TODO Tricks – Procrastinating on something? Do the second and third things instead

I’ve been procrastinating recently, there’s a task that has sat on my todo list for past month or so that just hasn’t gotten progressed. It’s a blocker for that project, just not for some of my other projects. Remembered recently my normal trick with things like that, go do something else useful, something like the second or third todo list item.

Todo hacking – 2 minute tasks, 10+ hour tasks and other tricks

So I’ve been looking more into getting things done, one of the really useful bits of advice found, was to do with 2 minute tasks. The advice itself is very simple, if something is going to take less than 2 minutes do it now/straight away. Really quite easy to do however it in itself is very powerful. We’ve all spent time procrastinating about tasks that in the time we could have done 10 or 100 times over.

I’ve tried extend the 2 minute right away to include stuff that is 10-20 minutes as well, it’s really rather easy to just bash stuff out. Stuff can be as simple as a quick exercise, doing the laundry, having a shower, a quick tidy or replying to emails or messages. In theory this post will take me around 20 minutes, so I’m getting it done now and putting it out there.

Now for the longer tasks the advice is simple break them down. For this I’ve been using trello to break down the task and time scheduling to generally chip away at it.


The old adage of Rome wasn’t built in a day rings true here as well. Stuff like language learning, a coursera course or a project falls into this category. Keep moving in the right direction and you’ll get there in the end.

As a bonus suggestion as well, feel free to drop or down grade the priority on something, i.e. not going to Spain / South America any time soon? Maybe language learning can wait a bit longer.

I try to also find blockers. Blockers are tasks that need to be done before you can proceed to the next stage. If the to do list item is launch a website,  writing the site itself needs to be before it!

Have a good day and boom this post is another task done, another one for the done list, which itself is a handy technique as you can actually look back and realise you’ve done quite a lot 🙂

Become unstoppable.

Playing with brewing

In recent months I have taken up brewing, I have made up six 30 bottle 7 day kits. The whole process input from myself from start to bottled has worked out as under two hours, the process itself takes about 7-10 days.

Time wise:

10 minutes to get the kit going, as it’s basically add the packets and water then walk away.

10 minutes to sterilise buckets.

45 minutes to sterilise bottles ready for bottling, tend to do, rinse and shake off, then soak in sterilising solution (did 3 bottles at a time, moving through bottles) and shake, rinse in a bowl of water and shake then lastly add in some tap water and shake. In theory I could cut this step out if I was to buy bottles, however they are currently £1 per bottle, the other method is to use demijohns which I will probably use in the future.

Bottles ready to go

30 minutes to actually bottle. Really just use the Siphon and boom.

The brew kit:

I picked up all the bits from love brewing, though as far as I can see, it’s pretty much a much of a muchness. The kit I picked up was , which contains every I would need.

kit base 1

kit bits

The wine kits:

I’ve so far picked up 6 kits, started with a wine works one from love brewing, then moved onto wine buddy kits. The wine works one was better quality not needing extra sugar, though was more expensive at £30. Tescos had an offer on the wine buddy kits so got 2 more of those for £10, they changed the offer to make them upto £20 however they had a double voucher value offer, so got another 3 working out as £10 each again.

The wine:

Firstly, all of them are quite drinkable and I’m pleasantly surprised. In the past I was  generally drinking £5 bottles from supermarkets and these compare quite favourably. My personal favourite is between the love brewing kit, the cabernet sauvignon and merlot from wine buddy, though I do prefer red wine!


From left to right, wine works merlot 8 bottles, chardonnnay 15 bottles, cabernet sauvignon 8 bottles, merlot 11 bottles, sauvignon blanc 27 bottles (bottled today) and 22 cabernet sauvignon.

The costs:

£80 in wine kits

£30 in equipment (love brewing did a combo with a kit for £60)

£15 in sugar

All in all made around 195 bottles of wine, so that’s 64p per bottle including set up fees, pretty awesome if you ask me. (n.b. Not included water costs so it’s a bit more). Also now got everything set up, a £10 kit and sugar at £3 works out as 43p per bottle, pretty crazy.

The future:

Going to add another bucket or two to my set up so can have multiple brews on the go and a few demijohns to allow easier bottling. Still having fun with this and will move onto more interesting recipes and probably kits as well over time.

Happy brewing 🙂


“4 hour work week” from 2009


For the past year or so I’ve been averaging just over 4 hours of work per week. I know this because I’ve been using to monitor my the time spent in different applications and tried to keep a split of applications for my proper work and my random other projects.

rescue time work time usage output

What work:

I work as a linux, coding and consulting geek. The standard structure of the way I deal with clients is that they give me a specification and a deadline and then I deliver.

How to:

There’s alot of things you can do to start off down this road. A few that spring to mind; specialise, enjoy your work, have a good setup, have an idea on how you are going to do a bit of work before you start, work remotely, work sharp, buy less crap, take breaks/stock and have/make contacts.


For me the 4hr work week is all about time and personal freedom. Working in this style just gives the ability not to just seat warm for the 8hr shift. The number of hours I saw wasted with people unable to get working in the morning, lagging before and after lunch and towards the end of the day, it’s just such a waste of everyones time.


The stats don’t tell the whole story on this. For starters there’s the thinking time needed to actually fully work out the problem, then the logging method isn’t going to get all the time spent and simply the fact I just enjoy what I do. The 4hr work week isn’t for everyone, however it’s something that works for me and gives a good work life balance.

Have a good day

“It’s not which browser it”s which browsers and how you use them” from 2009


We’ve got so many browsers to choose from, for me, it’s not which one is the best one, it’s how you use them together.

What browsers:

Currently using a combo of, firefox, ie7, ie6, ie5.5, safari and google chrome.

How I’m using them:

Opera – Do most of my morning crap surfing here. Been a fan for a good few years, love the mouse gestures, the solid session save and the quick dial. For my random surfing it suits me perfectly and when I want to do some work, it just gets minimised to the toolbar. For avoiding ads go for a hosts file solution which while not as beautiful a solution as ffs still does the job.

FireFox – My work browser. So many lovely firefox plugins to make web dev just that much easier and also use for google mail which have has my main work contact point.

Google Chrome – Quick browser. Do love the speed and house mates most used, but for it’s speed don’t really use it enough. Currently testing it as my work research browser.

IE7 – Used when in windows for hotmail (as it opens directly from msn, instead of the default browser, *cough*), windows updates and checking that somethings not borked in ie7.

IE6+IE5.5+Safari – Check not broken in that browser.


Find the split keeps me on track, can straight away know where certain stuff is and can keep my surfing from my working.

2 near tasteless nutritious fruit smoothie ingredients

Quite simply these are:


Broccoli is a super food and has a brilliant levels of the Vitamins A,C and K. When you add it to a fruit smoothie, you just can’t taste the broccoli at all, it’s flavour is completely overtaken by the fruit. A nutrition breakdown for it is here.

Chia Seeds

I love putting chia seeds in my smoothies, basically every smooth I make has both chia seeds and broccoli, but why? Chia seeds are just an amazing source of omega 3 and 6, most of the supplement tablets are 1000mg or 1500mg however one tbsp has 2400mg, they also have a nice bit of fibre (42% in 2 tbsps) with good levels of Calcium, Phosphorus and Manganese. A final bonus with the seeds is that in a fruit smoothie you can’t taste them or even really notice them. A nutrition breakdown for it is here.

Happy blending.

Chrome and Gmail encrypted emails sending and recieving guide

This guide is there to help people with the first steps with using email encryption, hopefully will be of use.

First things first, we need to get the basics set up:

1. Install

2. Find the application in tools -> extensions -> then “Mymail-Crypt for Gmail” and click on “options”.  This will bring up a page like below.


3. Next we generate our keys. Go to my keys, generate new private key, this will generate us a private and public key. For pass phrase I recommend going for longer phrases, these are harder to crack. The generation of keys takes around a minute rather than the few seconds the application claims.

4. We can now share our own public key with friends and add in our friends keys.

To send stuff encrpyted:

1. First you need to add in someones public key. The public key one for is here, add it by going to friends keys -> insert public key then copy and pasting in the key text. The key starts with —–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—– , then press submit.

You should have something that looks like this:


2. – I recommend restarting chrome after this step, it seems not to notice new public keys straight away at times.

3. We can now send someone an encrpyted email! To do this go to gmail click on compose, you’ll notice that the plugin has added in 3 options at the bottom right. For now we’ll just use one which is encrypt, as I’ve had problems getting encrypt and sign working on this plugin so far. Now to send encrpyted, write out your message, highlight and click encrpyt.



4. Now click on send. Congratulations, you’ve just sent your first encrpyted email to someone.

To receive encrypted:

1. With your keys created, send your public key to someone you want to communicate securely with. To do this, you click into friends’ keys, then show key by your email address. Copy and paste that key into an email to someone. If you want link them this article and get them to follow the steps above expect tell them to use your key instead of the key, hopefully you should get sent something encrpyted to you soon.


2. Hopefully they will email you back which will look something a lot like:


All you do now, is use your pass phrase you set up earlier in the box under decrypt, click on decrypt.


Congratulations, you have now entered the beautiful world of encrypted email.

Have a great day.

Erowid words t-shirt

words t-shirt

words t-shirt

Will be blogging a bit around the different words on the t-shirt, some fascinating ones and some I don’t understand as yet so should give me the opportunity to learn some new handy words. Always be progressing 🙂



php ides

After years of playing around with Zend Studio, finally moved to netbeans as my main php editor. Seems to do nearly everything Zend does and more. My only issue with it is not really being able to edit files on sftp on the fly. That said it currently has better support compared to Zend for public key logins and currently for me at the moment this is the most important at least for this project.

Time management

Moving my time management to include principles from Stephen Coveys’ book 7 habits.

A version of his weekly planner is available from:

It has an interesting section called “Sharpen the saw,” the saw is you basically.

It breaks these down into 4 sections:

Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service

Seems sensible really, though handy to have the weekly reminders.

Also the other thing this technique does well is the roles part, be it as a family, work, a wish etc.