My Windows 8.1 start screen

Windows 8.1 start screen
Windows 8.1 start screen (click to view full size)

I was reading about the anticipated announcement of the next version of Microsoft Windows, which some are speculating may not even be called ‘Windows’.

In the Guardian article Microsoft event will reveal new revitalised Windows 9, Windows 8 got quite a bit of stick for the way it muddled its interface for desktop users.

I have to say that I really like Windows 8 and 8.1. I especially like the new start screen, particularly the way you can customize it to show only those applications you use most, grouped and named how you want them, in four sizes.

Above is a screenshot of my Windows 8.1 start screen. Setting it up like this has meant that I now have very few items pinned to the taskbar (Windows Explorer, eM Client, Todoist, Safe In Cloud, TED notepad, and Google Chrome)…

Windows 8.1 taskbar showing only seven icons.
My minimalist Windows 8.1 taskbar

…and absolutely nothing on the desktop.

My Windows 8.1 desktop showing no icons at all. (Click for full size)
My Windows 8.1 desktop showing no icons at all. (Click for full size)

To the right of that lot I’ve got games: first LEGO games for the children and then a few other things for me (Call of Duty, Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition, Four Winds Mah Jong).

How do you organise yours?

Focus on one thing, not everything

Richard St John's 8 secrets of success on TED
Richard St John’s 8 secrets of success on TED

I spotted an interesting article on Lifehacker last week about the eight most common traits of successful people.

The article references Richard St John’s book The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common that documents what he learned after spending seven years travelling around the world interviewing 500 of the most successful people in all kinds of fields.

You can watch his very short presentation on TED: 8 secrets of success.

He learned that their success was not down to simply being smart, lucky, talented, beautiful, privileged, confident, popularity but rather down to eight traits:

  1. Passion—love what you do.
  2. Work—work really hard.
  3. Focus—focus on one thing, not everything.
  4. Push—keep on pushing yourself.
  5. Ideas—come up with some good ones.
  6. Improve—keep improving yourself and what you do.
  7. Serve—serve others something of value.
  8. Persist—keep on going, because there is no overnight success.

What I find encouraging is the simplicity of this list.

What I find most challenging is number three: focus on one thing, not everything. That’s the one thing that I struggle with most. In the words of Queen, I want it all. I want to develop websites, write books, write music, play guitar, cycle, play mahjong, play chess, read. And that’s all after spending quality time with my family, praying, and going to work.

Perhaps this could be my challenge for the rest of this year: focus on one thing, not everything. Richard St John has a downloadable sheet where you can rate yourself on the 8 traits: Rate your 8 traits (PDF, 173 KB).

Once I get my eyesight back, of course, At the moment focusing isn’t exactly my strong point! In the meantime, I’m going to continue to spend quality time with my three amazing boys, who are definitely my biggest successes to date.