Magazine article Newsweek

Taming To-Dos; A New Book Offers Tech Tips for Working Smarter

Magazine article Newsweek

Taming To-Dos; A New Book Offers Tech Tips for Working Smarter

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Mcginn

It's true-confession time: how many messages are in your in box? How often do you check your e-mail? And just how many items did you check off your to-do list today? For many of us, the answers are "too many," "too often" and "not enough." There has to be a better way--and productivity blogger Gina Trapani is here to help. For the past two years Trapani has edited Lifehacker.com, a Web site owned by Gawker Media that offers advice designed to help people work smarter. This month she joined the blogger-turned-author brigade by publishing "Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tips to Turbocharge Your Day" (Wiley, $24.99 ). The book includes tricks to automatically back up hard drives, optimize to-do lists, construct and remember passwords, filter e-mail and make better use of search engines--just a few of the methods Trapani believes can help desk jockeys cram more into the average workday. "My focus is ... to automate tasks to make things easier, to free up your head to think about important things," she says.

In this quest, she's part of a growing band of efficiency gurus. The movement's godfather is David Allen, who's been giving seminars outlining his time-management philosophy since the 1980s. His 2001 book "Getting Things Done" has sold more than a half-million copies, and today thousands of adherents use his system of file folders, label makers, e-mail subfolders and specially formatted to-do lists to close the "open loops" that he believes cause stress. …

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