http://www.rescuetime.com - See page 83 of the 4 hours work week book
http://e.ggtimer.com - See page 84 of the 4 hours work week book
LeechBlock (a Firefox extension) to block certain site for set periods. You can specify up to 6 sets of sites to block, with different times and days for each set. You can block sites within fixed time periods (ie between 9am and 5pm), after a time limit (ie, 10 minutes in every hour), or with a combination of time periods and time limit (ie, 10 minutes in every hour between 9am and 5pm). You can also set a password for access to the extension options, just to slow you down in moments of weakness.
Evernote allows you to easily capture information from anywhere using whatever device is at hand, and everything is then searchable. I use it to:
- Take photographs of everything I might want to remember or find later (business cards, handwritten notes, wine label, receipts, white board sessions, etc). Evernote identifies the text in all of these picture automatically so it's all searchable
- I scan all agreements, paper articles, etc. I use the Mac Fujitsu ScanMap miniscanner http://bit.ly/scansnapmac . It scan all of it directly to Evernote in seconds with one button.
- Take snapshot of websites, capturing all text and links, so that I can read them offline when traveling or doing later research.
GrandCentral and YouMail:
In a world where your physical address will change more often than your cell phone number and email, it can be disastrous if your number becomes public or gets in the wrong hands. GrandCentral will give you a number with the area code of your choosing that then forwards to your own phone(s). I now give a GrandCentral number to anyone beside family and close friends. Some of the benefits are:
- Identify any incoming numbers as unwanted, and that caller will then hear a "number not in service" message when attempting to call you.
- Customize your voicemail message to individual callers (spouse, boss, colleague, client, etc) and listen in on messages as they're being left, so you can "pick up" if the message is worth the interruption. Call recording is also an option.
- Use an area code outside of your hometown to prevent people and companies from finding and misusing addresses that you prefer to keep private.
- Establish do-not-disturb hours, when calls are routed directly to voicemail with no ring.
- Have voicemail sent to your cell phone as SMS (text messages).
YouMail, another option, can also transcribe voicemails and send them to your phone as text messages. Getting calls while stuck in a time-wasting meeting? No problem: Respond to voicemails via SMS during the meeting so you're not stuck with returning calls afterward.
The best tool for scheduling a meeting or an event without excessive emailing. Create a poll in 30 seconds with the proposed options and forward a link to everyone invited. Check back in a few hours later and you'll have the best time for the most people.
Let colleagues and clients self-schedule with you based on your availability, which is determined by integration with Outlook or Google Calendar. Embed a "schedule now" button in email messages and you'll never have to tell people when you can make a call or meeting. Let them see what's open and choose.
http://www.xobni.com is a free program for putting Outlook on steriods. It offers many features, but the most relevant to this chapter is its ability to identify hotspots or period of time when you receive the bulk of email from your most important contacts. These hotspots are batching times that will enable you to keep critical contacts smiling even while you reduce checking email to 1 to 3 times per day. It will also populate your contacts automatically by pulling phone numbers, addresses, from separate email buried in the inbox.
Capture thoughts, create to-dos, and set reminders with a simple toll-free phone call. The service transcribes your message (15 to 30 seconds) and email it to whomever you want, including yourself, or to your Google calendar for automatic scheduling. Jott also enables you to post voice message links to Twitter, Facebook, and other services that tend to consume hours if you visit the sites themselves.
Dictate any message up to four minutes and have the transcription email to you within hours. Excellent for brainstorming, and the accuracy is astounding.
http://www.ibiblio.org/fred/freedom is a free application that disables networking on an Apple computer for 1 to 480 minutes (up to 8 hours) at a time. Freedom will free you from the distraction of the Internet, allowing you to focus to get the real work done. Freedom enforces freedom. A reboot is the only method for turning Freedom off before the time limit you've set for yourself. The hassle of rebooting means you're less likely to cheat, and you'll be more productive
Brickwork is a company based in Bangalore, India that provide virtual assistants.
YMII (Your Man In India)