Round-up: Graduates, Do What You Love

The round-up is coming a little late this week because I spent Thursday at Princeton for the She Roars conference, and Friday and Saturday at the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference in New York. I got some interesting take-aways. For instance, the Wall Street Journal’s social media people have found that when they put a colon before a link in Twitter, people are more likely to click. Go figure! I guess it’s a subtle call to action: Click Here.

I already ran my USA Today column from earlier this week. Last Monday, I made my Fortune.com debut with a piece called Problems With Procrastination? Try Bribery. This piece roped in everything from experiments by the Jamal Poverty Action Lab at MIT to Stickk.com, Groupon and Lot18. Good times.

Over at BNET, I interviewed Echoing Green’s Lara Galinsky for a piece called Graduates: Go Ahead And Do What You Love. The gist is that all careers have ups and downs, so why not choose one you’ll broadly enjoy?

Then I broached the idea of idea files: How Do You Manage Ideas? I’m still looking for the perfect method of keeping track of my ideas and proto-ideas, so that I can conjure them up when my brain is fried (like right now, incidentally).

Finally, a few other shout-outs. Thanks to Sabrina Parsons, the Mommy CEO blogger whose column at Forbes this week mentions 168 Hours.

And in the “interesting reading” category, I’ve been flipping through Carolyn Evans’ Forty Beads. What, you may ask, is “40 Beads?” It’s a method of taking the guessing out of whether a couple will consummate their relationship on any given night. According to the recent book, Spousonomics, the uncertainty consumes a lot of time and energy which could probably be devoted to other things. Like sex. So that’s this week’s time management tip. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Round-up: Graduates, Do What You Love

  1. Re: idea files– I saw someone raving about Evernote recently and so I’ve downloaded it. It’s working well so far. And it’s free, and pretty intuitive, so there’s not much to lose. 🙂 I like that it syncs across both computers and my iPod.

  2. I got a good laugh out of both book suggestions, which I will read:
    Birth control for the married folk — and the post 35-year old married woman in particular – is kind of a complete disaster in America!
    One of the great untold stories of “modern” America is how many women find themselves accidentally pregnant after 35!
    Only in America. In Europe and China (where incidentally “birth control” is also known as — extremely persuasive — or aka forced sterilization after child 1) — is extremely easy to get and come by and I’d venture that is good for the sex lives of those folks who are probably spending less of their 168 hours worrying about what should be not this big a deal once you are married…

  3. One other thing : that 40 beads thing assumes that married women have to be co-erced into sex which I find a bit sexist — read my birth control comment above. Vasectomy for example might do as much as 40 beads for the sex lives of the working post-35 mom — they are most unpopular among men today even still… what does that say about a woman’s interest in sex I’d like to read some 40 beads on that… 50% of women in china have an iud. try getting an iud in america. nightmare! again let’s write some 40 beads on that.

  4. Re: Idea Files, it would take too much time to try to be consistent about filing all my ideas in the same format, so I use whichever method’s easiest for the format in which I find them or they occur to me.

    For ideas and useful information I find online, I use Delicious bookmarking because it’s stored online (not in your browser on your computer) so I can access it anywhere from any computer, and because you can give each bookmark as many tags as you want, so if you think something might prove useful to several different projects, you can tag it with all of them, instead of having to choose just one to call it and then forgetting which you chose when you try to find it later.

    If you tend to accrue project ideas and information via email correspondence, you can create folders for specific projects within your email account and move all emails relating to those projects into those folders as soon as you’ve read them, rather than having to keep searching for them whenever you need to re-visit them. Your email program’s Search function may or may not be an easier/faster way to find things, depending on how well it works. Mine’s pretty useless for finding messages from people with multiple email addresses, and I certainly don’t notice or remember which address they used to send me a particular message, so I’ve wasted a lot of time trawling my Inbox for messages I know exist but don’t turn up when I do a search–hence the folders.

    Given the choice, I prefer reading on paper to the eyestrain of reading on screens, so in my filing cabinet I keep hanging file folders labeled with project titles, where I file any articles or clippings from newspapers or magazines, xeroxed pages from books, or notes I’ve jotted down on paper relating to each project as I come across them. Feng shui tip: If you hate filing as much as I do, anything you can do to make it less annoying and more pleasant will make you that much more likely to do it (e.g., using file folders in your favorite colors to give you a lift each time you open the drawer, investing in a sturdy steel file cabinet that can stand up to regular use instead of struggling with flimsy plastic containers or cardboard storage boxes). I don’t have any system for weeding through these files, unless I feel like/have time to review what’s already in a particular folder when I add something new to it.

    I also keep files on my computer for individual project ideas and projects-in-process that I can easily add to/expand on as I come across more relevant information and/or get inspired. If it’s a longer-term project I’m simultaneously writing and researching, I make a separate Notes file where I copy and paste information from other sources and my own rough ideas to refer to so the actual text file I’m working on doesn’t get too cluttered and unwieldy and I’m not constantly scrolling down to all my notes stored at the bottom after a hard page, as I’d do with a shorter document. If I have a whole bunch of ideas that are related but still so rough I don’t even know what to call them individually yet (e.g., ideas for future feng shui blog posts), I keep them all together in one file and when I start adding to/developing one of them to the point that it starts to gel and I do know what to call it, then I cut and paste it into its own separate file.

    I also have some computer files that are running lists of things I’m always interested in–like Writing Tips–that I keep adding to sporadically whenever I come across another one I like. I don’t have any system for re-visiting these either, except to re-read whichever old ones happen to catch my eye as I’m adding more.

    For jotting things down on the go, I find electronic devices so annoying and fiddly to use that I would never use them, so I keep track of actual appointments in a tiny, pocket-sized engagement calendar from the MMA (if it were any bigger, I’d never carry it with me) and use my Manhattan Diary as a planner for daily/weekly to-do lists and anything else I want to remember. It’s no bigger than a checkbook (and, incidentally, contains virtually all the NYC information people are forever looking up on their iPhones), so I always carry it with me, and whenever I have a few spare minutes on a train, in line, etc. I flip back through previous weeks to check off what I’ve already done and remind myself of what I haven’t done yet. It’s unlined, so if I don’t have any other paper or my laptop with me, there’s space to note enough of the gist of any brilliant ideas I get to remind me of the rest when I get home.

    1. @Gwen- thanks for all these great tips. I am still trying to figure out the right solution. I have a master notebook for my life, where I keep all sorts of notes and to-do lists, but I don’t necessarily go back and review. And it doesn’t leave my desk because I’m terrified of losing it.

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