Year: 2012

11 Systems to Help Victims of Sandy

[photo: Aly left, aka @alywalansky and Allie aka @dearstormer during Aly’s Park Slope Beauty Bounty stoop sale] It’s 8 a.m., the hour formerly known 9 a.m., and I’m catching a taxi to Target to get blankets, batteries, flashlights. I’m attempting to meet Congregation Beth Elohim‘s  deadline of 10 a.m. – that’s when volunteers are loading up and driving out to the Rockaways, Staten Island, and other coastal spots devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The taxi driver, who seems particularly conversational, asks me what I’m up to today. I tell him that I’m shopping for supplies for folks in the Rockaways. He looks back at me, “I live in the Rockaways…” He says, “Thank you so much… “ “How are you doing?” I ask. “I haven’t been able to work until today. We haven’t seen any of the news. Our house was flooded and…” He doesn’t finish and I don’t want to press him further. I’m not a congregant at Beth Elohim, but it’s only a few blocks away in Park Slope and it’s a very organized, concerted effort. …

When 750 Words Are Enough: A Q&A with Buster Benson (Part 2)

Here’s part II of my interview with Buster Benson. It is more than 750 words, thank you very much. (Here was Part 1)   How did you get started in the habit mapping concept? Does this track back to something you did as a kid? I would write in my journal every single day as a kid. It wasn’t until I graduated from college and learned how to build websites that I got more interested in [habit tracking] though. The first web-related habit I did was back in 2002 or 2003 called Moblogging — these days that’s just called taking photos with your phone. I’d take these 640×480 tiny little pictures but there was no site to really capture the photo so I built a service that would capture tag and add it to my blog. From there I started tracking my mood.  Along with the photo, I would add a +1 or -1 and that got pulled into my “morale-o-meter” which was supposed to check whether I was interacting with things that were uplifting my mood …

Don’t Think, Act: Life According to Buster Benson

As a system-obsessed person, I am in awe of Buster Benson. A man who was once Erik Benson and then Buster McLeod and now Buster Benson. (At least that’s as of today.) He isn’t afraid to test and retest; reinvent and rename. He doesn’t worry about it, he just does it.  And if he can’t figure out how to get it done, he’ll build an app for it. “If I have an idea, I don’t do a to-do list. I just spend a couple hours building it to see if it’s interesting to me or not,” says Benson. The former Amazon.com developer and current CTO and co-founder of Habit Labs, 35.96-year-old Benson creates apps that track “habits” and, ideally, help people tackle their big lifestyle hurdles (diet, exercise, smoking etc) that have them stuck. He estimates that he’s created about 30 of these apps to date, including seasonal food-finder Locavore; the list-making 43Things.com; the health-improving game Health Month; online “morning pages” journal, 750Words; the recently launched Gonna Try; and the burgeoning Budge. His apps are marked by intuitive and …

My System: How to Find a Clean Shirt

Who: My 79-year-old Dad System: “In order to know which of my golf shirts are just pressed, and which have been worn once, I hang the newly cleaned shirts with the hook of the hanger facing away from me; if I’ve worn it once the hook of the hanger faces towards me.” And all your shirts are hanging in the same direction: ”That’s right.” Do you color code too? “Absolutely.”