Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Good economy, bad economy

A penny earned is also a penny earned, Ben!

A penny earned is also a penny earned, Ben!

    Call me a spendthrift, but I’ve noticed a disturbing tendency in these uncertain economic times, as otherwise savvy business people focus on measly economizing steps of dubious value. See whether you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios:

     

  • Do you live with chaos caused by bags of un-filed paper, because your rusted, second-hand filing cabinets are too hard to open and the supporting rails keep breaking?
  • Do you fret over wasting a half page of printed labels, preferring a process that will use a lot more of your time but save the stationery?
  • Have you spent 10 minutes looking for the “Harris Account” file, then realized at last that it was there all the time? You had reused a file folder by putting an adhesive label over the old label on the tab. When the adhesive on the “Harris Account” label gave out and the label fell off (which will happen over time), it appeared that the “Harris Account” file contained “2002 Travel Receipts”.

It’s not that I don’t like to save money, paper, and other resources; who doesn’t? Nothing makes me happier than finding ways to re-purpose what my clients already have so they get all the benefits without any additional expense.

But the rule of thrift cannot be absolute. It needs counter-weights.

Anything you use every day should be in excellent condition. Putting up with rickety tools that don’t work well is like trying to walk miles a day with a stone in your shoe: it will slow your progress and make the journey agonizing.

Any process you adopt should yield more benefit than the time it requires. Do not squander your time on low-value activities.

Ben Franklin wrote, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Keep in mind the difference between genuine thrift and foolish economy. A penny earned is also a penny earned.

Money spent to help you work better and smarter is always good economics.

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Offsite data backup revisited (Mac version)

Recently I wrote about the devastating loss that can occur if business data isn’t backed up, and I shared ways to back up both onsite (for ease of retrieval) and offsite (in case the onsite backup is stolen or destroyed).

Courtesy of The Unofficial Apple Weblog comes this notice:

“There’s a new kid on the block with a different approach to offsite backup — Time Warp. This US$25 Mac application (free during the beta period) takes your Time Machine backups, compresses and encrypts them…, and then uploads them to your personal Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) account.”

Pricing for Time Warp is different than other popular offsite services such as Carbonite and Mozy, which charge an annual fee. Time Warp charges for the application and by the amount of data stored. The blog author claims that pricing is comparable to the other offsite services, but check the comments section for useful insights — your mileage may vary.

If you are a Mac user who already relies on Time Machine for your onsite backups, consider Time Warp as a solution to your offsite backup.

Getting it done without deadlines

There is a certain category of tasks that languish on our lists because they lack a firm deadline. Catching up with filing is one example; everything with a deadline can come before filing. Writing a book or developing a new product can be another example unless you have a publisher and a contract, in which case you’ve got a deadline with teeth.

HPIM0081To effectively follow through on these types of tasks, create a meaningful deadline for yourself. To keep up with filing, schedule a regular meeting in your office. Knowing that respected colleagues are coming creates the incentive to spruce up your space, dealing with  whatever paper piles have accumulated since you last filed. (Of course, schedule 30 minutes to file before they arrive. Merely applogizing for the mess is not allowed!)

Announce your book or other project plans to the world. Add a line to your email signature that says, “Coming, November 2009: 25 Ways to Get It Done Now, a new book by (your name here)” By making your intention public, you have created a deadline where none existed naturally.

If you need help to reach your goal, arrange for accountability with a partner or coach.

Do you have plans that are going nowhere for lack of a deadline? Declare your intention and your deadline here.

Happy Independence Day!

A quote for the day:

Declaration of Independence Signatures

I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth. — John Adams

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