Tag Archives: Practical

Economiser vite des sous avec Orange CH

[en] Two ways to save a little money with Orange Switzerland (or maybe, not spend it uselessly).

Bon, des fois on apprend à ses dépens comment ne pas donner de l’argent inutilement à son opérateur télécom. Même quand on a de la famille qui y bosse et que ledit opérateur télécom est un client (full disclosure, hein).

Alors je partage avec vous:

  • Les plans tarifaires Orange Me ont changé de prix. Moins chers. Mais ce n’est pas automatique. J’ai renouvelé mon contrat en prenant un nouveau téléphone (il était temps) et donc ça a réglé mon cas. Mais peut-être qu’en appelant pour demander à être basculé sur le nouveau plan tarifaire (qui si j’ai bien compris a le même nom et les mêmes formules que l’ancien, juste des prix plus avantageux), on peut changer le prix de son abonnement. A tester.
  • A l’étranger, vous faites bien gaffe de désactiver les données cellulaires, et de ne pas répondre au téléphone ou en faire? Bravo. Par contre, saviez-vous que chaque fois que quelqu’un vous appelle et est dévié sur votre boîte vocale, ça vous coûte? 1.20 + 0.40 à chaque fois. Sans que vous ayez à lever le petit doigt. S’il y a des gens motivés à vous contacter et que vous les ignorez royalement, ça peut finir par vous coûter cher. La solution? Désactiver sa boîte vocale avant de partir à l’étranger. ##002#[Appel] ou bien ##004#[Appel] si vous avez un iPhone. Pour réactiver, le code est un poil plus complexe: **004*086[votre numéro]#[Appel] pour l’iPhone. Ah puis oui, il faudra enregistrer à nouveau le message d’accueil de votre boîte. Eh.

En espérant que ceci permettra à un lecteur ou deux d’apprendre de mon ignorance!

Ah oui, et si vous avez des soucis, essayez le nouveau forum en ligne Community. Je n’ai rien à voir avec, mais je trouve que ça marche pas trop mal et c’est pas encore trop saturé ;-)

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Posted in My corner of the world, Stuff that doesn't fit, Technology | Tagged facturation, orange, orange.ch, Practical, pratique, suisse, switzerland, télécom | Leave a comment

My Trick for Paris Metro Tickets

[fr] Mon petit truc pour gérer les tickets de métro. Rien de transcendant mais ça rendra peut-être service à quelqu'un!

If you’re traveling to Paris, you probably have to deal with those pesky metro tickets. Here’s what I do to stay sane.

  • I buy 10 tickets at a time. They’ll still work next time I come if I don’t use them all.
  • I hold them together with a paper-clip.

I store my current metro ticket on top of the stack with the same paper-clip. No drama if I bump into a ticket check, because I know where to find it.

Tickets de métro

This means that each time I go through the ticket doors, I:

  1. take the stack of tickets out of my bag (!)
  2. remove the ticket from the last trip and throw it in a bin (or in my pocket so I’m ready for the next bin
  3. take a new ticket from the stack and use it to go through the door
  4. immediately place that new-used-ticket on the stack with the others, and back in my bag

You can identify a used ticket because it has something printed on it (often illegible, but still). With this technique finding my “last used one” is easy, as it’s either the top or the bottom one. And I avoid the drama of stray tickets in my bag or pockets, used or not.

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Posted in Travels | Tagged efficiency, métro, paris, Practical, public transport, ratp, tickets, travel, tricks | 1 Comment

A Week of FlyLady Inspiration

[fr] Une semaine à faire 15 minutes de rangement par jour. Les petits pas fonctionnent pour moi! Mon hall d'entrée est rangé, et plein d'autres changements sont en route.

Last week-end, I wrote about the Wisdom of Incremental Change, or something like that. I’ve spent a week now on my FlyLady-ish programme, and am reporting now to the world so you can witness my progress.

Huge progress.

I feel like I have a new life. I feel like soon, I’ll actually be able to bake cookies (one of my fantasies, representing a stress-free life where one has enough time to do useless but pleasant things like baking cookies).

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • morning routine (includes making the bed and rincing the bathroom sink clean)
  • unclutter 15 minutes a day
  • evening routine (includes checking my calendar for the next day, planning train times, and major work activities)
  • clean sink, bathtub, two counters, mirror and toilet with detergent on Sunday
  • clean kitchen sink with detergent on Sunday
  • empty my GTD inbox 15 minutes a day
  • Sunday = bath day!
  • generally, keeping clean/uncluttered areas that way
  • going to bed at midnight (Cinderella technique)
  • set alarms for all regular things throughout the week, including mealtimes

Here are the things I’m thinking of slowly easing into my routines; not all at once, but next on the list:

  • set Roomba to work in a different room each day
  • go through projects, clients, and tasks 15 minutes a day
  • prepare stuff I need the night before (ie. judo bag, snacks)
  • set alarms for snacks between meals
  • do “weekly home blessing” (not right away though)
  • get an indoor bicycle for my bedroom and cycle 20 minutes a day on it
  • add stretching and other exercises to my morning and evening routines (gradually)

It’s interesting how cleaning/uncluttering is contagious: in addition to straightening out my hallway (photos below) I also emptied my big suitcase (it had been lying around since October with stuff still in it), but a few hooks up in the kitchen, and removed all the dead leaves from my plants (poor neglected plants).

Equally of note, I put my clean laundry away the very day I unhung it (it’s easier when the last load of clean laundry isn’t still lying around the room), cleared out my fridge before I went shopping, and threw out a few scary things that were in my freezer (like 2 or 3 year old chicken legs and fish).

Here’s a before and after pair of photos taken from my hallway; click on the photos to read notes:

next cluttered-up space in the zone Uncluttered hallway

I’ve also reorganised the entrance part of my hallway (again, click for notes):

Uncluttered and reorganized hallway

I realised that I have a lot of stuff in my flat which has no home. But I also have lots of spaces which are not home to any stuff. For example, those white shelves in my hallway where just layer upon layer of “things dumped here”. What are they going to be home to? As you can see in the notes, I’m trying to figure out what to put in them — but I’m sure it’s not final. I have cupboards and drawers which are just full of “stuff” that was dumped there at some point when I moved furniture around — I need to have a long hard think about what goes where at some point. (That’s an idea for a future blog post: a list of stuff that I’m keeping but I don’t know where to keep.)

A side-effect of this “more sleeping, more cleaning” regime is that I’m way less stressed (I feel like a big cloud has lifted off my life) and I’m taking time to do things, like eat and cook. I cooked my first chicken last night, and today made chicken salad, chicken soup, and cooked some minced meat that needed it. I think that for quite a few years, I’ve put a lot of energy trying to “escape from” my flat (well, my chaos) when I was in it. Now, I’m happy to be around. Happy to see that I’m taking control of things.

2009 is the year of taking control of my life again. I’ve been letting it happen to me for way too long. So here we go:

  • keeping track of my finances with buxfer — which has a great iPhone site btw, and allows updates from Twitter, so you can enter all your transactions on the road if needed
  • regaining control of my living space with FlyLady
  • keeping control of the “stuff” I want to do with a sprinkling of GTD (and having an office).

I’m going to love 2009!

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Posted in Life Improvement, Personal | Tagged change, cleaning, flylady, life, lifeimprovement, myflat, Pieces of Me, Practical, user/07467067922840649993/state/com.google/read | 8 Comments

The Wisdom of Small Changes: Incrementally Reclaiming My Flat

[fr] Reprendre contrôle de mon appartement, un petit pas à la fois. Chaque jour, ajouter un nouvel élément à garder sous contrôle. Aujourd'hui, c'est nettoyer la baignoire.

Aussi, diviser l'appartement en zones, et travailler chaque semaine sur une zone, 15 minutes par jour.

Inspiration: toute une longue histoire personnelle, et le site FlyLady.

I’m going to tell you about my plan to reclaim my living space, little by little, over the next weeks and months. However, you know me — I’m first going to get sidetracked a little ;-) and tell you how I got where I am, and how the plan was born.

I have lived in clutter my whole life. Both my parents were pretty active clutterers too, so I guess part of the reason is “in the genes” (we recently cleared out the family home to rent it — oh, boy). Other reasons include the fact that there are much more fun things to do in life than clean/tidy (though annoyingly, each time I actually start doing these things I really enjoy them), and my natural tendency to “not do things” rather than “do things”.

I love living in a reasonably tidy place. It makes me less stressed. It makes me less depressed. It makes me happy to spend my days in an environment which is under my control, rather than a sprawling monster of Things. How to tidy my flat and keep it tidy is something that is always on my mental to-do list.

I’ve lived in my flat since I came back from India, over eight years ago. It has been cleaned more or less from top to bottom a few times since I moved on (in 2007, for example — check the “myflat” tag to see more pictures of my living space and its transformations through the years). Over the years, I’ve become quite good at keeping clutter off the floor, but that’s about it. Clearly, I lack a process to keep My Stuff under control. I have lots of stuff.

The importance of having processes in life was driven home by my foray into the GTD (Getting Things Done) method. So far, I have not succeeded in implementing GTD completely (I particularly suck at weekly reviews, I think I haven’t ever managed to do one). I do, however, use quite a lot of elements from this method:

  • ensure I have a system in which I can capture all the stuff that’s on my mind
  • have an inbox (though I don’t empty it very often, but at least it keeps all the stuff to be dealt with in one place
  • think in terms of “next actions” and “projects”
  • know that when I’m procrastinating, either I have too much stuff sitting in my head, or my next action is not clearly defined
  • use an A-Z classification system, with printed labels on folders, for all my paperwork.

The idea of having a process is underlying in two previous “housecleaning” articles: Taming the Dirty Dishes, way back in 2002, and Keeping The Flat Clean: Living Space As User Interface, in 2003. But it’s not quite there yet, or expressed clearly.

Two years, ago, I had a groundbreaking conversation about my diet with my Doctor. I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle (even without smoking or drinking) and knew it, but I was so wracked with guilt and discouraged by the amount of changes I had to make to my life that I just didn’t do anything. He showed me how important it was to not disrupt my life and diet completely, but to make small easy changes like prepare a few leaves of lettuce while my pizza was warming in the oven, or cut up an apple before the meal so that I’d eat it for dessert.

A year ago, I officially rediscovered the importance of morning rituals. I’ve also come to accept that having some things under control is better than none, even if all the rest is going to the dogs. Last autumn, for example, I decided that even if my kitchen was a mess, I would at least keep the table clean and void of any clutter, so that I would have a nice place to eat.

Recently, I started cleaning my bathroom sink (almost) every morning. I don’t use soap or anything fancy, but I have a sponge I keep on the sink and I give it a quick wipe whenever I use it. Looking into a clean sink in the morning is clearly nicer than when it’s dirty.

Now that I’m in the habit of (#1) washing my bathroom sink (it doesn’t require any cognitive effort for me to do it, it’s just part of the things I do like brush my teeth or use my neti pot), I’ve started thinking about other small changes I could make. And I’ve already made some:

Last week-end, I decided that if I wanted to tackle this flat, I had to do it little by little. So, on Saturday a week ago, I did two things in that department: caught up with the kitchen dishes (they were running away again) and put the laundry away (I live out of the clean laundry basket). Oh yeah, and I got Roomba to work.

Cleaning my bathroom sink each morning has reminded me of FlyLady. I first heard about it when Florence Devouard mentioned it at Going Solo Lausanne. I didn’t really investigate it then, but filed it away somewhere under “system/community which starts with cleaning your sink, and then you add extra stuff to do each day”.

I looked it up this afternoon and spent a couple of hours reading through it. FlyLady is a system/community designed for stay-at-home moms, or “Sidetracked Home Executives“. It is e-mail based, and indeed, does start with getting you to shine your kitchen sink (read why) and get dressed to the shoes.

Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry friend, we’ve been there, too. Step through the door and follow FlyLady as she weaves her way through housecleaning and organizing tips with homespun humor, daily musings about life and love, the Sidetracked Home Executives (SHE) system, and anything else that is on her mind.

The whole tone of the site is very caring and motherly, with a lot of educational redundancies and extremely detailed instructions. The system actually instructs you to stop and rest for 15 minutes doing something you like, or to only declutter for 15 minutes at a time. Some of it might make you cringe, or laugh a bit if you’re a computer geek, but I really think they’re onto something and it’s well worthwhile spending some time reading the various pages on the FlyLady website.

Obviously, I’m not a stay-at-home mum and I don’t own a house, so I’ll be taking a shot at my personal interpretation of the programme. Here are the ideas I like:

This “slow but steady” system reminds me a bit of dieting strategies. You’re better off with a diet that makes you lose weight slowly, and is in fact a lasting change to your lifestyle, than with a crash diet that makes you lose loads of weight but will see you put it all on again as soon as you stop.

Same with clutter: if you stop everything for three days to clean the house top to bottom, you haven’t in fact made any changes in the lifestyle that caused you to accumulate so much clutter in the first place. By changing things slowly, you’re actually making modifications to your lifestyle which will allow you to keep the clutter under control, rather than clean everything and end up knee-deep in clutter two months later.

As FlyLady says somewhere on her site (quoting from memory): “Your house didn’t get cluttered in a day, and it won’t become uncluttered in a day either!”

Browsing as I was writing this article has brought me over to SHE forums, a community which functions on “challenges” and peer support to deal with household tasks. Remember Website Pro Day and WoWiPAD? :-)

The FlyLady website method is actually based on a book, Sidetracked Home Executives(TM): From Pigpen to Paradise, and one of the co-authors has a site called The Brat Factor, which is all about taming your inner brat (there’s a CD and DVD involved, of course) — but it looks fun (that’s how you tame brats). Your inner brat is the part of you that procrastinates, leaves the dishes in the sink, doesn’t put the clean laundry away& know him/her?

So, I’m going to set my timer to do 15 minutes of decluttering in my hallway (zone 1, I’ll consider it’s already Feb. 1st). Each day, I’ll add a baby step to the ones I’m already doing. I’ll post each new baby step on my Digital Crumble.

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Posted in Life Improvement | Tagged changes, cleaning, clutter, control, flat, flylady, gtd, habits, home, life, life improvement, lifehacks, lifestyle, mess, Pieces of Me, Practical, Psychology / Sociology, routine, system, user/07467067922840649993/state/com.google/read | 6 Comments

Disqus Plugin Aftermath: Removing Duplicate Comments

[fr] Comment se débarrasser de 5000 commentaires à double dans sa base de données WordPress!

Now that Disqus integrates Friendfeed comments, I could be tempted to give it another try, if I hadn’t spent an hour yesterday cleaning up my database because of an earlier attempt to use Disqus on this blog. After the story, how I did it — in case you’re in the same mess and could use the help.

Back in August, I installed the Disqus plugin for WordPress. Things started off not too badly, though I was a bit concerned that the plugin seemed to have duplicated all the comments in my database. It didn’t seem to show up on the blog though, so I didn’t worry too much.

After a few months, I was a bit frustrated with Disqus and the plugin (which was clearly an older version than the Disqus plugin available now). Moderating comments through the WordPress interface seemed to work erraticly, and some spam just wouldn’t accept to stay in the spambox. I never really tried to identify the exact problems too closely, I have to admit, but things were not really working how I expected them to.

Then a few (unrelated) people told me they had completely failed to comment on my blog with the new system. At some point, I got fed up and uninstalled it. Unfortunately, the duplicate comments which had been hidden from view remained there after uninstalling the plugin, so all the old comments appeared on the blog twice. I let the problem sit for a long time before attempting to fix it — wild hope there might be a ready-made script out there I could just run& in vain.

Here’s how I tackled the problem this week-end and ended up removing the duplicate comments without too much trouble, through PhpMyAdmin (PMA for short).

  • In PMA, I made sure that duplication seemed constant — it was
  • I discovered that the duplicate comments had “DISQUS” in the user-agent field
  • I dug around until I identified the last duplicate comment (when I installed the Disqus plugin, actually; I sorted the database comments table by comment date to do that)
  • I did a search, selecting comments which were younger than the last duplicate comment date AND had “DISQUS” in the user-agent field (the date bit is important, because comments posted while the plugin were active have “DISQUS” in the user-agent field but are not duplicates)
  • Then, I deleted everything that came up in the search — about 5000 comments (it helps to tell PMA to display 3000 lines per page when doing that :-) )

Hope this can help somebody, and remember: always back up your database first!

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Posted in Social Media and the Web, Wordpress | Tagged comments, database, disqus, duplicate, friendfeed, Geek / Technical, instructions, Kit du blogueur, phpmyadmin, Practical, user/07467067922840649993/state/com.google/read, Weblog Technology, Wordpress | 1 Comment

E-mail and Dirty Dishes

[fr] Cet article fait le tour de ma méthode pour gérer le flux d'e-mail qui assaillit quotidiennement ma boîte de réception ainsi que le flux de vaisselle sale qui remplit inexorablement l'évier. Deux choses qui a priori n'ont rien à voir, mais qui au fond peuvent faire l'objet du même processus.

I’m a rather disorganised person. I know it comes as a surprise to many of my readers, because my online presence is reasonably organised (in the highly disorganised digital space we live in) and also probably because my writing is, well, pretty structured or something.

I’m a reformed perfectionist (in some areas). I’m somebody who read A Perfect Mess with glee, because it validated a conclusion I’d reached myself over the years: find the sweet spot between too much mess and too much order.

A few years ago I wrote a blog post titled Keeping The Flat Clean: Living Space As User Interface, after I realised that usability principles and accessibility apply to living space too, not only to websites (nothing revolutionary for the world, but it was for me). This kind of thinking has never left me.

So, what does keeping one’s inbox empty and taming the dirty dishes have in common? It hit me the other day.

It’s about keeping some constantly filling “bucket” from overflowing. It’s about having a process to deal with what comes in on a regular basis, and seeing the bottom every now and again.

Over the last year or so, I haven’t been too bad with e-mail. Here are my seven tricks:

  1. turn off notifiers but check regularly
  2. reply immediately to “small stuff” that doesn’t require much brain power
  3. archive, archive, archive: stuff I’ve dealt with, as well as bacn (I create filters for bacn)
  4. stay on top of the “longer” stuff I need to reply to, at max a few days after getting it
  5. identify the stuff I “should” spend time replying to but for some reason I won’t, and deal with it accordingly instead of letting it rot in the inbox for six months before giving up
  6. if things go out of control, I still try to keep up with what’s incoming so it doesn’t get more out of control, and take stabs at archiving/processing the backlog (in that way, my inbox hovered around a stable 300-400 messages in it for most of last year)
  7. if things are too out of control, I don’t hesitate to do a radical “inbox to zero” (my way).

Result:

  • my inbox regularly goes down to zero (about once a week or so)
  • there are usually between a couple and a dozen e-mails in my inbox
  • people are happy because I’m responsive to their e-mails
  • I’m happy because I’m on top of my e-mail (“empty inbox” has a very interesting psychological effect).

Caveats?

  • I’m not regularly active on any mailing-lists, and filter them all out
  • my estimation is that approx 100 messages a day reach my inbox, bacn included
  • I have to “deal” with 30-40 message a day, probably, once you substract what has been filtered out.

So, what about the dishes? I’ve actually been really bad at keeping up with my dirty dishes over the last year (and cleaning in general, ack). A few weeks ago when I was sick, I decided to take control of my kitchen again, if only so that mess in the kitchen would not:

  • depress me
  • get in the way of preparing food and eating regularly.

So, I did the kitchen equivalent of “emptying the inbox to zero” to get a fresh start (warning: this goes a little beyond dishes). Taking inspiration on my inbox mastery, here’s what I did:

  • put all the clean dishes away (they tend to pile up on the draining board)
  • washed all the dirty dishes, and put them away a little later once they had dried
  • cleared the kitchen table of all the junk that was on it and cleaned it
  • did the same thing with one of the working surfaces and the stove

That was my “kitchen to zero” state. The process for keeping things that way is pretty basic:

  1. make sure I see the bottom of my sink regularly (every day if possible, in the evening so it’s clean in the morning — no rigid rule, but an objective I try to meet regularly)
  2. make sure the draining board is regularly empty
  3. near-to-zero tolerance for anything remaining on the kitchen table and working surface once I’m done eating/cooking

It’s been working well so far. Here’s what I think are the three keys that my systems for e-mail and washing dishes have in common:

  1. go for emptiness: seeing the bottom is important, psychologically
  2. flexible “keep the spirit” approach rather than rigid rule: keeps me from feeling “failure guilt” when I slip a bit, and provides living space (life does not fit in rigid rules)
  3. contingency plan for when I drop off: I know I’ll drop off at times, but I know how to get “back on track” when I do (GTD taught me that was vital)

I’m interested in hearing if you use similar methods, or different ones, and what you think of my “three keys” to a successful system. Does it work for you, or not?

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Posted in Life Improvement | Tagged cleaning, dishes, e-mail, flat, inbox, inbox to zero, kitchen, lifehacks, Pieces of Me, Practical, process, strategy, user/07467067922840649993/state/com.google/read | 1 Comment

Freecycle est aussi à Lausanne!

[fr] Freecycle exists in Lausanne, too. Instead of throwing stuff away, give it to people who want it.

Grâce à Somebaudy, je découvre FreeLozane, une communauté Freecycle. Freecycle? Un moyen de se débarrasser de ce dont on ne veut plus en le donnant à qui le veut, plutôt qu’en jetant. Pas de troc, pas de vente, rien que du don. Inscrivez-vous — on dirait qu’il n’y a pas beacoup de traffic sur la liste.

Donc, j’en profite:

21 indian perfume bottles on TwitPic

22 (en fait) 7 bouteilles de parfum achetées en Inde mais conservées au sombre et relativement frais (j’en utilise encore et il a bien survécu). Il semble que j’ai trouvé preneuse pour une partie du lot. Ça vaut combien une bouteille comme ça, à votre avis? (2.5ml)

Chariots à dias

8 chariots à dias doubles à peu près pas utilisés

chaussures salomon neuves  on TwitPic

Pas à donner, mais chaussures Salomon super sympa, blanches, taille 41 (peut-être 40 et demie) mais que je ne peux pas porter pour cause d’incompatibilité pied-chaussure. (Je les ai mises 3 fois.) Elles valent 140CHF, je les vends 100CHF — une bonne affaire!

bo on TwitPic

Une boîte à cartes de visite, jolie mais qui ne marche pas pour moi!

J’ai aussi (mais sans photo) des emballages de film 24×36 vides (j’ai collectionné). Bon, puis sûrement d’autres trucs que j’annoncerai sur la liste au fur et à mesure que je les trouve.

J’aime mieux donner que jeter!

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Posted in My corner of the world | Tagged communauté, don, donner, freecycle, freelozane, jeter, lausanne, liste, Practical, troc | 6 Comments

Inbox to Zero in no Time

[fr] Un moyen radical (et quasi instantané) pour atteindre le fameux et très convoité inbox zero.

So, having trouble keeping your inbox count down? Piling up in the hundreds, the thousands, even? I have a totally foolproof method to bring your inbox count down to the coveted zero. It’s been tested in GMail, but I’m sure it works in other e-mail clients too.

The best part of it is how fast it works. The result is guaranteed.

Are you ready for it? Just follow these two simple steps:

  • click on “Select All”
  • press the “Archive” button

There! You’re done! Inbox to zero in now time at all. It works — or you can have your money back.

Now, for the slightly more serious part.

I really did this, this summer if I remember correctly, during a conference. I mean, I wasn’t going to go through all that piled up e-mail anyway. Most of the e-mails were obsolete — when stuff is really important, people e-mail again, and again, or call you, or tweet you, or catch you on IRC or at an event.

Once your inbox actually is at zero, it’s much easier to keep it to zero. Archive without mercy. Answer easy stuff as soon as you see it (I do that to the point some people have told me my e-mails have become a bit curt, so I’m trying to add a bit of cream in again — but the basic principle remains: do it now). My inbox sometimes goes up to 40 or 50 if I stay away from the computer, but then I bring it back down again, over a few days. If I haven’t seen zero in some time, it’s time to deal with those two things lying at the bottom of my inbox for the last 10 days — or decide that I won’t, and archive them.

Sometimes, I feel I can’t keep up anymore, or don’t want to “deal”, so I archive.

Does that sound like I’m mistreating my e-mail? Sure. But so is letting it pile up in your inbox for weeks, months, and years.

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Posted in Life Improvement | Tagged e-mail, gmail, gtd, inbox, inboxtozero, lifehacks, method, Practical, procrastination, productivity, Psychology / Sociology, recipe, trick | 17 Comments

LIFT’08 Workshop: Get Started With Blogging

[fr] J'ai déjà parlé ici de mon projet de cours d'initiation aux blogs. J'aurai (si les participants sont assez intéressés!) l'occasion de donner ce cours sous forme de workshop à l'occasion de la conférence LIFT à Genève, le 6 février prochain.

Le workshop est gratuit, mais il faut être un participant à la conférence (je vous invite vivement à vous y inscrire si ce n'était pas encore prévu -- c'est un des meilleurs événements du genre en Europe).

This is something I’ve wanted to do for some time now, and I’m happy to kick it off at LIFT: provide a crash-course in blogging for non-bloggers.

I know many people attending LIFT are already seasoned bloggers like myself. Many of you (my readers) probably are. I wanted to offer something to those who are not so immersed in the web as us.

So, basically, this is a three-hour workshop to open a blog (from scratch, I plan to use WordPress.com), twiddle the basic settings, learn how to publish, and talk about blogging. I’m always amazed that though the media now sing “blog, blog, blog” in every publication, many people haven’t really had a chance to get near one and see how technically easy publication is.

So, if you know anybody who is going to LIFT and isn’t (yet) a blogger… send them to my workshop ;-)

Quoting from the workshop description, here’s the stuff it’ll cover:

First, on the “blogging technique” side:

  • opening your blog
  • discovering the various options and settings offered by the blogging tool
  • how to publish a post or a page
  • linking to blog posts or websites
  • organizing one’s content with tags and categories
  • managing comments
  • choosing a design for your blog and managing sidebar content

Second, on the “blogging culture” side, we might talk about:

  • blogs vs. “normal websites”
  • different uses of blogs (personal, corporate…)
  • dealing with openness and conversation in a public space (negative comments…)
  • blogging etiquette and ethics
  • reading other people and how to promote one’s blog
  • other “Web 2.0″ tools to use in relation with your blog

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Posted in Conferences, Social Media and the Web | Tagged blogging, blogs, Comment bloguer?, crash course, Events, initiation, introduction, lift08, Practical, Social Media and the Web, workshop | 3 Comments

World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day (WoWiPAD) and Website Pro Day (WPD)

[fr] En plus du Website Pro Day, je propose de tenir début janvier le World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day, consacré à régler ces histoires de paperasses (j'ai des tas de quittances à trier et à envoyer à ma comptable, par exemple) une fois pour toutes. On fait ça chacun chez soi, bien entendu, mais on est solidaires et on fait ça en même temps. Ça motive!

Faites signe si vous êtes partants.

A couple of months ago, I came upon Chris Messina‘s Finish your %#&*@ drafts day. I thought: “what a great idea!”

Well, not the drafts thing (I have drafts in my WordPress installation right now for the first time in my life), but the “get people together to do something”. It’s not a new idea, of course. I’ve actually already used it to fight procrastination, with friends:

  • oh, we’re both chatting when we should do washing up and other things. Let’s go and do it and then meet up on chat again to congratulate ourselves on doing it.
  • hey, can I come and do my homework at your place?
  • let’s meet up do our tax declaration together.

So, when my friend Olivier mentioned in passing that his professional website needed some work done, I said “oh, me too! let’s do it together” and organised the First Website Pro Day (it’s bastardised gallicised English, don’t worry).

There were four of us (a fifth had to cancel at the last minute because of a sick child) and it was a great success for all those who participated. Not only did we make progress on the “professional online presence” front (I actually moved this blog over to my server back from DreamHost, a move which had been stalling all my efforts to do anything to SB.com), but we also started talking about building a local coworking community again.

Website Pro Day 1, Lausanne

We also decided that one day was not enough, and that we needed to organise (at least) another similar day: Website Pro Day 2 is set for December 28th.

Now, obviously, this kind of gathering is local. But wouldn’t it be great of other freelancers or small business owners, in other cities, also got together to work on their professional online presence on the same day? All you need is two people to begin with. Announce it, put it on Facebook or upcoming, whatever catches your fancy. I’ll mention it here, too.

Being a freelancer is cool, but it can sometimes be a bit lonely. That’s why ideas like coworking and barcamp are very important to us: it’s a chance to get together with “colleagues”. Well, it can also be done in a slightly less formal way, too. Just grab a few “colleagues”, and meet to get something done.

So, another of these “get-together” initiatives I’m launching is the World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day, which we’ll call WoWiPAD from now on. Unless you’re super-organised or are already a GTD black belt, you probably have piles of receipts to sort, papers to file, expenses to invoice, forms to fill in, and various administrative things that just pile up and don’t get done, because, let’s face it, it’s way more fun to be earning $$ doing exciting stuff with clients than spending the day drowning in stuffy papers alone at one’s desk.

Obviously, we can’t really gather in one physical space for the WoWiPAD. No, you are not welcome to come to my place with your drawers, piles of papers, stapler — in short, your whole office. But what we can do, though, is decide on a date to do things together. Yes, just knowing that we’re not in this “alone” can be very supportive.

Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or just a somebody with stacks of paperwork to deal with on your desk, leave a comment here or sign up on Facebook if you’d like to participate in the WoWiPAD.

I’m going to suggest two dates, which I know are quite nearby — because I’m going to have to do this paperwork stuff soon anyway, or it’ll sprout legs and start running all over the place. The cat is enough trouble by itself, I have no need for paper pets.

As far as I’m concerned, Wednesday January 2nd would be good, as would Thursday 3rd (and even Friday 4th).

What about you?

Update, Dec. 26th: Date is officially Jan. 2nd, and the event has been rechristened WoWiPAD (much more pronounceable) — thanks to Greg for the suggestion.

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Posted in Being the boss | Tagged Announcements, collaboration, Consulting, Coworking, Events, freelance, freelancing, General, Practical, website pro day, wowipad, wpd, wwpad | 6 Comments