The iPod is an incredible organizing device! It takes many shelves worth of CDs and condenses them into one tiny gadget, thereby reducing clutter. The iPod (and iTunes) also took away the classic dilemma highlighted in the movie High Fidelity: Should you organize your music collection alphabetically by artist? Or by genre first? Now you can organize it any way you want with a couple of clicks.
Looking at the iPod from an organizer’s point of view, there are some great ways it can help you be more productive too. Here are a few:
Drown out distractions. If you need shelter from the cacophony of the cubicle farm, many already know that headphones are a great way to escape. But even if you work alone as a telecommuter or solopreneur, your iPod can keep you from hearing the dog, the sirens outside, or even the neighbor’s television, allowing more concentration on your work.
Time yourself. A little-known feature of the iPod is the “Sleep Timer,” located in the menu under Extras>Clock>Sleep Timer. This feature sets the iPod to turn itself off after 15, 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes of play time. Obviously, going to sleep with your iPod on is one way to utilize this, but I like using this feature to create breaks and ending times for my projects.
Pace and focus yourself. Among the fantastic organizing capacities of iTunes is the ability to create Playlists… the modern day mix tape. Create and save a mix of music in exactly the order you want, from a variety of different artists if you like, and make it music that energizes you and allows your brain to focus best. For some people this is classical music, and for others this may be heavy metal. I like making up memorable names for my playlists—I have a techno mix that is for intense writing times on deadline, and I call it “TechnoFocus.”
Hands-free reading. I do the majority of my “reading” with audiobooks, listening in the car, while exercising, or while doing mundane chores around the house. Before the iPod, this was cumbersome as a typical book can take as much as 7 CDs. I often am so caught up in listening to the book that I am surprised how much I have accomplished—wow, who cleaned out the refrigerator? Oh, it was me…
The most common question we get about iPods from our clients is, “Should I still keep my CDs now that they are on my hard drive?” It’s relatively easy to sell used CDs, so we think not, but you definitely need to have an excellent backup system to safeguard your collection should your hard drive fail. Some people do have a hard time parting with their beloved liner notes and the physicality of holding their favorite album, and if you do want to keep them, a great space-saving method is to use CD wallets instead of jewel cases.
Here’s a little bonus tip: I love using the Belkin “TuneTie” accessory to take up the extra cord of your headphones. It makes the excess cord much easier to deal with in a handbag or backpack. Go forth and be productive with your new iPod ideas!