Bit Literacy in 2011

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I think they set you up for failure–except for the year I vowed not to sing any Sheryl Crow songs–and I’m not making a formal resolution for 2011. HOWEVER, I am going to attempt to work more efficiently next year using some of the methods found in a book called Bit Literacy.

The author, Mark Hurst, is right when he says most of us have too many bits coming in and too few going out and he is also right when he says most of the problem is a lack of organization dealing with 0s and 1s.  I am certainly guilty of using my email inbox for storage and an oversized to do list.  I’m also guilty of walking around with another to do list on a legal pad–that I have to transfer to another piece of paper when it gets too long or too many items get marked off.  And I’m also guilty of having dozens of small post-its stuck all over the place at my desk.

The gist of Bit Literacy is that you empty your email inbox every single day and that every email is read or skimmed, then put in its proper place.  A large part of “proper place” is a task or to do list.  Mr. Hurst suggests using his own service, goodtodo.com, to accomplish this task.  I am signed up for a trial and I do like the way it works.  I am also familiar with something called Remember the Milk and I’m going to check that out as well.  There appears to be a number of others, too, that I’ll likely peruse.  (I like to peruse.)  Since most of my tasks are going to be work-related, whatever application I use will have to be the easiest to use from my desk.

Bit Literacy also has organizational ideas for all other file storage, from pictures to text, and comes with a long list of recommendations.  Some are a bit elementary, like learning to type.  Others are a bit…optimistic.  The author suggests that most, if not all, documents be created in plain text and never really addresses the fact that Microsoft Word and other word processing software is used to make documents look a certain way.  I don’t think co-workers will appreciate getting long swaths of text from me or anyone else.  If humans wanted to read that way, Word wouldn’t have been created in the first place.

I have an efficient file system for personal and work media management, so I skipped most of Mr. Hurst’s recommendations for naming and locating files.  I also skipped his “media diet” section.  I have no intention of consuming fewer bits.  😉   I think overall the best ideas I’ll walk away with are those on email and to do list management.  I definitely plan to try them and hopefully I’ll be able to work more efficiently while also preserving records of the work I do.

(For the record, Mr. Hurst, I think it’s kind of crappy that you can download your book for free from the Apple iBookstore and everyone else has to pay.  Just sayin’.)

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