Managing email overload

A blog post from a few months back provides some great sense around managing email overload.

Here it is, in three sentences.

Step 1. Move all your action items out of the inbox, and onto a todo list. (The inbox was never designed to manage todos, which need dates, priority ranking, categories, and the ability to edit the text inside. No email program allows all of this.)

Step 2. Archive (or delete) everything else from the inbox. You can always search for anything you need to retrieve.

Step 3. Work from your todo list, not the inbox. After steps 1 and 2 the inbox will be totally empty, so this will be easy to do.

Aaaand that’s it. Three steps and you have an empty inbox. After the first time, you can accomplish steps 1 and 2 once a day – you might do it in the morning, or last thing in the evening – within a few minutes.

I’m thinking about writing an ebook along these lines: would that be useful?

Kosmopolitan cafe, Hurstville

kosmopolitan cafe, hurstville

Toby’s Estate Coffee. 65A Gloucester Rd, Hurstville. This place – well outside the main shops of Hurstville – has that relaxing lounge room feeling that tends to be absent in the heart of a Westfield.

kosompolitan cafe - seating at the back, Hurstville

The walls are lined with pictures of various famous places and buildings, enough to provide a talking point for a conversation with a new acquaintance. 

Kosmopolitan Cafe, Hurstville

Coffee is well made: ground to order (even the decaf) and the milk-work is quite good. Worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood.

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The pay by the minute, not the coffee, cafe

When I’m visiting a cafe to get some work done, I often feel bad that I’m taking up a table that could be going to someone else. This German cafe has a different approach: it charges by the time spent, not by the coffee consumed: it’s not yet clear if it will catch on.

Customers are charged €0.05 per minute, amounting to €3.00 an hour. When they come in the door, Volkova gives them a wristband with the time marked on it. When they leave they hand it back and their bill is calculated to the minute. The concept of time is turned on its head, with several clocks purposely showing different times. The intention is for people to forget about time and focus on those around them…


movie: the act of killing

When I read the synopsis of The Act of Killing, I wasn’t completely convinced. The title makes it sound like an action film, but it’s not that at all. In 1965-1966 in Indonesia, as part of a military coup, over 1 million people were killed, not just by the military, but by paramilitary and “gangsters”.

Because the extermination of those people accused of being communists was sanctioned by the government, none of the people involved had to go to prison for their crimes. In fact, at one point it’s mentioned that because the events took place over 40 years before, the statute of limitations has expired.

This documentary (the directors cut is around 159mins) goes beyond just interviewing some of the people involved in this, it gives them a chance to represent their killings on film, in whatever way they want. These scenes are interspersed with footage of the making of the scenes, interviews with some of these people, and reaction shots as the people watch the scenes they were in.

That the gangsters seem to have a long history of appreciating cinema makes the film all the more complex. I had the opportunity to hear the director introduce the film: he framed it as a story about evil, and what it means to be human. It’s fascinating to see how people who have been involved in such events justify them.

This movie is going to stay with me for a long time. Here’s the trailer.