Clean Slate

When I was setting up my iPhone 11 Pro, I decided to set it up as a new phone. I wanted to install only the apps I needed. I wanted to remove the cruft and stuff I thought I needed. I do it every year I get a new iPhone, and it’s always satisfying to see a significant percentage less of crap on my phone than the previous one.

This is what caused me to completely wipe out my entire task management system, notes system, read later system, and even caused me to reset my Mac to factory settings. I did a complete reset on how I manage my life and work, and I have some thoughts.

Why I did this

I got to this point because of jumping between task managers as if it was my job. One week I would be in Omnifocus, the next Todoist, and then I would try out Things 3, and often repeat the cycle. Each time I made a switch to another task manager that meant moving all of my tasks over to the next app. I never called for task bankruptcy, I mearly just switched banks.

The iPhone set-up wasn’t the only reason I did this. That said, seeing me do it on my iPhone and the feeling I got from that is what drove me into action.

The main reason I did this was because I had a lot of cruft, crumbs, leftovers, or whatever synonym for undesirable crap you want to call it. I had physical notebooks, lists in Reminders, Bear, and Drafts for my notes. I also had tasks in Omnifocus 3, Things 3, and Todoist. It was a schmorgesborg of tasks, ideas, and thoughts that had no semblance or organization to it. I wanted to finally just declare bankruptcy, nuke everything and pave a new way for me to organize my life.

What I Want to Accomplish

When it comes to making this decision, it shouldn’t be made lightly. In fact, it rarely should be made at all. I am almost positive I missed a very important thing in one of my task managers that will eventually come back to haunt me. That said, I have already bulldozed my past tasks and notes and am now starting anew.

So here is my list of goals and accomplishments I want to hit in this experiment.

  • Have a clear idea of where my tasks, ideas, and notes will start (capture)
  • Have a clear system in place to process, clarify, and organize my tasks/notes/ideas.
  • Have a simple, easy to understand organizational system in place for all the tasks.
  • Know when to put events into a calendar and what app of choice to use.
  • Define and Setup a reading list system that works.
  • Create a habit to keep my finger on the pulse of my tasks throughout the day.
  • Maintain a weekly review that has a meaningful impact on my life.

My Plan

In order to make this happen I need to plan things out. For me, I know that the thing I need most right now is a task manager. I need to capture everything happening in my life and then process them accordingly.

When it came to picking a task manager I wanted something that would be easy for me to use day-to-day. I also wanted something simple enough to handle but robust enough to grow with. Because of that I chose Todoist. I am not saying that Todoist is going to be the reason I get my life together, it is nearly the material of my canvas I will be painting on. Pick an app that works best for you. Up next is calendar.

For my calendaring app I chose Fantastical 2, which to me was an easy choice as I have been a user of that app on both Mac and iOS for some time now. The bigger decision for me was whether to use Google or iCloud for the calendar service. For me, I decided that if I am going to use Todoist, I may as well use Google Calendar so if I just have a web browser I can get access to my main tasks and calendar no matter what.

Any app usually is fine on a Mac when it comes to calendars, but the tricky thing about Calendars is the system. I know I need to make a list of calendars and figure out my plans for this. So my calendar is also being scrapped as well.

The Timeline

I don’t like timelines, or deadlines, or anything telling me to get something done by a certain time. That said, I know that there should be a sense of urgency when it comes to getting a task manager setup. So for that I plan to get this setup and at least have a skeleton setup by November 11th. That gives me 4 weeks to get things together and work out some of the finer things as well.

I plan to keep posting about this as I progress but expect a much more involved post shortly after this deadline I set myself.

Newseum is Closing

Newseum:

After more than 11 years and nearly 10 million visitors, the Newseum will close on Dec. 31, 2019. Thank you to everyone who has visited, especially the members, donors and Founding Partners whose support made it all possible.

We know visitors love the Newseum (don’t take our word for it; read the TripAdvisor reviews for yourself), but it has struggled financially for a number of years and continuing to operate in our current location has proven unsustainable. In January 2019, we announced an agreement to sell the Newseum building on historic Pennsylvania Avenue to Johns Hopkins University, a premier academic institution, which will use the facility for its D.C.-based graduate programs.

The Freedom Forum, creator and primary funder of the Newseum, remains committed to continuing its mission to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press. These educational efforts are needed now more than ever and that critical work will continue online and through public programs in Washington, D.C., and around the country.

Teta Alim and Melissa Howell at WTOP:

The Newseum near the National Mall is closing its doors at the end of the year, the museum announced Tuesday.

The closure comes after more than 11 years and nearly 10 million visitors. The Newseum said in a statement that due to yearslong financial issues, continuing to operate at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. Northwest “has proven unsustainable.”

[…]

The museum’s creator and primary funder, The Freedom Forum, “remains committed to continuing its mission to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press,” museum officials said in the statement.

“These educational efforts are needed now more than ever and that critical work will continue online and through public programs in Washington, D.C., and around the country.”

I can’t help but find this very metaphorical of our country today in regards to how short-term many think with the past.

BBEdit 13: It Sucks a Little

Bicycle for Your Mind:

BBEdit is the pre-eminent text editor on macOS. I have owned a registered version of the product since version 5. It is one of those instant updates for me. I hear about a new release and I instantly update. I did the same thing on this version. I won’t ever again.

There are some very solid points in this post.

As someone who was considering buying BBEdit and trying it out, these points of frustration were the catalyst for me to decide not to.

The Toolbox Fallacy

I have been thinking a lot about this video and just how true it rings for me and many other creators.

If I had (x) then I could do (y). That is a mantra I have said to myself for years over many different things. Thoughts like “If I had a camera I could take good photos” or “if I had more time I could write more.” These are all fallacies, and for some I have proof.

For instance, because of the wonderful Timing App I can look intro great detail how I use my time. Here’s how I spent my time on Monday September 16th, 2019.

As you can see, I spent a ton of time just watching YouTube videos instead of something productive. Like reading articles or writing, or doing literally anything productive.

If you watch YouTube as a means of entertainment and enjoy it that’s great. For me though it is a way to procrastinate and put off the important yet scary things. For me it’s writing. Every time I prepare to write I still get butterflies in my stomach. I get afraid that what I have to say isn’t good enough, even though I haven’t said anything at all yet.

In order for me to combat this I needed to make the time to sit down and write. It’s still something I am working on but I try every morning to write for at least 30 minutes. Some days that works and on other days it isn’t possible for me to do that. But instead of just making up things I “need” I took a look at this time tracking data and really took it in. I added YouTube to my list of blocked domains. Instead, I download the videos I want to watch and only watch them during my lunch break at work. It’s a start, but it eliminates the possibility of diving deep into a YouTube rabbit hole.

One of the things I have done to combat this Toolbox Fallacy was to start this new photo everyday challenge for myself. I decided to make photography something I get back into because it is a lot of fun for me. So I decided to flip my Toolbox Fallacy. Instead of “I just need a good camera, so I can start taking photos” I turn it into an iPhone photography challenge. I turned the limitations on myself into innovation.

In fact, I’ve been having a lot of fun pushing my iPhone to its limits. In fact, I finally got a photo that I am really excited about.

if you find yourself in a “Toolbox Fallacy” look at what you’re saying that you “need” and see if there’s a way for you to turn that limitation into innovation. It might not always work, but for me it has allowed me to turn a barrier into a doorway.