Productivity Algorithms for Humans – The Zero Inbox and The Happiness Diary

In 2011 I was working flat-out but stopped for lunch with Steve. He was buying. As part of thanking me for a work introduction he imparted his productivity techniques from his workshops that cost gillisions. Steve (hi) I do hope they cost gillisions. Three days later I was on the phone to Steve berating him for his advice. It wasn’t his fault we had an Olympics to stage and we still had several years of work to fit into a year.

So began my quest for inbox sanity.

It seems the world has recently caught up with its perpetual circulating internet articles of life hacks. Why are we obsessed with hacks ? When I write code I want it to be gorgeous, poetic, readable. A classic. Algorithms for the soul.

Obviously that isn’t what happens. My code gets unwieldily as does my task list and those productivity techniques become pesky distractions as does reading those hundreds of productivity articles on twitter. So this post is about documenting and refining how I manage my task list via my diary and how to avoid being a slave to constant flow of email’s.

Email Processing

The goal of the algorithm is to reduce the amount of time we spend looking at our email. An empty inbox.

This algorithm is solid. Refined over several years. I start each working day with it and I reach for it when I am feeling overwhelmed. Just the art of processing my e-mails has a soothing effect.

Mind you, so does a Gin and Tonic. Just like the state guidelines on drinking too many Gin and Tonic’s it is important to limit how many units of email’s you process a day. I suggest running the algorithm once a day max twice. Some people like to do this before stopping work so they can unplug from work knowing they are done. I like to do it as I start work like a clear desk it’s less distracting as most of my work involves writing an email.

Continue reading “Productivity Algorithms for Humans – The Zero Inbox and The Happiness Diary”

The Lean Kite Fighting Machines – Creating an online brand in 12 hour

Some businesses you start are not so much of a good idea but a nagging obsession that you can’t get rid off.

As a result of several nagging obsessions I decided to create an online clothing brand, selling actual products. Remarkably Kalari Kites took a grand total of 12 hours to launch. This is how I did it…

Seeds for an ideaScreen Shot 2015-08-20 at 6.15.46 pm

In a book I read about 10 years ago, the 4 hour Working Week, Tim Ferriss describes two concepts that I haven’t been able to shake off. The first is having a self operational business. When you create technology that is available every hour of every day, having a project that is self sufficient is revolutionary. The other concept is testing your ideas quickly. In Tim’s case faking a t-shirt range and publishing it on ebay to see if there is a customer base.

Goal One : Create a business that runs itself

Which means I can undertake tasks that might be quicker for me to complete but would outsource all operational and ongoing work. I decided I would create a website that show cased my products but sends the orders to a partner that shipped the product. In addition I would have to find a manufacturer to produce my products and a designer to create the brand.

The spreadsheet

With all this in mind I got down to researching and creating a business plan. I had a concept, no name, no brand assets and a big spreadsheet. Continue reading “The Lean Kite Fighting Machines – Creating an online brand in 12 hour”

How to Attempt a Guinness World Record

On Saturday 13 June, The British Computing Society Women brought together 1093 people across 30 sites in the UK to attempt a Guinness World Record and promoted it as an Appathon. This is what I learnt;

Not getting your first choice can be good.

I signed up to the challenge late. Of course I did. So I ended up at The Crystal one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. Located in east London its somewhere I had never been before. They kindly threw open their doors to their cities exhibition which was fun.


Kids are programmingProgramming Class

With so many articles about skills shortage in the industry, to find myself in a room of kids and their parents who knew tons about programming, lifted my spirits.

I love programming

I had forgotten how much I loved this stuff. For the second time this year BCS had taught me a programming language and boy am I delighted. Continue reading “How to Attempt a Guinness World Record”

Make a Book – with a needle and thread

Don’t just write one. Make one. In the quest to make code sometimes it is good to diversify and do something non tech. Cook. Garden. Make books ?

After all books are the lifeblood of development. When I was small I needed magazines and books for copying little bits of assembler codes. Now google has the answers. Last year when I learnt Ruby I didn’t go near a book. It was some delight that the Arduino hack day this month had books littered around.

The book making class jcn and I attended was part of Selfridges Words Words Words campaign.  Continue reading “Make a Book – with a needle and thread”

Mac, MS Exchange and Mobile Phone Happiness

For the longest time I have wanted a Calendar that works as well as an IMAP e-mail account. Every time I change my phone or computer I spend ages getting set up. A remote access Calendar will save me oodles of time.

After the death of my iPhone, my requirement for a remote hosted calendar become urgent. The obvious choice is Google. Frankly it creeps me out Google will  happily trawl your content in the hopes of better advertising. I know it’s not a sentient application but I wouldn’t let anyone read my diary or correspondence, so by extension, potentially bug ridden programs are objectionable.
Continue reading “Mac, MS Exchange and Mobile Phone Happiness”

Uploading Video on Cisco EOS

My notes for uploading video on Cisco EOS platform. If the video is more than 100Mb  then you’ll have to use FTP to upload (which requires FTP login gained from contacting Cisco).

  1. Login to the Eos admin system
  2. On the top of the screen hit the ‘Library’ tab
  3. On the left hand side choose ‘Web Uploader’
  4. Choose a Group and Folder (I have everything set up into Default Group and Default Folder – but what would happen if I were organised?)
  5. Upload Media (navigate hard drive)
  6. Now I don’t enter a description and title (because it isn’t shown to the public)
  7. Once the red bar completes hit submit
  8. It appears in your list ready to use
  9. Next the video needs to encode – in the deafult list choose to make available on the screen
  10. Once done it sends you an email

Enterprise Architect for the Mac

I adore Enterprise Architect. I have used a vast array of tools for software and network modeling  but none make me as happy as opening up Enterprise Architect. Partly it is because I love UML. However I take a lot of ‘stick’ for this adoration. My friends often mock me suggesting I will one day draw diagrams for getting us all a drink in a brewery. I can’t help it. Once,  while working with a design agency on a paid pitch for the iPlayer interface, I was asked if the stick men could wear outfits.

I am now a Mac user and am porting across my copy of Enterprise Architect. First I have had to install Wine using WineBottler. A double installer. Jolly clever. I dragged the wine box into the folder and then the glass of wine. A nice boy on the YouTube said that I could have dragged both together.

Once done there should be a ‘Wine Box’ icon in the application folder and a glass of wine near the wireless bars. Download the Enterprise Architect exe file and execute it. Wine will kick in, ask a few questions and install it for you.

To run the application, so far I have just used the wine glass and opened up a “File Manager” traversed down to the application folder got cracking. Probably heaps nicer ways but I must get to work on my model before my client complains.

Drupal’s Invite Module Install Notes

Recently we added a competition to Whatsmysize.com to encourage our current users to invite their friends to use the website.

After much research we chose the Invite Module.  When downloading this module grab the token module as well.  Upload both modules to your Drupal Server and extract. I can never remember how to do this so I use a video to remind me.

First enable the Token module in your admin section of Drupal. Once done go back and enable the  Invite Statistics and Invite at the same time

For  Whatsmysize.com the “Invite a friend” appeared in exactly the right place on the left hand navigation. However this can be changed in the admin section.

Next customise the way the email is written and test that it works.

Finally for SEO  add a page talking about your new function or in our case the competition. Then add a link on a menu that is visible without logging in.

Now tell the the people using your site about your cool new recommend a friend function.