March 09, 2005

Getting things done?

On one hand, I think it's wacky that people can get all excited (books, blogs, software) about a "movement" centered around productivity (see GTD). Sure, who wouldn't want to be a little more productive, but studying how to be more productive seems like exercising so your workout will be easier.

On the other hand, I think it's about time we started expecting a little more help from our computers. Sure, the internet in grand and all, but all it does is add more things to do. Communication is easier, but that has lead to more communication. We have all this RAM and storage space and processor speed for what? Pop up windows?

To be fair, I do feel like we're entering a sort of "third generation" of software and productivity tools which are designed to adapt to the way we work. See such programs as Butler and Quicksilver, services like Google Mail and Google Desktop, airline flight status notifications, and so on.

The next step, I hope, is software that anticipates what we need. Does the user check the weather each morning? Then why not have that web page open when they come to the computer first thing? Does the user often prefix filenames with the date? Why not make it inserted when they open a Save As box? Figure out which emails are most important, have a map ready if we need it, remember when we last paid a particular bill and remind us when it's next due, if we book a flight, set up that flight status notification right away and put it in our address book.

I have a lot of little custom scripts on my computer. One has my email program forward important emails to my cell phone, but only between certain hours (when I'm awake) and only when I'm away from the computer (it's been idle for 60 seconds). Another changes my screen saver time in the morning and in the evening (normally I want my screen to stay on for 15 minutes, but if I'm going to bed at midnight and I check my email, 1 minute is more reasonable). Isn't this the sort of things computers should be good at?

Posted at March 9, 2005 02:30 PM, Categories: Beardcore
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