Take the Red Pill or the Blue Pill .. or both, the Purple Pill

The human mind is very easily distracted from and yes, that was exactly... Whoops!! Sorry, got distracted... Now if any one that reads this wants to claim that they do not get distracted and know how to focus on their task with a strong iron will, need not read this further, instead, please write to us on how do you manage to do that? For the rest of us Humans, read on...

This is the biggest problem faced by many, distractions and procrastination. Publicspace.net has identified this gap and has come up with a solution, they call it "The Productivity Tool for Creative Professionals" and that is how we call it a combination of the red and the Blue Pill (plus the graphic is a purple pill) There are a multitude of apps that help you organise your TODO list, or help you outline your thoughts, or help you use various techniques developed by professionals around the world to achieve productivity and beat distractions. One major source of distraction for me has been the thought of checking my mail and tweets to see what's new. As soon as I see a badge on the icon in the dock, it is time for me to go and have a look, which means I have lost track of the task.

The developers of Vitamin-R have a very simple technique they break up the task into smaller slices of 5-30 minutes, which can be achieved. When you come to think about it, it is a very simple motivational technique, when we complete a task, we feel good and want to reward ourselves so when you break a task into smaller slices and complete one, you feel the sense of accomplishment and can reward yourself with a distraction, that way, you can keep things in motion and focus on tasks and get them out of the way. Where most other apps organise your tasks, this one actually gets you going on achieving them. So, for example, the task in my example would not be to write the complete review (which in a TODO list, would be) the slice would be to gather the features of the app and I would allocate about 15 minutes to it, following which I could reward myself with a break of 5 minutes to check my mail and tweets. Then again another time slice on "Play with the app checking feature #1" for about 5-10 minutes. after which I can take a break and so on... that way, I have got things in motion and have portions of a task out of the way, but if I were to keep looking at the task as write a review, that would be devastating and after sacrificing a few hundred pygmies to the Venus Flytrap on Facebook and winning the Idol, after 4 hours, the task would still be there and nothing would have progressed.

Vitamin-R stays in the menu bar as a rounded icon with a R in it. On clicking, it asks for the Objective that needs to be achieved. The dialog flows on and leads to other related questions and ultimately starts the task with the stipulated time allocated. In the menu bar it displays the amount of time left (a countdown timer) At the end it even tries to gather information like what was the level of concentration, so when the statistics are invoked, they show the level of concentration and focus.

Vitamin-R is wonderful and really helps, the technique is useful, even if you want to try it out with just pen and paper.

Vitamin-R has something called the Now and Later board, so if you are deep within some task, and a client calls, you do not want to take the call but make a note of it, you can pop it on the now and later board. Once you are down with that time slice, you can review the later tasks that could take priority. I used to wonder when there were project management software that had percentages on them as % complete, my question was, how does the person know what % is complete, there is no sub division of that task indicating that this sub-task is 20% of the main task. With Vitamin-R, since you work on the sub-tasks, you can complete the main task without having to bother about the % complete and in a non-linear manner. I guess that's why it is called "The Productivity Tool for Creative Professionals" Engineers would think linear.

I have not experienced the issues related to 10.5.x but one that I faced was it lists all the running apps on the screen, I expected it to Automatically hide these windows and was a bit surprised to still see them on screen. The next time around I had to click the Hide button to hide the apps that I had selected. I am sure that a lot of users would expect automatic action. Then on second thoughts, which app do I want to work on? How would Vitamin-R know that, I might need a combination of a few apps to complete that task, not just one.

There is a wonderful video explaining what Vitamin-R is all about that can be found at http://www.publicspace.net/movies/vitamin/Vitamin-R_WEB.mov

In summary the software is a very productive tool for getting things completed.

Software : Vitamin-R
Version : 1.44 (Mac App store has 1.40)
Publisher : Publicspace.net
Website : http://publicspace.net
Platform : Mac OS X (10.6.x or higher)
Demo : ?? days
Price : $19.95
Mac App Store : http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/vitamin-r/id402438916?mt=12

And we have a copy of Vitamin-R for one lucky winner, all you need to do

1. Follow @whatsin4me
2. Retweet "To win a copy of Vitamin-R, follow @whatsin4me and retweet this message"