant, blank To Do list in need of a some items? Yes, we're Americans. We are, by and large, utterly terrified of silence, stillness, spaciousness, the doing of nothing so as to feel the totality of everything. Meditation, for most, is disquieting and strange. Deep quiet feels weird and dangerous, a void aching to be filled. The Internet has us convinced that the world is a roaring fire hose of urgent information, and if you can't swallow it all, well, something must be wrong with you. "In any 48-hour period in 2010," says a stunning bit I just read in the Atlantic by way of entrepreneur Yuri Milner, "more data was created than had been created by all of humanity in the past 30,000 years. By the year 2020, that same amount of data will be created in a single hour." Go ahead, swallow. Hard. It is no longer possible to sit quietly on the park bench without checking your Facebook feed, chatting with Siri and waving to the CCTV cameras. It is no longer possible to be astonished at the wonder of your footfalls along the forest path and not feel the urge to check email, find the nearest Starbucks, Hipstamatic the hell out of that beautiful fallen tree. You cannot just sit in your car along a quiet country road without the GPS beeping that you took a wrong turn as OnStar politely blows up your car. How easily we forget. Time expands, time contracts. Work will swell or diminish to fill a given space. You can do 10 things in an hour or one thing in 10. You can go to Spirit Rock meditation center for two solid weeks and do absolutely nothing but wander the grounds in silence for 12 hours a day, and time will look at you like you're utterly insane as your breath and body thank you for all eternity. You can, conversely, microtask until your heart implodes and time merely will laugh and snort and find someone else to destroy. Have you forgotten that we invented time? That clocks did not exist in any real way until the 14th century? That hours and minutes and seconds, to the ancients, were measured in breaths and blinks, sunlight and moonlight, soil fecundity and menstrual cycles, the howls of the coyotes and the migrations of the birds? Of course you have. This is the magic of time. It swallows collective memory. What do you want to say at the end of it all? How do you want to go out? Do you wish to say, "Hey, check out my amazing life, I filled every crevice and crease with work, a thing, a scan or a blip to the point where I wasted no time doing anything like sitting still for a moment and feeling the air on my skin?" Do you wish to set the world record for task completion? Hey look, that's a new task for you right there. Awesome. Me, I am not sure what I want on my epitaph. Probably something about love and whisky, bliss and consciousness, sex and the yoga of wordplay. Or maybe nothing at all. But I know what I don't want it to say: "Here lies Mark Morford. He sure got a lot done."
While likely to be a very controversial list, we are in the middle of one of Capitalism's favorite seasons: Christmas, so it seems fitting to publish it on Christmas Eve. After the death of feudalism in the 19th century a choice was presented to the world: would the new politico-economic system be capitalism, communism, the "Third Way" or an obscure alternative?
When Theodore Roosevelt did things, he did them with gusto. That included reading. Roosevelt was a voracious reader. The man devoured books like a damn hungry lion feasting on a fresh kill. While in the White House, he would read a book every day before breakfast. If he didn't have any official business in the evening, he would read two or three more books plus any magazines and newspapers that caught his fancy.
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