What Systems Keep You Effective?, (Sat, Jun 9th)

What Systems Keep You Effective?, (Sat, Jun 9th):

Previously I discussed What’s On Your Not To Do List as a means to remain focused on priorities. I never fear running out of work in cybersecurity. Instead, I worry that our focus does not always stay on the most critical issues. Today I want to highlight several techniques I use to help remain effective.

Saying no

    Over and over again

    No can be a complete sentence

    Opportunity cost associated with time spent on other items

Calendar Margin

    Create space for unexpected tasks

    Make appointments for what matters most    

Goal tracking system

    As an achiever, I enjoy checking items off my “to do” list

    Evernote as a repository to hold ideas for future research

    Keep from cluttering up my brain

A physical planner

    Found tremendous value in weekly reviews

    Focus on what I accomplished

    And what needs even more focus

Each of these tactics serves to help keep me focused on what matters most. What hacks do you use to stay effective throughout your busy day? Let us know in the comments section!


Russell Eubanks

ISC Handler

SANS Instructor


(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

(Via SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green)

Other than the use of Evernote (I of course use Emacs & Org mode), I do or intend to do all of this listed here. I like the “Calendar Margin” as something I am accidentally doing and could probably improve. 

Agenda for iOS & macOS seems very Orgmode like in approach

Agenda for iOS Review

Agenda … is one of the most interesting note-taking apps I’ve used. The app is simultaneously structured around projects, like a task manager, and dates, like a calendar app.

What makes Agenda a little bewildering at first is its use of dates and projects, which sometimes makes it feel like a calendar app and other times like a task manager, even though it’s neither. The app doesn’t try to force you into a predefined system. Instead, Agenda gives you multiple ways to organize and view your notes through tagging, filtering, sorting, and searching. The upside is flexibility that should accommodate almost anyone’s workflow. The downside is that it can take time and experimentation to discover how it can work for you.

(Via Mac Stories)

The parallels with Orgmode are, at least to me, obvious and surprising in a good way. I played with Agenda on iOS. The metaphor was a visual analog to how I use (or, more correctly, strive to use) Orgmode for Getting Shit Done.

Hmmm … I wonder how long until there’s a way to integrate the two …

You Need a Reset Day

You Need a Reset Day:

What Is a Reset Day?

Despite one’s best intentions in turning over a new leaf, life happens. Forging new habits isn’t easy, while slowly moving away from them is. The best way to deal with that drift is to get re-aligned before you’ve gotten too far off track — to constantly make little course corrections as you continue towards your goal.

But sometimes, one bad week leads to another, and things flat out unravel. You just get totally off track with the path you want to be on. In such a case, tinkering around the edges doesn’t work. The momentum of your off-kilter current is too strong, your schedule just too busy, to fully get back in a good headspace. You need an uninterrupted stretch, a solid block of time in which you can clear the decks – all of them.

Enter the reset day.

(Via The Art of Manliness)

I do a Reset Day every so now and again. More accurately I try to do one. Often I end up down a rabbit hole focused on one particular thing, say on a brain dump or improving workflows, get overwhelmed, and stop.

The idea of scheduling the Reset Day, placing a timer on what is done (or not). I can always return to the item later and if I’m in a positive flow I can allow myself some leeway.

I can see planning for the next Reset Day, making a tag in my universal capture for notes & tasks, and then using them to set up the day.

I would make a few changes. First, I would do it away from home to minimize distractions. Second, I would disconnect from the Internet for the day except for maybe the Experimental Browser on my Kindle Paperwhite. Third, I would replace house cleaning in Hour 1 with something else I can do away from home to kick start the process like do some file purging & organizing.

How would you do something like this?