Saturday, January 30, 2010

The January Edition of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD

Welcome to the January 2010 edition of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD. This is the first of Systems-Overload's blog carnivals for the new year and a new decade. We're really impressed with the submissions that we've seen for this edition.

We initially became involved in blog carnivals by submitting articles to various blog carnivals and then we decided to give running our own a try with the Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival. This led to the creation of blog carnivals focused on Productivity and GTD, Family Life, and one focused on creating the Better Life. We started out wanting to publish them more frequently but found that the effort required to do this far exceeded our bandwidth so we fine tuned the schedule over the course of last year. For 2010, we'd like to publish around one blog carnival a month. This will hopefully allow us to publish our own material and as well as sharing good articles with you all, helping other writers/bloggers get more exposure, and allowing us to live our lives as well. If you have any suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered in future editions, feel free to leave a comment. If you have a post that you'd like to submit, please do so via the submission from link. Thank you to everyone that submitted posts! Remember that by subscribing via your RSS reader or via email, that you won't miss the next blog carnival hosted here and you'll know when new material has been posted. Without further adieu, here is the January 2010 Edition of the Carnival of Productivity And GTD....


Joe Revod presents How To Improve Time Management posted at Internet Business Make Money Online With Welly Mulia.

SpiKe presents Productivity Down! An Emergency Response Guide posted at Organize IT.

MoneyNing presents 12 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Get More Done posted at Money Ning, saying, "Stay focus and your productivity will soar. Here are a few more ways to get things done using less time."

Diana Hsieh presents Episode #15: Cultivating Concentration posted at Rationally Selfish Radio, saying, "In this podcast, I discuss a number of ways to help cultivate your capacity to concentrate deeply. (GTD is on the list, of course!)"

Broderick Durisseau presents Why Creating Empowering Habits is Important posted at Personal Growth From the Bottom Up.

jim presents Keeping A Time Budget Log posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

Louise Moule presents Ricardo?s Law and the Key To Productivity posted at Ronnie Kagan Mentors Club, saying, "Perhaps the greatest challenge in delegating an important task is the belief that no one else can do it as well, or as economically, as you."

Neena (NeenMachine) presents Digital Planner posted at A Mom's Life at, saying, "Tips on choosing the right digital planner for you."

Job Hunting And Careers

Ben presents Job Hunting Tips posted at Money Smart Life.

Nissim Ziv
presents How to Do: Resume Do’s and Don’ts posted at Job Interview Guide, saying, "Creating a resume is difficult enough for most people. Trying to write the right resume format and template is challenging. For example: the resume templates range begins from the chronological resume, to the functional resume or a combination of templates.
So what is the right resume for you and how to do the right resumes?"

Nissim Ziv presents » How to Get Ready for a Job Interview posted at Job Interview Guide, saying, "Needless to say that like everything else in life, there are several do’s and dont’s that a person undergoing a job interview should remember."

Heather Sanders presents 50 Free Sources for Business Plans, Templates and Models posted at Online Accounting Colleges.

Honeypurple presents 100 Best Job Sites for B-School Students posted at Online

Chasing Dreams

Barry Wright III presents Start Walking | 3stylelife posted at 3stylelife, saying, "Large scale advice for GTD: start. I detail my own struggles with being honest about what I want to do, and the difficulty of starting something you dream of doing. The path is simple, all you have to do is start walking." Systems-Overload note: Be sure to check out the link mentioned in the article for more insight into this dream chaser.

Getting Organized

Susan Tiner presents Three Different Filing Systems posted at Brain Dead Simple! Financial Organizing, saying, "Pros and cons of 3 different filing systems."

Jake presents Get rid of everything you own posted at Your Best Weekend.

Anne Simone presents 100 Hacks to Help You Create the Ultimate Home Office posted at Career Overview.

A Markle presents Bathroom Cleaning in Less Than Ten Minutes posted at Andrew Markle.

Money And Finance

MatthewPaulson presents Save Money On College Costs posted at Fine Tuned Finances.


Rose King presents 10 Must-See Movies for Business Majors posted at Online, Systems-Overload note: I have seen all of the movies listed but am thinking about checking out the ones I haven't seen. It would certainly be good if those people graduating with business degrees would at least be exposed to some sort of Business Ethics that goes beyond purely looking at numbers in the bottom line, because so many of life's decisions have far greater effects than those measured in only the bottom line.

Joshua Dorkin presents Use the Power of 100 to Achieve Your Business Goals posted at Real Estate Investing For Real.

From Systems-Overload

As 2010 is the start of the second decade in 21st century, it makes sense to think about what you want to this decade to mean to you and what you want to accomplish. We recently published the article What Will This Decade Mean To You? It started with a MindMap of areas in most peoples lives that they could use some planning and goals in. From there you'll find some questions to think about in each of the areas that will get you thinking. Just seeing the MindMap can inspire you to think about your own life. Give it a look and see if it can help you.

That concludes the January 2010r edition of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD. We really hope that you get 2010 off to a great start and make the second decade of the 21st century your best yet! You can submit your blog article to the next edition of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD using our "Submit an entry to “The Carnival of Productivity And GTD” submission form". Links to past editions, as well as the current scheduling of future editions can be found on our The Carnival of Productivity And GTD index page. Thank you to everyone that submitted articles for this edition! If you have any topics that you'd like to see covered in a future edition, or any feedback in general, feel free to leave a comment. Be sure to stay tuned for the other two Blog Carnivals hosted here (The Better Life Carnival and The Family Life) as well as the normal articles that are posted here. Thank you.

Photo credit: mountain climber courtesy of czekka.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Will This Decade Mean To You?


January 1st started not only a new year (2010) but also the second decade in the 21st century. With a new year it is often nice to look at your life and think about some changes you'd like to make. Lots of people will make resolutions but one thing this is different about this year compared to the other nine coming up in the decade is that it the first and it provides us a good chance to look at the coming decade and think about what it will mean to us. I put together a MindMap (based on FreeMind freeware) with some areas that you might want to think about reviewing.

A New Year, A New Decade

One of the things that I really like about the start of a new year is that it gives you a chance to push the refresh or restart button on your life and the direction that you're taking it. With the start of a new decade, it is like adding a turbo function to this button as well. Maybe 2009 was a good year for you, but many of us are happy to put it behind us and start on 2010.

Six-Level Model for Reviewing Your Own Work (from GTD)

David Allen talks about The Six-Level Model for Reviewing Your Own Work within his GTD (Getting Things Done: The Are of Stress-Free Productivity, p51-53)

  • 50,000+ feet: Life
  • 40,000 feet: Three to five-year vision
  • 30,000 feet: One- to two-year goals
  • 20,000 feet: Areas of responsibility
  • 10,000 feet: Current projects
  • Runway: Current actions
This or any number of other goal setting disciplines is a good place to start and then expanding out into the other areas of your life that I've briefly touched with the MindMap pictured above. I didn't touch on the runway, but most of the other levels are found within this article.

Time Horizon Goals

Looking at some of the traditional time horizons that people often use to set goals you might want to have a look at where you want to be in one year, two years, five years, and ten years. You might ask what you want to be doing, what your life will look like, what you would like to have accomplished and so on. Going out ten years might even be to far but at some point you'll want to give it some thought. In the last few decades there have been an awful lot of changes and many of us could not have imagined in our wildest dreams some of the changes that we've seen, so don't be afraid to think about this far out, if you need to re-think or modify some of your planning, don't be afraid to make mistakes.


Now is a good time to look at where your career is and what track you're on. Are you doing something that you can imagine doing all your life? Are you training to do something that you'll be happy doing once you've completed your initial education and training? Where do you want to go with your company? Where do you see your career going? Remember that there are a lots of new jobs that have popped up in the last few decades, so who knows what the future will bring but why not give it some thought.


Some of you might be going to school now or are thinking about going to school, while others might be thinking about learning for a new career. A decade is enough time to become a doctor or attorney (or at least get you on your way). Think about what you'd like to learn both professionally and personally. You might want to also decide to become a life-long learner. With iPods, MP3 players, and eBooks, there are almost limitless possibilities to learn. Your outlook on education and learning might have changed since the last time you really thought about it.

Relationships And Families

Regardless of if you plan it or not, there will be a lot that happens to you and your relationships in the next ten years. If you're not married, maybe you're thinking about getting married or maybe you wonder if the person you're with now is the person that you want to marry. If you don't already have kids maybe you wonder if you want to have kids or how many you wish to have. You might also be wondering what kind of changes you need to make to get ready for kids. Now is also a good time to do a review of your friendships. Are there people that you spend too much time with or maybe those that you don't spend enough time with? Are any of your relationships toxic? These are the people that bring you down so that they have company in their constant sorrow. Are your friends holding you back from accomplishing your dreams and goals. Is there anything that you'd really like to do with your spouse? Maybe there is the class the two of you always wanted to take together or that dream trip that you wanted to take. How about your kids, is there anything that you'd really like to do with them in the next ten years? Maybe you want to put away some money so you can help them to go to school or get married. Maybe there is something that you'd thought about doing for years with one or more of them. How is your relationship with your parent(s) and how healthy are they? Have you discussed what arrangements they'd like if and when they're no longer able to properly take care of themselves? Do the want a DNR (do not resuscitate order), in the event that the decision needs to be made? How is your relationship with your siblings? Is there some patching up that can or should be done? Maybe you just want to see them more. Relationships can give us some much but they can also be very demanding, so why not access your key relationships?

Your Life's Purpose

At the 50,000 feet level of GTD, you have those questions related to meaning in your life. While not everyone will ask about the meaning of life, most people will wonder why they're here and what their purpose in life is. This can be very difficult and many people avoid really giving it a whole lot of thought, while others just seem to know what they were born to do. If you think with the end in mind this might help you. What do you think that people will say about you when your gone, this might help you to find your purpose. If you knew that your life was going to end at the end of this new decade what is the most important thing for your to accomplish? If there was something that you knew that you could not fail if you did it, what would you do?


Someday/Maybes is often mentioned within GTD and it refers to those things that you might do one day buy aren't within your current plans. It is kind of a collecting spot so that they don't distract you all the time when you're trying to do other things. If you're doing some sort of GTD Weekly Review, you might already be reviewing them on a regular basis but with the start of a new decade is an opportunity to consider the items in this list. Maybe you're now able to do some of these in the next decade. If you decide to move some of these things to active goals and projects then you'll want to think about when you want to do them, what needs to be done, and your next actions, and so on. Maybe there are some other things that you want to add to your list. There might also be some things on your list that you'd never do in a million years so after giving it enough consideration, why not remove the things you know that you'll never do.

Health And Fitness

Many people will start a new year with a resolution related to health and fitness. Maybe you want to quit smoking, change your diet, do some kind of exercise program, and so on. There are lots of things that you can do in this area and there are lots of reasons why you should do any number of them. I just hope that you find something that you want to do and have the motivation to keep going, not that this quickly becomes one of those discarded resolutions of days gone by. Because we're looking at the longer time horizon, you might think about running a marathon or a long bike race, something that you need to prepare and train your body to be able to do. You can also think about if you can do any of these goals with family or friends so that you can help keep each other motivated and be more likely to succeed. Health and fitness is one area that you shouldn't overlook when doing your decade planning, so be sure to give it some thought and come up with some goals and plans that motivate you.


Projects within the GTD world are anything that take more than one step to do. This probably greatly expands what you'd view to be the projects in your life. Within your private world there are those things that you're working on when you have spare time or extra money, or maybe they're even the focus of every waking hour (they might even spill over into your dream time). Then there are your projects at work. You probably have some projects now if you give it some thought. What things do you like to do? You might want to set up some projects related to these things. Would you like to climb Mount Everest? How about that book you always wanted to write (maybe you even started it)? What about that car that you wanted to restore? By finding something that you want to do, deciding/finding out what needs to be done, planning it (including determining your next action), and doing it, you'll find that there are a great many projects that you can do and finish. Of course there are projects that are more complex and will require more consideration (especially budgetary considerations).

Volunteering And Charity

Do you currently do any volunteer work or give to charity? You don't have to tell me, but this is one area that you should probably look at when doing this decade review or in any number of other reviews that you might do. What charities or volunteer groups are you currently involved with and what ones do you want to become involved with? Are you happy with your current level of involvement? Are there any changes that you wish to make in this area? Besides doing some good in the world, volunteering and charity can help you make new friends, give new meaning in your life, give you an added sense of purpose, and take your life in directions you might never have imagined. I'd be curious to hear how many people took an interest in a charity or volunteering and made a career out of it. Think about all the wonderful things that you could do in the next ten years, if you give it some thought and planning!


How often have you thought that you'd like to live by the ocean or move to the mountains? Why not give some serious thought to where you live? Even if you don't decide to move so far away, maybe you've always wanted to buy your very own house, or maybe you're just not happy with your apartment any longer. Your location might be a by product of your job or some other factor but almost anything that you do in this area requires some serious planning before you can truly execute it. Even if you're happy with your current home or apartment, maybe there are some renovation projects that you'd like to do in the next ten years (if not I'm sure that some will surface). With proper planning and budgetary consideration you can probably make some of those renovation projects a reality.


What do you like to do with your spare time or when you suddenly have some free time? What are the things that interest you? You should give your hobbies a review. Are you doing them enough, are there things that you do that will allow you to do more of them or spend more time and money on them or maybe you need to do the reverse? Maybe you can turn a hobby into a business or career. Maybe there is a convention related to your hobby that you've been wanting to go to, why not do some planning so that you can attend some events related to some of your hobbies. How great it can be to make friends that like to do similar hobbies and that you can actually do activities related to your hobbies with. A cousin of mine took a motorcycle trip across Europe several years ago. What would you like to do with your hobbies in the next ten years?


I've always be fascinated by travel and visiting far off places. If you're someone that travels a lot now, then you might not want to think about any further traveling but for the rest of us there is probably some place that you've always wanted to go, something that you've always wanted to see, or some people that you've always wanted to visit. If you don't actually plan some travel, the likelihood that you actually make your travel dreams come true are very small. Time and money are two of the biggest barriers to full-filling your travel dreams, so planning is a must. Where would you like to go if time and money weren't holding you back? We have some friends that moved to New Zealand and have made a few friends over the years in Australia, so it would be nice to see them. I mentioned location earlier, you might think about moving to a location that will allow you to travel to your dream destinations or maybe even move to your dream destination. Also for those frequent travelers, maybe it wouldn't be too hard to arrange to fit some of your travel dreams into your routine travel or make good use of your frequent flyer miles.


Do you know what your priorities are? If you don't, then it is pretty easy to spend your time, energy, and money on things that don't really matter to you. As part of your decade planning, you should think about what your priorities are. By knowing what your priorities are you can make better use of your time, money, energy, talent, and you can get any education or training necessary to help you in aligning your life with your priorities.

Planning And Making Time

Planning and making time is probably the area that most people fail at. We often get caught up in life and we run from one crisis to the next. If you don't do more planning and making time for your priorities and the things that are important to you, other things will take over your time and attention and it is more than likely they won't be things that you would have chosen! In project management there is a saying that goes "Failing to plan is planning to fail". I also really like the title of the George Harrison song "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there".

I hope that you'll all give some thought to what this next decade will mean to you. Why not start with the MindMap above, create your own MindMap, or use whatever method works best for you to think about what you want to do in the next ten years.

Photocredit: You can find the MindMap above at Flickr.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Disqus And Our Comments Policy

Systems-Overload recently decided to install and use Disqus as a comment management system. With the adoption of a comment management system also comes the adoption of a Comment Policy as well.

We've been toying with some sort of comment management system at Systems-Overload for a while now and finally decided to take the plunge and install Discus. While the quantity of comments here doesn't yet rival the big blogs, there are enough that it makes sense to put something into place. It is our hope that the installation of Disqus will make it easier for readers to give us their comments and this will encourage better and more comments. We'd also like to take this opportunity to ask for our patience and understanding while our learning curve with the use of Disquis trends upward and realize that this blog is being run by humans that make mistakes from time to time.

The Comment Policy at Systems-Overload

Every blog or website that accepts comments (and even those that don't) have some sort of commenting policy, regardless of if it is officially formulated and publicized, or not. It is our hope that this will encourage quality comments, allowing readers to express their opinions and ideas without being overly offensive and abusive.

Because Systems-Overload often publishes family oriented material, we don't wish to see any comments that could not be read before or by children, because you never know who might happen to find one of our articles.

All comments should be in English. We were surprised to see a large number of comments posted on one post in oriental characters (we're not sure if all the comment were Chinese, Japanese, Koren, or other languages) but because we don't know what the commentators are saying we can't, in good conscience, publish these comments. We've also seen some comments in Russian, and so other languages. Until the day comes when the staff at Systems-Overload is big enough that we have people that are able to read comments in languages other than English, we're going to only publish comments in English. We don't wish to offend anyone but we do need to know what is being published at Systems-Overload.

We're not selling prescription or non-prescription drugs, body enhancements, or other products that you wouldn't advertise in front of kids, so don't post links to such products, write about, advertise, or promote them in your comments .

We realize that people can have differing opinions and ideas and this is one of the things that makes life more interesting, but we won't publish comments that are insulting other readers intelligence, character, or generally abusive.

Promoting your website, blog, or products is permitted but your comments should be geared towards the article that you're commenting on. If your comment is overtly promotional, or you post overly promotional comments on multiple articles, these will not be published. Also, think about if you'd like to see the comment that you're trying to post on your website or blog if you were seeing it from someone else before hitting that send button.

When putting links in your comments, please use the long form and not url shorteners so that it is possible to see where the link might take you before clicking on it. We won't publish blind links and certainly don't wish to see or readers come upon any form of virus or malware because they clicked on a link.

You can remain anonymous in your comment(s) but the comment(s) that you're posting should be in compliance with the other comment guidelines published above.,

Don't be afraid to comment. Don't let worry or concern about your grammar or spelling stop you from posting comments. At Systems-Overload and our readers (we hope), the idea is more important than the packaging or delivery. We realize that our readers have varying levels of knowledge and use of the English language (especially when English is not your first or even second language!) We also realize that typos can easily happen. Don't let worry that other will criticize or disagree with your comment(s) stop you from sharing your thoughts and ideas. You never know where a good idea will come from.

Your suggestions about improving the blog, topics, and articles that you've read are always welcome and encouraged. Please follow the guidelines spelled out above to get your comments published at Systems-Overload. We hope that you'll join the conversation. Have fund and thank you.

Photo Credit: news 2 courtesy of lusi.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Detroit Autoshow And Social Media

Since it is January that must mean it is time for the Detroit area to break out of its winter freeze and Detroit Autoshow. The 2010 Detroit Autoshow (officially known as the North American International Auto Show or N.A.I.A.S.) is now under way at Cobo Hall in Detroit (2010 NAIAS). Alright, that is up to Mother nature to pull off that order (I do remember seeing plenty of snow going to the autoshow in the past). Every show is different with new trends emerging and this year is no different. Its exciting to see how Social Media is being embraced this year.

I attended the autoshow every year from 1997 through 2001 and always think that I'd like to go again this year. Last year I wrote about going green at the Detroit Autoshow and I attended the 2009 Frankfurt Autoshow. This year when I went to the N.A.I.A.S. website I was immediately struck that that they had links to Twitter and Facebook and I realized that auto industry is at least trying to catch up with Social Media.

You can now follow the N.A.I.A.S. on Twitter and you can become a fan on Facebook, so they're tweeting about the autoshow and putting updates in Facebook. When I last looked the had over 1,400 followers, they were listed 84 times and just under 4,000 people had become fans on Facebook. in addition to having their coverage of the event on their website, is also tweeting about it and allowing people to become fans at Facebook. They already have over 1,500 followers, have been listed 28 times, and have over 3,500 fans on Facebook.

Several months ago I discovered that Scott Monty, who is head of Social Media at Ford, has a popular blog where he talks about various things in the Social Media world. Scott Monty has over 26,000 followers on Twitter and he is listed over 2,000 times. He comes from Boston and moved to the Motor City when he was hired by Ford to run their Social Media efforts.

I've mentioned lists or listed a couple of times now and some of you might be wondering what I'm talking about? Twitter recently incorporating a listing functionality that allows you to group people into categories that you create, making it easier to follow the tweets of that group as opposed to looking at all the tweets of all the people that you're following. At the moment you're limited to creating 20 of your own lists, but you can subscribe to lists as well if you see that someone has created a list that you'd like to follow. Listing can be one way of determining how popular a tweeter is or a certain topic is. You might want to check out a post that I recently did on Twitter, where I described it further.

The 2010 Detroit Autoshow runs runs January 11th through the 24th. By the way they also have cars and trucks there.

Photo Credits: Skyline - Detroit, Michigan, U courtesy of LeoSynapse and A real lemon 5
courtesy of andrewatla.