Remember how the celebration of a few Palestinians on 9/11 was flashed around the world to dehumanize them. Why isn’t this video that shows Israelis cheering the death of innocent humanitarian volunteers making the same rounds?
In my wanderings on the web I often come across things that I really appreciate. I found the following article from Lifehacker an excellent and complete resource on Project Lists and wanted to share with my readers. All copyrights etc are held by Lifehacker and the content is provided as is without any alteration.
You’re great at ubiquitous capture, you process your inbox every day, but somewhere between a captured idea and the execution things get gummed up. It’s time to overhaul your project list and how you interact with it.
Whether you’re an adherent of David Allen’s Getting Things Done or any other system that encourages you to capture all the ideas floating around in your head and commit them to paper (or a digital medium), it’s likely you’ve gotten pretty good at the capture side of things. It’s on the other end of the conveyor belt, where the ideas get sorted, categorized, and made useful, that things tend to get murky. In my productivity workflow, the capture side of things has always been the most enjoyable and easiest—all it really takes is a stack of index cards, a pen, and a wandering mind! Even though ubiquitous capture is an awesome habit to have, it has an often overlooked downside. The more ideas or to-dos you increase, the more things you have floating around in your potential workflow. If you don’t effectively deal with those things, you end up with a stagnant pool of ideas and the feeling that you’ll never do anything with all these ideas/tasks/to-dos you’ve captured.
Today we’re going to look at some methods for keeping the back-end of your productivity machine tidy and ensure that you never end up with a stagnant pool of projects weighing you down.
When we first start practicing ubiquitous capture and list keeping we feel empowered. We capture everything we think of: birthdays we would usually forget, errands we’d remember after we’d already sat down at home, great ideas that would have been forgotten by the end of lunch, and hundreds of little actions and ideas that previously just floated through our minds and then away. Getting good at ubiquitous capture is like finding out you have a second memory you never knew about, one impervious to forgetfulness and hardened against calamity. Compared to your past—forgetful!—self you feel like a superhero. Photo by pixelstar.
You capture all these ideas and actions, you do the one-offs—pick up dry cleaning, drop off spare key at neighbor’s before leaving on vacation—and you catalog all the multi-step tasks into projects. This is where things can go terribly wrong for a lot of people, myself included. You keep capturing, you keep adding projects, and pretty soon you’ve got a lake-sized pool of projects in front of you and regrettably "Buy boat for Lake Project trip" is one of the tasks you hadn’t got to yet. We’re going to help you navigate and pare down that monolithic mix of projects, wishes, and good intentions and get your productivity workflow back on track.
Wishful thinking about the abundance of your time and abilities is a side effect of the superhero-like-buzz you get from capturing everything in your environment and feeling on top of the inputs in your life. This leads to the rapid conversion of captured items into new projects. Noticing the deck needs to be repaired leads to you making a note about the deck, which gets processed and turns out to be more than a single step, which in turn leads to a creation of a project surrounding the rehabilitation of your down-and-out deck, which in turn swells your Project List by one more and adds to your general feeling that your Project List might crush you. It’s not that repairing your deck is a bad project to have, but unless you’re coming up on a holiday weekend during which you intend to repair that deck, it’s a project that will linger on your Project List for a long time, whittling away at the confidence you have in your Project List as a guide for what’s really important. Photo by iwanbeijes.
My suggestion: Your Project List is for the present. The only thing that should be on your Project List are things that have an immediate importance to your life and that have current and actionable tasks you can complete. "Graduate School" is a present and immediate project if attending graduate school is part of your career path and you’re currently researching and/or enrolling in graduate schools. It’s not a present or immediate concern if you’ve only thought about it in passing and are considering doing it in the future.
I know what you’re thinking. "Psssh. What obvious advice. Who would put a project they aren’t actively engaged in on their Project List?" You would. Everyone does. Our needs and desires change over time and what was—or at least seemed like it was—an important project a week ago, a month ago, three months ago, is often no longer a matter of importance. If you created a project to repair the deck but you didn’t get around to it before the first snow, that project is effectively grounded for a good half-year. Alternately, you may realize that the repairs the deck needed were entirely cosmetic and financial constraints have made you comfortable sticking with your functional but weathered deck. Photo by Duchesssa.
Get your Project List out right now. It’s time to do some heavy pruning, and these questions will help guide you. Several of the entries below refer to the Someday/Maybe List. We’ll deal with that list separately in the next section.
Is it important? It’s OK to admit that a project was important once but no longer is. Situations and contexts change. Don’t keep a project because you feel like it should be important to you. Keep a project only if it is important to who you actually are and the goals you want to achieve. If you can’t justify a project, just cut it from your Project List with no regrets.
Is it timely? Like with the deck example above, the window of opportunity may have passed. If it will come again next year—gardening, annual charity concert, anything on a rotating schedule—make a note on the calendar at the appropriate time in the future and shelve the project in your Someday/Maybe List. You’ll be reminded of the project again when it matters.
Does the project have at least one, preferably multiple, next actions? If it doesn’t you have two options. If the project passes the important and timely test of the previous two questions then you can either put the project into your Someday/Maybe List for future review and research or you can take a moment to assign the next action required for the project. Be honest with yourself, however; if a project has been sitting in your Project List with no next action assigned to it, there is a high probability you don’t really care about the project and should prune it from your list. Photo by cema.
Be ruthless in your application of these rules. You’ve read this far in the guide because you’ve got a Project List that’s out of control and it makes you uncomfortable. Don’t namby-pamby around with your list. Beat the crap out of it. You started keeping a Project List because you wanted to be organized and you wanted to get things done more efficiently so you could have more free time. You didn’t start keeping a Project List so you could feel like there was never enough time to get it all done. Rip your Project List down to the things that really matter to you.
Using the four rules above you’ll easily hack a bloated Project List down to a streamlined list that showcases the things that matter to you.
If you’ve read it till here, I know you want to read the remainder of the article. SO head over to the original article at Lifehacker How to Maintain a Project List that Doesn’t Crush Your Soul
Masha’Allah, there are many different pockets of people speaking out about this rising tide of insensitivity in advertising. Below is an email from a colleague (her identity is referred to as K.O. for the purpose of this post) about Hiba Magazine’s efforts in rousing people towards this cause. Let’s join hands and do this collectively. The whole is greater than the sum, Insha’Allah.
HIBA Magazine has been doing a "Raise you Voice" section in their magazine for a while now. Their initiative is to write to companies who use distasteful and inappropriate advertising to sell their products.
We are all aware of the alarming increase in obscenity and vulgarity in our media – particularly advertising. Are we not going to do anything about it?
We must wake up from our complacent slumber and raise our voice. Do we have any other choice? Please ask your circle of influence to raise their voice.
A sample email written to Gul Ahmed Textiles is at the end of this message.
May Allah help and guide us all and may He write us among those who stand up for His deen. Ameen
Raise your Voice
For this month’s “Raise your Voice” we are sending the following letters:
1. Omore Icecream: We sent a letter to Engro Foods, complaining about their recent advertisement of Omore. We emphasized that ridiculous dancing does little to advertise ice-cream, but does loads to promote the wrong values. You can send a letter of protest against this advertisement to their ad agency at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. To complain to the parent company, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also complain at the Engro website at:
2. Gul Ahmed Textiles: We sent a letter to Gul Ahmed Textiles to protest against their billboard at Punjab Chowrangi, Clifton (among other places). You can also send in your letters / emails to:
Mr. Huzaifa Essabhai
Gul Ahmed Textile Mills Ltd
H.T/4 Landhi Industrial Area Karachi-75120
Ph: +92-21-111485485 Ext-6536
3. Master Molty Foam: It was brought to our attention that the Master Molty Foam ad is also highly vulgar and distasteful. If you have seen this advertisement, please write to
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to register your protest.
4. Nando’s: Has anyone noticed the alarming frequency with which the Nando’s advertisements and flyers have started to feature the phrase “hot chicks”? We sent them a strong letter of condemnation against this use of phrase.
5. Accessorize: This international brand apparently did not consider local values when it placed a front page advertisement in Metropolitan, Dawn. We sent them an educational letter, requesting them to revamp their advertisements in line with the values of the country, where they are advertising. Do send them this request also,
6. Pepsi Cola International: Huge, glaring billboards of Slice Mango Juice are a torture to the eyes. We are sending them a letter through their website, requesting them to emphasize more on the product than on the model. Interestingly, they wrote back to us, giving us a specific address/phone number to complain on. Here it is now. Please write to them too:
National Bank of Fujairah Bldg.
Khalid Ibn Al Waleed Road
P.O. Box 11330 Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Phone: (971 4) 3971 666
Fax: (971 4) 3972 048
7. Pakola: Last year, we wrote to Pakola Milk commending them on a billboard, which was without a single model. This year, they have re-introduced the billboards, with glaring images of models. We are sending a letter of disappointment to them. You can also get in touch with them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample E-Mail to Gul Ahmed Textile
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 11:43:52 +0600
I am a fan and loyal customer of Gul Ahmed fabrics and products. Your name has been synonymous with good quality and value for money. However, I am disappointed at the current trend in your marketing. The use of female sexuality to sell products is a cheap gimmick – does it really add value to your product? If so, then what value? Is it worth challenging the religious and cultural sensibilities of your customers? And yes, majority of your customers do get outraged by billboards and catalogues selling NOT just lawn but sex. As a woman, I am appalled to see my kind being so unashamedly exploited to sell stuff.
Gul Ahmed has been a business leader of this country for decades. You do not need to jump on the bandwagon of distasteful and morally corrupt advertising campaigns. In fact one expects you to lead the industry with an example of ethical business practices.
You must consider this seriously.
(A concerned citizen and customer of Gul Ahmed)