I'm pretty excited today, because I just heard from Jordan that we were tagged by GTD Wannabe in the Ultimate Guide to Productivity meme. This meme was started by Instigator Blog, and the challenge is to post our top productivity tip.
I can see that this meme has made its way around, so instead of boring you with repeats of generic tips, I'm going to talk about the top three computer-related things I have done in the past year to boost my productivity.
1. Use RSS and iCal Everywhere.
Until less than a year ago, I had not understood or used RSS or iCal. Looking back, I don't see how I could have survived without it. Not only does it saves browsing time, but you can use it almost any other way you can think of. I subscribe to my twit feed, and then put my twitter email address on my phone. So if I have an idea, and no paper to write it down, I just txt twitter, and it appears on my Google Reader when I get home. iCal has also been useful to me lately. I just Vitalist for my ticklers, Gradefix for my homework, and Google Calendar for all my other calendar needs. I was getting frustrated having to view each page separately. That is, until I discovered an iCal feed for my ticklers, and one for Gradefix. Just pop them into Google Calendar, and your good to go!
2. Back-up, back-up, BACKUP!
Backing up your hard drive may not seem overly productive, but it sure saves a lot of time if you suddenly lose all of your data due to a hard drive failure. If you only have a small amount of data to backup (documents, no pictures or music) then I recommend using Mozy, which provides you with 2GB of free online storage. If you want to backup all of your media, I recommend using an external hard drive and case. I synchronize my data daily using SEbackup and my external HD. Be warned, you should keep your external stationary. If you bring it with you like a laptop HD, the constant movement will increase the likelihood of HD failure.
3. Two screens… almost double the productivity.
Lately I have been attaching my desktop screen to my laptop for extra screen space. This is a lifesaver for tasks that require constant switching between windows. For example, when doing an Excel spreadsheet, I had to constantly search the internet for sources and statistics, and keep switching back to my spreadsheet. Two screens helped tremendously, and dramatically reduced my work time. However make sure that you aren't multi-tasking between two completely different tasks.