A Productivity Journal

A Productivity Journal

(Justin DiRose) #82

Week 27

Since I missed it on Friday, here’s a quick summary of the last week:


  1. Exploring an Album - I committed to a date of release (November 30th). I finished a rough mix. Now I need to go back and make sure my EQ and compression on tracks are set optimally. I also need to buy some better mixing headphones.
  2. Losing weight - I’ve been eating better food every day. Been trying to nail down foods that make me feel full for longer that aren’t so carbohydrate heavy. That’s been a tough one.
  3. Work initiative - on hold as another one got prioritized sooner.


Todoist has been working out pretty well, but I know I’m not leveraging the system in ways that I could. Guys like Francesco D’Alessio are utilizing it way better than I am. At least I have resources to get ideas. I’m not using paper much, as I find I don’t look at it as much throughout the day with a digital repository in place. I still do most of my thought work and ideation on paper, though. Just works better. Assembly and other happens on the computer as it’s so much easier to edit on the go iteratively.

I’m still using Trello to keep track of my active projects, goals and hotspots (areas of focus in life). It’s been nice to have that in a high level visual system. I would probably have this on a whiteboard, but my office space just got limited (moved into my master bedroom).

What didn’t work?

  • I still can’t seem to get myself into thinking about exercising. It’s been difficult to find a spot for it in my routine, as my schedule can be variable due to items I can’t control.
  • My life feels a bit of a disorganized mess right now as my whole life (and house) is in transition.

(Wilson Ng) #83

Is there something in Todoist that you find intriguing? The only thing I can think of is collaboration when sharing lists with others.

I’m surprised you haven’t gotten worn down from hopping between different productivity apps. If I remembered, you were on OmniFocus then switched to a paper system and now you’re on Todoist?

Or is there some kind of magical bullet that you’re trying to find to solve a problem? Sometimes it’s not the app that will solve a problem but a workflow that can address at least 80% of the problem.

Then I can forget about it. I use the weekly review to make sure that my lists are updated to reflect the new weekly reality. Then I can focus and work on the current Big Rock that’s sitting in front of me. I’m confident in the fact that everything else can be kept on the back burner. I’m confident that I can always check my Due perspective to make sure I don’t miss any deadlines (bill payments, promised delivery date for a product/project).

The weekly review is crucial in controlling my disorganized mess.

With the most important things in life such as exercise and weekly review, I schedule an appointment with myself. I don’t let anything else move that appointment. If I have a dentist appointment at 9 am on Monday, I’m gonna make sure that no other emergencies will dissuade me from that 9 am appointment. I have my weekly review time block kept protected and safe from rescheduling. Going to the gym is also an appointment that must be kept.

OmniFocus keeps my available next actions that I can do. But if I really want a particular project or task done, I make an appointment on my calendar and stick to it.

My OmniFocus (or whatever task manager) list is useless until I intentionally schedule a project or group of tasks. I have an Admin hour where I just work on anything in my Admin Actions perspective. I have my Big Rock hour where I intentionally work on one of my Big Rock projects. Or I might dedicate one hour to just one task (tagging and archiving my new photos for the week).

I’m getting better at creating appointments in my calendar and honoring them. This gives me the time to say “I’m gonna work on these tasks at this time. Everybody can bugger off.”

But I do try to make sure the appointments are during times of least traffic. My daily and weekly review are during slow times of the workday. My Deep Work time for Big Rocks are hopefully during slower times. I try to arrange my work environment so that I have cover. I have other people who can take over certain duties and interruptions while i do the Deep Work.

Maybe making sure the calendar works for you would help? Then making sure you update your digital lists via the review workflow would help?

(Justin DiRose) #84

Right now, it’s cross-platform support. I’m Windows at work, Mac at home. I tried the whole “Bring your iPad with to the office” trick for OmniFocus. The mere fact that I had to context switch so much to capture tasks (which included using a different keyboard, disengaging from my current tasks, entering the task on my iPad, and re-engaging with the task at hand) was enough to cause me not to use it. That’s why I tried paper + Trello, but I learned I needed a task list versus a high level overview. I replaced paper with Todoist, and it’s been going pretty well since.

I have some gripes, like how it handles recurring tasks, subtasks, and some display glitches associated with those. Other than that, it has worked better and doesn’t feel hacky.

I do really miss start dates from OF, but I’ve been growing accustomed to using “due dates” in Todoist as more of a schedule than a due date. If I plan to do a task tomorrow, the scheduled date gets set to “tomorrow”. If I don’t get to it, it’s usually no big deal. Hard due items get promoted to the calendar anyway.

It’s really helpful for controlling my mental disorganized mess, but not the physical disorganized mess my house is in due to the state of transition we’re in.

(Justin DiRose) #85

Week 28


  1. Exploring music album - making lots of progress on Mirrors. It will be ready for release on Nov 30th! Next steps are to continue making small tweaks after my monitoring headphones arrive, start promoting it, master it, and release it!
  2. Losing weight - I’ve been halfway there. Eating has been a little off track this week, but not terrible. I’ve started tracking my daily water intake in Strides, which has helped motivate me to drink more.
  3. Launch initiative at work - This will take priority starting after Thanksgiving. We just had a big event happen that required a lot of prep, so most of my time was focused on that.


  • This Week: Body — I feel better when I drink decaf coffee and more water.
  • Next Week: Family — Spending more time together, focused on connecting.

Weekly Wins - Next Week

  1. Learned more about EQ and Compression
  2. Enjoyed Thanksgiving with family
  3. Thrived through being on-call

What Went Well

  1. Using Todoist - It’s at the right level of complexity I need right now. Truly seeing the power of the flexibility of this app. I can leverage more, but do I need to? Not right now.
  2. Starting to use Strides - I’m 1 day into using this habit tracking app. Previous attempts in using these types of apps never worked for me. I’m really liking this one, so I hope I continue to choose to use it.
  3. Using lunch breaks well - I spent two lunch breaks mixing music this week. Seems like an optimal use of my time. It helps that it’s a recharging activity.

What Could Improve

  1. Not overcomplicating my systems - They work for me right now, but seeing how other people use their systems has got me overthinking mine again. I need to solve problems I have, not problems other people have.
  2. Taking smaller steps slower - I tend to want to move fast, especially in regards to my fitness. But I need to learn to take smaller steps first.
  3. More margin in certain areas - I feel pretty good overall, but there are a couple of relational areas in my life that need a little more margin.

(Josh Rensch) #86

Keep going, sir. I am looking forward to listening to the album on Nov 30th. I will listen even if it’s country.

(Wilson Ng) #87

yeah, I used to read a lot of productivity porn. Now that I’ve gotten a firm grasp, my incoming stream has been reduced to some articles from lifehacker. There’s no need to incorporate a workflow if you don’t have a problem to solve. Case in point: I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate Drafts on my iPad. I don’t use Drafts as an inbox like some bloggers like David Sparks does. I just hit Siri and say “remind me to water the garden on Sunday in OmniFocus.” Then it just dumps it right there. I’ve pondered using TextExpander but I don’t type as much as some of the bloggers and writers do. I’m comfortable with Keyboard Maestro or Alfred for shortcut snippets. I’ve pondered buying a license for BetterTouchTool but Keyboard Maestro is more comfortable for me. So I’ve decided to limit my software options in favor of a streamlined workflow model as well.

Ha! This is the thing I can’t stand. I hate all the “Waiting For” items in my OmniFocus list. I gotta wait for my lawyer to follow up on questions I have. Sometimes it’ll take 1-2 weeks before I get a reply. I have several outstanding agenda items with various people but they all have their own schedule. I just wanna get something done but I realized that other people have different priorities over what I think are important. Sigh…

Yeah, use the features that fit your needs. It’s nice to have more features but it’s not always needed. I’m sure that I’m only using 5-10% of what Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint offers. I barely scratch the surface of what Photoshop can do.

I’m currently trying out Todoist and the Ticktick app to see what life looks like under a multiple tags system in OmniFocus 3. I don’t know if I’ll rely heavily on tags so we’ll see what happens. I’m still thinking about keeping the number of tags to a minimum. I just can’t overcomplicate my current OmniFocus workflow.

As I explore Todoist and Ticktick, I’m finding that there’s not really much I need from these other apps. Sharing lists is probably the one big thing that isn’t promised in OmniFocus 3. But I’ve been using Apple Reminders to share simple lists with my wife so I’m not too worried.

I’m just too fatigued from switching tools now to even care. But I will look at other apps just to see if there are ideas that I can grab and try to simulate inside OmniFocus 2.

(Justin DiRose) #88

Awesome :slight_smile:
It’s not country. I’ll tell ya that much.
My long term goal is releasing a song a month for a few months then turning it into an E.P. collection.

(Justin DiRose) #89

Week 30 - It’s Done


  1. Explore music album - Well, I did it! I released one song within 30 days. It’s still processing in all the major distributors, but I’ll post a link as soon as it’s live!
  2. Lose weight - Yeah, nope. Not making progress on this one. Too many things to focus on.
  3. Work Initiative - I finished a different initiative that was prioritized higher by my boss. This one is still on hold


  • Last Time - Family: Spent quite a good amount of time with family all while still being able to accomplish my goals.
  • Next Week - Money: We currently use YNAB for our financial management, but I’ve been running into a number of calculation-related issues. Not good. So my trust is dwindling with this. I’d like to evaluate alternatives. Plus, with the baby coming and new year rolling around, it’s a good idea to run through all this anyway.

Weekly Wins - Next Week

  1. Wrote and Recorded Scratch Tracks for Next Song
  2. Evaluated alternatives to YNAB
  3. Reflected on the year and posted as a blog

What Worked

  1. I’m experimenting using a tablet for writing notes in OneNote at work. It’s working pretty well. It’s no iPad Pro, but it’s helping alleviate wrist strain from typing a lot of notes.
  2. Habit tracking for my water consumption. Using Strides has at the very least been making me aware of what I want to accomplish. Obviously it doesn’t make me do anything, as days like today I’ve lacked the willpower to care. However I am doing what I want to more often, which is the goal right?
  3. Blocking off calendar and sticking to it - Works wonders to get stuff done.

What Didn’t

  1. Travel. I traveled 2 days for work this week after being gone for Thanksgiving and being on-call. I’m shot.
  2. Having no plan. Many areas I want to see improvements but I don’t really have a clear direction forward because I haven’t decided what to do yet. I tend to just go and do, versus setting clear plans. I’ve discovered I don’t plan because I’m afraid to not meet my goal. But I’m giving myself room to fail so this is going to change.
  3. Not having clearly defined checklists. I don’t remember everything. Which is, like, duh.

TickTick looks like a direct copy of Todoist with weird limitations involved. Not sure how I feel about that.

I’m also glad I jumped the OF ship. With OF3 coming out soon, I can’t bear to think of spending another $80 to upgrade. I hope it’s useful improvements, though.

(Justin DiRose) #90

My song is now live on Apple Music and Amazon! I’m also giving it away for free if you wanna sign up for my email newsletter at http://justindirose.com/newsletter.

What a trippy feeling that is!

(Wilson Ng) #91

I think I’ve more than made up for my $80 purchase in OmniFocus. I’ll reserve judgement on OmniFocus 3 when I see the public beta test flights and the final product. If $80 is gonna make my life easier for the next 3-4 years, I’ll gladly spend it.

Yeah, this part is awesome. It’s one thing to have due and flagged items on the computer screen. But if it doesn’t get scheduled as a time block in a calendar, it won’t get done.

(Justin DiRose) #92

Week 31 - It’s coming to the end already (the year, that is!)


  1. Explore music album - I redid some of my website so it now reflects my new ventures. I also started working on the next song - I have it probably 95% the way ready to go from a basics stand point (rhythm, melody, lyrics). I fell a little short in tracking the scratch tracks for it, but that’s ok. Progress is progress!
  2. Lose weight - I researched nutrition this week. I discovered I eat way too many carbs. I’m experimenting with eating more proteins and fats to see how that goes.
  3. Work Initiative - Still in process. Meeting with my boss next week about it.


  • This Week - Money: I reviewed lots of different financial softwares. The closest that comes to our needs is Banktivity. However, I also got ahold of YNAB support. They hooked me up with their new direct import process, so we’ll test that and see if the problem resolves.
  • Next Week - Spiritual: I’ve been feeling really worn down. Most of the time it’s because I don’t give myself time to recharge. So, my focus will be on the spiritual areas of my life, giving myself space to engage and recharge that way.

Weekly Wins - Next Week

  1. Began end of year tasks
  2. Trialed new software for managing any side income
  3. Developed a daily routine (3 items, focused on recovering)

What Worked

  1. Strides - I’m still crushing it with maintaining daily habits in this app. It’s been so helpful simply to maintain awareness. If I’m behind on my targets for the day, I get regular notifications so I stay aware. And that alone has helped me achieve what I want to do.
  2. Taking notes on a tablet - I was testing this out last week and continued very heavily in doing so. OneNote + a Surface Pro 4 is a fantastic note-taking tool. If only it was an iPad Pro! :smiley:
  3. Using Todoist - I’m still finding my stride with this app, but every week it gets better and better for me. I’m glad I switched. I wish all apps were as good of web apps as this.

What Didn’t

  1. Crises - So much of my week was spent responding to crises. This exhausted me, especially piled on top of my busy week last week. Thankfully my weekly review is a retreat of serenity and calm to help me recompose.
  2. Email/IM - I operate so much better when I don’t have a constant stream of input I feel I have to keep on top of at work. But this week was not the star picture of this. Somedays I wish I could shut all these down and check them when I want to.
  3. No Margin - Again, as a result of the crises, I often didn’t have the margin I needed. And I’m not even sure how sometimes to get that. Weekly reviews are usually a safe haven, as well as my son’s nap time on weekends, but not always. I’d love to wake up at 5am and get an hour to myself in the morning, but that’s been very challenging.

I think I did too - but my work setup now is not ideal for it. Maybe someday when I am working fully on a Mac.

(Wilson Ng) #93

Maybe when you find some downtime, you can share some of your workflows with Todoist? I just couldn’t get into it. I’m wondering if there was something I’m missing besides having a web app, a Windows app, and sharing with other Todoist users.

I did like the simpler interface of Todoist. OmniFocus 2 can be a wild stallion that is tough to tame. But once you get the young buck tamed, it can be a great tool. I’m hoping OmniFocus 3 will break a little further away from its OmniOutliner roots.

(Wilson Ng) #94

hmmm… Just looking at Todoist once again after not trying it out for a year. I think OmniFocus’ strict adherence to GTD is complicating it for users who don’t use GTD. I can see how Todoist and Thing’s use of tags makes it easier to digest the idea of contexts.

Reading the Omnigroup blog post, Omnigroup is deciding to replace the current single context metaphor with the tags metaphor commonly found with other task management apps. This should allow for multiple contexts and change the metaphor of how to use OmniFocus.

I think I can use Todoist but I really like the idea of defer dates as well as project status (Active, On Hold, Completed, Dropped). That’s what I’m missing in Todoist.

(Justin DiRose) #95

Week 32


  1. Explore music album - I got the scratch tracks laid down for my next song. Next up is to lay down some drums. :smiley:
  2. Lose weight - I have such since devised a plan where I will be able to go to the gym 2-3 days a week in my schedule. I will be working on implementing it in the next few weeks.
  3. Work Initiative - Still in process. I’ll be keeping this here for the rest of the year.


  • This week: Spiritual - I spent some time this week thinking about how to get some more time to dive into my faith as well as take care of myself. The answer I keep coming back to is getting up early and having a more structured morning routine than chase around my son, get ready, and go to work. I was able to accomplish this once this week, and boy did it help. I felt more relaxed, prepared, and emotionally sound to be able to chase the week.
  • Next week: Spiritual - More of the same. I’ll share further below about the morning routine I’m building out.

Weekly Wins - Next Week

  1. Effectively interviewed candidates for new position opening at work
  2. Broke out steps to implementing new morning routine
  3. Finished all the Christmas shopping

What Worked

  1. Trying out the new morning routine - as I said above, it was refreshing, energizing, and peaceful.
  2. Being clear about what I want, and communicating as such.
  3. Watching the new Star Wars :slight_smile:

What Didn’t

  1. Watching the new Star Wars - I ended up having to go to the 9:30pm showing of the movie last night. I’m pretty tired today, but I think it was worth it?
  2. Not having clear direction for my next song - I found myself wanting to avoid it versus exploring where to go next. I recognize it and will take time to figure it out.
  3. Input - I did some research this week on the strengths themes of Input and Intellection (CliftonStrengths themes for those of you not aware). Both are in my top 5. I need to OUTPUT as well as INPUT. But I default to consuming so much that my brain doesn’t know what to make of it, thus I get fatigued.

Morning Routine

As I stated above, I’m implementing a more robust morning routine. I don’t have all the details figured out yet, but I have the main structure fleshed out. I want to be flexible with this (in a non-lazy way) as I know when I’m very rigid, I tend to stress myself out in doing it.

Here’s my routine plan:

  • Get up around 5-5:30am
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Perform a writing output exercise (looking at a morning pages-esque exercise)
  • Read a chapter in the Bible
  • Pray/Meditate
  • Clear my info inboxes (queue in Instapaper)
  • Get my son up
  • Have breakfast
  • Get ready & go

The real routine is the first 5 bullet items, the rest are:

  1. Variable depending upon the morning
  2. Not always necessary to do

Things I still need to figure out:

  • Where to keep track of this routine? Strides? Todoist? Someplace else?
  • The best way to slowly get myself accumulated to this so it’s sustainable. I tend to bite off more than I can chew at times.

I’d like to do this as well. I’ll hopefully get something written up soon :slight_smile:

I still miss this periodically, but David Sparks made a fair point recently about how you can spend most of your task management time using defer dates to hide what you don’t need to see.

However, a few months into using Todoist primarily, I have gotten used to it.

The biggest key? Primarily using dates on the tasks as schedules versus due dates, then using filters to show only a certain day or days of tasks.

I won’t get too much more in depth on it now, but you definitely can’t apply an OmniFocus mindset to Todoist. The tool will fail you every time. (And yes, I believe OmniFocus has a required mindset to use it effectively; so does Todoist, but it’s less picky).

(Justin DiRose) #96

Week 34


  1. Explore music album - I released a new song on Christmas Day (was a 4 day endeavor) titled “Peaceful Steps”. It was super fun to pull this off.
  2. Lose weight - Heh. Not quite so great this week. It’s Christmas week. And part of the festivities is you eat. :\
  3. Work Initiative - Still in process. I’ll be keeping this here for the rest of the year.


  • This week: Spiritual - I’ve been focusing this area in ways other than how I’d planned. But it worked out. I’m 100% finding my new focus for 2018 will be learning new ways to rest and recover. I’ve had this expectation that if I give all I have, if I just go to bed I can be okay the next day to do it all over again. Nope. That’s not how it works.
  • Next week: Body - I’m going to try out my new workout schedule idea next week 2 days.

Weekly Wins - Next Week

  1. Worked out at least twice for at least 20 minutes
  2. Enjoyed my birthday (Jan 5th :))
  3. Made hires for position at work

What Worked

  1. Getting hungry for a short term goal. As I mentioned above, I recorded, mixed, mastered, and distributed a single in 4 days. It’s not perfect, but it is close to what I wanted. But the important part is I shipped, and it’s at least 80% of what I’m capable of doing at this point.
  2. Taking extra time off around the holiday week. With all the hustle and bustle, come Wednesday of this week, I was flat out exhausted. I about broke down, and I for sure realized I’ve been going full bore again without focusing on recovery. This extra day showed me I need to spend more time in 2018 focused on recovery instead of simply productivity.

What Didn’t

  1. Thinking alone. When I say this, I mean thinking in my head. For me to gain any traction, I need to start writing on paper, on a keyboard, anything. Just get the stream of consciousness going and the ideas will come. No more contemplating alone in my head for me. I best process ideas externally to myself this way.
  2. Running without a plan. I need to know the next action in order to stay on task, not just a nebulous end result.

I wanted to end with a question. Since it’s the end of the year, I’ve been evaluating nearly everything on my plate. So my question to you is:

Are these posts helping you? Can they help you better?

I know it’s been a busy end of year, but these posts haven’t been getting a lot of engagement. If they’re not helpful to you, I’ll still continue doing them, but maybe in a different format or somewhere else.

I also wanted to thank you all for processing with me and helping me become a better version of myself this year. I feel like I have grown a lot in my ability to hack away at goals and actually get somewhere this year, and I owe a good chunk of that to this community’s insight.

(Wilson Ng) #97

I think people are quietly enjoying your journey. Looking at the forums stats, it looks like you’ve got about 3,100 page views. I’m guessing that some folks don’t know what to contribute. Or there are others who might be shy about exposing themselves for all the world to see. That sense of vulnerability leads to a hesitation to not engage. I’ve found it interesting to travel on this journey. Maybe this is an accountability type thread? So many people (including myself) are reluctant to be held accountable for personal goals (or new year resolutions) and feel didapppinted when they aren’t kept. But I know I can see some of myself in your posts and am comforted in the idea that I’m not the only one trying to figure things out.

Your post is probably similar to the @shouit and @joebuhlig conversation on The Guild podcast about working through your goals, discovering new challenges in life, and trying to navigate the waters of Life that we are wading in.

Forums typically slow down during the holiday season. Holiday workloads and a change of focus to family events leading up to the new year have slowed down my own interaction with the Guild discourse. I think The Guild is still in its infancy. The audience base will slowly expand and slowly it will gain organic traction. There are a handful of members who are posting. Many will lurk but it looks like there are a bunch of people viewing your thread. Fear not. I’ve learned from my recent dabbling with Facebook promotions that many folks like to read but fear they don’t know enough about a subject to engage in a conversation. But they do take away something from it even if they’re not engaging.

I think your journal can and will evolve over time. Maybe toss in a few nuggets about life to make us contemplate. It can be as simple as a quote you encountered, a conversation that revealed something enlightening or disturbing, or a casual observation about something that happened today. I’ve kept my own personal journal in Day One for contemplation. I might be able to harvest something out of it. I don’t know if it’s productivity related. It’s just daily struggles and my efforts to work through my own cognitive biases (warts and all). Ideas come at the strangest of times and would be a great source of material for this post.

I see you’ve been using the JD Meier Agile Results methodology. Maybe you can share some of your discoveries and insight about using this productivity system? Start on one small aspect of the system and share it. That might be a way to find some source material to write about and share it with others. It’s been a while since I’ve read that book. This might be a great opportunity for to show some aspects of this to newcomers and fellow Guild members.

Thanks for baring yourself in these posts. It was an interesting 2017. We made it through somehow. A little rough around the edges but the polish is starting to shine through. You’ll find your voice here. Personally I’m trying to find my own voice, I interacted frequently in the Omnigroup discourse forums discussing OmniFocus but have tried to find another voice. I still rely heavily on OmniFocus but I wanted to explore other aspects such as goals, failures (and getting up from them), and other nuggets that can’t be found on a project/task list.

Carry on my wayward son. 2018 starts soon and we keep trekking forward. Not sure where we’re going. But we sure know where we’ve been. Happy new year, @justindirose and all you other Guild members.

(Joe Buhlig) #98

They’ve helped me. There’s something refreshing to read through the concepts, struggles, and wins you’ve worked through to find create a healthy life. And it’s exactly the type of conversation I feel is missing (generally speaking) in the broader productivity community. I wish more folks would do this sort of thing.

I don’t think I’ve said this publicly anywhere to date but this journal is partly what sparked the revamp and design of my weekly newsletter. It’s kind of my version of a weekly check-in. So thanks for that. :wink:

Give it a week or so. In my web development experience, community style websites take a dip over Christmas and New Years. Unless they’re product support sites, they’ll get quiet and then pick up again once folks go back to work. Wait, is everyone procrastinating at work when they’re posting here?! :thinking:

+1 to this. I’ve been considering AR for Bookworm. I’d be interested in seeing if/how you’ve incorporated it.

(Brad Wright) #99

Pretty new around here, but wanted to say I’ve really enjoyed reading these posts and get a lot of value from the disclosure in them. They’re really helpful!

(Justin DiRose) #100

2018 Volume 1


  1. Go to gym 1-2 times per week - I succeeded at this one for the week! I went to the gym twice after deciding on a schedule that works for me and my family.
  2. Read 1-2 strategic thinking books - I think a good first start will be this month’s Guild pick - Principles by Ray Dalio. I’ll be buying it this weekend with a goal of finishing before Feb 1st.
  3. Get up between 5:30-6:00am each day - I really only decided on this goal a few days ago. I know the major obstacle to this is not going to bed early enough. The other major obstacle is a baby on the way. I’m interested to see how I’ll handle the baby coming and still trying to get up. I’m sure I will sleep later when I can shortly after the baby comes. I wonder how long that will be until we’re comfortable enough for me to get up early again.


  • This week: Body - As stated above, it was a smashing success!
  • Next week: Intellect - I want to spend more time next week learning about strategy.

Weekly Wins - Next Week

  1. Read 150 pages in Principles
  2. Worked out 1-2 times
  3. Spent morning time in reflection and prayer - my mornings have primarily been focused on reading, so I want to take this a step further.

What Worked

  1. Pre-planned, pre scheduled workouts. When I have a plan, a way to track it, and set aside time to do something, I’ll get it done every time.
  2. My annual review - Currently sitting at over 2,000 typed words, and that’s just the personal portion. I am going to get some time set aside with my wife to go through items for our family. It’s been highly valuable, and really only took a couple of hours to do once I got going. I’ve gotten clarity for the upcoming year just by doing this.
  3. Giving myself clear focus - by forcing myself to clarify what I want to do in 2018 very specifically, I feel more motivated and hopeful for the year. Obviously things could change at any time, so I’m holding my goals loosely, but I’ll pursue them until they have to change.

What Didn’t

  1. Twitter on my phone. I’ll talk more about that below.
  2. Reacting to changes instead of giving myself time to think. For example, due to some family activities tonight, I had to change my weekly review routine today. I was not happy about it at first and was doing my best to hold onto it as it normally happens. However, after an hour or so, I had an idea which worked extremely well and compromised on what I wanted and what my family needed. If I don’t react to changes, give myself 5 minutes, and think of a way to bring the conflict together, I can usually find a very easy resolution. I just have to stay conscious of that.
  3. Getting going too late. I function best when I have margin in the mornings. There was a day or two this week where that margin was minimal, and I felt it all day long.

Interesting Thoughts from Week

Information Streams

As I may have talked about here before, my #1 strength on CliftonStrengths is Input. I like lots of streams of information coming at me. That is, until I don’t know what to do with them.

I experimented this week with having Twitter and Nuzzel on my phone. The first few days were fantastic and fun. I really love Twitter for its conversational nature, and have since I first used it in 2007. But I can’t have it on my phone. Same with Nuzzel. Nuzzel has been pretty cool, as it has surfaced interesting articles I would never have seen otherwise. But it’s another infinite feed.

To have multiple, endlessly updating information streams on my phone flat out overwhelms my Input strength. It’s easy to get me addicted to it. As a result, I have to intentionally distance myself from it.

That being said, I still don’t quite know what to do with Twitter. I hate using it on the web, as I despise the advertisements and “liked” content it shows me. Twitteriffic has been great on the iPhone because it solves that problem. I could put it on the Mac, but I don’t think I want to spend $20 for a Twitter client. I may relegate it to my iPad (which I, sadly, rarely ever use — I’d probably use it more if it were an iPad Pro, but that’s beside the point!). As for feeds, I’ll stick with Reeder on my phone with a limited number of feeds. Email newsletters have been great, too.


I was reflecting on using paper this week, and realized a fascinating detail. Previously, I used to be a person who hated to use more than one notebook at a time. That’s completely changed. I now have five separate notebooks I use.

  1. A Bible Journal - a Moleskine cahier I keep in my Bible for writing any thoughts down while I read
  2. A Morning Thoughts journal - another Moleskine cahier I write/journal in when I get up early
  3. A Commonplace notebook - a Leuchtturm1917 A5 dot grid notebook
  4. A Prayer journal - a Baron Fig Confidant I keep track of prayers and my day in
  5. A Dream journal - another Confidant I write my dreams down in. I’m someone who believes dreams can be significant, so writing them down has been very helpful.
  6. Bonus — I have multiple legal pads around I tend to scratch ideas, processes, or projects out on

Having different notebooks has helped me segment these processes in my life and keep them more organized. I used to have a hard time journaling consistently as well. Incorporating journaling into my startup, shutdown, and morning routines, as well as my weekly review, has dramatically helped me keep the habit going. I don’t think I spend more than 5-10 minutes a time journaling, unless maybe I’ve got more time in my morning routine to write, or when copying quotes into my commonplace.

I like this idea and as you can see I tried implementing it today. :slight_smile:

Well that’s cool! Glad to help!

I’ll put this on my list.

Thanks Brad!

Justin’s Hybrid System for Information Management
(Wilson Ng) #101

I’ve had to time block this into my daily schedule. Otherwise, I’ll never get to it. I’ve also had to reduce the number of podcasts to make room for books. i figured podcasts are great for current events but they don’t have the lasting rewards of a book.

I remembered this with my 2 kids. I don’t think I could do 5:30 am - 6:00 am. I just try to fit it around the kid’s time. This is what I had to do for the first couple of years. Unless you’re able to make an arrangement with your wife, this will be a struggle. Your schedule is gonna be based on your baby’s schedule now. sigh.

This reminds me of @shouit’s comments about meditation. He said it give him the time and space needed to react to stressful events.

I can’t do this. I have Tweetbot only on my iPad. I don’t have it on my Mac or phone. I also have notifications set to off so I’ll never get notifications. I read my Twitter feed once a day and then I’m done.