Choosing a New PDA

palms-assortedpalms.jpgAfter a day of trying to fix my 5 year-old Palm Tungsten T I am just about to throw in the towel.  In my haste, I made a bid on ebay for a used Tungsten T for US$25, but now I am wondering if I did the right thing.

What should I be really looking for at this point?

Lately it seems that the productivity market for PDA’s has been ignored, and what has come into vogue is a massive case of feature creep with PDA’s being “augmented” by any electronic tool that can be found lying around.  Today we have the following list of options:

  • PDA + cell phone
  • PDA + camera
  • PDA + GPS
  • PDA + iPod/mp3 player
  • PDA + video camera
  • PDA +HD radio
  • PDA + ebook reader
  • PDA + Gaming device
  • PDA + browser
  • PDA + IM’s
  • PDA + SMS
  • PDA + Television remote (no kidding)

And of course, there are various combinations of the above optional items.

Over time, the “PDA” portion of each device has shrunk in favor of the new “bling-bling,” giving less space and resources on the device to the management of time demands.  in the advertising, the important has given way to the entertaining and frivolous. As a result, it’s become harder to find a PDA that is devoted to productivity.

After looking around a bit, it’s hard to find a company that is even thinking of productivity in the terms that we use them here at 2Time — managing time demands to increase peace of mind and user productivity.

I am open to recommendations, but a bit taken aback that in the last five years since I bought my Tungsten, no progress has been made in designing PDA’s that more closely fit the needs of users.  (I have the same complaint about Microsoft Office, which has essentially changed only its color scheme between XP and 2007 versions.)

I’d love to find a company that is serious about building productivity software and hardware around the actual needs of users, taking into account the fact that users must deal with an increasing number of time demands in an effective way.  I think that the first company to come up with a system that is more than just a conglomeration of disconnected features is likely to do quite well.

In the meantime, my search continues.  As I indicated earlier, I am open to suggestions, but I think that I’ll be limiting my search to Palm OS devices, given the number of programs I have purchased based on that OS.  That limits my choices tremendously, but if I get my PDA working again, I think I’ll nurse it along until someone comes up with a better device.

Questions and Suggestions

I just visited an interesting blog in which the author devotes Fridays to answering questions from his readers.

I’d like to do something similar, and to invite readers to make suggestions and ask questions that I will answer on Fridays, and if I don’t get any questions during the week, I’ll just post up a regular submission.

I believe that  I will also add a form here on the blog with a simple response form so that someone can send me a question or suggestion directly.  In my prior post I introduced a FAQ file that I hope will answer some of the more general questions, so you might want to check that file before sending me your questions.

Thanks in advance!

Practicing the Fundamentals — a Rower

rowing_oars.jpgI read this article from the New York Times and loved it, as it echoed many of the ideas I have written about here in 2Time Management.

It speaks to the fact that America has had very few rowers  of world-class standard, and an interview with one of the few top individual rowers, she shares some of what she has learned.

It reads like  an exact copy of the philosophy behind 2Time, with the only difference being that the topic is rowing instead of time management.  The similarities had me smiling:

“During Ms. Guerette’s ascent in the ranks of elite rowing, she has learned a few lessons that could also benefit recreational and collegiate rowers. One is that you should never stop working on technique. “There are principles in rowing that are universally correct,” Ms. Guerette said.

While a rowing stroke looks fluid, it is made up of four sequential elements: the catch, the drive, the finish and the recovery.”

This  is essentially the same message as 2Time — the idea that behind every time management system there are universal practices. As far as we know, there are 11 of them..

“Of her two or three daily sculling sessions, one is almost always focused on drills to hone technique. “There’s not one secret drill that will make you fast,” she said. She practices a wide variety.”

While I haven’t found a way to introduce drills in the 11 practices, I think that any user can treat their habits as a form of drilling in which they do a single act over and over again, looking for small gains.  For example, they might capture 20 times in a day, and observe the practices they  use with a goal of improving them bit by bit.

” “There’s this saying that ‘Miles make champions,’ ” Michelle Guerette said. So she spends up to five hours a day on the water, doing a variety of workouts. ”

Clearly, she practices a great deal, honing her technique.  Professionals in every occupation must do the same with regards to their own time management techniques.   Once theyknow the fundamentals, they must be willing to put in time to practice them in order to improve them.

This applies to adults at every stage of life.  We are all limited by time, whether we are at the start, middle or end of professional careers.  My parents are retired, and they too are challenged with how they manage their time.

A feeling of fulfillment and peace of mind gets destroyed when we feel as is if we are not managing our time well.  We see where our goals are not being fulfilled, and that the limited time we have is being filed with activities that we are not really committed to.  This can all be reversed with a focus on practicing the fundamentals of time management.

The New York Times article can be read by clicking here.