3 folders max!

June 29, 2008

3 Folders max!

In addition to Pile, don’t file, I am suggesting to get rid of all your folders and subfolders in Outlook (or whatever mailclient). It is not worth the time setting them up, structuring, changing, adding new stuff to it! So, stop doing it 😉

What’s next? Just create 3 folders instead. For me it works best if I place them as subfolders of my inbox. Less to drag ‘n drop, right! I named the last one “On hold”. Why? I park here all the (incoming) emails that require input or feedback from others before I need to process them.

My second folder is called “Followup”, because this is for all the emails I need to followup and take more than 2 minutes to execute. This is like a personal todo-list.

And finally the first folder (biggest 1!) is “Archive”. This is the pile of emails. Everything that is dealt with or doesn’t need any action or attention any more, is moved here.

How do I find mails back? Easy, with Xobni (link with LinkedIn now!) or Google Desktop. I’ll bet you, that I am faster at retrieving any mail than you and your (old) tree of folders! And I can keep up much better with larger amounts of incoming mails as well, because it takes less time to save them “somewhere”.

Enjoy this lifehack,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker

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Freedom?

June 28, 2008

Freedom is not woth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
– Mahatma Ghandi –

Wonderful quote! When we make mistakes, we land hard and feel the pain. It’s often our incentive to find ways to never experience that pain again. So, we adjust, we learn and move forward. Of course, once and a while we fall back again, but still we have the courage to move on. Most of the time this results in great progress again!

If you are not allowed to make mistakes, you direct your energy to what you know, to what is safe and secure. This means that there is no room for exploration, research or innovation.  Playing around, having fun and making mistakes are no longer part of your life. Your learningcurve is reduced to void. This woud be a life without freedom for me, so Ghandi is right!

By the way, who’s perfect? Right, everyone makes mistakes!

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck
Create, Connect & Contribute


Read faster

June 27, 2008

We all want to do more in less time. We all wished we could read faster to read more. This wish is now granted!

Download Rapidreader and go through the training exercise (max. 15 minutes). I am normally not a big fan of tutorials, but in this case I am glad I made an exception 🙂

What does Rapidreader do for you? It trains you to read faster. Not just a little bit, but way beyond your dreams! It looks like so simple, but it’s so effective, wow!

Last week I took the train to Brussels and read more than 60 pages of an ebook in under 30 minutes! My reading speed went up to 350 words/minute. If you know that average people read about 100 words/minute on paper and about 80 words on screen, you’d agree this is pretty awesome, right? And of course, in the train, I got distracted several times, people passing by, showing my ticket to the conductor, etc. At home in my office, my speed goes up to 500 words/minute quite easily! Full throtle…

Still sceptic about it? Download it and testdrive it! It sounds too good to be true, but hey, that’s what lifehakcing is all about 🙂 How often do you find a free tool to increase your reading speed with at least 300% in under 15 minutes!?!

Final remark : you do read all the words, nothing is left out like in other smartreading or speed reading courses…And you do remember a lot, according to studies even more than that you would have read at a slower pace.

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker


Unmeet

June 26, 2008

How much time do you spend on average in meetings every week? 1 hour/day? 20 hours/week? Why are you meeting? Do you always have a clear agenda? Why not? Are you prepared for every meeting? And is every meeting really necessary? Who else is invited? Are you contributing value to every meeting?

I am convinced that a lot meetings should not take place. This lifehack is about how to “unmeet”, cancel meetings, find shortcuts to get to the same results, etc. In most cases, the only reason for you to have a meeting is to generate a certain result. But is a meeting the best way to get to this result? Aha!

Choose not to meet (so often)!

Every meeting you don’t have saves you time, energy and credibility. Make sure that a meeting is the best way to achieve what you need to do and that the right people are present. Consider making a phone call or sending an email instead. People are more likely to attend your meetings when they know that they are important and that they can contribute.

So, if you are invited to a meeting, make sure you get an agenda upfront. If you don’t, cancel the meeting, or at least your attendance. Who says you can’t do that? If they don’t let you in on what the meeting is about, how do they expect you to know that their meeting has enough priority for you? And if they really want you, then they’ll tell you the agenda. How hard can it be to mail it to you?

In some cases, a meeting is overcrowded. Why? Every important person is invited and shows up because they think they are important, but who is really giving value or getting value? Only those people should be invited! If you can’t get the right people to your meeting then postpone it! Resist the urge to invite people who might be interested. Provide them with minutes afterwards…

You might have some challenges along the way, but I am sure that people will respect you more if you are more strict on attending meetings or organising ones yourself.

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck
Life Hacker


Silence please!

June 25, 2008

Silence please!

Learn to be still. Studies show that an average person doesn’t spend even 30 minutes a month in total silence and tranquility. We should develop the skill of sitting quietly, enjoying the powerful silence for at least ten to fifteen minutes a day.

Simply think about what is important in your life. Reflect on your mission in life. Silence is great and peaceful. As the Zen master once said, it is the space between the bars that holds the cage.

Don’t say a word, don’t move, make yourself comfortable and sit still or lay down, close your eyes and enjoy the silence

Enjoy every day,
Bert Verdonck
Create, Connect & Contribute


F8 saves the day!

June 24, 2008

I will bring you a number of articles regarding the so-called “battle for speed & efficiency” between your mouse and your keyboard. What’s going on? We are all using both, but sometimes one of them is significantly faster than the other to perform the same task. No matter what happens, you win all the time 🙂

Now, most people bet their money on the mouse, while actually, I am betting mine on my keyboard, or any keyboard if you like…

Today I am starting with a first “battle”, selecting text in MS Word (inspired by 100 Lifehacking Tips (Dutch)). We all want to select 1 word or 1 sentence from a Word-document at some point in time. So, most people get confronted with selecting a whole page instead of that particular paragraph or a sentence rather than a single word.

How? Easy! Just press 3 times the F8 key (at the top of your keyboard) to select an entire sentence. That’s all!

This is the secret lifehack: the number of times you press F8:

1 * F8 activates the selection modus.
2 * F8 selects a single word
3 * F8 selects a sentence (from capital to fullstop)
4 * F8 selects a paragraph
5 * F8 selects a selection of the document or the whole document (hit F8 once more!)

Please do try this at home (and at work!). Pretty fast, right?

Enjoy every day,
Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker


Living as a lifehacker?

June 23, 2008

How to start living as a lifehacker?
10 life changing tips, so you can have a life 🙂

1. Create a system, even if you live in an unstructured way (like I do 🙂 )
2. Clear your head by getting things out of your head
3. Pile, don’t file (digitize your documents, reduce # of folders, you search anyway)
4. Park on a down inward slope (set yourself up, so you get started faster (e.g. little bug to fix))
5. Build strong(er) filters (protect your time, unsubscribe if you don’t read stuff)
6. Clear the clutter (clear away, create space, clean desk?)
7. Make your to-do’s doable. (every task small, discrete, clear, do it like you would assign a digital assistant, make the easy thing the right thing)
8. Stimulate an agile attitude, always on the lookout for improvement, do things better, faster, easier with a tweak of fun.
9. Implement tools on tools, like Floort on Twitter
10. Be grateful and help others in being more efficient and share your knowledge

Now that you know these 10 outstanding tips of how to become a real lifehacker, what are you going to do with it? Join me 🙂

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker