Tagged With interruption management

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US-centric: Next time you miss a call from an unknown number, check if it's a telemarketer on the CallerComplaints web site. CallerComplaints maintains a user-submitted database of telemarketer phone numbers and even rounds up the worst offenders. Registering with the Do Not Call list is your best defence against unsolicited calls, but for those telemarketers still pushing through, CallerComplaints could come in handy.

AU - in Australia the relevant bodies are the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman which oversees telcos/ISPs and the Do Not Call Register

CallerComplaints

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If email's got you sidetracked more often than you'd like and taking up hours you should be spending getting real work done, it's time to take charge. The NY Times offers up a Q&A about email management and our ability to multitask. Interestingly, email can stimulate creativity, to a point:

Adam Cox, a clinical psychologist whose work focuses on the effects of multitasking and interruptions, said that when we receive work-related email messages, they often stimulate the prefrontal cortex of the brain, our creative center, and make us better at problem solving.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Constant phone interruptions can break up even the most dedicated workflow. However, you can solve this by setting aside a specific time each day to return and make your calls. Productivity blogger John Cox has more:

Folks will leave you messages. Return those messages at a set time. Try to say between 10AM and 11AM in the morning and 2PM and 3PM in the afternoon is the time that I call people back. Not before, not after. I suppose there could always be exceptions to the rule due to emergencies, but to be honest with you, I haven't had to make the exception. The only reason that folks expect an immediate return call is because we train them into that behavior.

I've had to do this since I started working exclusively from home, and it's cut my distractions down pretty drastically. If you've set aside a specific phone time, please share in the comments how this is working (or not working) for you.

7 Habits

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US-centric: If you want to block your cell phone number from showing up on other phones (for whatever reason), you can do it temporarily simply by dialing *67 before the number you're calling. According to tech how-to site How To Do Things, you won't have any way to tell this is working (it does), but if you want to reassure yourself just call another phone number that has caller ID to double-check that your number, indeed, is blocked. AU - To block your number being call-ID'd in Australia, I believe you need to dial 1831 before the number.

How To Block Your Cell Phone Number

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Your vacuum cleaner doesn't need much to keep it going, but if you want to keep it around for as long as humanly possible, you'll want to read wikiHow's detailed list of tips for maintenance. Keeping the various removable parts clean as well as replacing parts before they break is a biggie, as well as dumping the filters/bags/bins periodically. Your vacuum is definitely not the most sexy of the household appliances, but you might as well keep it running at top speed.

How to Maintain a Vacuum Cleaner

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You may not be a troublemaker, or someone who raises hell in the workplace. But sometimes trouble has a way of finding even the best employee. Workplace miscommunication and conflict can add stress to every day and make your life miserable. But there's an easy way to protect yourself from accusations, blame and disrespect at the office: by keeping great notes.

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Anyone with hard water in their community can relate to the problem of some pretty impregnable stains. Cool Tools has a nifty solution for this:

I used to scrub fruitlessly at toilet bowl rings until one day I tried pouring in some white vinegar (maybe a cup or two) and leaving it overnight. Everything came off in about a minute after that.

The tip goes on to add that if you're in a hurry, you can leave the vinegar in there for as little as twenty minutes; I've gotten this to work on showers and sinks as well.

Tips 23

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One of the most common ways to guard yourself against credit card misuse is to sign the back of your card, so that merchants can check the signature on your card with that on your ID. Right? Well, maybe not. According to financial blog The Tao of Making Money, the best practice is not to sign it.

Here's our official advice on signing the strip on the back: Don't sign it. It's useless as a deterrent, as anyone who takes your card then has a sample of your signature which they can not only use on any charge slip, but on your cheques as well. However, do not leave the white strip blank. In that space, write: "Ask For Picture ID," and be prepared to back that up someday when you're in a hurry and the clerk wants to see a driver's licence as well as the card. It makes the charge transaction a little longer, but a lot safer.

I've been doing this for years and while it's not a perfect solution, it certainly is better than nothing. Let's hear your thoughts on this: signing, or not signing? You know what to do.

Sign The Back Of Your Credit Cards - Useless Fraud Prevention Advice?

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Wired magazine profiles productivity guru David Allen and offers a good summary of his Getting Things Done system, its history, and some great quotes from The David. First, for folks who say GTD is too complex:

realises that his system can be difficult and that he's often accused of going overboard with elaborate schemes. He responds with a shrug. "Look, the workings of an automatic transmission are more complicated than a manual transmission," he says. "To simplify a complex event, you need a complex system."

The people willing to take on that complex system? They're the ones who know they need help and are trying to improve.