16 Feb 2013

Ignoring All the Things

I found a great talk by Scott Hanselman on Vimeo about information overload and learning to ignore things. In the video he laments that more conversation is taking place in walled gardens (ie Twitter) rather than on the wide open web (ie blogs). He also summarizes what I’ve felt for a few months: * that keeping up with news and the latest things is reducing my ability to produce and innovate *.

It comes back to the concepts in this article: 500 Words before 8am. Start the day as a producer, not a consumer.

In order to work on this, I’ve set myself up with RescueTime and am tracking the amount of time spent on ‘consumptive tasks’ (no relation to romantic portrayals of consumption by Val Kilmer in ‘Tombstone’). I’m receiving pop-up warnings when I exceed a set quantity of time on reading Twitter, reading blogs, etc. I’m also looking to transition more of my consumption time to ‘curated content’ such as ‘ye old books’.

Another point that I took to heart from Scott Hanselman’s talk was about learning to use IFTTT. It’s an SF startup that makes common web tasks automatic. Think of it as a recurrent cron job for the web. Things like : ‘anytime I start a tweet, add the contained links to instapaper’, or ‘anytime I start a vimeo video, post it to twitter’. One filter that I added to help with the Ruby Rogues Parley list is ‘anytime I star a gmail message, copy the content into Evernote’… this should help easily archive good content for later viewing and recall :).

Well, that’s it for this round of production. I spent much of last night working on an internal web application for work that I plan to soon pitch to my company :). I finished the final polish on it (CSS, a little Javascript) and I must say that it feels 100% better. It’s a good reminder for me about how important the UI is for applications.