Archive for the ‘Tools & Tips’ Category

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A New Way Of Presenting

Prezi looks pretty cool – and definitely breaks the boundaries of the slide-to-slide format… Thanks to Daniel for the reco…

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Pimping my dell m1330

I’m really enjoying my Dell M1330.  Love the form factor and design.  Given I’m recommending it to all kinds of folks, here’s how to pimp it out for trips…

  1. Dell Travel Adapter.  This really small adapter enables you to run power to the unit from the socket or, clip in the “lighter” adapter for those long AA flights.  Am also thinking about getting the long-life battery but haven’t really needed it so far.  BTW – even though the M1330 has a hexagonal plug, the round ones fit as well…
  2. Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse.  I find this is really handy on long trips.  Although, the M1330 has a pretty large palm rest so I’m using it much less than when I traveled with my Dell D420.
  3. Jawbone Headset.  When on the move it works great with my Crackberry.  When in the hotel it is real handy for Skype calls.  Perfect sound.
  4. Shure Headset.  Frankly I don’t like these as much as the Bose but they are much more portable and deliver pretty good sound.  For long trips I’ll typically burn a couple of DVDs to disk and watch them on the flight.
  5. Zune player.  I really like the Zune interface and the player is great.  I’ve got a black 8gb version.
  6. USB port. I still carry one but rarely use it now.  My M1330 has plenty of ports and the SD reader means I just plug my Camera card in.
  7. I’m a bag junkie. At the moment I’ve got a Dell backpack which is pretty good and also a small Tumi briefcase.  I found I needed something bigger than both to lug my Mac around – not necessary with an M1330.

I’ll post what I’ve got to pimp my m1330 out on the desktop…

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Use categories to color code Outlook.  I have a couple of basic categories:

  1. Q2: (picked this up from a Covey Workshop years ago).  This is all the big stuff – the projects I am working that align with big goals and that make a monumental difference.  This is the stuff you will be famous for.
  2. Hot:  All those burning issues and crisis that come-up.
  3. Core: The “being a good manager” stuff.  1:1s. Networking. Opps reviews. Meetings with the boss.

I have a few other categories as well.  The advantage of all this is that with one glance you can see where you are focusing your energy and effort.  By seeing it in big colored blocks you know where you are out of alignment with priorities and the fundamentals.

There is a side-benefit – when you use these same categories for tasks, all the stuff you have to get done is aligned as well.

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Folks keep asking me for productivity tips… Here is one of Michael Dell’s that I also use almost every day… A great way to follow-up on issues and ideas in the future is to create an email and delay the sending of it. 

I do this for anything important – or for ticklers that aren’t tasks.  Unlike task reminders that appear in a long list, when this hits your Blackberry or Inbox you can move quickly to forward it.  I’ll even type-in the email I’m going to forward in advance… “Just a reminder, you owe me a bright shiny object – I was expecting it yesterday…”

In Microsoft Outlook, to enable delay sending of emails at specified time and date later than current time, or postponing the delivery date and time, use following steps:

  1. In the Message window (where you type your email content), click the Options button. Alternatively, click on View -> Options.
  2. In the Message Options dialog window, select and tick the “Do Not Deliver Before” check box, under the Delivery Options. Then choose the desired send date and time to deliver the email by using the calendar and time drop down list.
  3. Click Close and then click OK 
  4. Send
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Productivity boosters

Ok, we’ve got lots of big priorities to go attack this year.  But there are some small things you can do now that will really boost your productivity, It’s a starter list… Please chime in with your own suggestions.

  1. Set-up your RSS reader. I recommend FeedDemon if you have lots of feeds. If not, spare the expense and go for Google Reader or use the reader built into Internet Explorer 7. If, by the end of January, you are still visiting each blog to see if it has been updated, you are missing the point.  One thing to do when managing long lists of feeds (or folders of any kind) is to add either an @ symbol or a_ to the front of the name. That way they will appear at the top of the reading list… clever eh!
  2. Configure your Google Alerts. Work on these to track not just companies but brands, executives, and customers.
  3. Set-up for your bookmarks and start sharning stories you tag with other.
  4. Set-up your iGoogle and personalized Yahoo! home pages. If you want to be trendy, also add PageFlakes. Add all the widgets your need.  Remember that you can set multiple home pages to open at once when you launch Internet Explorer. While I am on this, use Gmail for all your eZine and online subscriptions. Gmail offers very good labeling features which means you can easily have eZines route to a “reading folder”. You can learn more here
  5. Load custom search engines into your Search bar in Internet Explorer. Wikipedia should be one. Tweetscan should be another – take a look at the emerging conversations on Dell on Twitter. And Mahalo.
  6. Start Participating.  Get your page up on Facebook and start learning how it can boost your next product launch. Over 3,000 other employees from Dell have!  You should also be looking at Flickr for photo feeds of hot new products.  And don’t forget LinkedIn – they just updated it.
  7. Download the latest version of Real Player. The free version, with the plug-in for capturing online video.  You can then take videos to go. Then go play with Rhapsody – it’s the future of online Music (at least till the next thing turns-up).
  8. Some other downloads: Livewriter – my preferred blogging client. Fantastic little app from Microsoft. Be sure to deselect all the other “Live” stuff they try to install…
  9. Get all the Google stuff… Google Toolbar. Try the beta. Love the gadgets in the toolbar. Google Notebook is a terrific way to store information and access it from anywhere. You might also want to download Firefox – there are plenty of cool themes and extensions available. Google Docs are excellent for collaboration.
  10. Get to know web metrics and search.  There are tons of free tools out there. I like Alexa, Technorati and Google trends (which is flawed but still interesting…). Start watching your brands, names and plays perform – and ask the questions “why?”.  Wikio is a handy place to start looking at blogs. One of the cool things you can do is set-up your own search engine in IE.7 – just select “find more providers” and give it a shot…
  11. Boost your email productivity. Xobni is a terrific Outlook add-in that will speed your use immediately. Then follow all the basic rules:
    1. Only handle email once – read, act or delete.
    2. Move reminders to your tasks folder. Or create a tickler folder in which to store them.
    3. When copying people on an action – try using tasks, or, bcc yourself and drop into your tickler folder.

Practice!!!  Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes a week to play with the above and more. Make a commitment to learning how all this new technology can boost your productivity.  Start each day with a scan of your RSS feeds.

And, when you are ready for some music, try Pandora is also great if you live in the US. Grooveshark is one to keep an eye on (or an ear on!). Amie Street is another good, DRM-free source of online music.