Tracking Procrastination

It might just be me, but I think I have cannot for the life of me figure out why someone would want to know how much time they are spending in each activity on their computer.

I recently came across a couple of software programs that claim to help its users to improve their productivity by tracking the amount of time they spend in each Windows program. The latest one I found, ProcrastiTracker, is a case in point.

The tagline on the page I discovered says that “Spying on yourself Was Never this Much Fun!”

Essentially the program produces a chart that shows how much time is spent on each program. With this simple tool, the user is supposed to (I guess) determine that they need a better balance between Excel and Word, or between Firefox and Outlook.

Unfortunately, when the phone rings, all bets are off, as the system only records that the user is “idle.”

This program strikes me as one of those “tools” that was invented and never actually used by its programmers. These kinds of tools are easy to devise with the languages and skills that are available today, but they do little to actually improve our productivity. In my manifesto I called for users to “Focus on the Fundamentals, and Toss Away the Tips.” I also should have said, “Toss away the nifty tools”… such as this one.

If am terribly wrong about this, would someone please shed some much-needed light?

Microsoft Outlook Team Blog

outlook-team-blogs.jpgI mentioned in a prior post that I have been looking for someplace on the internet where I could find a serious discussion about the philosphy behind Microsoft Outlook. I hoped that it would include those who developed the software.

Well, I found a website that might be serious.

Check out this link:

I also found the following mesage board, again for serious discussions on Outlook:

An Aspect of “Storing”

reels.jpgA client of mine shared a common story that I have heard many times. She spent hours entering all her contact information into an electronic device only to have the device die with all the information within it lost forever.

While this may seem to be a good one to blame on the device, the truth is that at higher belt levels, this simply doesn’t happen. Purchasing a reliable system is only one aspect. Much more important is the ability to easily and systematically back up critical information that has been stored.

Recently I read some material on risk management that gave me pause for thought. While it was addressing the issue of a natural disaster, I could see that some of my valuable systems were faulty. I moved into action when I realized that I had quite a few vulnerabilities, including my contact list. This is one of the most important information sources that I maintain, and to lose it completely would be unthinkable. Here is what I do to protect the information: Continue reading “An Aspect of “Storing””

Outlook Enhancements — Wishing and Wanting

ist2_3187220_working_hard.jpgOne of the things that I wished Outlook would do intelligently is to link the contents of a time slots with the next logical time slot.

For example, I wish I could assign individual time demands to a particular kind of time slot, such as time that I spent at home. It would be able to understand that if an item were to be dismissed from the list of reminders, that it could be “forwarded” to the next appropriate time slot automatically. At the moment, the user has to reschedule every single time demand that has not been completed individually, instead of in bulk.

In other words, Outlook should understand that scheduled items that are not completed need special, intelligent handling and a greater choice of options. Continue reading “Outlook Enhancements — Wishing and Wanting”

Outlook 2007 Comments

I repeat my opinion that Microsoft Outlook is designed by “feature addition”, rather than driven by a useful philosophy of time management. Programmers with weak time management skills themselves will look for tips that they can hard-wire into the code, thus making it easier to do trivial things, but perhaps harder to do some of the essentials.I did some research into Outlook 2007, hoping that it would have some of the capabilities I wanted, but instead I ran into the following “new” features: Continue reading “Outlook 2007 Comments”