There is a great two part article (links to Part 1 and Part 2) over at the DIY Planner blog about the history and keeping of a Commonplace book. Commonplace books were very popular among artists, writers, scholars, inventors and other creative types for centuries as a way of capturing snippets of important information, images, ideas and other stuff that one wanted to be able to permanently reference. Upon reading it I realized that I have been keeping a digital version of this for some time in a Notetaker notebook. Notetaker is an excellent resource for exactly this type of thing and I have discussed my usage of it previously. I was just not aware that the way in which I was using it was so functionally similar to a time tested and honored practice.
This has spurred me into putting a bit more thought into how I actually have my “Notetaker Commonplace” organized and how much more I could be using it for. It also has me thinking that I may eventually need to put together an “analog” one as well to capture all of those paper snippets that I would like to keep at fairly quick hand. I think about all of the little snippets that I have previously been at a loss on how or where to file and this would be a perfect solution.
In what seems to be my continuing coverage of 43 Folders (I would stop but Merlin just keeps posting greatness), I wanted to take the time to mention a great productivity method outlined there. It is called (10+2)*5 and it is a great way to get a whole bunch done while giving yourself little rewards along the way. It basically involves doing a task for 10 minutes, taking a two minute break and repeating that 5 times.
And to make the process even better, someone has designed a Konfabulator Widget timer-doohicky to help you keep your pace. I tried it out for a little while today and, while it still did not stop the 17,000 people who decided to interrupt my mojo, it did help me focus for the only 10 minute uninterrupted period I had today. I then, according to the rules, took a two minute break and did something non productive for that time… Some people call it lunch.
I had a conversation with my friend Austin at work recently about how we fight the inevitable overload that comes with our very interrupt driven jobs. Then I remembered this recap by Merlin Mann over at at 43 Folders of some of his more important posts and links surrounding this topic. Here is a quote:
Clive’s excellent article from Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (previously) has brought us a lot of new folks looking for ways to adapt to the overloaded, always-on, interrupt-driven world in which most of us are living. So, I’ve bubbled up a few older entries on these topics that you might find useful.
Recap: Overload and the interrupt-driven lifestyle | 43 Folders