I’ve upgraded from a MacBook Pro to MacBook Air. If you carry your computer around a lot like I do, loosing that extra weight is actually pretty awesome. When I carry it around, it’s like I don’t carry a computer at all and I’ve already noticed how my shoulders are less stiff.
As for style, I can also recommend the P.A.P. laptop cover.
It’s thin, light and stylish enough to carry around as is if you’re just popping out of the office for a short meeting and you plan to get back.
However, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised that the best thing with the Air is that it’s so fast. Since it has flash storage (no moving parts), retrieving, opening and searching is lightning fast. If you’re a white collar professional, this actually saves you quite a lot of time on a daily basis.
Now, I know that the geeks amongst us might have a thing or two to say about this. Because the Air is weaker than the Pro. But I’m no art director. I don’t edit music or video. I never render 3D objects. All I do is have several Pages documents open at once while listening to Spotify and having multiple browser tabs open at the same time.
And for these purposes, yes. The Macbook Air is faster than any computer I’ve used before. And this single fact is what makes me the most happy about working from this computer.
I’m an inspiration-driven person. What this means is that I must do everything I can not to loose my inspiration when I’m working.
Since the Mac Office programs sucks at templates, I’ve had serious issues with this.
The company has a folder on the Dropbox with document templates, but I have my own way of structuring and working, so if I’m about to create let’s say a proposal, it takes me ten minutes to find the template and to structure it the way I want it. And it kills my inspiration.
So, I’ve copied my favorite templates, adapted them to my liking and placed them in a private folder. Then, I’ve downloaded the app Shortcuts and and assigned commands for opening these documents.
if I want to open the proposal template, i just press SHIFT+CTRL+P and boom, the document opens. I then press “Duplicate” and in less then two seconds, I’m doing actual work in the document. Lovely.
I’ve now implemented Inbox Zero. It sure took me a while.
Here’s how I made it work for me:
1. Email that I can take care about directly, I other do, reply or delegate. Then I move them into the Archive folder.
2. I used to have a lot of different folders. It was really boring sorting emails. Now I only have the Archive folder and the super fast search function in Apple’s Mail client.
3. Emails that I can’t answer quickly but requires action later I flag. This makes them visible in the smart mailbox Flagged.
4. After a while I learned that I could actually have two archive folders, one on the computer and one on iCloud. Every once in a while I move archived conversations from the computer to iCloud for safe keeping.
5. I work within my inbox in the morning when I get to work, after long meetings, before I go home etc. But I try not to be in the inbox folder for too long because it’s so boring and not very creative.
6. I set aside chunks of time in my calendar to deal with red flagged type of emails. This is balanced against larger projects that isn’t related to the inbox. This is important, because it’s so very easy to be a slave to your inbox instead of the other way around.
7. If someone’s is sending me a problem to solve, I make sure to probe why they can’t solve the problem themselves. Often times they can, but it was just easier sending the email to me.
8. If someone’s sending me an email that should’ve really been sent to someone else, I then give them the mandate to send it to this person directly.
9. If someone’s sending me a task that doesn’t really belong to anyone, I simply ask them to give me suggestions on how to staff the task.
10. If someone’s sharing tasks with me that aligns with my competence and experience, tasks where I can add serious value in accordance with my role, then I email back saying thank you and that I’m on it so that they can strike the item from their list.
One of my colleagues gave me a tip about this book, Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Yes, they are the founders of 37signals, a company which all of you hardcore GTD-enthusiast knows about. So, I got myself the ebook and in the spirit of sharing, here’s my key takeaways:
1. “Planning is guessing.” Yes, too many people worry about long-term planning. So don’t. Personally, I think that a company should work more with their vision instead of their 5-year plans.
2. “Workaholics wind up creating more problems than they solve.” Agreed. And I’ve actually taken some serious steps myself to rid me of this addiction.
3. “Having the idea for eBay has nothing to do with actually creating eBay.” I love this, of course. We must start celebrating the doers instead of the talkers. But wait a minute, we already do that… I’d say, there’s a special place in heaven for those who actually knows what they’re doing. In my opinion, individuals must embrace both the “doing” part and the “thinking” part. I have no respect for people that fail to actually practice some deep-thinking from time to time.
4. “A business without a path to profit isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.”
5. Several passages deals with the basic idea “less is more”. I agree, clutter weighs you down and clutter doesn’t make you happy. It might be an illusion of safety at best.
6. “When you make something, you always make something else. You can’t make just one thing. Everything has a by-product. Observant and creative business minds spot these by-products and see opportunities.” Awesome advice. Spot your by-products and ship, ship, ship.
7. “Meetings are toxic.” Agree to 100%.
8. “Find a judo solution, one that delivers maximum efficiency with minimum effort. Judo solutions are all about getting the most out of doing the least. Whenever you face an obstacle, look for a way to judo it.”
9. “Do less than your competitors to beat them. Solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to the competition.” I see the point, but I wouldn’t give this advice. Even hairy problems might just as well have easy solutions. It’s not the magnitude of the problems that determine if you can change the world or not, it’s the simplicity of your solutions. I say, fuck the problems and go straight for solutions instead.
10. “Don’t write it down.” Hell yes, do write it down! The basic premise of behavioral psychology is that you get more of what you reinforce. So if you get a good idea and you want more, write it down. If you get a piece of valuable information and you want to get in the habit of getting more useful information, write it down. I guess that for a web service it makes sense to only listen to what the community goes on and on about, but still, even for them there might be hidden gems lurking around in the finest piece of feedback.
11. An important theme is “sharing is caring”. Awesome, and as a social media expert I really see the benefits of playing the role of a etcher in any industry.
12. Hire great writers. “That’s because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate.” I suddenly love this ebook! B-E-S-T advice ever!
13. Let’s skip thirteen. Bad luck. And don’t treat employees like they’re thirteen either.
14. “The environment has a lot more to do with great work than most people realize.” Hm, this made me think. And I can actually buy into this. This is because I’ve practiced a lot of team sports back in the day and I know that any B-team can kick the A-team’s ass as long as they have a better environment.
Now, these are my personal key takeaways. Some stuff I already knew or found redundant for me personally, so I still think you should get the book yourself!