My broken computer monitor is one of “Life’s Random Inputs” that can discombobulate the most organized professional. I felt bereft without my desktop computer. Most of the tasks on my project list required a full-size monitor.
I devoted the rest of the day and the following morning to troubleshooting my desktop computer. After a lengthy call to tech support and two trips to the Apple genius bar, it turns out that my desktop computer is fine, but my 23-inch HD cinema display needed to be shipped to the repair depot.
What do people do when they have a high-priority project but lack the resources and tools to engage in it productively?
The first step is to assign meta-data to your actions and pre-defined tasks. I skipped this step because 90 percent of my work occurs in a single context: in my office at my desktop computer with a five-hour block of uninterrupted time.
Context. Time Frame. Energy Level.
If you find yourself bereft of an essential piece of equipment, what work-related actions can you do where you are with the tools and resources you have?
Because of the meta-data I added to my action lists, I was productive while awaiting my turn at the Apple store with my broken monitor. Here’s my list with the action highlighted:
Brainstorm ideas for the project on my iPad. Flesh out the details.
You probably have a rich store of anecdotes from your own experience with computers…
- Read background material on my iPhone. I bookmarked these using Instapaper, a bookmarklet that stores hyperlinks, and provides one-click links to online articles.
- Reschedule work. I keep my next-action list on my calendar on the Mobile Me servers. This list of pre-defined work is always current. I routinely sync my calendar, email, notes, address book and bookmarks to the MobileMe servers. When I open my calendar, address book, or web browser on my other devices, the new information downloads automatically.
- Download and process email on my iPad using my wireless keyboard.