This article relates to a previous post around becoming more efficient in the way I live my life.
As some of you know I’m working on a pretty big project at the moment that requires a huge time investment. Late last year I set about trying to improve my efficiency to ensure my work / life balance didn’t suffer. Unfortunately as with some big projects, it has to some extent… however, I am determined to refine my workflow and constantly improve in this area. Two of the tools I am using to help my efficiency is the mac based PomodoroApp and the password manager LastPass.
I first heard about this “Pomodoro” thing a few years back from Scott Johnson, a podcaster and fellow geek. At the time I had no need for such a thing and disregarded it as something that didn’t interest me. Fast forward and my project now gives me a different perspective on time and how I need it use it. So I decided to give the PomodoroApp a try.
What is a Pomodoro? From Wikipedia: “The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodori’ (from the Italian word for ‘tomatoes’) separated by short breaks.” The PomodoroApp is just a basic app that times you for 25 minutes (or whatever time you set) and then times a 5 minute break with alarms helping you to remember the time.
Now, I know that everyone works slightly differently and I was pretty sceptical that this time management technique would work for me. But oh my! How wrong I was! I must admit, I don’t use it all the time but when I have a set amount of work to get done in a short amount of time this helps me concentrate, reminds me to take a break and helps keep me on task. The breaks are especially important for me because I find myself working and working without a break, slowly loosing productivity. When I have a five minute break to stretch my legs, make a coffee or talk to the family, it helps me reset my focus for when I sit down for the next 25 minute block.
The downside? Well, sometimes you don’t WANT to work your butt off. At times you want to just methodically get through work and not be stressed about it. For me the Pomodoro Technique is a double edge sword. On one had it helps me get things done (no doubt about it) but on the other it does add to the stress of things if you don’t have a hard deadline to hit. For example I’m NOT using it to write this blog post, however I do when I have a writing deadline due from the publisher.
When Sony had their infamous PSN hacking debacle, I took it as notice to change the way I secured my digital life. I was one of the many who used the same password in multiple sites (and I’m sure many of you still do). Now I wasn’t so bad as to only have a single password for all sites, but I had a number that I rotated.
LastPass is an app that I use to stay efficient, and more importantly, secure. There are arguments both for and against password management apps, which ones a more secure, which ones do things the right way etc. For me the “right” way was just simply to use one and ensure I didn’t have multiple sites / accounts using the same password. LastPass helps me in this area, but it also help me be more efficient too.
The fact that I can have all of my passwords handy in every browser I use both desktop and mobile is a godsend. The auto-logon / fillout feature saves me time and mind power, I don’t think about my passwords, yet they are all complex with over 16 characters (where possible). I can now honestly say that I don’t have a single password that is duplicated on multiple sites.
LastPass, 1Password, whatever you may use, staying secure can be difficult and take time but if you have a system set up it’s just as convenient as using a single password for every account.