What is better, working on a lot of recurring tasks throughout the day that keep you busy for hours on end, or finishing a small task that makes a huge difference? Sounds like a stupid question, but I submit to you that most people choose to do the former every day. We tend to believe that feeling busy means that we are making a difference. However, being busy for business sake is really just being lazy - laziness in the form of not looking for what is really going to make a difference in your day, week, month, or year.
You and I need to be leaders! What else can I say? Leadership is the single attribute that will grow your career, help everyone around you, and save the world. Why do I say that? I say it because it's true. Leadership and decision-making is a rare commodity among in the workforce and within the Church. If you don't believe me, why the heck do you think companies pay thousands of dollars per employee to have them go on weekend retreats where they learn team building and fall back into the arms of someone they "trust"? Leadership is powerful, and the driving force behind any successful venture.
With the pro-life battle raging in the U.S. legislature, I thought that it be fitting to look at the life of the most popular pro-life saint (they are all pro-life, obviously) from the 20th century. I venture to say that just about everyone who is Catholic and actually practices their faith knows who St. Gianna is. In short, she was a physician that gave up her life in order for her child to come into the world. The great thing about her that I find most attractive - other than the fact that she was very cosmopolitan and a purveyor of the latest fashions of her day - is that she was a working professional.
The web is full of tools out there that claim to help you to be more productive, and for the most part they are right. The problem is that with all of these applications, it is very easy for all of your tasks, events, and documents to become fragmented. It's hard to resist the urge to try out the latest and greatest web app out there (yes guys, I am looking in your direction) just for the sake of trying it out. Therefore, I thought that I'd give my picks for the top productivity focused web applications of 2009. These are all apps that I use on a daily basis, and you would find me in a fetal position off in the corner if I were ever left without them. I assure you that these are not original or spectacular, but they've allowed me to get things done.
Imagine this: You just finish with one of the busiest days that you've had all month. You studiously write all of your outstanding tasks neatly on lined paper so you won't forget what you need to accomplish tomorrow, then you pack up and head out. The next morning you sit at your desk, pull out your list of action items and. . . instant paralysis.
It is great to write tasks down as soon as you get them, but what happens next? Without a method to determine when or how a task should be fulfilled, it is impossible to reach your full productivity potential.
As most of you probably know, singletasking is the new multitasking. But sometimes it's difficult to remain focused on a single task when you have so many outlets in which others can easily demand your time. Cell phones, Internet access, and even person-to-person contact can distract you from an important project. Darrell Etherington suggests that you can get a whole lot more done on the web by disconnecting yourself from it and other distractions.
Out of all of the saints in the Church, Thomas More is probably the most notable and relate-able saint when it comes to lay people who work. He was a lawyer, philosopher, husband, and father of such astounding character and habit that many are confounded as to how he managed to juggle everything. During his life he was married twice, spent years in a monastery, and reached the highest level of office in England other than the king himself. So how did Sir Thomas More find the time to do and be all of these things?
It amazes me how an institution like the Catholic Church, which dominated art in the west for over 1500 years, seems to be content with websites that look as though they were created for a third grade science project. I apologize for any hurt feelings, but it's the truth. That being the case, I have taken the liberty of giving some ideas on how to remedy the situation in the most cost-effective way possible. Get ready for the tools to help your parish have an extreme website makeover.
I originally planned on sharing a boat load of Linux applications that were designed to make you more productive. However, there are so many, and they are all tailored to specific purposes that I thought it better to spread them out into multiple posts. I have used every application in this post - and in subsequent posts - in one way or another. Hopefully you will use them too. If you don't use Linux, find an old computer and hop on the bandwagon. It's free, so there really isn't an excuse not to.