For just over two years now I've been using Todoist as my primary to-do list manager and personal organizer software. I pay for the upgraded Premium version at US$28.99/year. I really like it and it's helped me stay on top of all the things I want to get done in my professional life, personal life, local community and beyond.
(Before Todoist, I'd been using Taskpaper and loved the simplicity of its interface and file storage. The software hit a period of being unmaintained and I really needed something up to date, so I switched. Taskpaper has since seen new life as a project, it's worth checking it out again too.)
The Todoist website linked above already showcases many of its features so I won't bother repeating those, but here are a few of the things I especially appreciate:
Continue reading Using Todoist to organize all the things
A few years ago I got a call from an organization that wanted me to volunteer as a member of their board of directors. They were rushing to get their nominations in before an upcoming meeting and the person assigned to ask me to join had fallen a bit behind on the process. The caller described the board's work - overall purpose, meetings, and responsibilities - and said that my name had come up as someone who could be good to serve.
I had little to no history with or context about the organization's leadership, and this call was the first time I was really aware of its board. So I asked a question:
"What particular projects or efforts is the board working on that you think I can specifically contribute to?"
In other words, "tell me why you think I'm a good fit for you and you're a good fit for me."
The caller was a bit thrown off by this, saying that's a good question that they had not been asked before, and one that they didn't really have an answer for. (It turns out this particular board is a fiduciary oversight kind of body, mostly expected to rubber stamp what the organization's staff proposes.) I tried to give the caller a few chances to fill in some detail, but they didn't seem interested in trying that hard.
I thanked the organization for thinking of me and said no.
Continue reading Saying yes to the right things
It's an honor and a privilege to have volunteer opportunities to use our time and talents for the betterment of our communities. One common opportunity is to serve as a board member at an organization you care about and whose mission you support.
I've written before about things you might consider when leaving a volunteer board of directors for a non-profit or other community organization. I've also had some good conversations recently about the process on the other side of that kind of community involvement, deciding whether or not to say "yes" to joining a board of directors or taking on some other leadership role. For your sake and for that of the organization, it's important to do some research and reflecting before accepting that invitation, to make sure your involvement is a good fit and that the experience will be rewarding for all involved.
From my experience, here's a list of steps to take and questions to ask when you're considering whether or not to join a board of directors:
Continue reading How to decide whether to join a volunteer board
Recently I've heard some people make the all-too-common assertion that they don't have enough time in the day to get done all of the things they want or need to get done. I was reminded of an exercise I went through about a year ago, during a period when I was making similar statements, sometimes out loud, sometimes just to myself. I wanted to do the math to see how the hours really did add up - did I have enough time in the day to do what I wanted to do, or was I actually overbooked and trying to make 1 + 1 = 3?
It's a pretty simple exercise in the end. Make a table of all of the things you spend time on in a week, and compare that to the total hours available. If you're over, then you have to change something. If you're at or under the available time, then you still might need to change something to be happy, e.g. increasing the amount of time available for fun, sleep, or just relaxing. Or you may find that you spend time exactly the way you want to!
Here's what my chart looked like, in no particular order:
Continue reading Do you have enough time in the day?
I've written before about how RSS feeds and website content syndication can make a big difference in how you take in content online. If you haven't played around with a feed reader service or tool (like Google Reader), you should really give it a try.
But now it's time to explore the darker side of RSS feeds (or, for those of you stuck in the 1990s, web browser bookmarks): despite making your continued content consumption more efficient, it's still too tempting to subscribe to too many of them, and once again have too much "clutter" in your electronic life.
My own feed reading list ranges between 100-200 feeds at any given time (thanks NetNewsWire for making this easy!), and I've had to be very intentional about keeping the list that "small." So, in hopes of helping you prevent RSS feed frenzy, and perhaps to learn about some of your techniques for the same, I present "5 reasons to ditch an RSS feed":
Continue reading 5 reasons to ditch an RSS feed subscription