Saturday, March 29, 2008

Personalized Google Home

My number one productivity tool is the personalized Google homepage - a personal dashboard with a variety of gadgets to meet your needs. And here is the best part: It is always right in front of you! Why? Because you use Google to search a lot. Every time you do a search, you look at the dashboard. You can't avoid it, and that makes it very valuable. This is what I do with it:

1) To-Do List - An obvious choice. I want my tasks to be always visible so I can get them done.
2) Weather - Why not? We all love a good weather report.
3) Top Stories(News) - Let's not let the world go by us without knowing it.
4) Wikipedia - Who doesn't need that?
5) How to of the day - Learn!
6) Word of the Day - Won't hurt to increase my vocabulary.
7) Google Reader - An RSS feed reader. Very handy and highly configurable.

I think it is important not to have too many items to make it feel crowded. You want it to be useful so don't stick everything on there. Maybe 7 is a good number, maybe less. The arrangements of these gadgets are also important. For example, I always put my To-Do list on the top left, because my eyes tend to look there first. I also categorize my items in three columns. When I am busy, I only check the most important column, and leave the others alone. Do what works for you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Carry a shopping list

Long time ago, a colleague recommended that I could carry some blank checks in my wallet, and that turned out to be quite useful. Today, I am going to add one more thing to my wallet: a shopping list! Maybe not a list for your weekly grocery shopping, but a list of things you are looking for for the long term, or maybe for a good price. This way, when in doubt, just pull out your list, and you don't have to rely on your memory all the time.

Modification 1: If you have a PDA, you could use it instead of the wallet.

I suspect most women have been trained to do this all their life; it's our men who need to be clued in from time to time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GreaseMonkey Rocks

I just installed a new FireFox extension - GreaseMonkey. This baby can add scripts to web pages you view and modify their behaviors. Here is something immediately valuable: you can download a popular script called "Better Tube" and now when you view a YouTube video, there is a download link right under it. How Sweet!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Walk After Every Meal

We'll start with a simple one: walk after every meal. My dear grandma used to tell me, "walk a hundred pace after dinner, and you'll live to be a hundred." So instead of sitting down in front of the TV or the computer right after you eat, take a stroll. Thanks grandma, where ever you are.