How to get things done

June 10th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

I’ll learn and use anything if it makes me a more efficient person. I’m passionate about things that make me work harder, faster, stronger. Here are my top three things to staying organised and on top of things:

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

1. Buy a moleskin and carry it everywhere.

Write a to-do list for today and for tomorrow. This way, you’ll feel less overwhelmed than if you wrote down everything you could think of, all for one day. Leo Babatua, author of the Power of Less and Zen Habits suggests having a simple text document on your desktop, but that just didn’t work for me, the infinite writing opportunity plagued me with guilt long after a task was ignored. There is a certain satisfaction in taking a black pen and slashing across a task done well.

You feel more productive when you flick through the book and notice all of your things are done.

Tip: I prefer the soft cover moleskin books, so I can fit them into my back pockets and bend it this way and that.
picture-51

Remember the Milk.com

2. Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk (RTM) is an online to-do list. It’s great when someone gives you a task when you’re feeling light-headed, you can file it away, set a due date and then forget about it until you get an email an hour before the task is due. You can email Remember the Milk, which is handy when you want to write something but don’t want to get out of bed as you’re dozing off. I use it for tasks I’m going to forget straight away or late night rambles. I also email it when I don’t have my moleskin around.

GCal

GCal

3. GCal

I used to lug around a big diary everywhere; it had business cards, birthdays, receipts and jewellery somehow attached itself halfway through the year, without fail. Filofax, I loved it so. But I switched about two years ago and even though I am a luddite, gCal is just so easy.

When my best mate and myself shacked up for six months, she could log into GCal and see when we’d be making the weekly trip between Bathurst and Sydney. When making appointments, I can put it into the calendar and my partner is notified that he has a dentist appoint. next Weds.

Planning a trip? Use TripIt (which I highly recommend) and it can sync to your online calendar of choice. Want it to talk to your mac? I use Spanning Sync.

After reading Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Work Week a year ago, I’ve been obsessed with efficiency. What do you use to stay on top of your world?

Children with imaginary friends are better communicators

June 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

A study based in Australia and Britain found that children who have imaginary friends are better communicators, more creative late on in life and can hold a coherent conversation with an adult better than their unimaginative cohorts.

With 65% of kids having an imaginary friend at some point of their childhood, this is great news for the Beatrice Potter in us all.

Having an imaginary person to talk and play with makes you more empathetic later on in life, “They are trying to get into someone else’s role [so] they have a better understanding of someone else’s mindset.” said Dr. Evan Kidd from La Trobe University to the ABC.

An as yet unpublished report claims that these children are more creative and achievement-orientated later on in life. Being a first-born or only child increases your chances of having an imaginary friend, presumably because when you have siblings, you can pull their hair and read their diary instead of creating other similar situations in your head or attributing broken things to the teddy bear.

“”My favourite was a boy with an imaginary wife and an imaginary baby”, he said. “But the wife wasn’t the mother of his child. The mother was a nurse who travelled internationally. When asked where the wife was, the boy replied: ‘I divorced her. She talked too much’.” said Dr. Kidd, the bloke most often quoted for this story, in the U.K Telegraph.

I may be slightly biased in posting these findings, it does work to my advantage. In full disclosure: I was a first born with an imaginary friend, her name was Anika and apparently when we moved from Dubai to Australia, she did not follow.

Michael Leunig

June 5th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

is a creative genius.

He lives on a farm and doesn’t send his children to school. Instead, he teaches them himself and let’s them have adventures with kangaroos, horses and mud. He believes creativity is the way through life and is the strength that tackles problems in the world.

In 1999 he was made an Australian National Living Treasure.

He has wild hair and even wilder eyes. Leunig’s child-like drawings and spot-on observations humble me with every re-read.

At certain parts of his life, he was a factory worker, meat worker and cartoonist for a Melbourne newspaper.

This man is widely successful in Australian newspapers and what’s amazing is the way he’s stuck to his own style and fantasy world as his popularity grew.

Today, I pay homage to Michael Leunig, the only constant thing on my inspiration wall.

© Leunig

© Leunig

© Leunig

© Leunig

© Leunig

© Leunig

Read more about Leunig (In order of awesomeness):

Enough Rope with Andrew Denton

His own site

Curly Flat

The Age interview

People’s Geography

Mint Julep & Hurricane Cocktail

June 5th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

© Tash Jayasinghe

Hurricane cocktail and Mint Julep © Tash Jayasinghe

I just returned from an awesome four day trip to New Orleans. Go there if you have a sliver of a chance. I had a great time, the people are welcoming, the food amazing and culture oozes out of every crack.

And my god, do they drink! It’s not uncommon to stroll from bar to bar with a couple of beers in your hands. They don’t let the morning light stop them either, people are still partying on the streets throughout the day.

I don’t mean to sound like an alcho, but this is one of my top ten places!

If you want a little piece of New Orleans magic, I would recommend a hurricane cocktail and mint julep, in that order.

Hurricane cocktail:

  • 4 ounces (120mls) rum
  • 2 ounces (60mls) passion fruit juice
  • 1 ounce (30ml) orange juice
  • 1 lime, juice squeezed into drink
  • 1 tb sugar syrup (boil equal quantities of sugar and water until it thickens to honey consistency. Let cool then use.)
  • 1 tb grenadine

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail mixer. Pile a long cocktail glass with ice.*

Garnish with a cherry if you feel fancy.

Mint Julep:

  • 3 sprigs fresh mint, washed.
  • 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • a dash of soda water
  • 3 ounces (90mls) whiskey

Put the mint, sugar and a tablespoon of the water into a long glass. Smash this mixture with the back of spoon for 30 seconds. Add ice. Pour in whiskey. Top with soda as needed. Garnish with mint. Serve with a smile.

*A typical American habit is to fill the whole glass with ice and then pour in the drink. Personally, my teeth freeze and it’s far too cold for me, but when in Rome. If you’re the bartender and you don’t want to be busy the whole night, make double the quantities and put half the ice. Simple, effective and fun to watch.

A glimpse of New Orleans

June 3rd, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

© Tash Jayasinghe

© Tash Jayasinghe

The first picture is of a man who quietly sat down and had a beer before joining a jazz band we were watching. Part of his charm was captured in this picture. He put his heart into his song, a story about a man leaving his wife.

Mardi Gra beads were strewn everywhere; tree branches, balconies, lamp posts. On Burbon Street, stubborn women were jiggling their tired boobs for some plastic beads.

Lafayette cemetery was beautiful. The director of the cemetery is the man in dressed in black. He put down his can of booze to give us a tour.

W. found a photography magazine from August 1949 in an antique store. I found a picture of a woman. On the inside was written: “Derek carried this to Liberia in World War I.”

The French Quarter was certainly a sight. We had beingets at Cafe Du Monde, where the red floor was made white from the amount of icing sugar on the floor.

I loved the place.

Five ways to have fun on public transport

June 1st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

I catch public transport all the time, part of the perks of living so close to D.C. Sometimes it can get boring and you can easily zone out, here are five recommendations to make it more enjoyable.

Catching the train during Obama's inauguration. © Tash Jayasinghe

Catching the train during Obama's inauguration. © Tash Jayasinghe

  • Next time you’re catching a bus/train, try to see if you can balance in the middle of the lane. You may look like a bit of a noob, but you’ll get exercise and lots of laughter as you wave your arms to balance yourself. Of course, a bunch of noobs looks better than a lone noobette.
  • Sketch the people around you, write letters, or even better, poetry.
  • Talk to the person next to you. When you’re travelling in another city, you wouldn’t think twice about striking up a conversation with the stranger sitting so close on the same seat. You’d want to know where they’re from, what’s their story and any recommendations. Why should it change when you’re in your own backyard? Of course, if they have that “do not screw with me” air, leave them alone. There are some cranky and crazy people that catch public transport. Expand your experiences but use your judgement.
  • Do multiplication in your head. What? Is she insane? I hear you ask. I try to remember time tables when I’m bored due to two things. Firstly, I suck at math, it’s horrendous. I have an iPhone app to calculate my tip. I still use my fingers when I’m counting. Percentages and subtraction, forget about it.  Secondly, it’s the perfect brain exercise without using any implements. I don’t need sudoku puzzels or nintendo D.S, all I need is a long enough attention span (and sometimes the use of my fingers).
  • Point outside at ordinary buildings until the people near you start to think you have found something amazing that they have not. Acting like a tourist can be a lot more fun than being a local. Double points if you take photos of boring things.
  • Which brings me to; play around with your camera or video camera. This is the time to experiment with slowing down time or taking split second fast shots.

I went to New Orleans this weekend past. It was a wonderful place, the people were warm and friendly and I highly recommend it. I’ll do a post of some highlight photos in the near future.