The Right Task at the Wrong Time

If you golf, you know that sound. The sound of a club swinging through the air. The sound of a clean strike as the face of an iron connects with the ball. The sound of a ball hanging silently in the air as it decides whether it’s going to come back down.

My 9-iron made that sound. The shot felt right in my hand. It was a beautiful shot, straight towards the pin, and I made it look effortless. A 152-yard par 3, and if this had been my tee shot, I would have been tapping it in for an easy birdie.

The only problem was this was my third shot, and after two lousy shots that run along the ground, I was halfway to the green. What would have been a perfect shot off the tee ended up just as far away on the far side of the green, and now I had to work my way back.

There is an old saying in choirs: the right note at the wrong time is still the wrong note. As I so skillfully demonstrated, the right shot at the wrong time is just as wrong. And working on the right task at the wrong time? Also wrong.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/mavdesign

Five Email Addresses You Should Know

You can capture a lot of information by email.

A hundred years ago, keeping a list of the six most important things you needed to do that day was a revolutionary idea. Then came calendars, diaries, journals, and planners to keep everything in one place. Now, your personal productivity system is a suite of applications and services that work together.

Sometimes, two apps will integrate seamlessly. iOS 8’s share sheets are a huge help here, because you can easily pass information to another app that supports it. Want to clip the selected text to Evernote? Read an article later? Remember to do something later? You’re just a few taps from being done.

Unfortunately, some apps either haven’t been updated to use share sheets, or the app developer wants to keep you in their walled garden. Fortunately, many popular services have an email address you can use to send information to yourself from anywhere you can send an email. If you use any of these services, you should keep these email addresses on hand.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/rvlsoft

Are Imaginary Arguments Making You Miserable?

Stop making up reasons to be unhappy.

Do you ever run through an argument with someone in your head?

I’m not talking about replaying a conversation in your mind to figure out where it took a turn for the worse, and could you have done something different to avoid it. Or coming up with the perfect bon mot after leaving the party. I mean going through a full-blown, heated argument with someone—an argument you’ve never had and probably never will.

Every person I’ve asked has admitted to doing this. We feel silly for doing it. But for some reason, we do it.

And it’s making us miserable.

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Four Apps for Capturing Paper with Your Phone

Never leave information trapped on paper again.

No matter how paperless your personal workflow is, you still have to deal with paper, even if it’s only to scan the incoming mail (though there are services that will do that for you). You need to capture its information and get it into your productivity system.

I used to have four scanners, including a Doxie Go that I carried with me. I used the Doxie to scan receipts, business cards, agendas, take-out menus… It was easier to scan the paper immediately, rather than make sure the paper survived long enough to capture it back at my desk.

It was an indespensible part of my trusted system, but my Doxie hasn’t left the house for months now. Not only has the quality of the camera on my phone been steadily improving, but so has the quality of the scanner apps that are available. Here are four apps that will help you capture paper on the go.

Photo courtesy of ©Shutterstock/Tsyhun

Push Through the Fog

When the going gets tough, the tough keep pushing.

Before Michael Phelps, there was Florence Chadwick.

Chadwick was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. She set the record for the fastest time in each direction. She was also the first woman to swim the Straits of Gibraltar, the Catalina Channel, and the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. (The last two are why you can take a boat across Turkey.)

In 1952, when she made her first attempt at the Catalina Channel, she got within about a mile from the far shore and called it quits. A thick fog had set in, she couldn’t see how close she was to the finish, and didn’t think she could make it.

It’s 26 miles from Catalina Island to the California coast. Imagine running a marathon. With your arms. Immersed in 66° water. The woman was amazing.

Photo courtesy of ©Flickr/mripp (CC BY 2.0)