Benny's Adventures

My Path to Getting Things Done

There are two components to getting things done:

  1. Motivation
  2. Discipline

These are the two major categories that I think everything related to getting things done falls under. I did a brief search of the blogosphere and found several interesting pieces on the concept of “getting things done.” There’re even Getting Things Done (GTD) Systems and whole books about this.

The different thoughts and systems all dance around the aforementioned core concepts. The following discussion is not meant to serve as strict rules that you must follow but as inspiration to develop your own mindset and methodology to reaching your goals. Here is my way:

  1. Motivation
    • First, determine what there is to be done. This can be assignments from class, hobbies, or random things that have come up for any reason.
    • Now prioritize these tasks. Tasks with deadlines get top priority, obviously. Hobbies and other things are more flexible.
    • Finally these tasks are in a position to gain motivation.
      • Find the light at the end of the tunnel for everything you want to do. The most important thing is to make the light concrete. For school make sure the goal is a tangible reward such as a higher GPA. For other tasks make sure there is an end product that you can look at and know you’re done. Abstract ideas are troublesome because humans can rationalize away delays or anything else that can set you back.
      • Decide why these goals help you get what you want. It helps to make these as tangible as possible (“a great job in the future” is better than simply “success”, for example)
  2. Discipline
    • Start! The most important thing is to actually start whatever task you are currently working on. Don’t tell yourself you’ll start after you check your e-mail or catch up on Facebook updates. Just start!
    • Don’t get distracted.

I think the two biggest points to this process is deciding why you want to reach your goals and starting. Once you figure out why you want something your human nature is to reach for it. The next tough thing is to actually start working on it. If you accomplish that the completion does not take as much will power.

As I mentioned earlier these ideas serve more as guidelines so feel free to adapt them into your own process or modify these ideas with other tools. For example, following this process is simplified by Google Tasks. Just make sure you don’t lose yourself in setting yourself up for success and forget to actually succeed (like I said… Start! Just do it!0.

9 December 2010 Posted by | Feeling Good, Life, productivity | , , , , | Leave a comment

Microsoft is Not an End-Stage Company

Paul McDougall over at InformationWeek makes a claim I consider ludicrous: Microsoft will not be around more than a decade.

To be fair McDougall doesn’t come out and say that Microsoft will wither away and die as a company but judging by the language used in the rest of the article I can’t imagine him conveying anything else.

And perhaps he is just taking this stance to draw traffic to the site. In any case I’d still like to toss in my two-cents.

I do believe that Microsoft is going through a tough time. The market is changing and Microsoft has had its missteps. Remember Vista? Come to think of it, I seem to remember people saying Microsoft was dying when Vista was having trouble. Windows 7 came around and is considered pretty successful. Ah but guess what, it’s Windows 7’s success that is dooming it!

Microsoft – and in fairness, Apple as well – always has its detractors and these claims repeat every year if not every week but they continue to survive and thrive.

The first piece of evidence is Internet Explorer’s market share. This is one of the areas where Microsoft is struggling but with IE9 looking to compete strongly with the other browsers in the most popular game now – speed – Internet Explorer will become more competitive. That’s not to say it will or will not lose more market share but at some point the internet browser market will reach a steady-state (given no large disturbances such as Chrome or Firefox suddenly becoming unbeatable) and Microsoft is setting up to have a large of the pie as possible when the equilibrium is reached.

McDougall makes a short claim about smartphones and I think he does this without really knowing what’s going on. Windows Phone 7 has recently come out and though it has its faults it also shows promise.

One thing McDougall makes a mistake in is not giving value to the PC market share Microsoft holds now (>90%). Apple survived and thrived having a very low market share for a long time and then took off when the iPod came out. Apple was able to leverage a developing market, find success, and use that success to fuel further endeavors. Similarly Microsoft has the potential to leverage their success in the PC market to improve in other sectors.

It’s not a guarantee for success by any means but there are signs indicating that Microsoft is slowly but surely getting the right idea. And fortunately for Microsoft they can afford to be slow and sure because of the market share.

McDougall ends with some dubious statistics:

Market research group NPD recently found that 13% of iPad users bought the Apple OS-based device instead of a Windows PC.

This bit of data fails to mention if anybody in that 13% already owned a PC. While McDougall posits this statistic as a definitive number it really isn’t and I immediately see that as a huge (and frustrating) hole in his argument.

And do you know anyone under 30 who uses anything but a phone for the bulk their personal computing and communications needs these days?

I understand that this is an opinion piece but opinions based on faulty sampling is not something I’d be proud of displaying as what I believe. Before I get into a straw-man argument… I’ll move on.

McDougall starts with this:

I believe that Microsoft as we know it may not be around in another decade–maybe not even in five years.

This is not a bad thing. I think this is precisely what Microsoft needs for continued success – change.

30 October 2010 Posted by | Technology | , , , , | Leave a comment


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