Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 6th 2015 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Like everyone, I ve got my bad habits
and blind spots, some large enough to
drive a petrol truck through, and this
seems like as good a time as any to con-
fess to my failings with tech and to
resolve to do better.
Time slice, for real.
I ve got an array of digital tools sharp-
ened and ready to slice and dice my
working day, already a sprawling disjointed
mess, into easily digestible bits I can
nibble on until work gets done.
This is the freelancer s eternal dilemma,
knowing full well what you need to do,
what the deadline is, but choosing instead
to feast on every distraction that comes
along until nervous clients start knocking.
Or e-mailing. Or texting. Or the ultimate
nightmare, knocking on the door for real.
But knowing you having a problem
isn t the same as dealing with it effectively.
This year I need to get on top of the
(http://ow.ly/GG6JB), a system for which
I have several apps, to begin improving
my focus and effectiveness.
In lieu of a boss hollering at you to get
off the phone and go back to work, the
Pomodoro Technique advocates alter-
nating intense sessions of absolute focus
on the task at hand with regular breaks
(Slideshare explanation here:
That means no e-mail, no responding
to Facebook notifications, no phone calls.
In short, the dream state of every employ-
er, which in a freelancer s case is a good
Fire bun the bundles.
I have to stop. This is probably a Mac
thing, since I don t see the same thing
happening much on the Windows side
of the software market, but there have,
over the last five years or so, been a rash
of very tempting bundles of software
offered for sale.
This all began in 2006 with MacHeist,
a game-focused Web site founded by
John Casasanta, Phillip Ryu, and Scott
Meinzer. The early riddles were fairly
simple, and hints were easily found, so
even a terminally game challenged par-
ticipant (that would be me) was able to
successfully complete the projects.
Most of the project s successors have
dispensed with the gaming aspect in
favour of bundling two or three attractive
software products with six or so cheaper,
more narrowly focused apps.
You ll never find the really big names
like Adobe or Microsoft participating in
these budget shenanigans, but you can
find some really useful products in these
From a user point of view though,
you end up with a big saving on some-
thing you were planning to buy or
upgrade and a downloads folder littered
with software you won t ever find the
time to explore successfully. It s triage
Make a consumption plan.
I read a lot, particularly about stuff
I m very interested in and this is a great
time to be a reader. Books are available
in every imaginable format and lots of
sensible advice is available for free as
accomplished professionals work hard
to elbow each other aside for your atten-
tion and the eventual upsell to their paid
For a photographer, the abundance is
dizzying. Photoshelter alone makes
dozens of useful PDFs available for free
download and many good seminars offer
a recorded component for far less than
a plane ticket to the live show.
Needless to say, this stuff piles up
quickly and I have a lot of difficulty deal-
ing with it on production computers.
So I ve finally yielded to that crazy
fad and got myself an iPad for the content
that doesn t scale down well for a mobile
phone. GoodReader is an exceptional
PDF reader and content organiser and
OPlayer HD plays every video format
I ve been hoarding.
Both have Web servers built in that
make transferring content a snap.
Paired with the Android apps Moon
Reader Pro for epub books and the Kin-
dle app on my phone, I ve got no excuse
for not making a dent in all this digital
New Year's resolutions
Using the Pomodoro technique, you slice work into smaller chunks (or pomodoros)
and work on them intensively for a short time. You can easily find software and
hardware timers to support the technique. PHOTO COURTESY IMGKID.COM
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