I love taking notes and ‘ve always used them as ‘spark files’ – to capture inspiration. To borrow Georg Christoph’s words, as ‘waste books’. Over time, I’ve accumulated quite a number of them. And, as they grew in number, finding what I needed in them became difficult. And, as we moved digital, I started looking out for a good application that would scale up to meet my growing needs; an application to which I could throw anything that caught my attention – web-clippings, images, notes, pdfs, scans, etc. and which makes it easy to organize, find and search what I put in there. I googled and found one application solved this need for many – Evernote: a ubiquitous digital notebook syncing to the web and across devices.
Archives for May 2012
“You learn to write by writing. It’s a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it’s true. The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.” says William Zinsser. These quotes re-emphasize the same, giving us an insight into what can we do to improve our craft.
- On Writing
Today just being good at your job, at what you do, is not enough if you want to be really successful. You need more than that. You need an ‘image’. It’s not just how you do your work, but also how others perceive what you are doing. It’s true that performance appraisals today are subjective in nature and are largely impression driven. My manager once pointed out a colleague who was walking past us hurriedly, with some files in her hand. He asked me what I thought of her at that exact moment. I replied that she looked busy, might be on the way to some meeting. He said “highlight the word ‘look’. We don’t know if she was going to a meeting, or was just walking by hurriedly. It is just our assumption”. I had read Richard Templar’s ‘The Rules of work’ earlier, but this example drove the point well. It was time for a re-read. I needed an image. In my limited experience, I found some rules truly worked. I wanted to share them here with my own twist.
We all crave for more – more clothes, more food, more accessories, more furtniture, basically more stuff. We buy into the notion of society’s – ‘more’ is success. ‘Less’ is failure. But, with each and every possession comes the responsibility to look after it. Whatever we own, we must store it, clean it & take care of it, and the more we have, the more time is taken up with care and maintenance of that which we own. Paulo Coelho in one of his blog post illustrates with a great example that happiness lies in freedom from possessions, ’cause at the end of the day, he says, things start possessing us. He once considered buying a castle in France, but then realized that if he bought that castle, he would not be able to think of anything but taking care of it. So, he says he bought a small water-fill instead, which was easy to keep; that he could take time to go to the mountains, to walk, & spend life the way he would like to. True isn’t it? The more we have, the more occupied our mind is; The less we have, the more free we are.
One day some people came to the master and asked ‘How can you be happy in a world of such impermanence? The master held up a glass and said ’Someone gave me this glass, and I really like this glass. It holds my water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch it and it rings! One day the wind may blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. And I say, ‘Of course.’ When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.
One of the tenets of GTD is to write everything down, capture all your thoughts on a paper or in some trusted system, and not leave any thoughts/ideas in your mind. This first step in GTD eliminates a lot of stress, because your psyche no more requires energy and attention to track and maintain them in your mind. Below are a few tips on ubiquitous capture:
Why do I blog? To advise? Am I so good at managing life that I can advise someone else? I tried blogging early, didn’t succeed. Then why now? What do I want to say with my blog? What’s the intention? To gain fame? To earn? A hobby? Or is it just for the heck of it? Why should someone see my blog? What do I offer others which is already not being said by the millions of blogs/websites & gurus out there? Didn’t Shakespeare himself say, there are no original stories? Then why bother? Just to add my two cents? I ask myself these questions, & ’have no answers to any of them.