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Use Everything That Gets Thrown At You

So, life throws mess at you sometimes. My trusty ol' Toshiba kicked the bucket yesterday, which kind of ticked me off. But, I'm a big believer in using everything that gets thrown at you.

I went to the Low Yat IT Center in Kuala Lumpur, which was a nice place with a wide selection. I got a new Toshiba for about ~700 USD: Intel Core i3, 4 GB Ram, 500 GB harddrive, built in webcam/mic, Windows 7, and the rest of the specs are nothing special.

So, now I've got a faster computer with a clean install. My bookmarks are fried from my old computer (that's what forgetting to back things up does), but there's also some value in this. A lot of the things I had I wasn't going to act on again, and I wasn't going to step up and triage them either... it was just clutter.

Well, I'm at Clutter Zero now, which means the decks are cleared. I'll harness this and ideally do more focused and better work over the coming weeks because of it.

I'm a big believer in this - regardless of what happens, find a way to do something valuable with it.

GSD 2 - Retaining Focus

On Imported Blog

Xmonad - Xmonad is a Haskell based window manager for both Linux and Mac(sorry Windows users). It's highly configurable but for me it's lack of features and application bar crap is a real advantage. The application your currently working with takes up the entirety of the screen and you navigate to other applications using keyboard shortcuts. Using this and disabling notifications in your IM/Email/whatever clients forces you to work on the task in front of you. It's very pleasing to use after a while.

Focusatwill - I've been a big fan of using the pomodoro technique and I use focusatwill as an extension to it. Effectively it's a timer that plays music that apparently helps keep you focused. Personally I've found it quite effective. It pushes for 100 minute stints of focused work before taking a break. As a coder I'm a big fan of this. 25 minute pomodoros got really distracting and were a pain to maintain after a while. 100 minutes lets me keep my mind on whatever level of the coding stack I'm currently on for longer periods. Even focusatwill states that it can take 20 minutes to accumulate enough to begin focus. Plus, if you're skeptical there's a free trial period.

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