Photo by deadrobot
I am an old DOS hack. I have used batch files for years to automate tasks. So when I ran across the article Set Up Instant Working Environments with Batch Files over at LifeHacker, I thought…”Of Course!!!!”
One of the things I suffer from is a terrible tendency to get sidetracked. Some people call it Yak Shaving. I sit down at my computer to check my calendar, and next thing I know, I’ve checked email, read blogs, fiddled with wallpaper, and myriad other things. The batch file concept seems like it will help.
Setting Up My Batch Files
Decide on Routine Tasks
The first thing I did was list the things that I do routinely on the computer. I decided on blogging, maintenance, writing, programming and weekly review.
List What Is Used During the Task
I then listed all the things I did while doing these tasks.
For example, for blogging, I bring up Notestudio (my preferred editor), Zoundry (the program I use to actually post), FireFox pointing at Flickr (for photos), and the files I use to pull reviews and quotes.
Write the Batch File and Test
I then wrote a batch file to launch these programs. I did have to do some research in how to launch things; for example, opening a folder on the hard drive requires the command ‘%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe “foldername”‘. I used basic input/output to ask questions for operations I might not want to perform all the time. The Web is full of information on how to use batch files. Really.
I do have to say that this seems to be limiting my distractedness. Monday evening I got through all of my maintenance tasks quickly and easily, without having to stop and check my to-do list repeatedly to remember what else I needed to do. If it was open, I had to deal with it.