AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



John VanDyke on Resources for Improving Your Everyday Life

I’m John VanDyke and this post is about work/life balance. It applies to everyone, but to evaluators in particular because we are an inquisitive lot – always seeking out how to do things better, more effectively, more efficiently, with improved outcomes and fewer inputs. This post applies to those who turn that same inquisitive outlook inward. In many ways, it builds on Susan Kistler’s April post on Thinking Evaluatively in Your Everyday Life. Today, I am sharing three resources that focus on helping you improve what you do everyday – from the mundane to the mindboggling.

Rad Resource – Lifehacker: Lifehacker offers “Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done. “ The tips here go from “How Do I Find a Job that Will Let Me Telecommute?” to “How to Close All the Windows in (Pretty Much) Any Mac Application.” My favorites usually come from the “Shortcut of the Day” series which usually comes with short how-to videos, although inexplicably does not provide a new shortcut each day, only at what seems to be irregular intervals. Lifehacker is perhaps 60% tech, 40% everything else. Most of the content comes from a team of writers, and increasingly it could use a good filter, limiting the regurgitation from other sites and focusing more on innovative additions.

Rad Resource – “Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.” That’s a tall order for any site, but this one often succeeds. Recent posts have included “5 Simple Principles for Becoming an Expert” and “7 Little Things That Make Life Effortless.” Most of the content comes from Leo Babauta, author of The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential, in Business and in Life. Zenhabits is about 1% tech, 99% everything else.

Rad Resource – MakeUseOf: MakeUseOf is everything that Zenhabits is not. Where Zenhabits is filled with ideas to nurture your inner monk, MakeUseOf feeds your inner geek. At 99% tech and 1% everything else, MakeUseOf is filled with ideas for new websites, new tools, and new ways of doing things. Recent articles included “How To Find Cheap Airfare Tickets & Save On Your Travel Costs With Bing Price Predictor” and “Read PDFs On The Go: 6 Free PDF Readers for iPad.” The latter article illustrates one of the shortcomings of MakeUseOf – it can be a bit like drinking from a firehose, who needs one PDF reader when you can have six? All for free!  The near-daily emails sent to subscribers include a range of advertised sites, articles, and reviews.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


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