Archive for the ‘Windows Live’ tag
Apologies in advance! This is the kind of piece I used to post to my old blog – a geeky article about how to squeeze the most out of some aspect of technology. That blog is no longer active now that this blog has taken its place, and given that my interest in technology relates to its ability to improve people’s lives in a general sense, I figured some thoughts on simple computing would fit in nicely on Refocuser. It’s hard to contain my excitement these days for my day job in high-tech (what a luxury!) so there are worse things than having it bleed into my other passion. This post, however, will be a little more “basic” than some of the stuff I used to post about – there won’t be any hard drive partitioning here!
As many of you may have heard, Microsoft released the latest version of Windows – Windows 7 – on October 22, 2009. Disclaimer: I do work on the Windows team at Microsoft – but I’m a fan of good technology first and foremost, so this isn’t some sort of advertisement – nor does it represent anyone or anything at Microsoft. This new version of Windows is known for being faster, more reliable, more secure, and just plain better than any version of Windows to-date. I’ve been beta testing it for well over a year, and I can definitely say that it’s changed the way I feel about my PC. My PC is fun again with Windows 7 and works exactly how I want it to.
Getting a PC into the most optimal state isn’t something that just happens though. We aren’t (yet) at a place where computers are perfect all the time (despite what Apple apologists will tell you) – and they certainly can’t read our minds yet – it still requires a little bit of know-how and some work to get your PC into tip-top shape. And once you set it up how you want it, it requires some level of discipline to leave it that way…. to not ruin it with loads of junky software, and to avoid cluttering your desktop or personal files with things you don’t need. It’s important that if you’re going to spend the time to simplify your PC that you keep it that way for as long as you can (at least until Windows 8 comes out!) You’ll find yourself operating at a much higher level, focused on the task at hand instead of struggling to find files, or simply fighting with your computer every step of the way.
After all, that’s what this is all about. Focus. Very few of us actually enjoy configuring software or moving data from one computer to the next. But with a little groundwork, you can increase your ability to focus tenfold.
One of the oft overlooked rules of focus and concentration is that friction must be avoided at all costs. Friction in this sense can be defined as anything that pulls you out of your zone and slows down forward momentum. As an example, frequent interruptions induce loads of friction for anything involving deep focus. But there are other things. Have you ever sat down to do something important and realized you forgot to grab something critical to your effort? Like a notebook full of notes or a file off of your office computer? Or have you ever rushed out of the house just to realize 15 minutes later that you have to turn around because you forgot your briefcase/purse/laptop bag? Not being able to find the things you need makes it difficult to focus on anything!
Sometimes it’s hard to even realize that this is what’s happening to you. It sounds a little crazy, but some people are so used to not being organized, they think it’s normal to spend 30-50% of their time just gathering what they need instead of actually doing the thing they set out to do. Naturally this means the effort either takes 30-50% longer – or worse, is rushed… sacrificing quality in the process.
Speaking from personal experience, at some point years ago I got so frustrated with forgetting things that I put some systems in place to prevent this from happening again. Of course it does still happen every once in a while but it’s far less frequent these days than it used to be.
Look, it’s just far easier to stay organized than it is to deal with the ramifications of not being organized. Having a base level of organizational ability will “grease the skids” and make any effort far more effortless. But like anything else, it requires a little effort to first know what to do, and then secondly form a long-term habit to make sure it sticks.
In the first part of this series I covered an overview of using project management principles for life projects, building out a project plan, and deciding on a name and logo for your blog. Now I’ll talk about setting up WordPress hosting and hooking up Windows Live Writer. By the end of this post you should have most of the high-level tools you’d need to start a blog yourself – and while that isn’t the focus of this blog necessarily, I do want to make sure that all this stuff I’ve learned over the last couple months doesn’t go to waste. If nothing else I can point friends here when they ask me how to do some of this!