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Video of the Week #024

Given my renewed focus on the writing process, I’ve started devouring more material on the subject. YT videos, books, blog posts, articles, etc… are all a part of the process of getting into the mindset of creating fiction and blogging. In this VotW, writer Chris Fox discusses how he improves his focus in order to get more writing done. If you know of any other videos on the subject, feel free to share in the comments section.


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Course Review: Google Drive Essential Training

Teacher: Jess Stratton
Length: 1h 30m (course link)

In this course, Jess Stratton gives students a solid grounding in the features of Google Drive. Google Drive is the cloud storage solution offered by Google and also hooks into a range of other Google products including Google Docs. The paid and unpaid versions are used by millions of people around the globe but it is just one of the numerous storage solutions around today.

To begin, the course is a compact yet powerful ninety minutes long. I say “powerful” because Jess Stratton covers a lot of material during that time. As with all of her videos, complexity is built over time in order to make the material accessible to beginners and up. This gives a great foundation and covers features that even the veteran user might not have used before.
Next, we see how easily Google Drive connects with other Google products including Google Docs. In the case of Google Docs, there is some mild crossover but I would recommend that you check out her course Google Docs Essential Training if you want to learn more. The course also continually points out the similarity in interface across all of the Google range of products.

In conclusion, this is course is a must if you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of Google Drive. If you are also looking for courses on other Google products, I highly recommend that you check out Jess’s other courses over at LYNDA.

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Course Review: Improving Your Focus

Teacher: Dave Crenshaw
Length: 53m (course link)

Improving Your Focus is the fourth and final course in the Improve Your Organizational Skills learning pathway. It is a chopped down version of Dave Crenshaw’s Time Management Fundamentals but also touches on personal growth.
Given the huge crossover in the two courses, folks might prefer to enrol solely in Time Management Fundamentals. However, it is a decent overview of the material covered in Time Management Fundamentals later on down the track. You could, however, use it as an introduction to the subject matter.

In conclusion, this course is a great introduction to the subject matter but you’ll see more of the concepts explained in greater detail in Time Management Fundamentals. It could, however, be used as an abridged version of the longer course later down the track should you get a bit rusty. I recommend this course to anyone looking for an introduction of the material or a quick revision of the longer course.

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Course Review: Managing To-do Lists

Teacher: Suzanna Kaye
Length: 43m (course link)

In this third course in the Improve Your Organizational Skills learning pathway, Suzanna Kaye offers some great tips and advice regarding how to organise your life better using to-do lists. She covers both paper and digital systems, including online and software-based offerings. This is all brought together in a fast-paced but manageable forty-three minutes.

I was mildly familiar with some to-do list apps going into this course, but it seems that there is a wide variety of both paper and digital systems available. The idea of breaking larger tasks into small steps is not a new concept. However, many of us fall back into poor habits that often lead to decreased productivity and effectiveness in achieving our goals. This is why building in the habit of maintaining and applying a to-do list is so important.
This course helps with deciding which system to use. Suzanna discusses numerous paper systems in some detail, allowing us an overview of what we need to begin. This might be a journal or ring binder that uses index cards. It is likely the most expensive system as well. We then get an overview of several apps on Apple and Android devices as well as online options. The focus is on apps that sync over multiple devices as this reduces the chance of having all of those tasks destroyed in the event that a mishap occurs. I ended up installing one of the suggested apps on my Windows 10 PC.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this course to anyone looking to organise their life more. If you anything close to my level of chaos, it will likely lead to a few decisions on your part. In any case, you are likely to learn something of value in this course.

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Course Review: Time Management Fundamentals

Teacher: Dave Crenshaw
Length: 2h 51m (course link)

I decided to enrol in the learning path Improve Your Organizational Skills because I am not the most organised person. Sure, I’ve done courses and read books on the subject in the past, but they never really stuck. I also tend to adopt habits of those that I live with. These habits work for them but don’t work for me. I hoped to learn at least a couple useful methods for addressing my shoddy organisation habits going in but I prepared for a non-event.

Time Management Fundamentals is the first course in the path and addresses three areas: Space, Mind and Time. From the beginning, Dave Crenshaw considers how we can reduce switch-tasking. Dave Crenshaw considers how we can reduce switch-tasking. You might have an idea of the inherent problems in switch-tasking already. For those that don’t, let’s just say that it isn’t an efficient way to finish your tasks.
I was a little sceptical initially but over time, the methods made a lot of sense. Within the day, I was able to implement many of the suggestions. I still have a way to go, but uncluttering your life goes a long way towards helping free up time that can be used for other things. I still have a bit of work in the email uncluttering department but I feel like I am in a lot better place than where I was before I did the course. To say that I got something out of this course is an understatement. I was able to implement many of the methods discussed immediately. This is where a lot of other books and courses on the subject fail miserably.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this course to anyone looking to make better use of their workspace and time. You can get a bit more of your sanity back in the process as well because you are less likely to rummage and forget things. If this appeals to you, give the course a run and try to implement the methods discussed.